Mark 3:7-10 speaks of the crowds who came to see Jesus for the healing He was doing. They pressed in upon Him on so many occasions with no other hope but to reach out and touch him. Similarly, we would arrive each morning to the clinics to have the people crowd in, reaching out to touch us. And leaving at the end of the day, it was the same. I can still feel all those touching hands and the awesome mission we’ve been given to continue healing in His name.
A Native Returns Home
I grew up in Sierra Leone, I started going on medical missions in 1993. It has been a tremendous blessing to be able to go back. Growing up in Sierra Leone, I watched my friends and other people die of poverty or lack of medical care, while others were killed by the war. The medical mission’s humanitarian effort is not only successful it also brings hope and life to thousands of people in need.
A Miraculous Moment
“Doctor Phillips, can you do a cut down on this baby, we can’t start an IV?”, the nurse urgently beckoned me. Being the only doctor on the team with surgical training, I was asked to perform the procedure to gain intravenous access. The 12-pound, three-month-old septic infant had rapidly become severely dehydrated from diarrhea and was near death.
I immediately had an overwhelming feeling of inadequacy. The infant needed fluids, and the only appropriate treatment was to place a catheter into a large vessel near her heart. I had performed central line placements in adults but never in such a small patient. In my mind I frantically debated the risks. I could puncture the lung, yet if I didn’t try she would certainly die within minutes. I remember praying for God’s guidance and acted in faith.
As I prepared to push the needle into her chest, the din of the room lulled and I heard the murmurings of prayers offered by those watching. The vein was entered and the IV started. Soon the infant began crying, nursing and ultimately made a full recovery.
In retrospect, it became quite evident that God had called me halfway around the world to touch, heal and save this small and precious life. Through His providence our two worlds met. I may never know what God’s plan for her life may be, but I know those who witnessed His intervention will never forget the miraculous moment when she opened her glazed eyes and began to cry.
A song by Audio Adrenaline, the lyrics of which, aptly describe my experience are as follows:
I want to be your hands
I want to be your feet
I’ll go where you send me
I’ll go where you send me
And I try, yeah I try
To touch the world like
You touched my life
And I find my way
To be your hands.
Aug 15, 2014
She Had No Shoes
The medical mission clinics are always overcrowded because of the tremendous need for medical care. People would walk for days to come to the clinics and sometimes they would not be seen due to the large numbers of people waiting. I saw some tragic advanced disease processes and some extreme poverty.
One girl that I treated had a needle in her foot. I removed and disinfected what I could, but then I realized that it could happen again because she had no shoes. So I gave her my sandals. God blessed us with a wonderful opportunity to serve the people of Sierra Leone.
In March of 2006, I had the opportunity to travel to Sierra Leone for the first time. As an amateur magician, my role on the team was to “demonstrate” tricks to the people and expose the deception of magic.
We went to the village of Lunsar where many of the people are in bondage to their local witch doctors who appear to have control over the supernatural. At our nightly church services, I exposed the deception of magic and proclaimed that only Jesus Christ can save.
As a result of this confrontation, the local Juju men went on a “spiritual” attack against our team, chanting, drumming and sacrificing animals throughout the night in hope that their black magic would strike us dead. But the victory was ours as the local people saw that Christ was glorified in our protection.
A Childhood Calling
Our lives are filled with challenges we think are impossible to face. My special-needs daughter Michelle constantly gives me the opportunity to call out to God for wisdom, faith and hope.
All of my challenges, however, seem trivial compared with those living in Western Africa. My involvement with the Lighthouse Medical MissionTeams began innocently. I volunteered to help Dr. Hamilton pack medical supplies.
My role grew in March of 2000 when he approached me one day and asked me to consider coming along as a nurse on a team. Initially I did not want to go, but God began to move and a comforting sense of peace filled my spirit. I told him I would go.
It was, to say the least, a life-changing experience!! Sierra Leone had been ravaged by war. The sights we saw and the broken people we encountered were traumatic. But at one U.N. military checkpoint, God reminded me of a long-forgotten dream. The guard, after going through our papers, handed back to me an official form. It read “Missionary Nurse”. Tears welled up into my eyes as I remembered having hopes as a little girl of one day becoming a missionary nurse. This memory inspired me. I worked in Sierra Leone with the reminder that my Lord was at my side.
Today my role still involves both going and packing. Over the past few years, the Lighthouse Medical Mission Teams have sent three 40-foot containers to Africa and I have overseen the organization and packing of these shipments.
“Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.”
A Family Experience
I want to share why we support Walk To Africa and Lighthouse Medical Missions. I am honored to be an annual sponsor of Walk To Africa and I make it a point to bring my family down to Santa Monica to “walk the Walk”. We do this because we are privileged to be a part of a missionary group that is truly touching lives by bringing urgently needed medical care and supplies to a people that are precious to the Lord. We thank YOU, Dr. Bob, for what you are doing. We are not just privileged but blessed to support and be a part of Lighthouse Medical Missions. Please come out and “walk the Walk” too this Saturday, May 17th at Crescent Bay Park!
Why I Walk to Africa
I “walked” the very first Walk to Africa event when I was six months old and have walked every year since! Now that I’m a grown girl of five (5), I’ll tell you what I’ve learned: Doing something positive to help another person who needs it is the single most important action one human can do for another. Mom and Dad help too by by asking for donations on my behalf (adding a cute picture or two to your profile can’t hurt). I tell people about the incredibly important work done by LMM and my pediatrician, Dr. Bob Hamilton. My mom says this is the way to get money flowing for the next medical mission trip, and it WORKS!
Although I have been top pledge earner for a few years now, the final amount isn’t as great as it should be. What I want to say is, with a little effort, I’m sure you could beat me and get the top earner prize this year, a family fun pack to Aquarium of the Pacific! I want you to…seriously, because that would mean we saved more lives, took away more pain and suffering. Kids just want to run, learn, play and be happy like us.
Kids helping kids is powerful and beautiful. I want us to change tears sadness into tears of happiness. I’ll see you at the egg race!