Amazing Story, Ordinary People–Part 3

She ordered the vaccines and we were told it would take about a week to get them in to San Francisco. That would put them arriving in San Francisco on a Wednesday.

Monday morning, John calls me, “Hey Tom, I heard this morning that the vaccines will be delivered on Tuesday! Oh, and the next challenge is that they need to travel temperature controlled – they can’t get too cold or too hot.”

So, I start working on it and talking to our people in Haiti and realize that one of our friends was in Miami and had a seat on a charter plan (because the Port Au Prince airport wasn’t open to regular traffic yet) on Thursday morning. So, in order to get from Miami to Port Au Prince in a timely manner, we had to get the vaccines from San Francisco to Miami by Wednesday night – in other words, around 24 hours after they get delivered to the doctor in San Francisco.

As it turns out, there was one flight per week that went non-stop from San Francisco to Miami. And it flies on Wednesdays. A non-stop flight was crucial to being able to make sure that the vaccines got to Miami on time and got there without being ruined by either heat or by cold.

That flight was on American Airlines – the only airline that consistently runs from Miami to Port Au Prince (at least when the airport is open).

A quick check revealed that there were seats left on that plane.

But who was going to fly with the vaccines? A quick call to my brother who lives about 3 hours from Sacramento – no one in his family could make it. A couple of other calls were made, it was noon on Tuesday and no one was lined up yet.

And then John called me, “Hey Tom, I just talked to my boss and got the okay, I’m taking Wednesday and Thursday off and I’ll fly the vaccines to Miami.”

Wow, not only did he do all of this legwork he’s using vacation time to help an orphanage and people he’s never met.

(Stay tuned)


So, today, I was reading the story of the 10 plagues in Egypt for my personal devotions.    A thought hit me, not quite like a ton of bricks, but close……

God didn’t grant Moses’ request right away because He had people He wanted to influence and impact He wanted to make.

What sort of influence or impact, either on you or men or someone else, is God looking to make by not answering our prayers right away?   Or more accurately, by answering them with a “Not Yet.”

May we all be more open to what God is doing with the “Not Yet” answers in our lives.


Amazing Story, Ordinary People–Part 2

There already was a worldwide shortage of the tetanus vaccine and now there was sky high demand for it in Haiti. Our normal pharmaceutical companies couldn’t get any for us. So, we turned to the 6 degrees of separation for help.

You know what the 6 degrees are, don’t you? They are the theory that every person in the world is connected to every other person in the world by no more than 6 degrees of separation. So for instance, I have a past banking customer who met Elton John. Elton John has performed for the Queen of England, so in reality, I’m only four degrees from the Queen of England.

It turns out that one of our adoptive moms who lives in Nevada has a friend she went to college with that they keep in touch quite frequently. That friend is in the medical equipment business. That friend has a friend who is a pharmaceutical rep (aka a professional and legal drug dealer.) The pharmaceutical rep lives in San Francisco. One calls the next, the next calls the next. Before long, I get a call back, “Hey Tom, this is “John” and I heard that you might need to get some medicine to Haiti.”

Think the story ends happily from there? Not so fast…

The pharmacy rep worked very hard at finding tetanus vaccines from his normal “sources” and wasn’t able to find any. Finally, he was able to locate an overseas manufacturer who could allocate 2,000 doses to “John’s” company, but only if they could get a written order from a doctor in the United States requesting it and guaranteeing payment for it.

John went to one of his local pediatricians that he works with, explained the situation and the need and she willingly placed the order.

Now imagine how that conversation went, “Dr. Smith, I need you to do me a favor. There’s this orphanage in Haiti that I’ve never met that is run by people I’ve never met but a friend of a friend knows them. They need you to submit an order for 2,000 tetanus vaccines from _______ company. (Estimated cost- $20,000) and guarantee that you’ll pay for it – but don’t worry they’ll reimburse you for it.”

Excuse me but a lot of people would think more than twice about that offer. But she didn’t. Because God was at work.

Stay Tuned…….

Amazing Story of Ordinary People–Part 1

Okay, this story is going to take a little background so that it makes sense.

First, “jump” to the site of the earthquake with me. What do you see in the destruction? You see sharp metal, you see pieces of rebar sticking out, you see injured limbs, you see people who are missing limbs, it’s not a pretty picture. In actuality, it’s a really really difficult picture.

And it’s not a clean picture. There’s mud, dust, dirt, blood, it’s nasty.

Now I’m not a medical professional, but I know that is a situation that could very easily result in many many infections. I learned very quickly that the biggest risk of infection at that point was from tetanus.

Oh and there’s a world wide shortage of the tetanus vaccine. Great……

If you’re like me, you probably thought that tetanus was a shot you get from your doctor to make sure you didn’t get a minor infection when you stepped on something and cut your foot. It turns out that if you get a full blown case of tetanus, it’s nasty, nasty, nasty….

(Stay tuned…….)

A Little Bit of Moses

I’m not talking about the leadership part of Moses.

I’m not talking about the part where he killed someone.

I’m not talking the baby in the basket part.

I’m talking about the guy standing by the burning bush.

He’s out in the desert tending sheep and God comes to him and says, “Moses I want you to lead My people.”

Moses basically says to God,   “Are you nuts?   I don’t know what I’m doing, I don’t know how to talk straight, I can’t go stand up in front of Pharaoh and essentially spit in his face!”

Don’t we all have a bit of Moses in us?    Aren’t we often sensing that there is something we should do but we don’t want to?

Isn’t there things that God wants us to do that we don’t want to?

Wouldn’t the world be a better place if we all stopped being the Moses in the desert and started being more like the Moses in front of Pharaoh?

Stop doubting yourself, stop doubting God and follow what He is telling you.

And then, as Ann Voskamp said,  “Be prepared to be astonished.”