Tuesday, December 22, 2009
Monday, November 9, 2009
I was standing in front of a crowd of our patients last Tuesday, about ready to share the gospel message with them during our daily devotional time. As I opened my Bible to begin reading, I was interrupted by a commotion in the clinic's front yard. A little put off, I turned to see what was going on. There was a man trying to coax his donkey out of our courtyard. He was hitting it and pulling it and the donkey was being, well, mule-headed. Finally, after the patients and I had stared at him for a minute or two, he managed to pull the beast out into the street. I turned back to the passage that I had planned on sharing with the crowd, which was Psalm 32:9. "Do not be like the horse or like the mule, which have no understanding, which must be harnessed with bit and bridle, else they will not come near you." I had prayed earlier that morning that God would send His Spirit ahead of me to prepare the hearts of the patients to receive His Word, but I had not expected Him to provide me with a sermon illustration, too!
Saturday, October 17, 2009
I may be a mother now, and live in Haiti, but that doesn't mean I know what it feels like to be a Haitian mother. I have some patients who are Haitian mothers and have stories that are indicative of how hard it is to raise children in this country. Here are their stories.
Tuesday, August 4, 2009
Sunday, May 17, 2009
Sick people tend to think about the future. Very sick people tend to think about death and life afterwards. That’s what is so great about working in medicine as a missionary. The people we come into contact with are ripe for hearing good news. They want to hear that there is hope- in this life and in the next. When I worked in Seguin, we had a local preacher come and share the gospel with our patients three days each week. Here at Christianville, the staff of the clinic takes turns sharing the gospel each morning. So I get to share the good news every Tuesday morning. Two weeks ago, I talked about my river experience, and explained how I called on the Lord in my time of need, and He was there to rescue me. I explained to my patients that He heard my voice because He knows me… because I walk with him daily. I urged them not to wait until they were in the middle of the river to cry out to God, but to call on Him today, and start their relationship with Him. Two people responded to the message that day. Sandy was able to pray with them to receive Christ. Another day, several weeks ago, Marie (our pharmacy tech) was preaching to the patients. A young man responded to the gospel message. Sandy prayed with him to receive Christ. Later on, I saw him in my exam room and gave him an HIV test, because of a suspicious rash he had. The test came back positive, so I counseled him. I found out he had accepted Christ that morning, because he was worried about his future after death, and wanted to get his heart right with God. Even though I had to break the bad news about HIV to him, I was able to share with him in the joy of finding life eternal. We see people coming to Christ each week at the clinic, and that is what medical missions is all about.
Last week, an old man was carried into my exam room by his crying family members. He had had a stroke, and was very weak on his right side. He could not say more than a couple words, and they were very slurred. I gave him some medicine to help prevent another stroke, and gave him the bad news that usually the damage done during a stroke is permanent, with very little that medicine can do to improve it. I gave him physical therapy tips along with medicine, and sent him on his way. Today at church, an old man got up to give a testimony of God’s goodness. He looked remarkably familiar to me. He said that he had been carried into the clinic this past week. I didn’t think it could have been the same man, though, because this old man in church was holding the microphone with his right hand, was walking without a limp, and was speaking clearly and without difficulty. But as he told his story, it became clear that it was indeed the same man. God had healed him. And he gave his testimony to the church, not to give glory to the clinic or the doctors, but to God alone, the great Physician, who healed his body. I’m glad that in this instance, the ‘bad news’ I gave him and his family was turned into a testimony to the whole church congregation of the good news that God is alive and powerful, and heals our infirmities.
Several years ago, when I was first entering college and debating what type of missionary I wanted to be, my choices were Bible translation, business administration, or medicine. While I’m sure God could have used me in any of those areas, I’m glad He led me into medicine.
Thursday, March 19, 2009
Eight years ago, when I announced to my church in Florida that I would be leaving for full-time service overseas, I never imagined what I was getting myself into. I knew I would have to face lonely times, disease, danger, a foreign language and culture, and fund-raising, but I wasn’t sure to what extent God would test me in each of these areas. And of everything on that list, fundraising was the thing that really made me tremble. I dreaded it. So it came as a total surprise and complete relief when the ministry team at my church (Community Christian Church in Ft. Lauderdale, FL, called me in for a “talk” just a few short weeks after my announcement. They expressed to me their desire to support me fully, as a living link missionary of their congregation. I was overwhelmed with a feeling of relief (no begging!), with a feeling of unworthiness (how could God or any church love me that much?), and with a feeling of responsibility (I’ve got to make them proud!)
Over the years, Community has come to my aid again and again. Not just with their faithful financial support, but with advice, wise counsel, encouragement, rides to the airport and places to stay while stateside, and even a new truck when I destroyed the one they bought me in the river. Each summer, the kids in VBS raise funds for the kids here in Haiti who need formula or money for the hospital. Many of the kids at Community still greet me with a hug and a “hello miss Teresa” each time I come home to visit. The kids even showered my exam room with valentines this year. I couldn’t ask for a better sending church. There was one thing that was lacking, though. A team to come visit me. I wanted the church to see the work here in Haiti. It seemed that each year they would plan something, a coup d’etat or a food riot or some other civil unrest would upset the plans and cause a cancellation. But finally, this year, the time was right. The teams were planned, the flights were purchased, and two teams from my sending church arrived! Each team spent one week here, and it was wonderful to have them. Both teams jumped right into helping out wherever needed. Christianville has had some pretty finicky teams come and visit over the years, but Community Christian Church was not one of them. They were voted “Most Easy-Going Team” of the year by our guest house coordinators, in fact. They worked on construction, evangelism, teaching, upkeep (painting and cleaning and organizing and counting meds) and they even washed my dog. Some of my favorite memories of their visit are of Carla Behrenberg, perched on luggage, enjoying the sights of Port au Prince from the bed of the truck, and Terry Harding signing with a hearing-impaired girl here who hadn’t had a real conversation with anyone in years. I also thoroughly enjoyed the storytimes we shared each night. It was great to get to know everyone so much better.
I thank God every day for His provision for me. Only He knew what a blessing He was leading me to 12 years ago when I chose Community Christian Church out of the phone book and spent my first Sunday there. I couldn't have guessed that it would lead to such a faithful and meaningful relationship. Thank You, Lord, for Community!