Here we are nearing the end of our clinic days already! Today was our last full day with these wonderful people, and it was a long, full day ending with a cool, damp fog. Even though the days have been long, the time has passed by so quickly. How exciting it has been to play a small part in the work accomplished this week.
My whole reason for pursuing nursing later in life was to serve in medical missions. Just as I finally felt prepared and was starting to pursue my goal of traveling, Covid hit. While I’m thankful to serve at my job in Alabama, I had thought the plan God had was to travel. One day last fall, I was praying for direction. Do I let go of the goal to travel and focus only on serving at home? That was certainly easier, and I was fine with that. I just wanted direction. Within 2 hours, Jenni called me. I had signed up for a trip with Healing Nations in 2020 that had to be canceled. She asked if I would be interested in going to Guatemala in January. Wow. What a clear answer.
There have been so many experiences since we arrived. Bumpy bus rides that twist and turn through narrow streets and over never ending speed bumps – even more fun with a migraine. My bus seatmate that understands early morning conversations just aren’t a thing that should happen. Seeing firsthand the poverty that is daily life for so many in the world. Working with excellent translators and building relationships that we hope to continue past this week. The encouragement of knowing that our patients with chronic conditions receive treatment, medication, and education now, as well as follow up all through the year.
My role here has been to see patients after they check in to the clinic to take vital signs, ask how we can help them, and my big job, the A1C machine. Today I met an elderly woman and her daughter. They shared that the older woman had recently lost her husband after 60+ years of marriage, and they were struggling with grief. I have been married to my best friend for almost 40 years, and, even though many have to endure it, I can’t imagine the pain of that separation. We were able to listen to their story and pray with them that God would make his presence known to them, give them peace, comfort, and strength for each day.
I so often question myself – am I really contributing? But the genuine gratefulness of each patient quickly settles that doubt. We have the opportunity to offer not only medical care, but the hope of Jesus, sometimes with words, sometimes just through our presence and concern. What a privilege.
One of my favorite verses is from Proverbs 4. “Let your eyes look straight ahead; fix your gaze directly before you. Give careful thought to the paths for your feet and be steadfast in all your ways. Do not turn to the right or the left; keep your foot from evil.” That’s what I want to do with my life. Keep my eyes straight ahead on Jesus and accomplish the work that God has for me to do.
To my new friends in Guatemala, I hope to see you soon.