We have eight children and I love birth, so when God nudged me to start a birth center in Oaxaca, Mexico, it seemed like the logical next step in our long-term family ministry here. We could use compassionate maternity care to reach women with the love of God!
House of Compassion
We made plans with a midwife friend to launch Casa Compasiva—House of Compassion. Starting a birth center in Oaxaca would be difficult, we knew. It would challenge the current medical establishment in Oaxaca: astronomical Caesarean rates and a sometimes negligent, sometimes abusive medical system.
In the Bible, God did not want Gideon to triumph through military skill. Nor did He want our small team to stage a coup against the predominant Caesarean culture. How would He get the glory if we did? We might be tempted to boast that we did this in our own strength with our great midwifery or administrative skills. Just as God chipped away at Gideon’s troops in order to get more glory for Himself, so He slashed our team in half. Our midwife met a wonderful Christian man who was not called to minister in Oaxaca.
Result? God effectively made the birth center project impossible!
Facing the Impossible
It is one thing for a doctor, a nurse, or a midwife to start up a birth center and midwifery training school. It is quite another for a home-schooling mother with no other credentials to attempt such a thing. Multnomah prepared me to minister cross-culturally, but how would it help deliver a breech baby or control a post-partum hemorrhage?
We had several leads on Christian midwives and felt sure that God would quickly send us someone. But it was not to be. God sifted Gideon’s men down to a skeleton crew of just 300; He also prevented all potential midwives from joining us.
By September of 2010, we still had no midwives, no trained staff, no building, no money, no equipment, and no supplies! We referred to Casa Compasiva as our virtual birth center. It didn’t really exist! Yet we were scheduled to open on January 17, 2011, and in faith had announced that intention to a watching world.
Gideon’s men were expected to use the insanely harmless weapons of trumpets, torches and jars, and to trust God to give the host of Midian into their hands. Like with Gideon, God moved us from the intense, through the impossible, to the seemingly insane. We were being called to trust Him, though the situation appeared to be crazy!
We needed $25,000 for start-up costs, and for months nothing came in. Yet other things began to fall into place: a Oaxacan doctor offered to help once the birth center was started, a beautiful building “magically” became available, supplies gradually materialised. At Christmastime, God provided exactly $25,000—enough to hire and train staff, rent a building, and purchase the supplies necessary to open our doors by Jan. 17th, 2011.
The intensely impossible, insane project became a reality!
About the Author
In January Alumni Ellie ('83) and Lila ('83) Quezada and their children will celebrate two years of Casa Compasiva providing compassionate, quality maternity and birth services to Oaxacan women, and training Mexican Christian women to be excellent midwives and disciples of Christ. Gideon rallied his troops to the cry, “A sword for the Lord and for Gideon!” In Oaxaca we rally, declaring, “Life and death and women and babies and the gospel of Jesus Christ matter … and God gets all the glory!”