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Embracing the Mystery

Nov 8

Written by:
11/8/2017 5:05 AM  RssIcon

With every mission trip, there are months of planning and details. There’s particulars about transportation, housing, food, clinical sites and team formation to be coordinated. But at some point, you need to embrace the mystery and believe that God will show up.

We had planned to spend a second day at the same batey where we were on Monday, but our host learned of a need at another batey nearby. So we changed our plans and traveled there instead. We had absolutely no idea what to expect when we arrived – except God had called us.

Each night, we have a team meeting where we talk about things that worked well and opportunities for change. One thing we identified was the way we flowed patients through our system, which is very important when you see 343 patients in a day (as we did today).

Our process improvement involved using numbers on the intake forms and the same number on duct tape on the patient’s shirt. Idea to implementation took about 12 hours, and changes to the idea were done onsite within minutes. Simple change … huge impact.

We needed a place to hold our OB clinic and we found a willing resident to lend her small abode to us, with less than 12 hours’ notice. The young owner and her husband waited in the kitchen as we used their bedroom to do 35 OB/gyne exams of their neighbors. Could you imagine inviting the entire neighborhood over to your house for gyne exams in your master bedroom? We were in awe of this family’s graciousness.

The patients we saw here today seemed slightly healthier, but we encountered more unique pathology – things like congenital deformities, heart disease, severe hypertension and childhood HIV. Our pediatric hospitalist Robyn Gutierrez saw a benign congenital tumor in the middle ear that occurs in one in one million children. (Surgery is required but is not an option).

One patient was a young woman who was hit in the back with a shovel during an argument. We sent her to our physical therapist from AMITA Health St. Alexius, Mariela Velazquez, who helped many patients today with various issues. She educated patients on what they could do help ease their pain once we were gone. “One lady told me she was praying for someone to come in and help her with her shoulder,” Mariela said. “She wanted to know what she could do to help herself. I showed her how to use exercise bands and she went home very excited because she now has a plan.”

The spontaneity of the day was inspiring to see. Tonight, during our evening reflection led by our pediatrician Mary Lewis, she said that God will often throw obstacles in our path. “He will not give you more than you can handle,” she said. “He will be by your side to guide and will always show up.”

Now that’s embracing the mystery.

 

25 comment(s) so far...


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Re: Embracing the Mystery

Dear Rema and the rest of the Mission Team,
Great to see that all is going well and that you are embracing the mystery. What an awesome experience that you all are having. It is quite a feeling to know that you are making such a big difference in so many lives. This experience does a lot to recharge your passion for medicine and be more effective for your own patients here in the states. Such memories you all will have of this experience. Be safe and enjoy this fullfilling, rewarding, tiring experience. It is a good tired! Thanks for Extending the Healing Hand of Christ!
From the Guys in your Bible Study at St Alexius
Dave

Kal - “Praise the Lord you guys are there”
Bruce - “God Bless You and Help you in your work and I hope to join you in the future”

By Dave on   11/8/2017 7:53 AM
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Re: Embracing the Mystery

Hi to Dr. Mom (Mary Lewis) and the entire team! What an amazing experience you are all living right now. We are thinking of you and sending prayers your way from home! Be safe and continue to light up the communities you serve. You are truly living the prayer of St Francis - "make me a channel of your peace." Can't wait for more updates and pictures!

By Steph Shambo on   11/8/2017 7:59 AM
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Re: Embracing the Mystery

GOOD GIRL MARIELA !!!!!!

By stacy on   11/8/2017 8:35 AM
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Re: Embracing the Mystery

We are so proud and happy that Dr Robyn Gutierrez decided to follow her heart and provide her skills to the beautiful people there in Dominican Republic/Haiti. We miss her a lot! Especially our one year old Alexander Zayn who calls out ‘Mmmammmma’ every night in his sleep. I am happy to report that he does well for the most part and has mastered the art of shaking his booty to the tunes of Justin Bieber’s songs! To all the volunteers, thank you for making the world a better place. What a perfect time to contribute your talents and love to the Dominicans and also the Haitians. I always tell Robyn that seeing different cultures and understanding what they value puts things in perspective. We should not take things foregranted and always be grateful. Cherrish the little things. The smile, handshake, random acts of kindess from strangers. Take care team and we are so proud of all of you!

Love
Christian, Alexander Zayn, and Ginger

By Christian, Alexander, & Ginger Gutierrez on   11/8/2017 9:00 AM
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Re: Embracing the Mystery

Wow 343 patients in a day! How awesome to be able to aid that many from the community. Reading about the child with the one in a million tumor in the ear was so touching and the couple to offer up there bedroom for gyne exams truly another proof of Gods power. Dr. McKenna and the entire team again what a honor to be able to help so many and its only day 2! God Bless you all.

By Janice Recio on   11/8/2017 9:02 AM
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Re: Embracing the Mystery

Thank you for sharing your life changing experiences. The challenges you face can feel overwhelming, but it is inspiring and humbling to hear about the help you are providing to so many people. I'm sure you as a team feel indescribable satisfaction in being able to assist with the physical, medical, emotional, and spiritual needs to these most appreciative people.

BTW.....your photos are amazing!

I look forward to Day 3.....

Nancy Thompson

By Nancy Thompson on   11/8/2017 9:11 AM
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Re: Embracing the Mystery

I'm inspired by your stories! I love your words Dr. Lewis, "He will be by your side to guide and will always show up." Shout out to Cliff Jean-Baptiste and John Rapp from Mission Integration/Spiritual Care Services. John, have you sung to the group yet? Cliff, so glad you joined the group! Thank you all for saying YES to ministering in the DR.. Sending lots of cheer!


By Tricia Treft on   11/8/2017 10:21 AM
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Re: Embracing the Mystery

This is so inspiring. Thanks for blogging about this and everything you all are doing down there!

By Justin Cucci on   11/8/2017 11:21 AM
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Re: Embracing the Mystery

Hi Team! Please keep the pictures and stories coming for sharing all of your good work is so inspirational. How I wish I was there with you! Thank you for your work and care for these people that will surely remember you and your kindness for the rest of their lives!

Prayers and continued strength and guidance to all of you!

Dinna Huneryager

By Dinna Huneryager on   11/8/2017 11:26 AM
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Re: Embracing the Mystery

Go team go! I'm so impressed by what you guys have accomplished so far and look forward to reading more about your amazing work in the Dominican Republic. Thank you for all of your hard work and readiness to help others. Special shouts out to Sam Armando, who I assume is the best tooth brushing teacher of all times, as well as Dr. Rema Johnson, whose generosity and work ethic serve as an example for us all. Keep up the great work and as John Rapp must be reminding you all, embrace the mystery!

By Jane Harter on   11/8/2017 11:36 AM
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Re: Embracing the Mystery

You guys are doing incredible work, God's work. I'm sitting at my desk teary eyed and I'm praying that you'll continue to touch people.

By Sam Sagrado on   11/8/2017 11:48 AM
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Re: Embracing the Mystery

Years ago, I remember teaching my daughter how to brush her teeth. It seemed like such a small task, but it was one of the many times that I looked down at her and hoped that one day she would do great things and make a difference. Little did I know that years later, she would be doing exactly that, and accomplishing it by, among many things, helping kids in the Dominican Republic learn how to brush their teeth. Obviously, she is just a small part of a big group that has impressed me more than I ever imagined. Your stories inspire and motivate me. Thank you again for sharing, and thank you for reminding me that in a world that often makes me shake my head, there are people who can also make me smile.

By Sam Armando on   11/8/2017 12:00 PM
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Re: Embracing the Mystery

I am so inspired by your service in the Dominican Republic!! The pictures and stories all touch my heart deeply. God has truly called each and every one of you there. You are impacting hundreds of lives every day with your care and compassion. Way to go - you are all an inspiration and great examples of living our values and serving our mission!!!

By Diane Leeming on   11/8/2017 12:58 PM
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Re: Embracing the Mystery

The pictures are so great to see, all the people smiling and so grateful for the little they receive from the team. Let their example show us the way. Bless you all, make home safe DR McKenna u still have 3 years to finish.

By Diane Novak on   11/8/2017 2:32 PM
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Re: Embracing the Mystery

The first two entries brought tears to my eyes imaging what these people are going through. Keep up the amazing spirits and God's work. Love you Mary Lewis/Mom!

By Diane Sayler on   11/8/2017 2:56 PM
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Re: Embracing the Mystery

These daily stories really tell us how much all of you are needed there! We appreciate all that you're doing to help those in need!

From Larry's Operations Team at ABMC & SAMC!

By Jackie Wians on   11/8/2017 2:59 PM
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Re: Embracing the Mystery

Hi Grammie (Karen Moore),
My mommy read me this story and I am so proud of you! It is hard for me to understand that not all children have their basic needs met as they do here in America. Hurry home Grammie we miss you!
Love, Olive

By Rachel Misceo on   11/8/2017 4:54 PM
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Re: Embracing the Mystery

Wow! You have certainly had some unique experiences in just the first two days there! I'm so impressed by all that the team does for these people who rarely have access to medical care such as you are providing. Yesterday's blog about the kids getting toys brought tears to my eyes! Thanks for keeping us updated, Julie...love your blogs!
Stay healthy and be safe! Hugs...
Harriet

By Harriet James on   11/8/2017 11:06 PM
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Re: Embracing the Mystery

Dear Grandma (Dr.) Mary. Grandpa keeps telling us about how you are helping the children on your mission trip, You and the team are the best, helping those in need. Beckett and I keep saying how Grandma Mary is taking care of the children. Grandpa keeps saying how proud he is of you and all the others with you. You are all special people helping the world with the talent that God gave you. We're sure the families you are helping will remember you and the work your doing for a long time. Love Beckett and Luke. (and Grandpa Mark!)

By Mark Lewis on   11/8/2017 11:08 PM
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Re: Embracing the Mystery

Julie you are doing such a exceptional job of relaying all the remarkable work that the team is doing. I really enjoyed seeing the pictures. Without your time, talent and experience , no one state side would know what is going on so far away. Well DONE! Mom

By Renee Autor, Julie's Proud Mom on   11/8/2017 11:31 PM
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Re: Embracing the Mystery

You guys are doing a great job !! keep up the good work... keep the pictures coming...

you are doing a great job Dr. royal McKenna!!!

By Anna on   11/9/2017 8:27 AM
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Re: Embracing the Mystery

Julie, I love reading your stories!! You have such a great talent for really giving us back here a sense of what you encounter out there!! The work that you guys are doing is amazing and I'm glad to see that even with all the best planning, the team must embrace the mystery in order to maximize God's work through you!! Prayers for you and the team and may God continue to bless your work!!

~Cristina

By Cristina Moyer on   11/9/2017 2:52 PM
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Re: Embracing the Mystery

Berenice and team,

Just dropping you all a quick note to congratulate you all on all of the good work you have done this week! I have been following all of the updates and it looks pretty amazing. Keep it up!!

Best,
Ryan West

By Ryan West on   11/9/2017 3:39 PM
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Re: Embracing the Mystery

I am blessed and grateful to call you my best friend, Berenice. Your selflessness and call to action is inspiring. Stay safe. We all love you and are so proud of you!

By Julie on   11/9/2017 5:55 PM
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Re: Embracing the Mystery

Karen Moore,

I am so proud of you and your team, please stay safe, looking forward to seeing you soon and sharing all your highlights from this life changing experience.
Thanks to all of you.
Love Theresa

By Theresa Hart on   11/9/2017 6:08 PM

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