Well, if you remember my first post, to say that I was overwhelmed coming into this trip knowing one of my main objectives was to create and carry out rehab/therapy programs for Haitians injured in January’s earthquake was a little bit of an understatement. I knew the whole time that God would be faithful in whatever He was asking me to do and that all He needed of me was to be willing to be His hands and feet. But the reality is that I’m still human, and though I was confident in what God could do, I lacked confidence in what I could do. The story of Gideon (Judges 6) has become a favorite story of mine this year. Gideon and I have become best friends because we relate so much to each other. God sent Gideon out into battle with this promise, “[I] am with you, mighty warrior.” Gideon doubted, not God, but himself, and to this God replies, “Go in the strength you have and save Israel out of Midian’s hand. Am I not sending you?” (6:14) (The answer to this rhetorical question is that the I AM was indeed sending Gideon.) I felt my situation was quite similar. I needed to go in the strength and knowledge that I had (that God has blessed me with) and trust that the I AM was sending me, no matter how unqualified I may have been.
After my first day in clinic and 12 evaluations, I left so discouraged. I knew that God still had a plan in it, but I didn’t know how I was going to help any of those 12 patients and I had more evaluations to do a couple days after that. But, God gave me the encouragement I needed. The next therapy day, I saw about 6 patients but felt more comfortable in knowing how to treat them and where to begin. When God calls us and promises to be with us, I think He does that in different ways. Sometimes it’s in the form of the resources He puts around us that can help us get through where He’s put us. For me, those resources were people back home (my “healthcare network” as I call them) who have been great in responding to my questions in how to treat patients.
God sent along another resource this past week: 3 doctors, a dentist, a scrub nurse, and a military paramedic, all from Indiana. I learned so much from these people being in clinic with them all week. Dr. Bill Rutherford, MD and Dr. Doug Harty, DDS, were particularly helpful and encouraging. I was still working on my own doing therapy while they were doing surgeries and pulling teeth, but I frequently stopped in their rooms to ask them their opinion. They were more than willing to offer their assistance, but more than once, Dr. Bill made a comment like, “Well, I can look at your patient, but you have way more experience and knowledge than I do. You’re the expert.” I laughed hysterically in my head. “Does this experienced doctor have any idea what he just said to me- the 22 year old who just graduated 4 weeks ago?” At one point during the week I thanked Doug for his help and encouragement saying how much I had learned from him. He responded, “Hey, ya know, that’s what it’s all about, and it goes both ways. I learned from you too today.” The clinic staff would meet on the roof every night for what Katrina (other intern who had been here for 5 weeks and left this morning) and I referred to as “doctor talk”. We were with them one night around a picnic table when I realized the professionals I was sitting with- true experts in their fields. They warmly welcomed us and treated us as equals. It was really neat, and I was sad to see them leave this morning. Now, to say that I’ve gained a little confidence this week would be the understatement!