Soddo Special Delivery    From Dr. Mark and Allison Karnes

March 28, 2011


God’s grace has been much more tangible to us since coming to Ethiopia.  It was never more apparent, however, than on Wednesday of last week when our grandson was born.  Jack David Karnes entered the world at 5:55 A.M. in Waco, Texas weighing 8 lbs. 10 ozs.! He was 21 inches long.  David and Betsy are the very proud parents. Jack David is the first male Karnes of his generation.  Even though we are bursting with pride his birth didn’t come without some frustrations and tears on our end.

Mark makes an attempt every week to try and take off Wednesdays.  So far, this has never actually happened, but this week it looked like a good possibility.  We went to bed Tuesday night knowing that Betsy was having regular contractions and that she had visited her doctor that morning and was dilated to three.  We told them to call us when they got to the hospital.  About four in the morning the land-line phone rang in the living room and Mark leaped out of bed to answer it.  No one was on the line. Suspecting that it might be the kids trying to reach us, we went online and logged into Skype. If you are not familiar with Skype, it is a free program that allows you to chat face to face with your contacts or just chat like a telephone conversation.  We are able to talk with all of our children by using Skype.  In fact, Skype is the only way we have to telephone the states.  Like you, we have become very dependent on our Internet working. But unlike you, this is virtually our ONLY way to communicate overseas.  We do have cell phones and a land line but they are VERY expensive to use and would only be used in an emergency.  We called David and sure enough it was him trying to call and let us know that they were at the hospital.

About the same time Soddo hospital called and Mark had to leave to do a cesarean section. I went back to bed but couldn’t fall asleep.  I began to pray earnestly for Betsy and our grandson.  God gave me such a beautiful picture as I prayed.  He showed me that He had His hand on our grandson enclosing Betsy’s abdomen and then a picture emerged of His great wings extending around David, Betsy, and her mother, Jill.  The feathers on the wings were so vivid, each one detailed with such pinpoint accuracy.  I was surprised by this realistic picture but the Lord reassured me of His deep love for my children and that He was in control.  In the morning, during my quiet time, my scheduled reading (I’m reading the Bible through again) was Psalm 91.  One verse leaped out: “He will shield you with His wings. He will shelter you with his feathers. His faithful promises are your armor and protection.” Psalm 91:4   I did not know then that that vision and verse would sustain me throughout the long day.

We were able to chat again on Skype in the morning and she was dilated to 6.  I went to the school to teach my scheduled lesson but took the computer with me for I had prepared a lesson on crocodiles and I needed my pictures of our weekend trip to share with my class. I kept the internet on, however.   Mark stayed at home.  When I returned from school around 11 he was pacing.  Oh how hard it is to be an OB/GYN when your children are delivering and you cannot manage the case!  We got back on Skype and Betsy was dilated to 8!  He began to fret, just a little.  “What station was she, why hadn’t she progressed faster?”  It’s just so hard to micromanage an OB patient from 10,000 miles away.  Just as we tried to Skype back with those questions, the Internet went out.  We tried again and again, but it would not connect.  All of our plans to be with our kids when our grandson was delivered fell apart. These simple words cannot adequately convey our frustration.  The Internet stayed down for 6 hours!  Mark left for a planned hospital meeting and during that time David called on the land-line with the news.  We told him that our Internet was down and he said he figured as much.  Four long hours after that it finally came back on and we were able to see our family.

This was the first time since coming to Ethiopia that I felt we had really sacrificed something to be here.  We wanted so much to be part of the delivery experience and see little Jack enter the world.  But God, in His goodness and knowledge, knew beforehand that it would not happen.  I am so thankful for the picture He gave me during prayer that our children were in His loving arms.  It was the Lord’s loving grace that sustained us during those long tedious hours when there was virtually nothing we could do. Living in Ethiopia, where events can spiral out of control very rapidly, has definitely allowed us to feel the grace of God on our lives in a much more realistic and tangible way.  Even though we grieved because we could not be there for Jack David’s birth, the reassurance of God’s love and tenderness in our life was a lovely lesson to learn.

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