Reading Between the Lines, South Dakota Medical Mission to the DR

What happens when a team of 7 volunteers from South Dakota come to a tropical island, the Dominican Republic, to do a medical mission in a town called Montecristi?

 

We could write a 40 page treatise on this experience that would give all the details, names, and statistics.  That might be interesting to anyone with the time and patience to read it but it might not get to the heart of the story.  To uncover or discover the heart of the story it is often necessary to read between the lines.

 

 

 

In the book of Matthew, Jesus calls us to seek first the kingdom of God and God’s justice.  The mission of Jesus was to proclaim the good news of the kingdom of God to all people but especially to the poor.  “Blessed are the poor, for theirs is the kingdom of God.” Luke 6:20.  In other passages the kingdom of God is like the tiny mustard seed, like searching for a lost coin, like yeast spreading    through bread dough, and it is here and now but somehow not yet.  It seems that the kingdom of God is near to us, all around us, but at the same time hidden from us until we search for it.  We have to read between the lines.

 

 

The medical team had four doctors, two from South Dakota and two from the the Dominican Republic.

 

 

As a team they saw more than 600 patients in 6 days.  That is a statistic, impressive but we must go deeper.

 

 

 

They also had the privilege of looking into the faces and deep into the eyes of many people who bear the heavy weight of poverty.

 

They came to the our medical post for some relief.  The doctors heard their spoken words and they also read their unspoken words between the lines.   You may ask the doctors what they ‘read’ and I would guess that in many cases they could not tell you.  Sometimes communication is deeply spiritual and there are no words except these, “I was sick and you visitied me”.

In our time together, all of us participated in the work of the clinics in our various capacities.  We communicated with each other and with the Dominicans with words, laughter, prayers, through shared meals, shared stories, hugs, basically through all of our physical and spiritual senses.  We became more familiar, more family, with each other.  But because there are language and cultural barriers we often had to read between the lines.  Our hearts are filled with all that we ‘read’.  We will try to tell you in words about our encounter but we may not be able to find the words.  Maybe all we can say is for a time we entered into the kingdom of God.

There are so many people to thank: Julia, Noel, Terri, and Terry, Francesca and Ana and Ann, John and Chris, Erasme, Maria, and Altagracia, Gordy, Ardell and Deisy and Lorenzo, and Dairy, Lori, Kris, and Loreidy, Loli, Genesy, and Noami.  Urania and Damary and Juana and Julio. And Mario too.

Blessings abundant to all you servants of the Lord.

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