Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Journey of Colombia Post Trip #4- The Clinic

When we get sick here, all we have to do is pick up the phone to make an appointment with our doctor. Or, if the doctor is busy, we can go to an urgent care. Quite literally, we never really have to worry about whether or not we can be seen by a health care professional when we are sick. We don't have to worry that they will be out of medicine. We aren't concerned about not being taken care of. In fact, I would venture to say that has never even crossed my  mind.

 But for the 9 days I was in Colombia, I saw health care from a whole new perspective.

The small village of Brisas del Mar has a beautiful clinic that was built a few years ago. The clinic is funded by the church, and they serve the patients at no cost to the patient. It is a huge ministry to the area there. The next closest hospital is a 45 minute drive on dusty dirt roads. The clinic is kept clean (cleaner than the hospital that is 45 min away, and I know this because our team leader a year ago got pretty sick and ended up in that hospital).
  But the clinic struggles to have the supplies they need. Between cost of supplies (because remember they are not a typical clinic brining in a lot of income) and the difficulty in getting those things (because of cost and distance and other obstacles), the clinic is often out of typical every day items. Things as simple as bandaids, or more complex items like sutures. The clinic sees a lot of pregnant women and infants. I can't remember a day that I was there when the clinic was open that they didn't have a waiting room full, with patients spilling into the outside of the waiting area just as much. The people need medical attention, and this clinic and the staff there serve the people beautifully.

 I shared in a blog post prior to the trip that God opened up an amazing resource to be able to attain some medical supplies to take into Brisas. Not having a huge knowledge of medical supplies, I pretty much filled 6 suitcases with the little bits I had learned about the clinic. Now, I know even better. But at that time, I just filled it with a little of everything- wraps, casts, bandaids, lots of suture sets, suture removals, several OB kits and infant items, needles, blood sample kits, breathing aids (asthma is a problem there) and the list goes on. Another team member, Gil, also filled a suitcase with items like needles as well.  I knew the clinic needed items, but I had no idea until arriving there the impact these items would have. (*please don't hear my sharing this as a pat on my own back. I give all the credit to the Lord, who opened this door for me and the team to bless the clinic. As the blog closes, I will share a little more of how this impacted me, which is why I share the ability to have been able to get these supplies). 

 One of the first acts we did upon arriving to Brisas was to bring out the suitcases of supplies to give to the clinic. They were laid out on a table and the clinic staff was gathered around. Being new to this, I did not know any of the staff yet. Yuledia Alvarez, "Tía", Doctora Sol, Catherine, (and one more I am leaving out, whose name I cannot recall) lined up to listen to our team leader, Michael, share what we had brought, being translated by Paola.
 The suitcases were laid out and as he spoke, I watched. The more he talked, the head nurse, Yuledia, began to cry. To a point of quiet weeping. She cried because of how badly the clinic needed these items and how much of a blessing they were to the clinic. To the people of Brisas, who need more medical attention than they are able to give due to a lack of supplies.
Laying out the suitcases of medical supplies to present to the clinic

 For a moment, I tried to hold back my tears. It was my first day, my first hours even, and I wasn't ready to be the emotional wreck already. But I gave up on holding them in after a few minutes and just let them quietly fall. I didn't know the need there from having seen it, but Yuleida's heart and words and tears spoke it all. And I was so grateful in that moment to be able to be a small piece of blessing the clinic.
Yuleida,  Clinic Adminstrator, giving team leader, Paula, a hug

Yuledia and Doctora Sol going through supplies

Yuledia looking through supplies

  What I haven't shared in blogs past is that I have been praying for this trip for months.... I prayed about my going, yes, and my funding, but I also prayed for God to open up doors that our team would be able to bless Brisas in new ways. I knocked.... He answered. Prior to "knocking" and asking around if anyone would donate medical supplies, I had just the idea in my head that we'd take over bandages and basic over the counter items. When my name got tagged along on the team roster as helping to put together medical supplies (everyone on the team had jobs in prep for the trip) I had no idea the doors God would open. And so for me, watching them open these suitcases and be blessed was a way of seeing the hand of God in a very intimate fashion. He answered the prayers of the people of Brisas in that moment. He also answered mine. I literally was clueless as to their needs. I had no idea if what I was putting into the suitcases was needed or not. And He went above and beyond answering those prayers. Special thanks to #KetteringHealthHospitals who were a huge part of that blessing. They willingly gave to the people of Brisas.

 On day 2 or 3 of being there, Tía told me "We used the sutures today..." and I was so happy. I wasn't happy someone had been hurt, of course, but I was happy that the supplies were there so that the person could be adequately stitched.
The nurses here are getting a training class

Tía comes from Barranquilla and brings information to teach the nurses updated medical lessons. 

 I could share more, but in order to protect a little of the privacy of the clinic and its patients, I will leave the stories at that. The need there is so enormous. But for a moment in time, we got to see that need be met in a small way that spoke volumes to the nurses there which will bless the community for (hopefully) months to come.

It's crazy to think that medical care isn't available due to lack of supplies. Once again, another piece of life I take for granted. The nursing staff there is an incredible group of young ladies, whom I am blessed to call my friends now. For me, it was also wonderful to be able to speak their language and be able to talk with them a little more personally and tell them when thanked that it was completely God, and we were simply His hands for a moment. To share how this had been so prayed over for so many months. We did not take anyone on the team with medical knowledge or to go over and do medical work. But the clinic is such a huge part of the church's ministry in Brisas and it was beautiful to watch them be blessed.
  God is good. And I hope it always reminds me of His answers to prayers when I look at these photos.
Yuledia giving us a tour of the clinic

Yuledia, me, and Tia 

 In the posts to come in the next few days, I will share stories and photos of the people there I was able to meet and get to know, including my amazing team mates and the beautiful people of Brisas who have forever touched my heart and changed my perspective. 


  1. It's so wonderful that the hospital you found donated all those items. Our hospital is a nonprofit and just doesn't have the ability. When you reached out to me, I had NO IDEA where to direct you. What a blessing that hospital was. I can't even believe it. Your faithfulness to rely on God to answer your prayers was the ONLY way to get it done!

    1. Your prayers and your thoughts on this helped lead me to the local hopsital, so thank you!! You were part of it :) God is Amazing!