Wow, what a day. I don't know exactly where to begin but by saying that God once again has raised up an amazing team from Nebraska. Roughly 1/2 of the folks are from Grace Chapel and the other 1/2 from other area churches in Lincoln. But regardless I marveled at the Body of Christ Universal in action. What stood out to me above all was how willing to serve each team member was with their particular gifts. Keith Miller who is a cardiologist said in our small group meeting that it's not that often he is outside his comfort zone back in the States but that this experience continually puts him in a place of dependence upon Christ and also the other team members. At one point I overheard Keith consulting with Gus Hustad who is a family practice doc, and as bright as each of these men are, I think I marveled most at what each doctor did not know in one interaction and how they both brought areas of their specialty to the table, as both Keith and Gus, at different points took on the posture of a learner receiving from the other,... to serve a Haitian patient well. Isn't that the Body of Christ in action? My doctorate is in part focused on how Christians cross-denominationally can serve one another well and BE the Church. I have celebrated this reality firsthand today. Our team really does a great job of loving one another and serving well in common mission and purpose, subsequently they are a sight to behold when they come together to serve the Haitian people. My good friend Ingrid Kutsch puts it in such simple but beautiful terms, "together we are better." Jesus said that the world would know we're His by the love we have for one another. Praise God and also praise His work through our 27-person team. C.S. Lewis speaks of the epitome of hell being that of being alone completely. In his book the Great Divorce, he speaks of a crusty curmudgeon of a man who builds his house on the outskirts of hell and the narrator observes that "the problem with this man is that he has no needs, that he gets everything he wants, granted of low quality, that he builds his imaginary house." In the narrative the people who are most human and see God are solid, while those who have lost their humanness have lost their solidness. Can I simply say that watching our team in action is a sight to behold and,... solid?
Of course there were some difficult situations, seeing an 11-year-old with a confounding skin disease, that our docs were unable to diagnose. But even there, with our technology, we sent pictures on my Blackberry to Geoff Basler, my friend who is a dermatologist in Lincoln and Geoff quickly responded with his assessment and is in dialogue with us this week. Solid. What a good friend so willing to help and serve us from Lincoln! as has been the case with so many of you reading this. We raised over $10,000 with a few meal fundraisers and a wine and cheese party. We were quite pleased and thankful as all that money was raised for meds and needed supplies. We're seeking to treat this little girl, plus many others were served well today thanks to the prayers and support of so many. Also, we saw a little 6-year-old boy likely with a hole in his heart, something that would have been treated in the States long ago. Our Haitian-American RN friend Marise has some contacts in Wisconsin but an ecco is needed before the docs will consider taking the boy and then there is the red tape with getting a passport, visa, etc. But I was so proud of Dr. Miller for applying the principles from When Helping Hurts (our required reading) when he asked if the local church community of the boy could come together, come up with the needed $200 for the ecco and that he would be willing to make some calls on behalf of the boy. But the book WHH takes about empowering local communities rather than taking their power. What is a typical paternalistic approach filled with good intentions but that steals a local community of its power? Try this on for size, what would be your instinct in the situation? Be honest. Maybe "Here's $200 for the boy!" Great intentions to help, but ultimately creating dependency rather than empowerment and withholding rather than giving the gift of dignity to the people (Interested? Read WHH). Well the problems here are complex and multi-layered but I'm so glad to be walking through this journey with so many dear people.
Of course the highlight of the day was getting Jerry Oscar's Visa today in PaP. I can't go through the long history here but it culminates a 3 1/2 year journey of getting 13-yr.-old Jerry to Florida to be able to live some of the year with Frank and Karen Maiorana. Praise God from where all blessings flow.
Pray for us tomorrow as we take our team to Tou Tou's orphanage. We'll see a level of poverty and suffering among children that we didn't see today. I think it'll be the toughest spot we're in this week and our hearts will be greatly burdened,... but not beyond what our loving Savior has already bore for us.
But PLEASE PRAY for us tomorrow; we will really need it. PLEASE PRAY. Thank you friends and God Bless.