TEAM STILLWATER NICARAGUA DAY 4
I’m sitting on a bus with 23 other sweaty, tired, smelly people from my same hometown—Stillwater, OK—while the wind blows my hair and the smell of burning trash wafts through the open windows. All I can do in this moment is close my eyes, listen to the hum of conversation around me, and think about how exhausted I am–the wonderful kind of exhaustion that isn’t a part of my normal day life. I’m happy and humbled because today our team from a small town in Oklahoma was able to serve over 250 patients in Tola, Nicaragua—the site of OneWorld Health’s newest clinic. We worked hard in the heat with a smile on our face to greet each patient, each family, each scared child with as much love and compassion as we could show. The day was long, but the reward was greater—God was glorified.
I could tell you the details of our day…over 250 patients seen, 30 patients desperately needing 44 tooth extractions, 4 triage stations, 5 providers, 3 people filling prescriptions, 1 physical therapist, 2 dentists with 2 assistants, and several runners…but this doesn’t accurately portray the entire day. It fails to include the sweet children who swarmed a team member when she was handing out toothbrushes. The numbers don’t explain the relief of a mom who was able to get better fitting shoes for her daughter so the little girl wouldn’t break a toe on her way home. The details leave out the worried dad who waited so anxiously outside of the mobile medical bus for his daughter as she was having a decayed baby tooth extracted and was so thankful when speaking with the dentist after the procedure.
I will easily forget the numbers, but I won’t forget the stories and the moments of today. Talking to the sweet children while they stood on the scale at registration, holding a baby for a momma so she could have a tooth extracted, holding the arm of an elderly woman while she stepped into the clinic for a visit with a doctor—these moments I will remember for a lifetime. I’m thankful for these moments and the chance to serve under OneWorld Health with a team from Stillwater to serve and love on the people of Nicaragua and, ultimately, bring glory to God.
+ Ashley Moore
Photo by Steve Broadway for OneWorld Health
TEAM STILLWATER NICARAGUA DAY 3
Today we traveled about an hour and a half from our humble abode of Hotel Dalinky to set up a clinic in a small, small town of Las Salinas.
I have been so encouraged by how each church to which we set up our clinics has greeted us; today was no different. We were welcomed with open hands, warm smiles and grateful hearts. We immediately began to set up, which has become a well-oiled machine for our team.
Being a Sunday, we were motivated to especially honor the Sabbath by offering our service as worship to God, who has given us so much. With all that to say, Sunday also meant that many of the people we were eager to serve were attending church and honoring the day, so the morning started off quite slow, carrying on into the rest of the day.
While there wasn’t a rapid pace of patient inflow and outflow as in previous days, we were kept very much entertained. A group of men at the church set up on a stage, and while they played music a precious group of little girls danced around. Simplicity in true form: the little things bring such joy to the soul.
The last three days I have been working in the pharmacy as a prescription distributor. Personally, I have been rocked with how God takes over and give us words, making language no barrier given an opportunity to have a conversation that gives Life.
It always amazes me to watch and to see how much life there truly is in His Word and how visible that is when He is the core of that service. How the Church truly is a body of different parts and how awareness of purpose allows us to use our God-given passions, gifts, etc, to live and serve in humble confidence of that purpose. From worship and devotion in the morning, to working clinics, sharing life stories and encouragement at night, when unified with the same mind, same love and for the same purpose – joy becomes complete, lacking nothing.
This week, I personally, have been reminded of mercy and the edifying rawness that comes when realizing the essence of humanity in all of us. Really, there is no difference between the rich and the poor, we are all broken and in need of healing. More so, in parallel, how all lives contain the quality of eternity.
Each day concludes with the pastors of the churches we are using giving us a blessing and praying over our group. It’s chilling in the most beautiful way. How evident God’s vast and big presence is – to see His love expressed in a different culture and language.
Today, being as slow as it was, we closed Clinic early and we able to spend a few hours relaxing at the beach. Rest is good, so good, and we are thankful for that! How it took community to another level not only for our team from Stillwater, but also with our team of translators from Nicaragua. We had quite the entertaining match of sand volleyball!
God is good. He is good to us. How intricately He is writing eternal stories in all of this week!
+ Rebecca Roebuck
Photo by Steve Broadway for OneWorld Health
TEAM STILLWATER NICARAGUA DAY 2
It’s Saturday morning. I’m listening to the wind rustle the heavy vegetation and hear the unfamiliar sounds of strange animals outside my window. This might, in another time of my life scared me into total panic. However, in this place, this place where my heart was led to serve and love I find myself at total peace. I wake, thankful for God, for my family, for my fellow servants here with me whom I get to know more personally each day. As I head to breakfast and morning worship, I have no idea what lies ahead in this day, but I am not afraid, not worried, not planning. I’m just here, waiting, walking, listening…….
Led by our Amazing Spiritual Leader, Steve Broadway, the day commences. “Today”, he says, “Today, as we serve the community of Nancimi, remember who you are. Remember your identity. Identify yourself as a child of God, and know in every moment of today, the person you are is through him.”
Today was our second day of clinic, in the gorgeous country of Nicaragua. Colorful, vibrant, simple, peaceful, busy, loving…..several of many words I would use to describe the landscape, and the people of this country. In my past, an encounter with hundreds of people of a different nationality, and speaking an unfamiliar language, again, may have made me do a 180…..but not today……..
As clinic begins, patients come in and are treated with the utmost of compassion by every single one of the members of this medical team… smiles, hugs, cooperation, teamwork. Just a few words that come to mind when I look around at this group of once strangers to me, who are now my team, God’s team. My Identity reminder lies ahead, nowhere in my field of vision, but it comes in one specific moment of this day.
She is 31. She wants the tooth out because it makes her lip stick out, and it looks ugly. I tell her, “It’s not going to be easy, and there is nothing necessarily wrong with the tooth.” She asked again. I show her, a reflection of her smile in her small broken compact mirror, the space/void that would remain if we take it out, it’s a front tooth. She still wants it out……Mid-extraction, tears in her eyes, sweat on her upper lip, sweat rolling down my back, and brow in waves. This tooth is not budging, I can’t get a good grip, what other tools can I use. “I can’t do this….”, I whisper, but no one hears. Then, I hear His voice. “ Shawn, you are the doctor, you have to do this, you will do this, now get after it.”……..breathe…… As I get back into focus on the task at hand, my amazing assistant, Shelly Stebens hands me the same instrument I’ve been using for the past 15 minutes. However, I try a different approach. Movement. More movement. Twisting, elevating…..DONE!!! It’s out, that tooth is out, with a curved bifurcated root unable to be seen on a radiograph that is unobtainable due to the circumstances…..It’s out in one piece, and this patient is ecstatic, overjoyed, crying what I thought were tears of pain, when the interpreter tells me no, she is so excited and happy!!!! Now, I’m teary. She’s hugging me, and thanking me over, and over, and over. And, all I hear is God saying……”Good Job, Shawn”.
The day continues on, with more laughter and hard work. At 4:30pm, the team starts closing up shop. Repacking tubs, loading the bus, taking photographs for memories, receiving gratefulness and gifts of prayers from the people of the community of Nancimi, Rivas, Nicaragua. These people who are so grateful for what we have done for them, not knowing what a blessing and a gift from God they are to us, continue on their path of life and have made an impact bigger than life itself.
+ Shawn Scott, DDS