I appeal to you, therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship”. Romans 12:1
“For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function, so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another.” Rom. 12:4,5
Most every morning (except for travel days, generally), the team begins with breakfast, followed by a devotion and then announcements for the day. On Parsley/Woolf teams, if we don’t have a team pastor, Dr. Mark Woolf often delivers the devotion. Today was such a day, and Mark focused on Romans 12, penned by the apostle Paul, the most prolific of all the New Testament authors, having written 13 books (don’t check my math on that one). Mark went on to highlight the comparison between the Body of Christ comprised of many very different people from around the world, all endowed with other gifts given by the Holy Spirit, along with special abilities and skillsets. I love this passage for the same reason that Mark was reminding our team – each of our 40+ team members brings different skills, gifts, and talents to the mission in service to the Guatemalan people ultimately for the glory of God, the only One worthy of honor, praise and glory. Just as one missing team member can weaken the entire team effort, the misfunction of one of God’s children in the overall Church Body’s mission compromises the body’s ability to glorify Him. At the same time, when all members of the body are working as God designed them (us), the body accomplishes the fullness of God’s purpose. The beauty of Paul’s message is that it applies to us, no matter where we are or what we’re doing, because the reality is that all his adopted children are not on a mission.
Following devotion, we walked to the Obras (the hospital). Some of the doctors went to the pre-op area to help get the first round of patients ready for surgery, while others joined PT team members and interpreters to round with the patients from Monday and Tuesday surgeries. One of the first patients we visited was Abner, who had amputated his lower right leg yesterday. He was sitting up in bed and in good spirits, having had a good night’s rest. While he was experiencing some post-surgical pain, his main concern was whether he could get to and stay at the Casa de Fe, the FIP home, where incoming and outgoing patients and limited family members can stay before and after surgery. His need was not one driven by comfort or free room and board, but instead because he wanted to be able to take his test in environmental law (he’s in the last year of his agronomy degree) already scheduled for Saturday! In our blog photos, you can see him dressed in lovely street clothes with one of our PT volunteers, Sebastian, right before he left for la Casa de Fe.
After lunch, I returned to the convalescent ward to visit the PT team and found them and roughly 20 patients all doing their therapy in one huge group. I took my mini-boombox with me and immediately began to play a popular Latin song called “Despacito” which predictably elevated the room’s level of enthusiasm and energy. After that, José, the lead Obras physical therapist, played “La Bamba” which got the patients even more engaged as they forcefully sang the words and undulated their stiff bodies to the music.
To wrap up the festivities, the patient “gang” sang a modified version of “Cante y no llores”, taught to them and led by Kim, the FIP PT team leader. Just when we thought we had finished therapy for the day, something magical happened that we had never experienced before: one of the patients stood up and began to make comments expressing her thanks for all God had orchestrated in her life, and the lives of so many others to make all the surgeries possible, collaborative works that would bring blessings to their lives forever, and to the lives of their families back home. After her, some seven or more patients also shared their individual and personal testimonies reflecting genuine and immense gratitude, beginning with God and then the surgery and therapy teams. All of them had just undergone nearly an hour of non-stop therapy, and many of them were standing on newly constructed knees or hips. I don’t think there were any dry eyes in the atrium – I know mine was not. This is part of what makes these trips such an edifying “addiction” for nearly all the team members. These days like this one keep bringing me back to these lovely, loving, and always worshipful people.
I could say so much more about today, but there isn’t time tonight. Until tomorrow…