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“Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know
that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.”
1 Corinthians 15:58

God calls us to be servants for others and devote ourselves completely to this work. As put by Steve Reifenberg in his article in the International Journal of Innovative Teaching and Learning in Higher Education, God calls us to “accompaniment, the working and walking with others, not bestowing charity on them”. There is no better way to describe what the Farrow team accomplished this week in Antigua. The Farrow team went down to Antigua with the expectation that they would be serving others, but that is not exactly what happened. Throughout this week, they accompanied the people of Guatemala on their journey of healing, not providing charity, but working with them to change lives. One does not occur independently of the other. Service cannot be accomplished without accompaniment. So while the Farrow team intended to serve, they did so much more, allowing themselves to be accompanied and to accompany the people at the hospital. It is through accompaniment that love is born. Love for medicine, love for serving others, and love between us and the people of Guatemala.

Through their hard work, the Farrow team and the staff in Antigua were able to perform 64 operations. They changed 64 lives this week. 64 individuals whose way of life was drastically improved. This would not have been possible without the hard work, cooperation, and dedication of everyone on the team. People had to be adaptable, dependable, and honest in order to be able to achieve this. The team gave themselves wholly to the mission, and in return, they received so much love and gratitude. From prolapse repairs to hernias to endometriosis; from pre-op to post-op, this team was dedicated to providing the best care possible.

This week was filled with many touching stories, but I cannot help but recall one in particular that really warmed my heart. One woman had been living with a severe prolapse for almost two decades. That was almost 20 years of near-constant pain and discomfort, that was accompanied by a host of other problems. After receiving the news that she was going to get surgery, she was filled with joy. They came up to the surgeon, myself, and the translator, and hugged each of us, giving us a kiss on the cheek and blessing us. I was so moved by this woman’s gratitude. To know how much of an impact this work has on the patients is just so fulfilling. After surgery when we went to check on her she was so lively. She did not complain of any pain and just continued to thank us for helping her. We saw her and her daughter once more on their way out of the hospital. Again, they stopped us to give us each a hug and a kiss, and to bless us for the rest of our time in Antigua and on our journey home. This is gratitude like I have never expedited before and it is so rewarding to know that this work has an impact.

I would just like to offer my thanks to everyone who was a part of this week in Antigua. This was one of the best experiences of my life. It truly would not have been possible without the patience and dedication of every one part of the mission. This was my first time being a part of this mission and from the very beginning, everyone was so welcoming. I have learned and grown so much during my time. I know that I am incapable of quantifying the amount of love and kindness that was shared throughout this time, regardless, it is something I will carry with me forever.

-Ellen Crotzer