Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Rio Medical Mission Journey: Meet the Eye Team

Meet the Eye Team at the medical clinic in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil this week! They're fantastic.

From Brentwood, TN

What do you do at home?
I'm retired and I'm a career, life, and financial coach. Before that, I was a healthcare executive.

Why did you come on this trip?
You want the real answer? Because Raja said I had to come, and I felt called to come. I felt like this was an area where I could be of service. I think this is my third mission trip to Brazil. My first trip, which wasn't a mission trip, was in 1969. I spent a month here with the goal to learn Portuguese, but everyone wanted to practice their English, so that was easier.

What was the most exciting part of your day?
I think they came in pretty nervous, unsure what was going to happen and very shy. By the time we got them fitted with glasses, they opened up and their smiles began to shine. I was able to share the love of Christ with them and how I hoped they would take that smile and let others see it as well.

What have you looked forward to most this week?
We've got two days left in the clinic, but I want to stay on the real high. Our whole trip has been effortless for me. As a team, we've gotten along so well. There haven't been any complications. For this eye team, primarily three of us did testing and dispensing, with the exception of the fourth who directs traffic and jumps in for some backup. We've seen an incredible number of patients and we don't feel rushed at all. We're very efficient and we get along. We have one person, Alecia, who's on her first trip and it's been like she's done this forever. I think we've done some good work fitting people with glasses and I hope that continues.

From Brentwood, TN

What do you do back home?
I'm a senior sales director with Mary Kay Cosmetics.

Why did you come on this trip?
This is my third time to come to Brazil and I was hooked from the first trip, so this is a great return trip for me.

What was your favorite part about working on the team today?
It's always about the people that we meet during the day and the stories that we hear from them. There's about three that stand out in my mind:
  1. One was a 95-year-old lady. She was so sweet and we had so much fun with her. I said, "Do you realize in five years you'll be 100?" And she laughed. And I said, "Are you going to throw a party?" And she laughed. It was just great to celebrate her long life and loving the Lord.
  2. The saddest moment of my week was meeting a lady who's 44 years old. She has twin 13-year-old sons, a 37-year-old son, and a daughter and son-in-law in between there who are both addicted to crack. She had just had surgery herself. Her husband had left the family because of the situation with the crack addiction. She felt like she needed to go get a job to support the family—and it just broke my heart. This lady was already a Christian. At the end of the day, I took my interpreter and we went to Pastor Wellington and I told him about her. He looked at me and said, "We have so many people like that in this favela all around us. I promise I'll go to her home and visit her and get her involved in a Bible study."
  3. The third lady I don't remember much about her, but at the end, she said, "Thank you for the attention." People just appreciate you taking the time to listen to their stories and pray with them. And with the eye team, every now and then, we get the opportunity to present the plan of salvation.
What are you looking forward to most this week?
It's the same. At lunchtime, I love going around and watching the children play. I love getting to know my interpreter and the other interpreters on the eye team. There's a lot of interaction between us. It's always about the people. There's one special lady on the cooking team. She came by and I fitted her with glasses. The pastor came by and I fitted him with glasses. I asked him if he had the love of Jesus in her heart and he just died laughing. Another little girl comes by every day and wants her picture made with me. Brazilian people are just so warm and kind and loving. They just love us giving them our time. The free glasses are wonderful, but I think they love the rest of it more.

From Nashville, TN

What do you do back home?
I'm an interior design for an architecture firm in Brentwood called HR Design.

Why did you come on this trip?
Because God told me and told me and told me and there was really no doubt about it.

What was your favorite part of working with the team today?
I've taken for granted eyesight. I'm 20/20, so being able to help people so they can read their Bibles. That's all they want to do is read their Bibles. The fact that they put on those glasses and say, "Oh my's perfect! It's perfect! I can read." It's great to see the smiles on their faces. Also, working with my interpreter. She's helped me so much to learn Portuguese and hold the very front end of a conversation with everyone who comes in the clinic.

What are you looking forward to or expecting from this week?
I was surprised to see how much I have bonded with the people at the church that we're working with. I didn't think I would bond as quickly as I did. And I wanted to get a broader perspective of what's beyond my walls of comfort at home. I'm really looking forward to Friday when we get to hand out all the gifts.

From Hendersonville, TN

What do you do back home?
I am a self-employed painter and handy woman. I do electrical, plumbing, and tiling.

What did you come on this trip?
My first trip was in 2000 and this is my 12th trip. Sharon asked if I could come down and spend a few weeks with her, plus my team from First Baptist Hendersonville is coming down next week to serve. I said, "Let me pray about it." The Lord said "yes" and my husband said "yes," so I did.

What was your favorite part of working on the team today?
What I've been doing up until today is herding people and making sure they come in and out like they should. Today, I actually sat with people and fitted them for glasses, and I got to share with every one of them. I was telling Sharon I made five ladies cry because when I asked them if there was something I could pray with them about they always say "their children"—a son that's in drugs, a daughter who's living with her boyfriend, or a husband who's an alcoholic. I could relate to having a son being involved in drugs and alcohol because my youngest son was for a few years. I would tell them as a mother I knew how their heart was feeling because my heart was broken when my son was doing that, but if you raise them and train them in the Word, then they'll come back. I was telling them it's not always in mama's time, but in the Lord's timing. It was good to share that with them.

What have you looked forward to most this week?
Working with your team. I've known Raja and Kevin and meeting the rest of your bunch. This is the third different team I've worked with since I've been down here—each one of them has been great and different. You all have been a joy and blessing to me. You all are so easy to get along with and so helpful and smiling, and it's easy for me to blend right in. Yesterday, Royce asked me if we had any 4.5 glasses. I said, "I've never seen any 4.5s, but I'll turn around and look." I did and there was one pair. That was a God moment for me because I've never seen any of those before. For me, personally, I've enjoyed getting to love on those babies, sing them to sleep in English, singing "Jesus Loves Me."


Cecilia said...

It was such an amazing week! I miss u all already. So sorry I couldn't see Debby today. I hope she's ok. This week has been a memorable one.
Cecília - RJ/Brazil

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