Today, the second week of clinic began in full force. Our team was able to treat 125 patients in the medical clinic and provide 25 patients with new eye glasses. The village where we worked today was more affluent than some of the villages where we have previously worked. One of the biggest blessings today was that we were able to work in a community center that did not have walls. This may sound silly, but here in the Dominican Republic most buildings do not have electricity and without electricity there is little airflow. Being able to feel the breeze on your face as you sweat out gallons (or what seems like gallons) of water, is what reminds us of the little ways in which God provides for us.
In order to share a powerful story from today, you all need to understand some about the Dominican-Haitian relationship. As many of you probably know, the Dominican Republic and Haiti share an island that is found in the Atlantic Ocean. Roughly 300 years ago, Haiti held the Dominican Republic captive, and as a result a war emerged. The Dominican Republic was able to declare its independence from Haiti, and as a result of this war, there is a blatant racism between the Dominicans and the Haitians. Now, the Dominican Republic is prospering in comparison to Haiti (which is considered a failed country), and many Haitians immigrate to the Dominican Republic illegally. Several of our team’s translators are Haitian, and they have mentioned that it is better to be poor in the Dominican Republic than to be poor in Haiti. In short, the poverty we have seen on this trip is nothing in comparison to that of Haiti.
Now with background of the cultural issues between the Dominican Republic and Haiti, it will be easier to understand this story. Today in clinic, a young Haitian woman presented with headaches and GI pain. The physician working with this patient felt that these symptoms where the result of an unknown stressful situation. Fortunately, one of the female students asked the patient if she would rather speak with her in private. The patient began to open up about her life and how she emigrated from Haiti almost two years ago with hopes of finding a job so she could support her son—still living in Haiti. After arriving in the Dominican, she was unable to find a job and began to live with a man she had just met. This man provides her with a home and food, but he is abusive and controlling. The Haitian woman continued to speak with our student and decided she was ready to make a decision to receive Christ as her Lord and Savior. Later, as the student shared this experience with the team, she was reminded us of these verses from Matthew 5: “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they will inherit the earth. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.” This story reminds us that Jesus Christ loves each of us, and that he wants nothing more than a personal relationship with him. His amazing grace can save us no matter the situation!
Our team is thankful that God is continuing to work through us even though we are weak and worn. Please pray for strength as we continue throughout our second week of clinic and pray that we will be the hands and feet of Christ.