The Tough Side of Missions
This morning reminded me of the difficult side of relief missions—the people we simply cannot help. A man came to the clinic Sunday, and persuaded a doctor to go to his home to see his wife. She is a thirtyish mother of four. In April, she lost a full-term baby, I don’t know how or why. She has been suffering from severe depression. The clinic isn’t equipped to treat depression, because that requires ongoing consultation with doctors and we’re just here for a week. In addition, she is having severe abdominal pains. When the doctor saw her earlier, he prescribed pain medicine and Cipro that should eliminate an infection. But is it an infection?
Shortly after 5 a.m., the husband returned to say his wife’s pain worsened around 4 a.m. The doctors consulted and thought it could be one of a thousand things—infection, appendicitis, hernia, even psychosomatic pain resulting from the depression … the list is seemingly endless. But we’re simply not structured to explore every possibility, and the doctors felt that we had essentially done all we could do for her. She needs to go to a hospital. But will she? No one really knows. We can only pray. I will surely pray.
And I pray for the doctors, too. Though not with medical treatment, of course, I’ve been where they are in other situations—wanting desperately to help, but realistically helpless. That’s an awful feeling. I’m sure they face it all the time, and I don’t know how they do it. God bless them for their willingness to pay that high price for the joy of helping those they can.
I just read a portion of my journal from 2012. In reading it, I realize that there were things which were strange to me then, but which I don’t give a second thought now. Things like cows roaming in the streets of LaCeiba. I think it might be a part of human nature, both good and bad, that we acclimate so quickly and are no longer stunned by things beautiful nor shocked by things horrible.