Out of all the projects that I've completed over the last year, the one that impacted
me the most was my medical mission trip to Guyana, South America, in June of 1999. I
have been truly blessed through this experience, and I'd like to share with you some of the
very valuable lessons that I have learned, as well as what I've gained from other
One very important lesson that I learned is that not everyone is as lucky as I am. Not everyone has a nice, warm home, loving parents and plenty of food. What's more not everyone has had the opportunity to learn about Jesus from infancy as I have had. I've been truly blessed and oftentimes I have taken those blessings for granted through my attitudes and my selfishness. There have been times when I've put myself before others - and sadly enough, before God.
The people that I met taught me as much as I taught them. The difference is that they taught me with their eyes and I taught them with my words. I listened to one lady tell me about how she was living in sin with her boyfriend, a boyfriend whom she had no intention of ever marrying and he had no intention of ever marrying her either. In fact, he had many mistresses, and he just couldn't see the problem with any of this. And it didn't matter how much I talked with her or how I tried to explain it she could only smile at me with tolerance and simply nod her head. The fact is, this woman taught me a lot. From this whole situation, I learned how fortunate I am to have been born in America - and even more importantly to be born into a Christian family with wonderful parents. You see it is my parents who have passed on to me the Christian beliefs, morals, and values that I possess today. Without my parents teaching me what is most important in this life, I might never have known Jesus. While this woman outwardly denied believing a word that I shared with her her eyes told me an entirely different story. I could tell that she was beginning to believe a little, and that is where it all starts - planting a small seed of the Gospel in her heart. Then later that seed is watered and nurtured and it is God who gives the increase.
In addition to learning how fortunate I've been, I also learned how much I take for granted in my life. Since this was a Medical Mission trip, we had an entire team of medical doctors and nurses, dentists and optometrists to treat the people. Not only did I work as a personal worker having Bible studies and sharing the Gospel during this mission trip - but I also had the privilege to work as an assistant to our dentists. Never in my life have I seen people come in looking so scared to see a dentist but yet at the same time be very grateful that they could have work done on their teeth. This is yet another blessing that I've managed to overlook in my life. I mean these people were so scared that they (sometimes) had to be held down to the chairs, and when they were finished, they were so grateful that many of them would cry tears of joy! Another amazing thing that I learned was that there were 40-60 year old people who had never ever been to a dentist in their life. WOW! I can't even comprehend what that must be like.
Both of these aspects of the mission trip (participating in one-on-one Bible studies and being a dental assistant) were extremely eye opening. - But my favorite aspect of our trip and at the same time my least favorite part was when I worked with the children. Oh, those children were so beautiful!!! They were amazed that someone cared enough about them to come all the way from the UNITED STATES of AMERICA to see them and teach them. They were more than eager to learn, and so happy. They lived in a poverty-stricken third world country - and yet - they smiled more than almost any other children that I've met in my life! They were always happy, always singing and I couldn't understand why. They were so poor and I knew that most home conditions couldn't be that wonderful! Finally I figured it out. They had learned how to be content with what they had; and then to top it all off, they had some new friends (us) and most of all they had been introduced to the best friend ever - JESUS!
This was a trip that I'll never forget for as long as I live. Although, I wish it hadn't taken something so dramatic as a trip to a third-world country to open my eyes - but it did. Now I'm grateful that I know what I do and have learned these important life-changing lessons. My plan is to continue to keep on using these lessons throughout my life.
I plan on going back to Guyana, South America, again this year in June of 2000 and I'm sure that I will gain just as many more great lessons and experiences. Without a doubt, this medical mission trip has not only changed my life, but also the lives of those we ministered to and treated. GOD IS GREAT!!! My eyes have truly been opened in more ways that I could even imagine.
Link to West-Ark Church of Christ Guyana Medical Mission Teams Home Page