So I started writing up a post in the middle of the week, fully intending to finish it up the next day, but it just never happened. Dern, the opening paragraph was so awesome, too.
First off, our new intern, Shannon, is here! She has now been here for one week and four days (and will be leaving in five weeks). We are rooming together on the first floor of the house (SUPER AWESOME element is that we have a bathroom in our room!!) and have had lots of fun getting to know each other! I don’t know why, but sharing a room with a stranger in 100 degree weather, sweating like a pig, falling over exhausted at night…plus add in a few silly midnight convos (after chocolate dessert) makes rooming fun!
This past week we had a team from Fellowship Alliance Church come out for seven days. Let me tell you, spending a week with 12 oldish men (not old, but all married fathers) is a blast! Not only were these men willing to let God work on their hearts, but they were hard workers (even when it came to washing dishes), flexible with the schedule, embracing of the Gabonese, interested in getting to know the staff here, and humble enough to ask questions. It was awesome to see God change a group of people’s hearts and minds in seven days.
So some of the guys on the team spent a lot of the week working (construction-wise) on the guest house (in process) at CFTAC (the CMA headquarters). A few of the men are medical professionals and spent most of their days doing consultations at the clinics (OSPAC and Snee). I loved experiencing all the things we did with the team, but one of the most enriching experiences for me personally was getting to sit in on the consultations. For one, what these men were doing is potentially what I could be doing someday in terms of healthcare in third-world countries. What made the experience even cooler is that both Brian (a physician’s assistant) and Dr. Mike would explain cases, medicines, etc. etc. to me and others sitting in the consultation (oh yeah, have I mentioned there is not such thing as HIPPA here?).
Ok, crazy story. On one of the medical days…I think Tuesday, I was working in the morning at OSPAC with Brian and Tim (used to run Envision center, grew up in Gabon, speaks fluent French…aka translator). We were extremely backed up with patients by 1 in the afternoon (oh yeah, they announced at the two biggest CMA churches in LBV that there were American doctors in town and where you could find them during the week) so Dr. Mike came over from Snee to help us get all of the patient seen. But with Tim in translating for Brian, the only person Dr. Mike had for translation was Pastor Jacob (of Nzeng Ayong church). Pastor Jacob (the most amazing man in the world, btw!!) speaks a little English, but not enough to do full medical translations. So I was sent in to sit in on Dr. Mike’s consultations and for the next two hours worked with Pastor Jacob to translate!! Let’s just say that the experience was…insane. And draining. And awesome. I have never been so aware of how crappy my French is, how important it is to me to learn it, and how thankful I am that God had me take a semester of French before I came here. Yeah, I don’t speak very well, but I was literally able to help translate a doctor’s crazy medical talk to the patient and the patient’s stories and questions to the doc. !!!
So yes, excitement, but it only happened once. After that afternoon I told Hannah that she should do the translation for the rest of the medical days, just because she speaks better than I do and the process would move along faster. On Thursday OSPAC had a mobile clinic to a village about an hour’s drive east of Libreville. We saw about forty patients, mostly elderly, with all sorts of ailments ranging from cancer to malaria to eye problems. On Friday we spent a chunk of the day putting up concrete posts in the jungle (the region is called PK 27). The four corner posts mark out the property that the CMA church has purchased and, way into the future, will be a compound where pastors will live, the Hope House will move to, probably some medical stuff…all sorts of awesome things for the future of CMA Gabon. Yes, it was probably the hottest day of the week and a few of our guys probably verged on getting heat strokes, but it was so cool to lay down the beginnings of this huge project!
I wish I could tell ya’ll about everything that happened, all the memories, but my wrists hurt and I realize that some of these memories are just going to have to be precious to me and the people I’ve shared them with.
I promise to write again this week, God is doing so much in Gabon and in my life and I just want the world to know how amazing He is!! Thanks to everyone for your prayers and support. Even though I can’t express it very well, I am truly, truly thankful.
Love in a glove,