by Emily Morrison
The January 2019 Woodland medical mission team to Cambodia could count on two things in their daily routine: they would be up at the crack of dawn, and they’d fall asleep as soon as their heads hit the pillow. Everything in-between, however, was a new adventure.
Each day the team packed themselves into a van and traveled through a chaotic swirl of cars and mopeds to the location for that day’s mobile clinic. They never knew quite where they’d end up: indoors or outdoors, urban or rural, a church or a classroom—even a floating barge. With such diverse places, their first task was to figure out how to get creative and maximize the area and make use of available furniture.
Once everything was in place, the clinic opened for patients. Team leader Frank DeMarco said, “We trusted that God sent us the patients per his appointments.” As patients arrived, team members moved into their roles as “non-meds” (those without medical backgrounds) and the “meds.” Non-meds handled intake: checking things like height, weight, vital signs, and blood sugar levels. Patients then moved on to the meds, a doctor or nurse, who evaluated them and prescribed medication or treatment as needed. Team members prayed over each patient and shared the gospel with those who were open to it.
Each person knew their specific job—like Donna Dox who explained, “Since my profession is a hair stylist, I was the lice lady; I checked for lice, handed out shampoo and lice combs and educated.” Two team members who were teachers were able to meet with students and teachers in local schools. They played math and English games and shared their testimonies.
Each day the team faced the challenges of unusual locations, limited infrastructure and culture and language differences. To pull off a clinic under these circumstances requires exceptional teamwork, and the team prayed for this type of oneness. After the trip, member after member commented on the extraordinary level of team unity. Team leader Trinh Ngoc Tranberg said, “Everyone harmonized as one would in a choir concert.”
Nan Schwietz summarized this dynamic well. “We worked like a well-oiled team… everyone just pitched in … each team member showed kindness to those who were serving and each other. A head bowed in prayer, folded hands and a bow with a smile, fingers gently looking through hair then redoing the ponytail with a new binder … there were so many tells on the heart of service towards each other and those we were serving. This was an amazing team.”
Working together, the Cambodia group saw 731 people, consisting of 215 adults and 516 children. They gave out 1,455 medications and 210 pairs of eyeglasses. Their unity also enabled them to offer out the intangibles of kindness and service, reflecting the beauty of working together as the body of Christ.