Thursday, June 1, 2017

The Sowers' Series of Unfortunate Events

Are you familiar with the children’s book series, A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket? Lemony Snicket did not corner the market on A Series of Unfortunate Events, as you will clearly see should you choose to continue reading this epic tale of woeful circumstances, which flowed together to make for an incredibly trying time for the Sowers family. Unlike Lemony Snicket, however, this post doesn’t begin with the line, “If you are interested in stories with happy endings, you would be better off reading some other book.” Ultimately, the story of The Sowers Series of Unfortunate Events does not come to a tragic end. For that, we can all be thankful!

Normally, my posts for Allen and Trish are all about what’s going on in their ministry. This week, Trish asked me to share some more personal details. Mainly, she wants me to stress that, although some trying things have happened recently, they are pushing through!


When a visiting team arrived last week, Allen and Trish already knew there was potentially something wrong with Allen’s heart. He had a couple of tests done and was planning on returning to the doctor for additional tests and possibly treatment, after the team left.

Never a Dull Moment

Tuesday, May 23rd was a particularly crazy day. Trish was in her house when she heard the dogs barking. While she was looking out the front door, a strange man entered the backdoor. He said someone wanted to kill him, and that they were chasing him! Iris and Trish moved the distressed man out of sight until Russell was able to get there (about 45 minutes later) to contact the police and de-escalate the situation.

The hospital where the procedure was done.
While Trish’s heart was still pounding over that excitement, Allen was completing the construction project with the team - though he assures us that he was only supervising, not working physically. With the construction part of the week done, on Wednesday morning Allen and Trish headed to the hospital in San Pedro Sula, where a scheduled catheter examination morphed into a long procedure to repair numerous serious problems in Allen's arteries. (Details on the hospital events can be found here.) Trish spent Thursday trying to scrape together the money to pay for the unanticipated cost of the huge procedure. (This post gives more details on the "trying to spring Allen from the hospital" part of things.)

This is a photo from the Honduran newspaper,
La Prensa, showing Dr Somoza, who is
Allen's cardiologist.

Allen spent one night in the hospital, in an
intensive care room like this one.

Stormy Weather

On Friday, May 26th, Allen and Trish were in a hotel in San Pedro Sula, where Allen was recuperating from surgery, and Trish was recuperating from being married to a man who just had heart surgery. Russell was away from the property, driving the visiting team from Gracias to San Pedro, to catch their return flight. Even Iris and the kids were away from home for a few hours. That’s when a gigantic storm hit the property. A lightning strike damaged their solar power equipment, leaving the property without power. The storm also blew down thirty pine trees on the property. On the coffee farm, trees are incredibly important for the shade they provide, and these trees will have to be replaced quickly. Members of the work crew ran a generator until the Sowerses returned home--saving the food in the freezer and providing lights for security. Before returning from San Pedro Sula, Russell and Allen purchased several smaller power inverters, which will provide the families with minimal power, as a stop-gap.

In a week or so, another local missionary will be hosting a visiting team. That team will bring a piece of replacement equipment, which, while not as good as what the Sowerses previously had, will be better than what they can purchase in Honduras. As Trish said, “Until the end-of-the-year container arrives, we’ll be limping along with power shortages.”

One More Thing

On Saturday, May 27th, Trish received word Ben had gotten into some trouble at school, as kids tend to do. That meant she needed to stop at the school on their way home from San Pedro Sula. Trish had intended to take Allen home and then turn around and go back to the school, but the stop and overnight stay for Trish prevented her from having to travel quite so much. (Allen and Russell continued home that day - as they were urgently needed to address the solar power situation.) The good news is that Ben’s teachers say he is trying harder in school and has good participation in class. He is turning in assignments and, academically, he is moving in the right direction. He's promises to try to obey the school's rules better, too.

A Happier Ending

Trish pointed out this is not the first time A Series of Unfortunate Events has happened to them since they’ve been missionaries. Just last year, while Allen and Russell were in Haiti on a bridge project, there was a daytime robbery and an attempted nighttime robbery, followed by a damaging lightning strike, in relatively quick succession. But this was the biggest cluster of bad things so far (and that’s coming from a woman who was kidnapped with her son!). For the most part, both Allen and Trish are back on the job. Allen is being careful to not be too physically taxed, which is sort of like expecting the Energizer Bunny to take it easy. He is back to planning, making phone calls, sending emails, and overseeing construction projects.

While the Sowers did not see Allen's heart problem coming, they are profoundly grateful he experienced those small warning chest pains. Those pains kept this post from turning out full-fledged Lemony Snicket, giving it some Pollyanna undertones instead - so that this Series of Unfortunate Events has a much happier ending than it might have had.

- posted by Christi

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