This summer, my wife and I joined a team who travelled to the rural village of Calshi, Ecuador to share the love of Jesus with Quechua Indians. Every day our team would drive up the mountain to set up clinic in a church facility where we had the opportunity to serve more than 1,300 patients, hand out more than 2,000 prescriptions, and give out 375 pairs of eye glasses in four days. Nevertheless, this trip to Ecuador was much more than the numbers. My only prior medical mission experience came without an evangelical focus, and I will admit that I struggled with the feeling of futility. The feeling that indigenous people’s lives were not likely altered by the month supply of vitamins, ibuprofen, or parasite medication I might give them. However, from the first team devotion we were encouraged to look for “God sightings”—experiences of seeing God’s hand at work in our encounters with these people. The first day, I was able to listen to a Compassion child tell us about losing her father and remind her that she had a Father in heaven who loved her and would always be with her. My wife had the opportunity to work with a woman who was suffering from an acute infection due to a home-remedy abortion, listen to the shame she had, and proclaim to her that God unconditionally loves and forgives her. The “God sightings” of the team were abounding, and in every situation, we were able to be a part of a sovereign plan simply by empathetic listening, faithful service and speaking truth into individual lives. Prior to the trip, a mentor physician had told me that there are four primary levels of happiness we habitually try to experience in life—the first three being a happiness from material objects, a happiness from success, and a happiness from doing good for others. Although, these first three levels each have their moments of intensity, none are truly sustainable. The first is often short-lived, the second often leads to an emptiness even when reaching “the top”, and the third, while noble, often allows your happiness to be dependent on the happiness of others. It is only when we rest in the reality that we are unconditionally loved are we able to have an everlasting joy. Moreover, only when my wife and I rest in the unconditional love of Christ shown to us are we able to go share that love in our Jerusalem, in our Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.
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