Thursday, January 20, 2011

Face to Face With Jesus

My husband shared an email with me.  He leads Disciple 4 Bible Study this year at our church and I am blessed to once again partake of his great skills as a group facilitator and his knowledge of the Bible.  I thought about it a great deal today…in the email he talked about Nicodemus and the Samaritan woman at the well.  The theme of Wednesday night’s lesson was being New Birth, or being Born Again. How we automatically associate Nicodemus with the Born Again story, since Jesus told him that’s what he had to do. He thought of the Third Day song “Born Again”, and how it applies so much more to the Samaritan woman. She was ostracized and alone, probably with no friends or family, and I imagine not much self esteem. But then she met Jesus, and what a change it made in her life…..and the words to this song just ring true. I can picture her before she met him and then afterwards, and what a difference it made in her life……truly she must have felt like she was Born Again.
When I hear the words “born again,” I think about the night when I walked the isle at a youth revival as a middle schooler.  The song playing was “Just As I Am” and the emotion was so raw and real.  One of those times where I had to go to the altar or bust.  But as I sat today in the sunshine of the Dominican…I’m reminded of all the times in my life since then that I have been “born again”….all over again!  I believe it’s called Sanctifying Grace.  The Grace of God sustaining us over and over and over.  Because I’m Methodists, I’ll quote John Wesley’s theological thinking of this. Wesley believed that, “after we have accepted God's grace, we are to move on in God's sustaining grace toward perfection. Wesley believed the people could ‘fall from grace’ or ‘backslide.’ We cannot just sit on our laurels, so to speak, and claim God's salvation and then do nothing. We are to participate in what he called "the means of grace" and to continue to grow in Christian life.”
At Santo Domingo airport with Rolando, who will be taking us to Barahona

This trip is so much of that for me.  Susan, Kim, and I started last year coming 2 days early.  Just to relax before the week starts.  It’s a hard week…I won’t lie.  Each evening, you’re tired, hot, and missing your loved ones.  Today, we did sit in the sun a little…talked about the new members coming, our friends that were returning and wondering if the new folks would ‘love it’ as much as we do.  We talked about the gifts of everybody and while we’re here, we’re all collectively members of Dream Ministries and a visitor in this country.  Our roles in the states don’t totally define who we are and what we do here.  I say that and mean it from the doctors on down….Yes, they are the only ones who can perform the surgeries…but there’s not one of the three that will be here that won’t stop and help me pull someone up in the bed, or start an IV if I can’t find a vein.  We’re all here to serve these sweet patients that God has put on the list this week.  That is represented best, I think when our “docs” become “us” on first name basis.  Two young nurses were new last year and both work with Mike & Doug at Shelby Regional.  We were unpacking boxes on Saturday and separately I heard each of them call both of them Dr. Barringer and Dr. Hobson…and both docs replied, “I’m Mike here” and “I’m Doug here.”  To me, that speaks.    By the end of the trip, I’ll be able to share with you better…the hands, feet, eyes, ears of the team…the body of Christ each person plays.  But, if you come here more than once…you’ve got the heart.  Every time I come, I hopefully leave a part of me here…and absolutely take these people back with me.  It changes you…it reminds me of that “working toward perfection” that John Wesley speaks of…that’s why I have said that “here, I am the person God wants me to be.”  Unselfishly and without hesitation giving…

Today, Susan, Kim, and I are going into town.  Jorge (Good Samaritan Clinic doctor of Batey7) has arranged to have someone from Pedro’s church to come take us and help interpret.  We’ll begin to buy lunch groceries for the week.  So, while Thursday was rest and to a large degree, and so will today…but we are beginning to shift our focus to why we’re here.  The remaining 33 members of the team will arrive this evening, hopefully around 6:30 or 7:00 pm…the meeting of new people begins and the “picking up where we left off” of old friends begin. 

chips, drinks, cookies for both teams for the week

Saturday morning will begin our work…as part of us go to the hospital to unload a ton of boxes, set up the OR’s, Pre-op, and Post-op work areas, and the clinic group will go to Batey 7’s Good Samaritan Clinic to get the the boxes of drugs unboxed, and begin counting pills & putting in ziploc baggies.  With a devotion each morning before we leave the hotel…it keeps us mindful, especially as the week goes and we become tired…it keeps us mindful about why we’re here.  For some of these people, we may be the only Jesus in their life…and for many of them…at least to me…they are Jesus in mine. 

If you look to the right of my blog on the page…there’s a picture of a little boy…close up picture.  Everytime I look at this child in this picture, I see the face of Jesus through his beautiful brown eyes.

There were be many opportunities I pray this week for God to show me and sustain me with signs of His existence in our week ahead.  I think I’ve said before…we always have a plan, a list of patients…but inevitably it changes.  I’ll be real…it’s frustrating at times, when the time schedules don’t go together…when the transporter we pay for the week can’t find the patient’s or brings the wrong ones…but at weeks end...who is suppose to be seen…is seen.   My prayer each morning is hopefully through my eyes, my smile, my bad attempt at speaking their language…they can see a little of Jesus.  I pray through my…our love and care this week…we will sustain these sweet people in Jesus…show Him to them for the first time, or just to reaffirm…that He’s realizing their needs by having them be seen by the doctor at the clinic or undergoing a surgery.

I know this has been long…and I hope it all relates & ties together.  Sometimes I have so much on my heart and mind it mingles…but I close with a favorite quote of mine.

“Live your life each day so that those who know you but don’t know God, will come to know God because they know you.” –Unknown