I want to start off by apologizing in the delay of updating you. Truthfully, it has been challenging for me to write this letter and I’m not sure why. Could be….I’m still processing… or the enemy doesn’t want me to tell you what you were a part of… I believe it’s a little of both. But, in NO WAY does it have anything to do with the effectiveness of this trip. It was so successful on so many levels and I will do my best in sharing in a way that you get the whole picture – the “cliff notes” version. For the extended version, be on the lookout for upcoming blogs.
We were able to conduct 8 clinics in three Togolese villages for the Pioneers Togo missionary effort. During this time, over 1000 patients received care (medical consultation, glasses, medication, dentistry, consideration for surgery). The medical need is huge because few have access to any of these. The fact that we were able to stay in a village multiple days made it possible to see all those who needed to be seen… and It gave those who heard via word of mouth more time to travel (please note this is Togo Travel) to the clinic. This was a blessing because in the past we have to leave without many being
Highlights:- I extracted a tooth while assisting the dentist. Being non-medical, this was truly rewarding to be able to ease someone’s physical pain so quickly. Who would’ve thought I’d like looking in peoples mouths and not pass out!
- We witnessed a life saved (physically). A man had been unable to eat solid food for months due to a severe case of lockjaw. I was
- I came so close to trying to sneak a precious orphan into my suitcase and making her a part of our family. (Some may ask why I didn’t. Unfortunately, but sometimes fortunately, the adoption process is complicated in Togo… and I probably should discuss something like that with my husband first!)
- Not a highlight, but just plain crazy. Who knew it rained in Togo!?!?!? It rained at least 4 of our 8 clinic days, and threatened to on more days. This posed extra challenges for us, but we made it through thanks to our excellent leadership!
SPIRITUALLY - We were able to place a huge emphasis on ministry this year with such a large team. It resulted in an impact well beyond the length of our trip.
1) Teaching resources (Men’s, Women’s and Children’s) were created, taught and left for the spiritual leaders of the village. This time was much needed to pour into, pray for, encourage, and equip these anointed servants to continue their work. These brave men and women persevere through great hardships to fulfill their calling.
2) We began each clinic with a skit (which amazingly broke through the language barrier). Through this, the missionaries had an opportunity to speak to large crowds waiting and watching (well over the 1000 patients seen). Many came just for medicine or to see the Yovo’s (white people) in action, but they received so much more! Lives were saved and seeds were planted before our eyes.
3) We raised $1000 and were able to purchase 140 translated bibles to take with us. You could see the hunger the believer’s had for Word. Something we so easily take for granted and don’t recognize as a need in America is HUGE nourishment for the Togolese. We have much to learn from them!
4) Being non-medical and working in a medical clinic was challenging. Each role I was placed in (triage, glasses, medicine teaching) was seen as a creative ministry opportunity that only He could have orchestrated! Ask me about this and the divine appointments. I’d LOVE to share! God’s plan all along was for me to focus on the patient’s spiritual healing.
- - My very first patient to work with was the village chief. God turned it into a 30 minute opportunity to speak about the circumstances he was facing and how God can heal the brokenness we have in any situation. He was planning to connect with the village missionary who I believe had just been given permission to return to the village.- Being in charge of the glasses station can be a frustrating role because many times it’s a guessing game knowing the prescription they need. There were 5 instances where I was about to give up in searching for glasses. Each time, I prayed for the Lord to intervene and He came through – I reached into a random bag and the very next pair worked!
- I cannot describe how honored and rewarding it was to worship and fellowship with the Christian women in the village. We are from two different worlds, but truly have the same struggles, desires and hearts!
ALL TIME HIGHLIGHT
Seeing an elderly farmer’s look of intrigue, disbelief and acceptance after hearing the story of Jesus for the very first time! I had the honor of leading him and his family through the salvation prayer and connecting him with the local missionary.
Lastly, I've realized mission trips are not so much about the details of your trip, but instead, WHAT GOD TAUGHT YOU WHILE THERE and WHETHER YOU WILL BRING IT BACK WITH YOU. Be on the lookout for upcoming blogs on His lessons for me this year -
1) He is so much bigger than my limitations
2) His yoke IS easy
Thank you for letting me share! In His Service, Christie