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2017 project: Georgetown, Guyana


Volunteer Stories

Guyana Loaves and Fishes | I'm Addicted


Guyana Loaves and Fishes

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One clinic was held in a tent set up roadside. But the most interesting one included travel by bus to a dock to board a boat taxi across the Essequibo River, and then a land taxi to the church site. Did I mention we had to cross a floating bridge to get to the dock? I have no idea how it was anchored and despite seeing cars, people & trucks crossing I doubted safe passage! Due to the rise in the tide, we had to be back by 5:30 p.m. before the Demarara Bridge closed. That was a faith stretcher!

During each clinic the worship team (a guitarist, artist and myself) gave the program "Jesus is my Friend, my Life, my Leader, my Savior" while the people waited their turn. I told Bible stories about Christ's miracles with songs in between while Mark, our team artist, painted on a navy blue sheet. Using fluorescent colors he began by painting a cross that he later changed into a multicolored stick figure and finally transformed into the face of Christ. It doesn't come into focus until the very last when he paints His bright white eyes. It's quite moving!

At this point you have to understand that left to myself I would likely not be so adventurous as to go on a mission trip. Admittedly, I go because of Barry's passion. God was gracious enough to use me anyway. In preparation for this trip I prayed for a heart of compassion for God's people and asked my small group to do the same. God answered those prayers with a troubling irony.

Of the 300 or so in the room, I was speaking to a group of about 40-50 waiting men, women & children spanning the gamut in age. Sharing stories about how Jesus wants to be our friend, our leader, our savior and our life, I told them some examples of the miracles He performed in a way understandable to the Guyanese people (i.e., describing Peter & Andrew fishing in the way people in Guyana might fish and telling how Jesus would have taken the lid off the sepulcher or rolled away the stone at the Lazarus gravesite like the burial practice is in Guyana).

It was during the story about Jesus being our leader that the irony came. I explained that large crowds would come to Jesus wanting to be healed or hear His teaching about His Father God. The people would travel long distances to find Him like many of them had done to get to the clinic that day, and how they didn't have food enough for how long they stayed. I left to go eat lunch, out of the sight of the people so as not to be rude of course. I wrestled with these thoughts: "I can give away my lunch, but how would I choose who to give it to? A child, an older person maybe, but would that cause a fight? Even if we all gave away our lunches, it wouldn't be enough."

Not coming up with an adequate solution I finished my lunch and went back to the room full of people. And that's when it occurred to me. Here I am telling them about Jesus taking 5 loaves of bread and two fish, looking up to heaven and giving thanks to God and giving the disciples enough to feed 5,000 people with 12 baskets left over! The compassion I felt left me wishing I could do that. No doubt I made some stomachs rumble even more with this miracle account.

Not until I was safely back home sharing the experience with Barry did I completely "go down that road." What if I had done that, taken my lunch, looked up to heaven and gave thanks? It would have been embarrassing if it didn't "work." How could I continue to tell the Bible stories? Did I miss an opportunity for people, even me, to see God's power at work right in our day in order that some might believe? The honesty in that moment hit me square.

Suddenly I remembered scriptures I'd read like, "Where are all (God's) wonders that our fathers told us about…?" and "anyone who has faith in me will do what I (Jesus) have been doing… even greater things than these" and "In that day you will no longer ask me anything… my Father will give you whatever you ask in my name. Until now you have not asked for anything in my name."

"Lord, what are you trying to tell me?" I ask, going back to the story of Jesus and the hungry crowd. In it He tells the disciples "You give them something to eat." Are you telling me that Lord?

I'm in good company. The disciples missed the point too, trying to figure out how much it was going to cost to buy enough to feed everyone just like I was trying to figure out how to share my lunch in Guyana.

The honesty of my heart stood before me. Is my God not big enough? Is my faith more in how I can "fix it" than in God's ability to provide?

Maybe the miracle still took place … the answer to prayers with what He has done in my heart … experiencing this troubling irony while standing before a crowd of hungry people.

And I thought my faith was stretched crossing the Demarara Bridge!

— Beth S


I'm Addicted

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It was in the spring of 2009 that my cousin Shirley convinced me that I needed to step out of my comfort zone. A medical mission trip was the farthest thing from my mind. My grown children had been telling me that I was now leading a "boring life". When I told them of a trip to Africa, they were speechless.

I had worked long and hard to develop my comfort zone. I now have the job of my dreams, few responsibilities, good health and spare time. But a medical mission trip to Africa was perhaps more than I wanted to do. Shirley reminded me that I had no excuse. So, away we went….

I had no idea what to expect. I wasn't sure I could handle the challenges, let alone see what anesthesia is like in other countries. I soon discovered that each new day was even more exciting than the day before. The Legacy of Healing team was outstanding. Never have I worked with 30 people who worked so well together!! It didn't matter what the situation was, each and every one was truly a blessing to work with!

I thought I was going to witness to others…but the people of Africa witnessed to me. I'll never forget the great ladies who prepared our food over a small fire and how they could sing so beautifully even at 10 o'clock at night! They didn't have much for earthly possession but their hearts showed they have all they need. I could have stood and listened to them sing for hours!

So now, I'm addicted!!! Can't wait to go again. — Bonnie S.

 

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Our Mission:

Compassion: sending surgical, medical/dental and water project teams worldwide

Illumination: teaching patients and local personnel

Restoration: promoting and enhancing physical and spiritual health and healing

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