Oct 20, 2022
I almost didn’t get to go to South Africa due to circumstances at home. This entire trip from beginning to end has taught me, and reinforced several things in my Christian walk.
The first being, we have to choose to step out in faith when things get tough, and the Lord meets us in our need every time. Especially when we don’t know what we need. I am a planner, organized, and like to be in control. The first lesson I am still learning, I cannot control the situation or plan better than the Lord can. I would love to learn this lesson so I can move on and not have to repeat it!
One of my favorite quotes by Oswald Chambers says,
“We are not made for the mountains, for sunrises,
or for the other beautiful attractions in life - those are simply intended to be moments of inspiration.
We are made for the valley and the ordinary things of life and that is where we have to prove our
stamina and strength.”
A couple of trips ago I started praying that I wouldn’t miss the ordinary things (that can often be life changing) and not just look for big miracles. This prayer has transitioned to my daily life. God does so much in the every day and it can often be easy to miss.
I experienced one of the most impactful moments in my life on this South Africa trip.
I was a provider and one morning I had the honor of taking care of an older lady with complaints of back pain. As I listened to her speak, my eyes shifted to the wooden crutches that she was using. These crutches were adjusted by twisting screws and washers. The cracked plastic that was on the handles and the piece under the arms looked anything but comfortable. After listening to my patient, she explained that she had a congenital back problem, and this was why she needed the crutches to walk. I explained that her back likely hurt more because the crutches were not the correct height. I tried to adjust them, getting dirt everywhere. After attempting to get them to the right height, I figured out that one crutch didn’t have enough wood to be safely adjusted. Adjusting the crutches to her height was not possible.
I asked how much a metal pair of crutches (like we have in the states) would cost and my interpreter stated that they were too expensive. Without hesitating I asked our Team Operations Coordinator how much they cost, she said they are probably seventy-five dollars. I said if someone could get them, I would buy them for her. I was overcome by the feeling that I needed to help this patient. Remember I mentioned I’m a planner? I didn’t plan this, I feel like I just listened and took one step at time. I explained to my patient that if she could come back to clinic, I would buy the crutches for her. Later in the afternoon we called my patient back to clinic. When she came in and saw the crutches, she started crying. She kept saying how happy she was while I was adjusting them. I was so happy to help her. They were $30!! Lesson number two, what might be something small for me, can be life changing for someone else. Don’t miss these opportunities.
At that moment, the Lord brought to my mind all the moving parts in my life that allowed me to be
there in South Africa, helping this special patient. My parents being obedient, raising me in a Christian home, making it through nursing school, NP school, being introduced to MMO, and bringing this patient to me that morning (just to name a few). I instantly became overwhelmed at the goodness of the Lord. It was humbling to be reminded of this and to be used to do good. My patient was crying, I was crying, and the room was full of other patients watching. When we walked outside, there was a long line of patients waiting for medical and optical services. Several of my patient’s friends were there and immediately let out a large cheer. We both started crying harder.
Lesson number three, The Lord always has a plan for me and when the Lord is
involved, the situation is never without hope.
When I think back on the trip, the verse in Psalm 34 comes to mind – Taste and see that the Lord is
good. Blessed is the man that trusteth in Him. Thankful for the reminders on this trip and every day that the Lord IS good and is trustworthy. So thankful to be a part of this team, the moments we shared, and to get to treat patients made in the image of the Lord medically and spiritually.