The body of Christ. We often hear sermons on how we are all gifted differently in order to comprise the full body. Yet, can you name a time when you have actually witnessed the body ministering effectively together?
This past week in Hato Mayor that is exactly what I saw happening on a daily basis. There were teams from many different cities and denominations. Doctors, dentists, nurses, optometrists, athletes, children’s ministry workers of all ages worked side by side to accomplish at least a years worth of work in seven days.
The medical, dental, optical and children’s ministry teams load up the trucks to head to sugar cane villages where Haitian men labor in the hot sun for minimal pay. Women and children are often the main focus of these ministries as the men are out in the fields. When the Haitian children see the trucks pulling in they run from many different directions. There is nothing quite like stepping off the truck to be immediately greeted by a smiling face thrilled with the prospect of spending time with you.
As the doctors set up their individual clinics the children’s ministry begins. Sometimes we are blessed with the opportunity to use the church for our singing time and lesson. Most times we use the classroom of the great outdoors. With a translator close by we begin singing fun, interactive children’s songs; share a Bible story and memory verse and then finish with a craft or coloring page. After that, we all head outside for a day of soccer, caballito (piggy back rides) or tag. This is the favorite part of the day. Just time to spend playing and being together. Here, a smile or hug is all that is necessary. The language barrier just melts away.
While all that is occurring with the children the doctors open the doors to begin their ministry. Lines form at the medical, dental and optical clinics for a little physical relief from the hard life of poverty. Medications are given, teeth are pulled and glasses are provided. More importantly, as each patient leaves the clinics prayer is offered. The body has pulled together to meet the physical needs of the people so they may see the hands and heart of Jesus.
When we head to the Dominican it is often with the prayer that the Lord will use us in some way to make a difference in the life of others. Rarely do we anticipate the radical change that will occur in us or the blessings we receive from the Haitians. There is so much poverty that words cannot fully express it. The physical needs are such that we do not see here in the States. Yet, they are so loving and appreciative for the small amount we give that it chokes your heart. As Jim says, they bless your socks off!