by Rachel Sawyer
Poverty is a robber of the basics: clean water, basic hygiene, hydration, etc. But God is the GIVER of life and truth, and He is a most excellent Provider. Once a year, Makarios welcomes a medical mission team that provides check-ups and care for Makarios students and their families as well as the staff and their families. At the end of October, a medical team of 6 from Maryland and Ohio, consisting of 2 providers, 2 nurses, and 2 techs, provided medical care in the form of well child checks and also identified other issues that needed to be treated (fungal infections, stomach problems, pneumonia.
This post is not just about people receiving the health care that they need but can't afford (which is a HUGE blessing!), but it is also about using the gifts that God gives us to glorify Him, AND about the spiritual return when spiritual investments are made! The last medical team captured the heart of these truths best in their own words:
Provider Julia Circle, who has served with Makarios on a medical mission team multiple times, says "God has blessed us all with our special and specific gifts. We all make the human body of Christ with all its required pieces (gifts) for a healthy life. Using our gifts, in whatever capacity, is the ultimate fulfillment of God's plan for our lives."
Providing health care to those who otherwise would not receive it is a privilege and goes beyond medical provision. Provider Jessica Wohl recalls that "I felt like I was able to help medically while connecting spiritually. It was an opportunity I hope to experience again and will most definitely never forget."
Once our teams hit the rocky, dusty ground in the D.R. in the communities where Makarios serves, they are met by genuineness and authenticity by our Dominican and Haitian families. Brittany Logan speaks about one of her most memorable moments saying "We were visiting Chichigua, and there was a lady that was so happy to see us and invited us in her home, and then invited us to church."
"A captivating moment I had was walking in Pancho Mateo. The people were so welcoming and gracious. There was a sense of pride as Francis (Cackito) showed us Makarios' first location and the village where he grew up. He spoke with such passion and love that it was a moment where I felt I was a part of something great. The children were also tiny blessings: holding hands, skipping and giggling with them through Pancho Mateo was another special moment," Jessica Wohl recalls the sense of divine purpose as part of the bigger picture she experienced during her moments serving with Makarios.
Amanda Mitchum reflects on what she took away from her time serving as part of a medical mission team, "One of the biggest things I will take with me from my trip to the DR is how appreciative a majority of the people we were able to treat were. It felt so refreshing to be surrounded by people who were grateful, caring, and respectful. If we could all learn to be nice to one another and to appreciate the people we are surrounded by, the world would be a much better place. Something that sounds so simple could have such a huge impact."
The medical team saw 240 patients in 4 days. And the need is always greater than the time and resources allow.
In the face of such overwhelming need, it could be easy to feel discouraged, but Nurse Dan Kallemyn thinks of it this way, "I guess the one big thing about ministering in a medical capacity is the need. It really reminds me of the story of the boy who was throwing starfish that had washed up on the shore back into the ocean - helping one at a time. It was important for me to keep that in mind throughout the week."
Perhaps one of the greatest blessings for those who return to serve again and again is the ability to see areas of impact over the long haul. "Each time I travel to the school, I feel God has a new lesson for me to learn. Each year my relationship with Him and the community grows. One blessing has been that each year I have become more comfortable in caring in a human capacity and not just as a medical provider. Luke 9:6 says "So they set out and went from village to village, proclaiming the good news and healing people everywhere." This year was a blessing and encouraging that I felt the "good news" was being told back to me . . . I could feel God's presence growing."
The Makarios staff, students and families would like to offer a huge high five to this last medical team that blessed our communities! Furthermore, we are utterly greatful to know that others can see the presence of God increasing in Makarios' areas of influence - thanks be to God who is the one that makes this happen and for the fact that He allows us to partner with Him in what He is doing!
If you would like to be a part of what the Lord is doing through meeting medical needs in our communities, there are several ways that you can help: fund a medical mission trip, come on a medical mission trip and/or give to the medical fund! Also, in the not so distant future Makarios will need a new Director of Health. If you know anyone who would be interested in serving in this capacity, please share this link with them and have them contact firstname.lastname@example.org.