Wednesday May 23, 2018
Wow, what a week we have had here in Poipet, Cambodia. We just wrapped up our sixth clinic in seven days and the team is definitely worn out. We spent two clinic days in the city of Poipet, rested on Sunday, and then set up three rural clinics near the Thai border Monday, Tuesday, and today. The clinics have been long and challenging, yet patient after patient I was reminded of how kind and grateful the Cambodian people are. On Sunday we attended the church where we set up our first two clinics. It was refreshing to be around Christian Cambodians worshiping and praising God. During that service I was reminded that our God is the God of every nation and all creation. After a long first week battling jetlag, the unknown, the heat, and new foods we were all greatly encouraged by a day of rest. During the sermon the pastor said, “As Christians, we must leave our comfort zone to provide comfort to others.” This resonated with me in the midst of challenging clinics and has carried me through day by day. I was reminded of the gift we have to serve in Cambodia, to step away from American life and engage with a new culture to provide even an ounce of comfort. Truly a beautiful picture of the gospel.
Church Service on Sunday. Clinic set up at the church
The rural clinics were different than the city clinics in a variety of ways. In the city most of the people had some access to medical care even if it wasn’t consistent. However, in the villages the people had limited or no access to health centers or medical care. This was painfully obvious in their chief complaints and why they were seeking care. The very first patient I had on Monday presented with breast pain. After a thorough history and physical it was evident the middle aged women had advanced and likely metastatic breast cancer. My heart sank, and we tried to get her a referral in the city. Her eyes filled with questions and concern as we told her our medical opinion. In that moment I felt helpless. The lack of resources and screening is something we would rarely face in the United States, yet in Cambodia this story is all too common.
Rural Clinic Set Up Day 1
Family of three all diagnosed with pneumonia
Additionally, at these rural clinics, the children were particularly malnourished. When talking with the parents about resources it was common to find out they could only feed their child one to two servings of white rice a day. Again, my heart sank. Real issues, real people, real needs. Interactions like these, allowed me to take a step into daily life with those impacted by a true lack of resources and a desperate need for public health services. I was reminded of the phenomenal work of Hope Through Healing Hands concerning global nutrition and advocacy. I am so grateful for the opportunity to partner with Hope Through Healing Hands, Freedom’s Promise, and Belmont University to help meet people in their greatest needs.
We wrapped up a long stretch of clinics today and will head to Siem Reap for some sight seeing and tourist days. Hopefully we will be recharged as we head into the second half of our Cambodian adventure!
Praise be to God for He is mighty to seek and save the lost. Lord teach us to be your hands and feet in this beautiful ministry you have invited us into. Give us eyes to see, ears to hear, and hearts to feel your presence in this place.