Final Day

The team is now processing all that our trip encompasses. For some, the mission is an experience of a lifetime, and for others it's simply another opportunity to serve Christ as they are directed. Regardless of our initial expectations, all of us became simply servants to everyone we encountered.

Knowing Christ-like love and compassion may help one to understand our mission. However, many things were unique to our team's experience. In most respects, the majority of the experience remains hard to communicate (Philippians 2:2). Many of these thoughts are from the team and I hope to speak briefly and accurately, for and with the team.

The fruit of this mission tastes unmistakably good (Matthew 7). I can say without doubt that God's hand, grace, and love orchestrates it all. We are servants to people in the lowest social strata of one of the poorest countries of the world. It remains beautiful to see those ostracized by HIV/AIDS, polio, physical and cosmetic deformities, fistulas . . . the marginalized blind, deaf, poverty stricken, hungry, destitute woman, orphan, dirty, sick, desperate . . . people, some literally pulled from a dung heap--It remains beautiful to see the love of Christ warm their dusky faces and bring tears of joy and life to their dry eyes. I can't explain how I feel when a humble, loving action elicits gasps . . . gasps are the sound of the toughest, highest, most daunting walls of shame, guilt, and lies crumbling. Tears followed those gasps. Grace and love are the source of those tears.

Compassion identifies needs and then meets them. We met medical needs, and mobilized basic resources. These were only vehicles for true healing (John 4:10). Grace bridges chasms. Listening develops respect. Touch brings smiles. Acceptance cures all. Prayer brings hope. Community builds purpose, value, and worth. By telling their stories, we bring these people back to you. Their beautiful stories . . .

We are servants here and soon servants in our daily life. One man said, "The simple difference between Ethiopia and America is that we have a lot more stuff to hide behind, including church." And so we thank you for your prayers and support. God's grace has been abounding with this team. Also, know that we pray for you. We pray that you are sensitive to God's directing voice and then equipped to serve those around you.

I close with a prayer our team has been blessed by (and at first haunted by):

"Lord Jesus, when I meet you today in your unattractive disguise of the irritating, the exacting, and the unreasonable, may I still recognize you and say, 'Sweet Jesus, what a privilege it is to serve you today." --Mother Teresa's Missionaries of Charity

Blessings,

MPPC Medical Team, April 2007