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September 27, 2017

Well we’ve been back stateside for a full week and already my heart is longing to be back in Ghana with our friends.  Even after 6 trips, it’s still bittersweet coming home.  Sure it’s nice having hot, overhead running water; a toilet seat, air conditioning, and all the creature comforts of first world America.  But yet, those pale in importance to what God taught us and accomplished through us during our mission in Nzemaland. 

 

It’s incredible, really, but the trips somehow get better every year.  I doubt I will ever stop being amazed at what God creates out of our meager obedience.  This trip we saw nearly 1400 patients in 5 days of clinic at Allowule, Basake, Ankobra, and the beautiful dream that is now Nzema Baptist Hospital.  We engineered functional clinic spaces out of a multi-room school house, a massive Pentecostal church, an open air courtyard and porches, and luxuried in our very own hospital facility.  Many of our daily team devotions center on having the heart and mind of Christ: setting aside our wants, rights, preferences, and talents for God’s glory and the benefit of others.  That is the only way we can serve as one unified body, though made of many diverse parts.  As a trip leader and the one rooming patients in clinic I have a unique position that allows me to observe our moving parts and remain somewhat unnoticed.   I watched a high school senior consistently lay hands on and pray over families as they came through intake, then carry the elderly through our clinic.  I saw radiant smiles, welcomes, hugs, and tangible kindness administered to patients as they were weighed and escorted to an intake station.  Pharmacy students and physician assistants joyfully bounced between 3 different roles, anticipating the needs of the rest of the team and clinic, without complaint.  Providers prioritized sharing the good news of Jesus over productivity; often taking queues from each other’s various strategies.  I heard a physician present the gospel through the testimony of the apostle Peter, the patient’s namesake.  Everyone personally invested in the care of Esther so her medical care could be urgently addressed and ensured for the future.  Wounds were dressed with compassion and care, hands were held, tears were dried, bubbles were blown, hearts were opened and encouraged, testimonies shared.  When I reflect on this team, I see the hands and feet of Christ; a clear outpouring of sharing His heart for the world.  Even when we labored in the heat, without power for 48 hours, and endured a 15 hour flight delay on the way home the team sought first to honor God and seize every opportunity.  It’s incredible to overhear our mission and motive shared with a stranger on a plane at midnight.  I recognize those voices, that’s our team.  

 

At the end of our 4th day of clinic, I stood talking with Reverend Stephen, the director of the Ghana Baptist medical efforts.  We were reflecting on the trip while admiring the mostly finished hospital.  He words were kind: “surely God has built this hospital, but he has used you all to do it.”  So often we are our own obstacle to fruitfully serving God, convinced that accomplishment and success come through our own strength, confidence, and having it all together.  But time and again the Bible tells of the young, the weak, the uneducated, the unqualified, and those looked over being chosen to accomplish God’s great purpose.  We are broken, selfish, and flawed; yet God chooses to do great and mighty things through us when our hearts yield to His will.  May the Nzema Baptist Hospital be a constant remembrance of Ephesians 3:20-21: “Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.”

 

Soli Deo Gloria

-Amy Gustafson

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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