After spending a week translating for and serving alongside a mission team in Honduras, we’re home! We were very blessed to have the opportunity to serve with Smoke Rise Baptist Church (in Stone Mountain, GA). Because we’re already in the midst of fundraising for our time in Chile, they were gracious enough to scholarship our way in exchange for the use of our language abilities. We were more than happy with the exchange!
Working with our brothers and sisters from the village of San Lorenzo, our team completed 14 cement floors, two latrines, several chimneys and a couple of roofs! In addition, we were able to share stories, songs and crafts with around 125 elementary school students and serve 44 patients at a vision clinic. Needless to say, it was a full week!
I have to admit I was grateful when they assigned work teams and Blake and I were separated. Mixing cement by hand (with a shovel, of course) is very hard work—even when there are many laborers—and I knew he’d be protective of my back. By the end of day two of our work, I could barely move. Blake didn’t say “I told you so,” but then again he really didn’t have to. : )
Since I couldn’t bend, sit, or walk with much ease, I was assigned to translate for a vision clinic for the remaining day and half of work. I’ve never been a part of a vision or medical clinic before so it was a great learning experience. Deb Leamon, the nurse from Smoke Rise Baptist, did an incredible job with the villagers. She was thorough and patient—even when it seemed obvious that a patient didn’t need corrective lenses.
It was amazing to see the looks on the faces of people when they were able to see clearly for the first time. It’s kind of like when a person understands something for the first time—that look of the light bulb being illuminated followed by a big grin. I was so blessed to be a small part of that.
There were some sad times too—like when we couldn’t help an elderly person because they needed cataract surgery, not glasses or when we didn’t have the right prescription for someone who genuinely needed help. Our last patient was only 33 and was already starting to develop cataracts. Because their village is so remote, it’s only a matter of time before he’s unable to see, altogether. That one really broke my heart. It’s a hard thing to realize that there’s only so much we can do. I’ve got a feeling that won’t be the only time I’m hit with that.
As we prepare our hearts and life to serve among the Aymara, I’m vividly aware that there is only so much we can do for people’s present sufferings. I’m also vividly aware that the hope Christ offers is greater than the needs I cannot meet.