Poster - Worship Slides

Poster - Front-and-Center Slides

Poster - Event Slides

Our final day in Madagascar began with a group trip to the bakery in Antananarivo that is part of the chain of restaurants from which we have been receiving our morning pastries. What a great place to have our final breakfast! We ate as one large group: Americans and Malagasy. We shared a final debriefing and devotion together and began to think about how to re-enter our lives back in the United States.

The Lord Jesus has called you to this place that you might see your oneness with those who also belong to him, that by his grace you might share love, mercy and life together, and the other gifts of body and soul to those whom you can help in their time of great need.Medical Mission Team devotional

This morning was bittersweet. We have had a very successful week in clinic. During our five clinics in the five different villages, we were able to care for 1,911 patients and fill 4,200 prescriptions. Free healthcare was provided to some of those who need it most, and we were able to show God's love through our actions while the pastors of the church ministered to the waiting people. Our team was cohesive and worked well together. We bonded quickly and made some great friendships and life-long memories. Patients who need followup care were referred to the Lutheran Hospital in Antsirabe where they can receive further treatment. “The rich and the poor meet together; the Lord is the maker of them all.

However, it is hard to not wonder if you did enough. What about all of the other millions of people in Africa who need our assistance? Did we just put a bandaid on a real problem? How am I going to return home to care for American patients who have so many more resources at their disposal but do not realize their resources? But you cannot dwell on these questions. Instead, we think of the hundreds of people we did impact in a positive manner this week. We made a difference for those patients we were able to care for. And, maybe more importantly, the Malagasy people and patients have left a mark on us.

Mission trips put life back into perspective and focus you on what is really important and necessary. They also drive you to find ways to continue to serve and help. The challenge is to keep the drive and determination. The work is not done, dear servant. This is just the start! Take the mission enthusiasm home and light the fire in others. And do not forget this experience and how it has changed you.

You are doing the work that God has given you to do, at this time, and in this place.Medical Mission Team devotional

It is now time to begin the journey back home. Jo and I flew out of Madagascar with the rest of the Mercy Medical Team this afternoon. However, the two of us are taking a detour on the way home. We have stopped in Nairobi and will be visiting the Masai Mara to go on safari. My friend Catherine from my Mercy Medical trip to Kenya last year picked us up at the airport today and has arranged our safari for us. Tonight we are staying in Nairobi at the Rosa Mystica Spiritual Center. This compound seems to have a Catholic influence, as there are nuns on the premise in addition to a chapel and guest rooms. We were welcomed with the Kenyan food I remember from last year: meat, potatoes, rice, kale and mangoes. We will have a restful night and then depart in the morning for our safari adventure. Jo and I hope this experience will allow us to deescalate a bit more before returning home, and we hope to enjoy the experience immensely!

Madagascar has been quite the adventure! Thank you for all of your support and prayers. “And I heard the voice of the Lord saying, 'Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?' Then I said, 'Here I am! Send me.'”

“Hesed” is a Hebrew word that means “kindness”, “mercy”, “loyalty”, “loving-kindness” or “steadfastness.” It’s the way God intends us to live together—a “love your neighbor as yourself”, active, selfless, sacrificial, caring-for-one-another brand of living contradictory to our fallen natures. The “Heseders” are continually looking to work together to share some small measure of God’s extraordinary love. Won’t you join us?