As a part of our missionary responsibilities, my husband Kyle and I occasionally facilitate short-term teams. Teams sacrifice their vacation time to spend a week serving low income communities in Mazatlán, Mexico, where we live.

A few years ago, a team member with a soft heart toward animals saw a suffering street dog.

From the tail down to the middle of the abdomen, this dog had oozing, open flesh. The team member started to cry. “How can I serve people who would allow this dog to suffer?”

Actually, a compassionate, elderly neighbor had been feeding the dog, although she barely had enough pesos to buy tortillas. She couldn’t afford to take the dog to a vet. In response, Kyle kindly offered to accompany the American woman and the dog to a local veterinarian. The vet gently euthanized the suffering animal while explaining that a highly contagious, flesh eating bacteria caused the massive wound. He recommended that everyone involved wash their clothing as soon as possible and sterilize their hands and arms up to their elbows with medical grade iodine. Then he unexpectedly returned the carcass. His facility didn’t handle remains.

Kyle spent the next couple hours wandering around Mazatlán eventually finding a crematorium willing to take the dog for a small fee. Kyle certainly hadn’t expected to spend the afternoon hauling a dead dog covered in very live bacteria. His plan for the day had been unceremoniously interrupted.

Often our days don’t follow our carefully made plans,

but in our response to those interruptions we can see God at work.