We had two medical teams, two dentals teams, and a maintenance team that set out each day (Mon-Fri) on our trip. Dustin was in charge of the maintenance team…I’ll let him write a post about his adventures which included driving! (This time no flat tires!)
Sarah and I were on Medical Team A, throughout the week we went to Port Sea, Aberdeen, New Market, Lacovia, and Ginger Hill. Ginger Hill is always an experience, it is located up in the mountains and most of the people there seldom go into town (Black River) which is only about a 15-20 min journey by car. Each clinic was unique but all of the people had such a passion for life and a attitude of thankfulness.
Before each clinic, the patients would sing a song or two to start the day. One of the songs I love to hear them sing is their national anthem. I also love when they sing their hymn that goes like this. “We are together again just praising the Lord, We are together again in one accord, Something good is going to happen, Something good is in store, We are together again just praising the Lord.” As their beautiful voices lift that tune up to the Lord, I can only imagine what it will be like when we are together in the presence of the Lord singing his praises in Heaven.
Here is a link to the folks @ Port Sea singing the Jamaican National Anthem!
Each day the patients were registered, saw the nurses/nursing students in triage, saw the physicians, then as we filled their prescriptions they went to integrated health. Integrated health is an awesome part of Medical Ministry International’s model that seeks to provide quality health education while sharing the gospel. To me this is the most important part, we can give them medicine for a short time, but the gospel is obviously going to change their life forever and even the health education piece will have a greater impact than a few months of medication.
Our pharmacy team spent a lot of time focusing on diabetes education as we counseled those patients on their medications too. If you know me, you probably know that I have a passion for Jesus and a passion for healthy living & food! It’s so fun to be able to share that with the Jamaican people too. Betty one of the MMI staff has many stories of patients coming back to say they changed their diet and are doing better the next year!
Each day in the evening we would return to camp for dinner, then we would have share time to find out about the other team’s day, pray, and prepare our hearts for the following day. Dr. Willett, a dentist who has been coming for many years, brings popcorn and M&M’s which most of the team enjoys. I think he is just trying to stay in business! 🙂 We played cards in the evening and enjoyed time in fellowship if time allowed. A few days we did not get back to camp until late so we went to bed early.
Each day Jay, my pharmacist partner in crime, would share the the theme for the day. Here are the themes of each day! Thanks to Jay for your encouragement and jokes that kept us smiling!
Day 1: Get er Done!
Day 2: You are no longer new!
Day 3: It’s not about me!
Day 4: With a hot shower, and God I can do more!
Day 5: Ask yourself what makes you come alive or I went to Ginger Hill and I’m still alive! (If you are afraid of heights..I do not recommend keeping your eyes open on the way to Ginger Hill on the bus!)
Day 6: With God’s help what thing can I fix?
Jay encouraged us to reflect on the week, and to see if there was something God was calling us to do based on our experience here in Jamaica, with MMI, or beyond. All in all we had a great time of service in St. Elizabeth. It was amazing for me to see over the last 3 years, the Jamaican health care system in this rural area has improved, as many of the clinics now had access to a doctor and medications once per week. Health Education and Dental Care are still a great need.
Praying for God to continue his work in this country that is so often, “religious” but often just like us, misses the message of Grace. There will be a few more blog posts on Jamaica to come, Dustin will share his experience, and some of my students wrote reflection papers that they are willing to share with you as well.
Blessed be His name!