Angie Elzey’s Testimony part 2

In 2003 we surrendered to go and we told our sweet church goodbye I thought my heart would break, never had I felt such loss, they will never know how much it hurt to walk away. Yet at the same time we had such a hunger to go to an unknown people. I remember lying in bed at night crying because my burden was so great it seemed we would never get there.
We landed on March 1st 2005! We landed in the middle of civil unrest! We could not speak Spanish at all, ask me later and I’ll tell you some stories about learning. The second day we were there, I went in my room and began to cry, I was 4 thousand miles from home! All my independence was gone from here on out I would have to rely on Kenneth for everything, just imagine for a minute how you would feel if in one day you could no longer leave your house and just run to the store. No more girls days out, no more family dinners, no more holidays together, no more shopping malls or clean grocery stores, no more English, no more comforts of home, and everything that you hold dear except for your husband and children, you left crying at the airport. Thats what a missionary wife deals with on her first day. Kenneth came in the room looked at me and said, just tell me you can’t and we will leave today! I looked at him and said no way! I’m just crying I’ll get over it! Knowing that he would leave for me after how hard he had worked to get there was all I needed. I am not a quitter! Two weeks later I got so sick I literally felt like I was liquifying. We went to the hospital in the middle of the night, I had dysentery, and loads of little parasites! I have heard some say, you shouldn’t speak of diarrhea in public! Well just let me say that person has never been a missionary in a third world country! Diarrhea became a way of life for us all. It is something you learn to live with. It is part of ministering to people that have no concept of bacterias and hygiene! You just learn to smile and drink that juice offered to you that you know will keep you in the bathroom the next two weeks, or eat that food you know hasn’t ever seen refrigeration and pray that maybe just maybe this time you won’t be sick a whole month! It’s part of buying that meat that’s been out all day with flies on it. It’s part of picking feathers out of your soup from that chicken you’re pretty sure you just saw about an hour ago. It’s part of trying to eat your food faster than the flies cause your just to tired to fight them off anymore. It’s part of drinking out of the same cup that everyone in the village is drinking out of, so you won’t offend! I mean sharing a drink with your husband is one thing but a hundred people that know nothing of dental hygiene with mouths full of coca leaf, now that’s faith! It’s part of shaking hands with people that almost never wash their hands, no matter where those hands have been. It’s part of being Christian even if it cost you. As my dear friend and fellow missionary in Bolivia, Darlene Fanning, put it, there’s no greater feeling on the mission field than being near your own bathroom when you are sick, because believe me more times than not you are not! I have since become an expert on all things creepy crawly! I’ve held my baby as typhoid fever raged through his little body, by God’s grace he survived. I’ve watched as pure blood poured from him because Ecoli was eating his gut. I’ve listened to my children scream in pain because of parasites. It’s hard to watch your children suffer, but you always have to go back to the thought that God knew about everything that would happen long before He sent us to Bolivia. Ive also watched as people we’ve won to the Lord come and pray over my babies, what an awesome thing to behold!
Culture shock, that never ends, every time you think you’ve got it figured out, they blow your mind again! Our first year Kinsey was hit by a taxi going about twenty miles an hour. It threw her about fifteen feet, I just knew she was dead. In Bolivia whoever hits you must take you to the hospital. So we just picked her up off the street climbed in the taxi as it drove around for 45 minutes looking for the cheapest hospital, because he also had to pay the bill. She walked away without so much as a red mark on her body, it’s important to pray for your missionaries, you never know what they face daily.
We lived at twelve thousand feet in altitude for two years. La Paz is called the missionary graveyard! The climate, altitude, and the meanest people you’ve ever met make it a hard place to live.
We met missionary friends, they were as crazy as we were for living there, so our hearts just became one. We went through so much together! Thank God for good friends. A godly friend can get you through some tough times! They are crucial to survival.
Civil unrest also became a way of life. We’ve gone weeks without fresh food because of road blockades. We have dealt with dynamite blast that shook our windows and screams of people that scare you to your soul. Bolivians whistle to show disapproval it is so unsettling to hear hundreds of people whistle like that. I remember one day waking up to dynamite blasts and marchers yelling as they passed our house. We were watching the news to know what was happening, it was showing the fighting and killing, they have no sensors there, so we saw it all. I didn’t know but Michael had come in the room and saw it all. He was five, he looked at me and said are we going to die? Are they coming for us? What do you say, what do you do when your faith is challenged? What do you do when those big blue eyes look at you and you know you have no ability to protect him! It’s in those moments you grow. You look him straight in the eye and say God will take care of us, by life or by death he is with us! You learn to pray in a way you never could before. You learn to trust. Psa 37:40    And the LORD shall help them, and deliver them: he shall deliver them from the wicked, and save them, because they trust in Him.
We came to the States for three months in 2007. We took a few weeks to visit family and the rest we spent reporting to churches. One day while visiting my sister, we found Kinsey in a chair blue in the face, not breathing, and completely unresponsive. We were an hour from any hospital. Kenneth road with the ambulance, I followed in a car. We were told after arriving she was in a coma and they didn’t know if she would come out of it. I made three phone calls, the first to my pastor, the second my mother in law, and the third to Steve and Darlene Fanning our missionary friends in Bolivia. All I could think is prayer, you need people who will pray! I remember leaning down over her body and I whispered in her ear, Kinsey maycayla, you fight this! Then I said something I thought I would never say. I said God I don’t want her back half way. She loves life too much to live it half way. Please give me my baby back whole or take her home. I couldn’t stand the thought of keeping her imprisoned in a broken, brain damaged body if she could have heaven. Kenneth said, God, we gave her to you as a baby, we said she’s yours, we haven’t changed our minds, if you want her Lord take her. That night while Kenneth was praying telling God his heart, my sweet Kinsey opened her eyes and said I love you Daddy! I will never be able to express my gratitude to God and those who prayed on her behalf. We were never given an answer, after a week of severe headaches and a thousand test it all just stopped and we left the hospital. Our family was afraid for us to return to Bolivia, what if it happens there? We had to remind them she was God’s little girl. His hand was with her and her home was in Bolivia. I don’t know why things happen the way they do but I do know, when they do, find people who will pray! Prayer moves the hand of God. It doesn’t always change the trial but it always gives the grace to go through it. Kinsey did it to us again in Bolivia this year. What a frightening thing to be in a third world country with your child seizing, watching them put medicine in her not knowing if they were hurting or helping. Watching her slip off into a coma, I looked at Kenneth and said what if? He said stop it! She is God’s girl, you have to believe that Angie! And I did, I just needed him to remind me. we waited hours and then she awoke, I looked at her and said, “Kinsey, God has done too much in your life for you to just be a church goer, you need to give your life to Him and serve Him! She said I know mama. Two weeks later while at camp she surrendered to missions. My prayer for my children is that they serve God in ways I never could. I don’t know what God has planned for her, But I know He’s been getting her ready. The doctors were able to determine that She has epilepsy, but she can’t control her seizures like most, so when she seizes, she does it until she is either not breathing or in a coma. She now uses medicine to control or avoid anymore seizures. Thank God for medicine!
Six years ago God moved us to Coroico, nor Yungas. It’s the high mountain rain forest region of Bolivia. Beautiful cannot describe it. God’s creation never ceases to amaze me. Though beautiful, Coroico, is spiritually dark. We were told by a CIA agent working in Bolivia, not to go there, the danger would be too great. they are very hostle to americans because of the drug trade. You can feel the evil at times, we weren’t just battling sickness, traditions,and culture shock, we were battling against an enemy much stronger than ourselves. Ever heard of the death road? The world’s most dangerous road. That was the road to our home. I don’t have time to tell you all of our adventures there. We started Iglesia Bautista de Coroico and Iglesia Bautista de Mururata. There is nothing like watching God melt the hearts of such a mean and angry people. Bolivia is known as the worlds most unfriendly country!
I can’t tell you how many times I stood in my back yard looking out over the mountains, thinking I’m in the middle of the jungle in South America! Wow! The kids and I would take walks and just enjoy all the beauty God had provided for us and never not once did we feel threatened. there is such peace in being where God wants you. I love the mission field, the good, the bad, and all the in between, it has been a life of challenge beyond my own strength and a life of rewards that can never be measured here by man. In July of 2010 a young woman came to the church because her baby had died and she wanted me to take her little boy so he wouldn’t die. And the next week we took little Nicolas into our home and hearts! Waiting for God to work out all the paperwork was a lesson in faith and waiting that I didn’t think I would pass. We have since adopted him.
Remember that storm I mentioned, well it began to show, things weren’t alright with me. I went to the doctor and found out my disease had progressed and added a few new ones. I now have mixed connective tissue disease. Polymyositis, lupus, scleroderma and rheumatoid arthritis! I’m a disease collector! Some people collect Knicks knacks nope, not me I collect diseases! What to do? Serve The Lord, in the end it’s all that matters.! Quitting on God won’t heal you. In October 2010, I would begin a journey unlike any I could have imagined! While at church in the jungle an old lady came and asked me to pray for her because she was sick, which I did. She coughed all over me. My life changed that day in ways I can’t even explain. It all started with a cough! Yep, you guessed it, another disease! I felt so sick, I told Kenneth, I don’t know what’s wrong but I feel like I’m dying! I went to the Dr. He said bronchitis! Bronchitis? If it is it’s the worst I’ve ever had. But the meds they worked for a time. But I began to lose weight, thirty pounds in a month! Then I couldn’t eat, I tried, I just couldn’t. We were so busy I didn’t have time for this, it seemed each time I got a little better I would get sick all over again, it just wouldn’t go away. In July 2011 we spent three weeks in the jungle going from village to village doing clinics and reaching people. I gave it my all but something wasn’t right. The night sweats and fever began! One of the doctors said Angie, I think you have TB! I had thought that but could never get a doctor to agree. I went through every test possible but still showed no signs of TB! They found a golf ball sized tumor in my lungs, they thought it was cancer. I will always remember the look on Kenneth’s face. I could no longer breathe without an oxygen mask on my face. I told him, I will not take Chemo, I won’t survive and I refuse to put you through watching me die that way! I will live until I die and that is that! I called my daughter into my room and asked her, “Kinsey, do you know that God is good?” “Yes, mama,” “Kinsey I want you to know, believe in your heart that he’s good no matter what!” “Yes, mama, I know.” “even if he takes me?” “Even if he takes you I know he’s good mama.” You see our contentment shouldn’t come through circumstance but through Christ! In August of 2011 I had a lung biopsy that revealed TB.
The tumor? My body made tissue grow around the TB which formed a tumor that completely closed my lung. That was God’s way of closing my lung and keeping my family safe from this horrible disease! You see a tumor, I see God’s protection. Isn’t He good.

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