I just returned home from a medical missions trip to Guatemala. It was my first missions trip and I was not sure what to expect. Now I know why. You can't go expecting anything because what you bring back from a trip like that is far more than any expectations that you could have had.
We started out a little slow. The government confiscated our medications and would not release them from customs, and we had to end up paying a large tax and bribe to get the medicines released to us. Once we prayed through that and got our medicines released, we went to work. We saw over 1000 people in 3.5 days. We went to an orphanage and saw the children and helpers there. Then we went to a church, an island, and up 9500 feet on a mountain to see patients. The people there have very little healthcare, and what they do have they cannot afford to pay for, so they are unable to be treated or seen by any type of healthcare provider.
We took a team of 6 doctors, 5 nurses, and 3 helpers and were able to see everyone that came out. We treated a lot of arthritis, skin conditions, infections, respiratory problems, and pain, and we gave everyone a pack of vitamins. We gave out deworming medication and gave eyeglasses to those that needed them. The medicines that we brought and distributed were only temporary fixes though. The one thing that we could bring these people that would last forever is the love of God. We were able to pray for them and hold their hand, hug them, tell them we loved them, tell them God loved them, and let them feel His love flow through us to them.
It was amazing in every aspect of the word. I cried as I left the airport to go there, thinking "what have I gotten myself into?". Then, I cried as I left to come back home, thinking "my heart belongs here". There is such a feeling of emptiness when you leave those places and the people there. Although I missed my family back home something terribly and longed to see them, I felt like Guatemala was where I was needed. It was where I felt "full" at and leaving it was pulling a part of my heart away with it.
The last morning before we left, I went to the rooftop and was spending some time praying. I kept hearing a bird on a bush beside me, so I looked over. It was a black crow and was perched so perfectly on the bush singing as loud as it could. I sat and watched it for about 2 minutes and then as quick as it came, it flew away, singing the whole way. I asked God what He was trying to tell me. I felt like He was saying, "You are like that bird. You are here only temporary to come and plant your feet firmly where I have you to work. You sing a beautiful song with the gifts that I have given you to use, but when I am finished with you here, you have to spread your wings and fly away to the next place.". That is not an easy thing to do. You start to bond with the people of Guatemala, you feel their pain, you see their hurt, you take on their burdens and spiritual struggles, you try to bring hope into their life, and then you have to leave. It pulled very hard at my heart strings as we left those places each day, but I found life in knowing that God put me here for only this short time. He knew that I would come and go, that I would land, sing, and then fly away again. He purposed me for this time and only for this time.
I cannot tell you how blessed I am by what I have been able to experience in those days. The opportunity that I had was such a life changing event for me and I praise God for the chance to serve.
God knows where I shall go to next. I have ideas, but He knows. In His timing will it be revealed. I know that this is part of my life now and I will go and do as He says go.
Until then, I will continue to spread my wings and fly...my feet will land when God is ready for them to.