Sep 19, 2022
The drive to the airport before a fresh adventure always holds a lot for me. Anticipation,
excitement, and the anxious internal run-through to make sure I didn’t forget anything.
Sometimes my stomach is a little jumpy as I contemplate why I chose to do this *thing*in the
first place. When the Atlanta cohort of the team started out the trip to Chipata, Zambia, one of
the biggest questions in my mind on that ride was, “Will I, a person who knows nothing about
medical care, be useful on a medical mission trip?”
This question had also been something I thought about while preparing for the trip. I
work in digital marketing, specifically with paid social media. The only vitals I deal with are
performance metrics, and my days are spent in spreadsheets, not patient charts. Prior to this
trip (you pick up on some medical knowledge when you’re hanging out with a bunch of cool
nurses), the extent of my medical knowledge came from TV shows or movies. All that to say – I
am very non-medical in my day-to-day! This leads into my first key learning from this trip:
Your usefulness in serving is not dependent on your day job.
We had more than a handful of non-medical team members, and they served in the
optical clinic, registration, and as runners to keep the flow going. I think especially about those
runners - how all those steps taken and smiles given helping patients navigate the clinic site
were a sweet reflection of beautiful feet sharing the hope we have in Christ.
I helped in the optical clinic, assisting with the initial screening for patients in need of
glasses. While I don’t think I’ll be giving eye exams in the U.S. anytime soon, our little crew at
that initial screening station were all non-medical team members who helped with the
preliminaries of the optical clinic. We ranged in age, background, and day jobs, but that was not
a limit on how we were able to serve. Know and be assured: no matter what your day job is,
you can be a valued, useful, and important part of an MMO trip.
Walk through life with a heart of open-handed readiness.
Our team had a total of 39 people, which means that logistics and going places just took
a while. In my stage of life, I often have the freedom to choose my schedule and do what I
want, when I want. This trip was a good lesson in slowing down and going together. I knew one
other person on the team before we left, but we all got to know each other well over those 10
days! It’s amazing to me how you can go from not knowing someone at all to feeling and feel so
connected in that short amount of concentrated time. A strong bond is built in going together
outside of your routine (and perhaps your comfort zone) to travel and serve together.
God is a God of the big and the small. In all of the connecting flights and luggage
transport and bus reservations, we got where we needed to go. I think as a Type-A person who
really likes having a plan, this was another good reminder – to trust and not need to know all
the details. I think unconsciously, the MMO staff models this so well because they have been
through so many travel scenarios and seen the Lord’s provision and faithfulness – a small
change in plans does not phase them! And isn’t that a good way to be prepared for life? Make
wise preparations, but do not forget that GOD is who is in control and He is the One who is
faithful to provide. I struggle with fearing change and wanting to know what’s ahead, but we
know that change will come; God does not promise sameness in our circumstances. What He
does promise is that He remains the same and will be faithful to guide us along the path He has
God is at work in countries around the world and exactly where you live
Church in Zambia was such an encouragement. What a gift to worship with believers
from halfway around the world and sing praises to the same God. A song that some of the local
church members prepared and sang beautifully for us had the lyrics, “I will glorify the name of
Jesus, for the period of my life.” That song stuck with us throughout the week and is a song I
always want to be stuck in my head. If our Zambian brothers and sisters can sing that and
rejoice in the Lord in the place that God has them, shouldn’t we also be able to rejoice and
glorify Him in the places He has us?
There were so many incredible people on this trip, which is part of what made it so fun!
It was encouraging for me to talk with and get to know other girls around my age that are
likeminded – striving to live faithfully, pursue the Lord, and honor Him with their lives. There
are not a lot of believers where I work so even just being around believers day in and day out,
particularly ones I could relate to in many ways (even though our jobs are very different) was a
blessing. Shout-out to our crew who held down the back row of the bus – you know who you
are. ; )
Even a few weeks removed from the trip, I still feel like I am learning and processing all
that we were able to see and do. Yes, we went and served, but we also learned from those dear
people in Muma village who trusted us to provide care for them. They may not have realized
they were teaching, but in their laughs, hellos, and appreciation, they made a lasting impact
across the language barrier on my heart and life. Are there hard things to see and feel in the
poverty they live in? Yes. But what an opportunity to get to know them for a few days.
Proximity is powerful because it causes you to think and makes you aware and compassionate
to the fact that much of the world looks, smells, and sounds so different than yours.
Would you be willing to enter into the lives of people who are hungry for hope and
healing with the purpose to gain proximity? I challenge you to consider it. I know of this great
organization where you could get started – whether you are a student, nurse, parent, teacher,