Clinic today was not as busy as yesterday. It was humid, and some of us were perspiring before we started. It had rained during the night, and the hurricane that passed north of us was expected to provide more precipitation.
Not being as busy gave us more time to spend with each patient, though. To ask questions with more depth. Could your head pains be stress related? What are you most concerned about? One woman whose glucose was so high it didn’t register worried she couldn’t come back when we asked her to in a couple of days because she didn’t have the 10 quetzal ($1) needed to be seen. She couldn’t afford to buy foods that are better for diabetics to eat, so she ate bread and jam and tea. We could assure her that we don’t charge for revisits. We prayed with her. What a gift to play a role in healing not just the body, but spirit also: First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people. 1 Timothy 2:1
Dr Elry, the resident physician, believes that people have to pay something, even a small amount, to commit to the visit. He used to run a free clinic and many people came, but he found the medications he just had given out strewn along the road outside afterward. He feels the visit needs to have value to the patient, and so it isn’t completely free.
We have been blessed to have Allyson, the physical therapist, on our team. She has worked tirelessly massaging, manipulating and stretching the many folks with back and neck pain that we’ve seen, and teaching them how to care for themselves. She’s not afraid to tell the providers if she feels there is a better treatment for someone other than what they had prescribed. We do a better job as a team when we bring multiple perspectives to our treatments. After the first day, several patients held her hand and wished, “May God continue to bless your hands.”
Today during our lunch break our nurse Lori asked if there was something more we could do to thank the doctor/pastor for allowing us to stay at his home. Hearing his response, she went to the hand-push lawn mower on the back porch and began mowing the backyard. She is always ready to serve. Soon others on the team took their turns and she took over as a human weedwhacker. I am amazed at her humility; she exemplifies what Jesus has taught us in service to others. Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Phillipians 2:3-4
Our afternoon continued with several infants brought in to be seen and our team had the joy of holding them as their mothers were being treated.
Thunder could be heard rumbling in the hills. Just as the last patients were leaving the clouds opened up and the rains came. It poured initially, pounding on the metal roof. The water ran in under the front gate and just into the nave of the church where the clinic is held. Dr Elry worked to clear the drain in the cement floor to allow the water to escape. The little church behind the wall on the bricked paved street with the wandering dogs and storefront cantinas kept us dry. It is a haven for the community, a safe place, a holy place. Just like God.
This verse from Phillipians provides a reminder of how we should prioritize ourselves and others. It's a joy to see this example in Dr. Elry, his wife Liz, the support staff and translators, and our team: