TEAM STILLWATER NICARAGUA: CLINIC DAY 3
Today was another productive day for our awesome team, as we saw 240 patients and extracted 34 teeth in the Sebaco church where we set up clinic. That makes 637 patients and 130 extracted teeth in 3 days. Tomorrow will be our last day of clinic, which is really hard to believe because it seems like we just arrived.
This is my third trip to Nicaragua with OneWorld Health. As a dentist, I don’t always get the full clinic experience because not every patient that comes through the doors of our medical clinic is having a dental issue. We are very lucky to have a climate-controlled mobile dental unit in which we can provide quality dental care to the patients that need treatment, but that does mean the dental team is somewhat isolated from the rest of the team. I enjoy stepping off the dental unit when I get a chance and walking through the clinic to watch the rest of the team and their interactions with the patients. It really is amazing to watch a group of people who have never worked together before, and in many cases, have never even met before, be able to function as a team and actually make it look somewhat efficient! Many of the volunteers who come on this trip have no previous experience in the areas they find themselves a part of once they are here. They are simply here because they want to serve in any way they can.
Yesterday, the pastor of the church in which we set up clinic, wanted to speak with us at the end of the day. He prayed over us and thanked us for being there and providing health care to his congregation, neighbors, family, and friends. He was so very grateful and he wanted us to know that in John 12:26, Jesus said that “Anyone who wants to serve me must follow me, because my servants must be where I am. And the Father will honor anyone who serves me.” As hard as it is to put aside our daily lives for a few days and step out of our comfort zone to serve on a mission team, we have been reminded in more than one way that this is where we are supposed to be.
In our morning devotion today, Steve was discussing how Christians are called into community with other believers. Romans 12:4-5 says, “Just as our bodies have many parts and each part has a special function, so it is with Christ’s body. We are many parts of one body, and we all belong to each other.” Each part is necessary for the function of the whole. We are stronger together and we become more like Christ together than we do alone. To watch this team work together, there is no doubt that God has orchestrated this trip. There is no other explanation. What is so hard for me to believe, is that the exact same thing has happened on each of the other mission trips I have experienced with OneWorld Health. To God be the glory!
+ Stephanie Kendrick, DDS
TEAM STILLWATER NICARAGUA: CLINIC DAY 2
Back to city life…..remote clinic yesterday, city clinic today. While the accommodations were different the people had the same sweet, patient and grateful spirits. The church today was a beautiful facility that was able to house our entire group- 4 nurses, 5 doctors, 1 chiropractor, a glasses area and the pharmacy team; the dentists hung out in the mobile unit but we were able to have dental cleaning as well. I can say the flow worked MUCH better today!
Being the Registration Lead, I felt this responsibility to keep things moving efficiently like I do in my job daily, but I feel like God is teaching me to roll with the punches, He’s the one in control, not me. I have absolutely NO control over how long it will take the doctor to see to the needs of an individual, let alone an entire family who hasn’t seen a doctor in quite some time. While the line backs up between Triage and the Providers, the people are smiling, talking to each other; kids are playing with glove balloons or marbles, completely happy to be there.
211 people in six hours isn’t too shabby but realizing who’s in control while walking in this journey of life is more than I know how to express in words.
+ Mendy Burns
TEAM STILLWATER NICARAGUA: CLINIC DAY 1
“Here’s your sign”
Day 1!!!! OneWorld Health/Stillwater Medical Team has arrived, inventoried, settled in and we are ready to work!! We spend time together at breakfast discussing the day ahead, and enjoying our devotional time, lead by Steve Broadway who always delivers a message worth listening to! ….his message strikes a chord, and sticks with me today…..”Imago Dei”….God’s image is stamped on everyone, and we need to take the time to see this in the people we serve today. Don’t get too wrapped up in the work. I say Amen.
I will make a confession at this point. In regard to whether or not I am making the right choices, I have been filled with doubt. Doubt. This feeling that affects all of us, at many points in our life, and can lead us astray. Doubt……and I am struggling to figure out why. Today, this moment in time is NOT like last year when my mind was ready, I was in THAT PLACE, I knew this was ABSOLUTELY where I was supposed to be, and I was doing EXACTLY what I was supposed to do, I’d prayed for direction in my life and I had it!! If you’ve experienced it, then you know, that euphoria-like moment of time when you feel like the veil between Heaven and Earth is as thin as it can get….. I begin this day and I am still not there, and why not?!? This rides heavy on my mind as I try to cover it up with a variety of band-aids, try to force the hand and that is not working. So, I carry on……but the time is here, I am here so there is no backing out now. I pray all the way to clinic this morning, filled with doubt, worried that this won’t be “the same as last year”. I shouldn’t have come.
I love to use the phrase “connect up”, and man did I need to connect up, with God. On our morning drive to clinic, I connected, and while the moment was split-second, I realized that this was EXACTLY where I needed to be……turning off all the earthly noise, seeing the people and looking for God’s stamp. Stop getting so wrapped up the the “work of life”, because THAT is what has unnecessarily lead me into this sea of doubt. BAM!!
And, there is was. My sign. I’m not one to ask God to show me a “sign”, like a lightning bolt striking the ground with a grand explosion for me to know whether or not I should be standing outside in a storm……This was a sign straight to the heart. A little hut, 1 hour out of town, down a long, bumpy, dusty, mountainous road we travel to our very remote destination for the day. Cattle drawn carts. Men on bikes headed to town. Kids half dressed watching as we drive by. No grass, no running water, minimal electricity, door-less concrete houses, not a single car. Not one. We drove 1 hour to get to these beautiful people, we treated 183 patients, we extracted 60 teeth, we learned to communicate in other ways to overcome the language barrier. Here’s your sign. A team of 23, traveling with one of the best international medical operations, serving 183 people who otherwise would have had to walk or bike the 1 hour drive we made. Here’s your sign. Grateful hearts, childhood laughter in the distance, smiles and Thank you’s abound. Including a little Thank You from above. #chasingsunsets
+ Shawn Scott, DDS
Today began almost like every other day, except I woke up in Nicaragua! As we began our first full day, it all felt like a dream. It didn’t, and still doesn’t, feel like I’m actually here. But I am here, and I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.
On this trip I am working in the pharmacy as a tech – which I have zero experience with! But as the day flashed by, I found myself enjoying every minute of it! To see chickens, pigs and dogs freely roaming around as I worked to fill prescriptions, brought moments of laughter into my fast paced day. I have found much joy in being here, and I hope and pray that I will be overflowing with joy at the end of my time here. The community, our translators’, my new friends, and the time I’ve spent serving are what I pray I remember most about this trip! I’m realizing now I loved this day most because I began and completed it without thinking of myself as my first priority. It’s so easy for me to fall into this place of “what can I do to make myself happier today?” Today felt different. Less focused on me and more about being a servant to others and meeting their needs. The feeling of feeling less paired with my joy excites me for what the following days will hold and how the Father will mold and shape me to be more like Him!
To conclude today’s adventure, I will share a phrase, or billboard, I saw today: El Gallo más Gallo. It’s so silly, but I wanted all day to find out what gallo meant. I have no interest in acquiring a rooster (which is what gallo means), or more roosters, but I do hope to have more joy! So, my catch phrase for tomorrow, and the rest of this, trip will be The joy, more joy!
+ Becca O’Neal