July 26, 2011

Thanks for following along this story of a group of health professionals in training who love the Lord as we learn through serving Hunting Park and each other. I was supposed to blog at the beginning of the week, but just even summing up one day here proved to be a huge challenge. As Steve said as he flipped the pages on the easel during his last teaching to us, you can ponder that one the rest of your life.

On Tuesday, Dr. Hollinger, the medical director of Esperanza Health Center, gave us a morning talk on the sort of post-modern pluralistic constructs that imbue our culture. Then he opened it up to make it an interactive discussion on dealing with different patient scenarios with that mindset vs. the Christian approach. It was great to bring the heady philosophy to where the rubber meets the road.

The jam-packed morning was wrapped up with an awesome panel discussion on work-life balance with male and female docs. For the half the time, the guys and girls separatedand thats when the truth came outjk. It was a really great time for me to meet women who were obedient to their calling to be a physician and the calling to be a mother. Hearing the creative solutions and the incredible partners was refreshing. I dont know about the guys, but the women answered tough questions about sacrifices made in order to be obedient to those callings. Some work part time with other women so that there is a culture of cooperation in their practice that allows for family time. One claimed to have retrained her Italian husband, haha. They joked around about how when people ask Who cooks when youre not home? One answered, Who cooks when I AM home? They went deeper to answer questions about planning for things hoped for by just naming our desires and holding them loosely before God.

Ill be honest, as much as I appreciated the talks in the morning, by lunch time I was really itchin to get back out on the streets of Hunting Park. (Cant imagine what itll feel like to be in class and library all the time in a few weeks!) On Tuesday, we rocked out to some great Spanish worship songs in the lobby before heading out on the streets. (::Te amo mas que mi vida!::) Its getting towards the end so we are all getting sentimental and camera-happy, too.

Our translators are two amazing women, one of whom piles us into her car to take us to our territory of Hunting Park since its kinda far. On Monday as we were walking back to the car, these guys a block away started shouting at us. I felt like God was telling me to not just ignore them. I jogged up the block to talk to them quick. They said that theyve seen all us blue people (we are wearing scrubs) everywhere, but no one has been to visit their street. I promised them we would be back to see them first thing tomorrow afternoon and then told them about the HIV testing going the next day, too.

The next day, we went back there to see them and he had gathered a bunch of his friends and they were about to go get the HIV testing. (Come to find out his sister died of AIDS). We had a growing group of people to screen and talk to. It was great having an awesome team to engage everyone at once. One of the friends left the porch (I thought he just wasnt interested) and brought another friend. The original guy, S, who lived there, exemplified exactly what Dr. Hollinger taught us about that morning with the pluralism, any road will get ya there, kind of post-modern philosophy. God led me to the passage in Acts where Paul is in Athens and says that he can see they are very religious, even down to the statue of the unknown God, and Paul tells them that the unknown God is the One True God. S got what I was saying and we kept chatting. No decisions were made that day, but he said that he reads what the Jehovahs Witness people leave him so the next day I brought back lots of reading material for him. 😉

I grew to really love that porch during the final week of SMI. We went back there another time, and one of his drug-dealing friends came up to us with tattoos that read Life is Hard on his hand, Death is Easy on his other hand. I asked him what that was about. He had them since he was 12. We talked about his life, betrayals, loneliness, fighting, and by the end, this tough guy was reading Ephesians out loud on the porch and let me pray for him. God is so good! We had many instances like this where we are just along the way of someones journey, but we cant know how it turns out. During SMI, God has shown me what it means to be obedient to Him and let Him determine what the success looks like. Also, He taught me that “God is so good” even on days when no doors open.

We played with some kids in a day care for a little bit out on a closed play street, jumping rope and hula-hooping. I asked one of the girls if she knew Jesus, and she said Yeah, but my grandpa knows him better. We got to share a little bit with the kids there and then a lady from her porch called down to us and asked what we were doing here. My team and I went up and ended up giving her a health screen and talking to her about what we were doing in Hunting Park. She is a Christian and was such a huge encouragement to me. What a light in her neighborhood! She has an incredible servant heart. She said she used to think that cleaning up the neighborhood meant literally going around for an hour every afternoon picking up trash. She said, But then I realized that what this neighborhood really needs is Jesus. She does a lot of ministry with the children (a couple kids on her porch turned out werent hers, but she helps raise these kids on the block). She prayed with us on her porch and invited us to come do a health fair during their block party, Saturday, August 6th SMI to be continued?

Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up .

~ Galatians 6:9~

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