We left VERY early on Wednesday...4:30am to be exact! The sun wasn't even close to coming out. As we rode along the streets in our Land Rover caravan something struck me. There were many shop owners, and their families sleeping outside, on the ground, with no blanket, and no pillow. It hit me as I was thinking about how poorly I slept the night before because it was loud, or my roommates woke me up, or because I was cold (the AC is on full blast in the ship!). Then I stopped, and I saw the people I came to serve sleeping on the ground. It's funny how that happens, you think you've come to help them, but they in turn have helped me so much more. I came here to let go of my comfort and yet I find myself still clinging on. We arrived to a short line, only 130 people! We prayed that only the people we would be able to help come, but 130 was kind of cutting it short! As the day wore on more people eventually came. My job for the day was to take medical histories from patients that were screened for potential surgery. Before they came to me they waited in long lines, some alone, some with their families in tow. For many it was their last hope, last chance to be "normal" again. For some it was life or death. For others it was an answer to prayer.
This isn't going to be pretty; for a lot of us it was an emotionally draining day, and without the love, hope, and promises of Jesus it would have been unbearable. Many came who we had to turn away. Do you know how it feels to squash someone's dreams over and over and over? The escorts (God bless them) had to take each and every "no" across a long field, usually in utter silence. But they did not walk away without comfort, and love; they were prayed with, and reassured of the love God has for them. Psalm 34:18 The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. Some were crushed, but many were thankful that we came to help their people! It was amazing and humbling to see. They are truly living the commandment to "love your neighbor as yourself." I can say that I would not have that response if presented with the same situation.
Okay, enough with the depressing and on to the hopeful! God did AMAZING things at the screening. The one thing that hit me most that day was the overwhelming sense of peace. In a situation were there are many people gathered in a small area, and desperation is certain, it could have been chaos. It wasn't. It was absolutely calm. We were able to see almost half of the people that were in line, and have started surgeries this week! The ward is full of excitement and energy as our first patients come out of the Operating Room new people. I will leave you with some pictures from screening day...ENJOY.
single file amazingness
no words necessary
History taking area...I'm way in the back
Goiters were such a huge problem...it's as simple as salt
More cute babies!!!
(the one picture of me at screening day...haha I look so pensive)
2 Corinthians 1:3-4 "Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God"