Emotionally I am fine. I was so blessed by what I was able to be a part of in the Philippines. I have never known such joyful and resilient people. One story from the last morning of relief clinics neatly illustrates this joy and gratefulness. Each clinic was supposed to last just 3 hours for 150 patients. My goal was to have at least four doctors at each clinic, which I had found for this morning. But just hours before the clinic was due to start, I learned that two of the four doctors had become ill and could not attend. Completely understandable but it meant that it was going to be an interesting day with one clinic scheduled for 9-12 and a second clinic from 1-4. Our first location was in Lupang Arenda, an area that is still under water! As you can imagine, we saw LOTS of diarrhea, vomiting, fevers, fungus, and the like...and it was a long morning. The church had passed out tickets for 150 patients per my instructions but about 20 more showed up hoping we would finish early and they could be seen. After 5 hours of clinic (by now it was after 2pm and we were over an hour late to our next clinic where 150 more patients were waiting), we had to close up shop and scramble to our next location. As we were leaving one of the 20 surplus patients tapped me on the arm and said, "M'am, thank you so much for coming. You were not able to see my sick child, but it means a lot to all of us that you came to see us and give my people much needed care." Wow! This was a lady who had waited 5 hours in sweltering heat for her sick kid without getting seen and she was STILL grateful! How often do I wait 5 minutes and become grumpy? And most likely those five minutes are spent in air-conditioning!
I truly thank the Lord for every one of the 3000+ patients we saw at the 9 clinics we held. It was hot, sticky, smelly, exhausting, and draining, but it was also filled with joy, blessing, and continued renewal by the Holy Spirit.
However, the job is far from over. As I write this blog update, the 4th typhoon in just one month is leaving the Philippines, and this one was a direct stike on Manila. Praise God that not much rain fell, but many homes were blown down and destroyed...not to mention that every raindrop on saturated soil is bad news. There is still so much to be done! Please pray that God would raise up more people to continue the job. The team on the field is so exhausted as they have been doing non-stop recovery work in the last month, but God is able and will continue to do His work, even in our weaknesses.
Thanks for joining me in the three weeks I spent in the Philippines. It will definitely be considered a highlight of my life. I am eager to return someday soon to continue on the work there and appreciate your prayers as I raise support and seek God's wisdom in this journey. One thing's for sure, it will never be boring!