Hi Folks! Long time no see. My sincere apologies for not writing on the schedule I said I would. But – LIFE happens!! So here I am today and this time I make no promises for a future writing schedule.
Part of life that has happened recently is an eight day medical mission trip to war torn eastern Ukraine. I met up, in Atlanta, with a group from western Pennsylvania and we went to Ukraine to heal people. And it was amazing.
We thought we were going to in war and care for people hurt in a battle. One of the team members is a trauma surgeon, and we were ready. But that wasn’t the case. In fact, the only surgery the trauma surgeon performed was removing an ingrown toenail.
And yet, the healing we did went so much deeper than a surgeons knife usually goes. Each member of the team, including us non-medical types, did multiple heart surgeries every day. A smile, a touch, a hug, a prayer. Those go a long way for people who have lost everything, homes, jobs, books, clothes, photos, family heirlooms, and especially family and friends. Their home towns have been invaded and blown up in the fighting. Many were lucky to escape with the clothes on their backs.
Everywhere we went we encountered military checkpoints. You’ve seen it in the movies, riding along on a bus and all of a sudden there are roadblocks and bunkers and tanks along the roadway. And then there are soldiers flagging down the bus and pulling it over. They talk to the driver, then demand the door be opened and a very nervous, very heavily armed young soldier climbs on the bus and demands to see everyone’s passport. Well, I have now lived it. The only thing that I found to be different than in the movies is the reaction of the soldiers when they were told we were American medical missionaries come to help them. The first reaction was a very puzzled question, “Do they realize that we are at WAR?” And when we would smile and nod, they would relax, smile back and say thank you.
And that was a healing. As was the emotional healing such as came to a little boy and his mother as we prayed over them at a camp for displaced persons. We called it a refugee camp, but they were still in their own country so they don’t even count as refugees. We saw healing miracles of the heart, of the mind, of the soul and of the body. Souls were won to the LORD, hearts were softened, blind eyes opened, deaf ears opened, the lame walked sinus infections melted away to nothingness.
It was amazing to see. And even more amazing to be used by God in such a way, to be an active participant. And on our final day, when one of our interpreters once again expressed confusion and disbelief that we, from the super power of the United States of America, would come to the little country of Ukraine in the middle of a dangerous war, one of the doctors stood and forcefully explained. He told this confused young man that each and every one of us knew what we were getting into, that we had each searched our hearts and decided that, if it became necessary, yes, we would give our lives for Jesus in this place. God said go and we said yes. It wasn’t about Ukraine, per se. It was about obedience to God. And he also told this young man that, while it had started out as strictly obedience, that we had come to truly love the people that we encountered, and that we would, each and every one of us, be leave a piece of our hearts there.
And I would do it again. I will go anywhere, do anything that Father God calls me to do. It’s up to Him. Here am I, LORD, send me.