Seriously, you guys should see our schedule for these three weeks. Its packed. Every hour is represented by a little box on a spreadsheet (thanks Anne, for your organizational skills!), and even includes clearly marked Free Time! boxes. Though theres really no such thing as a normal day around here, Id really like to try to paint a picture of how this whole thing works. So here it goes a day at SMI
The alarm goes off around 7 or 8, and the breakfast crew has the self-serve buffet set out and ready to go to start everyone out with full tanks. The SMIers who have cars take turns driving the rest of us to Joy in the City, our central meeting place in Hunting Park. Joy in the City is a building with classrooms, a chapel, and offices and is used by several ministries in the area.
After a 10 minute ride from the Bala house to Hunting Park, we gather together with our interpreters and faculty members and take inventory of our backpacks to make sure we have all the medical supplies well need for the day. Our group of 19 students is divided into teams of 3 or 4, and each team partners with a church in the Hunting Park area. Were blessed to have the help of interpreters, who translate as well as help us navigate our way around the neighborhoods. Faculty members, who are Christians involved in health care, offer their wisdom as were going door to door. The Summer Medical Institute just wouldnt be possible without our awesome faculty and interpreters!
Before we hit the streets around 10, we pray together for the day, for the hearts of the people well meet, for the opportunity to join the Lord where Hes already working. With our hearts and water bottles and backpacks filled, we split into our teams and begin the morning excursion.
And this, friends, is where the day becomes completely unpredictable. Its possible to knock on door after door and none of them open. Its possible that the first door you knock on will lead to a conversation that changes the lives of the people who live there. Its possible that youll meet a group of children and run out of stickers and silly bands faster than you can count to ten in Spanish, of course. You might run through an open fire hydrant, take blood pressures on a familys doorstep, or pray outside of an empty house.
All of the groups meet back at Joy in the City for lunch, to cool off from the morning, and to share stories before heading back out for the afternoon. Three more hours in the neighborhood provides more stories, more encounters, more opportunities to see the Lord at work in Hunting Park. Around 4 in the afternoon, we end our door to door ventures for the day and debrief at Joy in the City, praying for people we met throughout the day and sharing the lessons the Lord has taught us through the people of Hunting Park. Then its back to the Bala house, where we usually have time for a quick swim before dinner. Let me tell you no one goes hungry around here! Our dinners are out of this world, provided by different people each night who have heard of SMI through the grapevine somehow and want to bless us by cooking and we are surely blessed and thankful for them!
The activities after dinner vary throughout the week, but revolve around studying and spending time in the Lords Word. We meet in small groups twice a week, and the other week nights we worship together and learn from Steve Muntz, who is walking us through a foundational study of theology and how to apply that in the context of health care. So much learning!
The rest of the evening is occupied by games, living room chats, night swims, reading, laughter, rest there arent enough hours in a day! But as we drag ourselves to bed, we know that this time is valuable, and look forward to what tomorrow brings.
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Please include the following statement on any distributed copy: By Lindsay Landis. © 2021 Tenth Presbyterian Church. Website: tenth.org