8 “When you enter a town and are welcomed, eat what is offered to you. 9 Heal the sick who are there and tell them, ‘The kingdom of God has come near to you.’
Before I was married and had two daughters, I served on six short-term medical missions in the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, and Honduras. The missions were two weeks long. I traveled to remote areas of the country where there was a lack of medical care. We worked alongside national medical personnel, and we each learned from each other. We were thankful for water, even if cold, and ate what was available in the community. Our teams consisted of doctors, dentists, nurses, physical therapists, and teenagers of the parent serving, translators, and general workers. The missionaries we worked with also recruited pastors from the country and some medical and dental students from the city. We all served together. Each morning we had devotions and, in the evenings, we played games and sang and became friends with those living in the local village.
Many times, our patients would give us gifts of food. A gift we received could be an egg that they carried in their skirt pocket as they walked several hours to our clinic or a simple corn tortilla. We treasured these gifts, knowing they gave what little they had.
One day for lunch, a gentleman (who we had treated his mother) invited a doctor and me to his home for a meal. We felt honored, but at the same time concern that this may not be the safest meal to eat. Most of the meals we ate together with our team were prepared by a cook who came with us and then hired local women to help. She provided instructions on washing hands, boiling water, and cleanliness. Now we were taking a risk eating at a village home. We prayed for safety, and joyfully joined the family. We had a great time and felt honored with the meal they prepared. They had little but gave us their best. We prayed for them and told them about God’s love for each of them, and shared the good news of Jesus. We gave them a small book of one of the gospels in Spanish and invited them to our church gathering on Sunday. Praise God; we remained healthy after our meal.
I know the Kingdom of God had come to earth and saw this in these villages. Jesus was there with us and loved each person. My faith grew on these trips and my desire to serve Jesus by helping His people with their health. I give thanks that Jesus lived on earth, walked, and healed the people he met and shows us how each person is loved and invites everyone into a relationship with Him forever.