While out on this internship experience, I am required to read the forum, “Turning Enemies into Friends” by Sharon Eubank and apply the teachings found therein. We are then required to write a post on what we did to apply those teachings. I remember being very inspired by Sister Eubank’s remarks when she gave this address last year. Her first emphasis involved making the best of our free time. She used the example of eagles and hogs taken from a talk given by George Brimhall. The hogs and eagles both tend to their daily requirements, but when the daily obligations are complete, hogs spend their time squandering in the mud while the eagles soar high in the sky. This was the part of her talk that really stuck out to me, but the part of the talk we are supposed to discuss, is the latter portion. The portion titled “You are the Gift” focuses on the “right” way to do humanitarian work. The remainder of this post will focus on principles from that portion of the talk, and I will share an experience that exemplified those principles.
The main principle behind you are the gift is that “Caring for the poor and needy is less about giving stuff away and more about filling the hunger for human contact.” I believe I fulfilled that best through the projects we served in. Due to the nature of our work, it can be easy to give over-the-counter pain medication, bandage wounds quickly and move on to the next patient as soon as possible. It is much more difficult to reach out to them and create meaningful relationships as well as healing their wounds and treating their illnesses. It is hard knowing that we will only be here for a month and that we only saw the patients a maximum of once a week. That is why each time we came in contact with someone, we had to do our best to forge a meaningful relationship.
On one occasion, we visited a man suffering from high blood pressure. A few years ago, he had a major stroke in his occipital lobe and lost vision in one eye. Because there is not much we can do for this man, it would have been easy to quickly take his blood pressure, remind him to take his blood pressure medication, and then be on our way. We didn’t do that. Instead, we became friends with this man. We got to know more about him, learned about his family, learned about his life, etc. On later visits, he graciously accepted us into his home, generously praised us and African Impact, and was even more willing to obey the medical recommendations given. It was a really cool experience.
In closing, I would like to remark on Sister Eubank’s statement, “The Lord wants to use you. There is a work for you to do, and it is specific to you and your abilities.” I firmly believe that the Lord has given me specific gifts and has helped me develop specific abilities which I was able to use to bless the lives of the people in Africa. I have been richly blessed by my experiences here, and I know that my efforts to become friends with the locals and volunteers has lifted our Spirits in the way the Lord brought me here to do. I am so grateful for my time in Africa and for all the wonderful friends I’ve made.