What’s one of the most fulfilling, tiring, and awe inspiring (for us) things we do here? With out a doubt hosting teams. So much goes into hosting a team, and there is always a ton of work to be done behind the scenes, but it’s work that Dave and I (and Sammy and Nata too) love. From preparing 50 sandwiches or an evening meal, to counting out each team member’s spending money to going grocery shopping to moving tables, chairs, and people across town to fixing electrical problems at the bible school (something Dave has done a lot of lately)… the jobs are varied and many. And we love it! (Did I say that yet?) There is nothing for us, quite like the feeling you get when you experience this culture for the first time through someone else’s questions and gasps. Or the pride you feel when you read a team update like the one I read this morning from our medical team. It gave me a moment to reflect on the awesomeness of the body of Christ. You see, I’m not qualified to prescribe malaria medication or a pair of glasses, but by hosting this team, I get to be involved. I get to help in the work that these amazingly qualified people are doing in this culture that I love. You are awesome in this place mighty God! Enjoy the team update…
September Medical Mission Team Update #4
A Day in the Life
“When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them and healed their sick”. Matthew 14:14
One of our eye clinic team helped a middle aged woman with cataracts be able to read again. The grateful woman lept out of her chair, hugged our clinician, and actually said “I love you”. Laughter is often heard through the eye clinic door as many people who entered with vision problems leave seeing clearly once again.
One young boy sat perfectly still while the dentist numbed his mouth. As soon as the dentist extracted his tooth, the boy began to weep inconsolably. Apparently when the dentist explained the importance of good dental hygiene in order to avoid the possibility of losing all of his teeth one day, the boy misunderstood. He thought the dentist was going to extract all of his teeth. Even with interpreters, some things still get lost in translation.
A young man came in to speak with the doctor about his and his wife’s inability to conceive a child. In this culture, barrenness is considered a curse from God and carries painful ramifications for the childless couple. The doctor gently addressed his concerns, encouraged him, and told him while no doubt this is a difficult circumstance, he did not personally hold to the belief that this was God’s curse on them. He asked if he could pray for him. When he finished, the man looked up, smiled at the doctor and shook his hand.
Four friends carried a lovely young woman in her twenties into our exam room. She had collapsed while standing in line and had no control over her movements. Without diagnostic testing, it would be difficult to determine the cause although it appeared to be neurological (there’s only one neurologist in all of Niamey). She had been suffering with chronic pain for 5 years yet she managed to flash a beautiful smile at our staff standing around her. We prayed for her and placed her in a car to be brought to the hospital.A mother brought her 17 month old twins in to be tested for malaria. The smaller twin weighed only 7 lbs. Both tested positive. We were able to give nutritional counseling for her and her children. We sent her home with vitamins, rehydration fluids, and malaria medication. Because her children had been sickly, she had placed amulets from the witch doctor around their necks. Before we prayed with her, one of the staff asked her if she knew about Jesus. Within minutes, the woman decided to become a follower of Jesus Christ. She was asked if she’d like to get rid of the amulets. She immediately took them off her children’s necks and threw them in the trash. She left the clinic with such hope and joy.
The final numbers weren’t in yet for today’s update but yesterday we saw 150 in the eye clinic, 295 in the medical clinics, 25 in the dental clinic and 328 were seen for pastoral counseling. Many of the cases are hard and follow up medically and spiritually will be a challenge. The local church is doing its best to keep track of every patient and attempting to connect them to a local congregation or pastor. Some cases we are able to help right away, others we can only pray and leave them in a loving God’s hands. Either way, we are grateful to be here with these beautiful people.Sending our love home to you,
The 2009 LINK Medical Mission