Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Hard and Soft (04/23/09)
TITLE: Do You Love Me
By Virgil Youngblood
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The medical missionary team of four doctors assisted by four helpers went to the Dominican Republic to offer check-ups to members and neighbors of six churches and two children’s homes. A clinic was also held at a garbage dump where many lived and scavenged for food and necessities.
Minor health concerns were treated immediately with appropriate pharmaceutical medicines. Numerous patients received worm pills and vitamins. Skin and other allergies were treated. Serious problems were referred to local doctors or to a hospital for treatment.
Over four days almost 1,500 people were seen and the pastors were elated for it opened doors of ministry to the neighborhoods surrounding their churches.
These beautiful black people spoke Spanish but did not eat enchiladas. Somehow, that did not compute but that is part of the joy of traveling to a different culture. Never have I seen people as poor materially, or as happy. Their zeal for the Lord was obvious as they came together on Sundays to worship, some having traveled long distances to get there.
Mid-week, after an exhaustive day of screening, two doctors went to see a special patient. The pastor said the eighteen year old boy was the son of a faithful church member. He had been walking home after work when a fight broke out between some men he was approaching. Lying on the ground trying to avoid their trouble he was shot in the back. The bullet exited his stomach.
Leaving the small frame church, we trudged several blocks walking uphill. In the midst of this city of several million people the dirt walkway beside the street was littered with rounded rocks that people stumbled over every day. Well, maybe just the tourist did but I wondered why the path had not been smoothed since it was in continuous use.
Finally, our small entourage reached a narrow alley and we were led up it to a dead-end. The young man lay on a small cot beneath the overhanging leaves of a banana tree. Not a breath of air stirred in these sun-dappled environs. A sweaty sheet lay haphazardly below his waist. Surgical stitches, each inflamed by red borders on the dark skin, bracketed a cut line from his throat to his navel.
It was hard to look upon this rail-thin young man and his darting eyes; pain and fear seemed to contend for preeminence. He had done nothing to cause his troubles and I could only pray that somehow God would draw him closer to Himself through this.
The doctors finished their exam and complemented the local doctors on their outstanding work. Because of the young man’s age and otherwise good health, their prognosis was for a good recovery. But, if he had been in the United States he would be in a hospital. Suggestions for follow-up care were made through an interpreter to the boy’s appreciative mother.
The following day a young girl about ten years of age stood before the doctor. Her mother asked about a growth on the daughter’s beautiful face. In the center of her forehead she had a small soft horn about half the diameter of a soda straw. The growth stood out about three-fourths of an inch. The doctors consulted and agreed it could be safely removed, that it was only a skin tag though of unusual size. The girl, wide-eyed with anxiety, sat still as the doctor quickly snipped it off and put on a band aid.
“Now, you are a beautiful girl” the doctor said. “It should not come back but if it does, you can snip it off yourself.”
When this was translated to the mother and daughter, there was much no-way head shaking. Their prayer will certainly be that the problem has been resolved once and for all.
Someone once said, “I don’t get tired of the Lord’s work. I get tired doing it.” Travel and ministry may reveal sights difficult to look upon and remember. But go to an orphanage and pick up a four year old the police found on the street, whose parents were never located, and hold him. If he grabs you tightly around the neck and sings himself to sleep singing a song you cannot understand, gradually singing more slowly and softly until sleep conquers, your heart will melt. You will be the better for it and tiredness is nothing.
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