Our recent trip to
During the clinic we averaged 200 patients per day. The chief problems we treated were intestinal parasites, skin conditions (fungus, scabies, lice), high blood pressure, arthritis, anemia, allergies, respiratory infections, and ear infections in children. Even though our conditions were primitive, the people we saw were extremely grateful, and in fact, many of them were downright incredulous when told that they could pick up their medicines next door in the pharmacy. (“But I don’t have any money.”) Seeing the smile on these families’ faces as they walked backed from the pharmacy was priceless. They would wave to me, smiling for the first time. They just hadn’t believed when I was talking to them that I was really there only to love them.
Another very pleasant aspect of this clinic was working with a wonderful group of young people who worked tirelessly to keep the clinic flowing smoothly: obtaining vital signs and weights, directing patients to the next station, and in their spare time, mixing with the crowds and sharing Jesus’ love with them, giving the Brazilian young people a chance to practice their English. Daria (an LPN) and Hannah (a pre-med student at Taylor U. Picture to the Right) spent most of their time in the clinic with me, learning the very different approach to mission clinic medicine. By the last day, they both were able to evaluate patients and recommend treatment! I pray they’ll both be serving Jesus on the mission field in the future!
The last day of clinic was a real challenge for all of us: The Big Dump. That’s the name of the community. 43 families living in unspeakable poverty and squalor. Flies so thick you dared not keep your mouth open for long. But you dared not breathe through your nose for the stench. Needless to say, the sense of truly giving as Christ gave to us was much greater at the end of that clinic day. These folks had never seen a doctor or received any medical care whatsoever. There were no old folks at the dump: we treated almost no arthritis, mostly worms, infections, scabies, and lice. In a sense it seemed like a waste of time, since they would return to the same conditions that caused their problems in the first place. Situations such as these are beyond our understanding, but the people were treated to the Gospel of Jesus Christ, both in word and action, and appreciated it greatly.
What God will do with our efforts at Lagoa de I’taenga and the Big Dump is not yet known, but I can say confidently that we who went will never be the same. The opportunity to experience God’s strength in our weakness is no greater than on the mission field. Here in the States I have the illusion that I am in control and make things happen through advanced training and technology. On the mission field that silly illusion is stripped away, sometimes very uncomfortably, but always with great satisfaction in the end.
A great THANK YOU! To all who joined me in