Written by the MSMT Team Chaplains
As chaplains, we accompany our medical mission patients and their families with our presence, prayers and support. This is how we met Emilio, one of our patients scheduled for gallbladder surgery, and Eva, one of his four daughters, who anxiously stood vigil at the foot of his bed.
We spoke with Emilio and Eva about their family, their worries, and their hopes for a healthier future. We chatted about the good care we knew Emilio would receive from Dr. Manzano (Bolivian medical partner) and Dr. Khouzam (missioner) and we prayed for the embrace of our loving and healing God.
As we finished our prayer, Eva led us to the other bed in the room, where we met Samario, who was admitted to the hospital after living on the street. Samario needed a medicine that unfortunately Solidarity Bridge and Puente de Solidaridad could not offer. Nevertheless, we introduced ourselves and offered our company and comfort. For a few days, this bed would provide the warmth and nourishment he greatly needed. By our presence, we let him know, “you are not alone.” Together with Emilio and Eva, we bowed our heads and offered our prayers for peace, strength, healing and connection.
In the midst of this second prayer, a hospital administrator came into the room and joined in our prayer and conversation. She shared her spirit and gave of herself and her time to accompany both Samario and Emilio who were afraid, sick and in pain.
The hospital room breathed hope. On one side, there was a patient soon to receive a mission surgery to improve his health; on the other, a solitary man we could only accompany and comfort. They bonded thanks to a loving daughter and a compassionate hospital worker who became another bridge toward solidarity. Seeing the need for love and hope in the men before them, they created a spiritual bridge from one patient to another. As chaplains, we were privileged to witness a beautiful icon of solidarity in the room as the Spirit of life infused deep connections between family and stranger.
The 2017 Multi-Specialty Mission Trip takes place September 29 to October 8, 2017, in Punata, Bolivia. The team is comprised of a general surgery operating team, clinical physicians in cardiology, gynecology, pediatrics, family medicine and dermatology, and a physical therapist. US missioners will work alongside their Bolivian colleagues to provide care to hundreds of patients in need.