Today we traveled to the La Venda community. There were already hundreds of people gathered when we arrived, and they let up a cheer when they saw the bus coming down the road to the school where we set up our clinics.
La Venda has completed the Friends of Barnabas Foundation’s three-year Community Development Education program, so this is the last time it will be visited by a Mountain Medical Team, unless the need arises for reassessment in the future. This made it a bittersweet day, but a very proud one for the community leaders and the Foundation because it is a milestone that we want all of our communities to achieve.
After dinner this evening, team leader Patti asked the group to sum up the day in five words, which may or may not actually form a sentence. Here’s some of what we heard:
“God’s family loving each other.”
“Hot, broken cavity, ouch, love”
“Controlled chaos was a blessing.”
“Glorious breakfast was a blessing.”
“Beauty, nature, children, hard life, grateful.”
“Very hot, fans are a blessing.”
“Shocking experience in my country.”
“Rascals, laughter, nature, beauty, friends”
“Dental health was very discouraging.”
“You are very impressive people.”
“Concern, sadness for my people.”
“Cough, cold, runny nose, fever.”
“Kids are the same everywhere.”
“Sick baby, miraculous modern medicine.”
“Hot, hard, love, laughter, blessing.”
One of the most heartfelt observations of the day was that the residents of these communities might not see the beauty of their surroundings as we do. The mountains make their daily lives harder to an extent and ordinary chores more difficult. The team reflected that this realization should make all of us gain a greater appreciation for what we have.
God’s miraculous hand was especially seen today in the case of an eleven-month-old whose mother brought her in seeking treatment for cough and cold symptoms. The baby was underweight and presented with a fever as well as bilateral ear infections and concerning breath sounds in her chest.
While she was being examined, the baby woke up, struggling to breathe. Patti and Shar worked together to administer Amoxicillin and Tylenol, and within ten minutes the child’s symptoms were significantly improved. Everyone in the clinic was greatly relieved, and prayers will continue to be lifted that she will make a complete recovery.
The message of tonight’s devotion was that every day is created by God, and that if we are willing to give even the not-so-great days a chance, they can be sources of great joy and blessings. The team retired for the evening looking ahead to the joy and blessings of our day tomorrow.
We would like to send a special “Thank You” to Howard Chapel United Methodist Church in Mt. Airy, Maryland, La Venda’s community partner. Their generous support has vastly improved the lives of many, as Christ has called us to do.