In a few short weeks our team has accomplished what normally takes 6-9 months: getting a team together (getting off work, coercing folks that this is the best experience they will ever have AND they get to pay for it!), getting the in-country logistics taken care of (Matt Riley, through the grace of God, thank you!), compiling supplies and medications (DRI, MedShare and Dave Lipin, where would we be without you?), and fundraising (our individual donors, thank you! To the Phil-Am Club at Holy Rosary, thank you!)
Throw in the Christmas season and we have the potential for a full-blown meltdown.
Somehow, though, God has taken on this project and has injected a multitude of graces that have resulted in this mission being far greater than what was previously imagined. Dental students are joining us for a few days to assist with care and extractions, several psychiatrists are joining us as well to assist with PTSD related problems and we will have a couple of volunteers who specialize in the recognition of human trafficking - currently on the rise in the region where we will be working.
This is so much more than a medical mission. It has become a bridge. Despair to hope, illness to health, a broken and depleted health care system to assisting it back to sustainability. I become tearful as I watch all these fragments come together.
Before I really breakdown, let me introduce you to Matt Riley. He is a parishioner here at Holy Rosary Church in Antioch. He accepted a position teaching at the university on Panay and took on the role of being our in-country logistician. Almost on a daily basis, I get emails from him telling me about meetings: the local mayors, the governor of Antique Province, the emergency co-ordinator, the army, psychiatrists, the Dominican sisters and the list goes on. I know that God placed him on Panay just for us as he has worked miracles getting our mission ready.
Another person to be acknowledged is Angie Verdun. She is unable to be here with us on this trip. Her quiet, faith filled serenity leaves me in awe. In the past, during the chaos of a mission, I have often just come to stand by her to absorb some of her grace and I will miss that. She is integral to HRIMM and to every team that has gone out the door. We will carry you with us, Angie.
For each of you reading this, we ask for prayers prayers for Matt as he continues working on our behalf, prayers for Angie that she can join the team on the next mission, prayers for our safe passage.
In God's name, we ask you, heavenly Father, to continue to guide and direct us, to illuminate our path so that we can serve you. Amen.