Each time I embark on a mission trip, I find myself asking what God will have in store; for the community being served, the team doing the serving, and me in particular. This trip was no exception. The way God provided for me to be able to attend this mission was amazing. From the timing for my spring break, to a trip providing preventative public health education with patient care just aligned with exactly where I was able to engage in the many directions my life has taken recently.
The trip started out from Fresno on Thursday evening and our team finally arrived together on Sunday evening. Watching God's beautiful nature shift throughout the drive including new cacti, rainbows, and even giraffes right on the side of the road was phenomenal. He painted the picture of the beauty we would see throughout the trip, in His nature, the people we would meet and serve, and in each other. Many of us made sure to start each morning with the full dawn and sunrise we were blessed with by our view. As I am not the most coherent morning person, this was a lovely start and reminder of God’s paintbrush doing his work showing us He was with us for this first-time trip to this location.
The clinic started promptly on Monday morning with all hands working to make for a smooth start since we hadn’t gotten as much prep time as we had hoped, but we managed to get the clinic off without a hitch. The patients began to come in with their traditional attire and the translators were hard at work ensuring we were able to all communicate with each other. Sometimes we would even have three-way translations occurring. This allowed us to learn about the access to medical care the patients had and if they had ever heard of Jesus before. There was a fair mix of some that had, some that were Catholic, and some that had not. There were many conversations to introduce Jesus and to pray with them and their loved ones. We had five pastors working alongside us, some even helping to translate who were more than happy to step in and continue the discussions in their native languages, allowing even better understanding.
One moment that stood out to me was a young patient I was seeing with another physician who we became increasingly concerned about having a serious illness. As a note was written to be sent with the young girl and her mother to the hospital, the five pastors and I laid our hands on her and everyone prayed simultaneously for healing and God’s hand in the situation. It was a beautifully heartbreaking moment. Yet, God’s presence was so obviously present with us.
At the completion of the week, we were able to see 548 medical patients, complete 88 ultrasounds, 294 eye exams, 61 dental patients, and 124 physical therapy interventions. Hearing some of the eye exam stories of students who were struggling in school because they couldn’t see the board being able to be addressed with the glasses we had present were heartwarming.
We had 61 patients make a decision to accept God after our total count who our country contact is working to ensure they have continued access to others of faith or one of the local pastors. One patient that stood out to me was a girl in her late teens or early 20’s who used to attend church, but due to family needs, now had to tend to their livestock on Sundays. One of the local pastors had found a box of bibles written in Kiswahili. She was so excited to receive one and stated now she would at least be able to read His word while tending to the animals.
God showed us many moments of his hands at work throughout this trip and I can’t wait to see how His presence grows in this community.