God opens doors...but a box of unknowns remained closed
I suspected something was wrong in my head. The Lord spoke to my heart, that it was just a bump in the road.
A MRI scan suggested metastatic brain cancer. Or was it tuberculosis or a parasite? Unknown. A brain biopsy was needed. Six days before a planned flight to Canada for investigations, I came down with unrelenting fevers from malaria. Fever meant no-fly as the COVID-19 pandemic had started! Stuck in Angola? Well to do something, treatment for the possible parasite cause of the brain lesion was started, and the fever disappeared abruptly. So off to Cape Town, a closer location, while the fever stayed at bay! The medical team there was great. I had a dangerously low white blood cell count and medication induced liver dysfunction. I was septic and treated aggressively with IV antibiotics. I heard the advisory that all Canadians should return urgently to Canada due to the COVID-19 crisis. How could I do that? I had to stay put. The nature of the brain lesion was unknown. Treatment plan, unknown. Visa for South Africa, limited. Flight to Canada in 1-2 months, unknown. Unknown described just about everything in the situation. Then the Lord nudged me to put all the unknowns in a box, that is, stop analyzing them. I resolved to stay in South Africa. That night I dreamt of being given a solar audio bible with Nkosa, which was significant because it is a South African language. A warm hug from the Lord.
I recovered from sepsis and was fast-tracked for excision-biopsy of the lesion. Brain surgery! It all went well and the result was a benign tumour removed, an incredibly short ICU stay post-op and no neurological problems. I returned to Canada on a repatriation flight, from which I emerged COVID-free.
From here, I encourage the Rio da Huila team [Angola] in administration, clinical and spiritual issues. We are discussing safe practices for COVID-19 prevention and plans for education in the community about COVID-19. Many think it is only risky being in the city. I look forward to returning to Angola later this year or early next year. Next year will mark 30 years since I first went to Angola!
I never did have to open that box of unknowns. The Lord was amazing in His orchestration of every step. So, I learned it was okay to put aside the unknowns and not keep analyzing them. His word to my heart about the box was so gentle and powerful.
Moving forward there are plenty of unknowns about the return road to Angola, unknowns not to be incessantly analyzed, but given to the Lord in ongoing conversation, in rejoicing, thankfulness and worship.
My heartfelt thanks to all who have been praying for me, each step of the way.
To give to Karen's support, go to www.sim.ca/karen-henriksen