Labor Not Lost
Craig von Buseck
CBN.com Contributing Writer
- It was a moment that will remain etched forever in the
memory of those who witnessed it.
When the Operation Blessing medical missions team arrived at
the clinic in the small Mexican village of Huejotzingo, everyone
knew the time left for this outreach was getting short -- it would
be merely hours and the last of the patients would be allowed
to register to see a doctor, optician or dentist. A heaviness
hung over the group as they walked past the mammoth crowd still
waiting outside the clinic -- and it was especially difficult
for the clinic co-leaders, Roy Davidson and Michael Agy.
As the group gathered for morning devotions, the team chaplain
sought to encourage the people. He then led the doctors, nurses,
dentists, and volunteers in prayer, asking God to send other teams
-- whether from Operation Blessing or other organizations -- to
continue reaching out to the people of Mexico in a tangible way
with the love of Jesus. Suddenly, a special peace settled on the
group, and they went to their workstations to begin the last full
day of seeing patients.
The morning was filled with activity at the clinic as hundreds
of people poured into the makeshift facility. The busyness was
good for the emotional well being of the group -- activity helps
one to forget the aching heart.
Finally the moment arrived. The clinic leaders had to make the
difficult decision to stop registering patients for the optical
clinic. The docket for the day was full, and those they couldn't
get to today would be seen before the clinic closed at noon on
After assembling the local police and OBI security guards, the
lead police officer stood up on a steel barrel holding a bullhorn
in his hand. He would translate the announcement to the crowd
of several hundred people.
Co-leader Roy Davidson stood behind the barricades, facing a
sea of latino faces before him. "We want you to know how much
we love you," he began. "We have been working hard for the people
of Mexico -- from 5 o'clock in the morning until 10 o'clock at
night. It is our desire to see every single one of you." He poured
his heart out to them. "But I am sorry to have to tell you, there
will be no more medical care. We have registered the last patients
that we can see from now until the clinic closes tomorrow."
A look of sadness and ultimate acceptance came over the faces
of many congregated in front of the clinic. Roy turned to slowly
walk back into the clinic. Suddenly there was a stirring in the
crowd. Someone shouted in Spanish, "It is all right. We love you."
Spontaneously they began singing the national song, Cielito Cindo
-- a song the Mexican people sing when they say goodbye to someone
With a shocked expression on his face, Roy turned back to the
people. He was joined by his co-leader Michael Agy, along with
other volunteers who had gathered for the announcement. The volume
of the song quickly grew, and near and far the people beamed with
pride for their country and love for the OBI medical team.
From inside, other members of the OBI team heard the beautiful
sound of singing as it echoed through the large warehouse door
and off the concrete walls. One by one, several of them left their
posts and wandered out to see the amazing sight.
When they were finished singing, the people broke out into applause.
"Bravo, Operation Blessing," they shouted above the clapping and
cheering of the crowd. Across the front of the clinic, the men
and women of the medical team failed to control their emotions.
Tears streamed down the faces of many gathered face to face with
these sweet people.
In a display of unusual tenderness, even the head police officer
wiped away a tear from behind his sunglasses.
Arm-in-arm with another OBI volunteer, Roy shared his feelings
at this poignant moment. "I have been in fifteen nations," he
said shaking his head and smiling, "and I have never seen a more
gracious, more patient, more loving people than here in Puebla.
No pushing, no shoving -- and then when you tell them you can't
do anything more for them they applaud you."
He shrugged his shoulders in unbelief at the irony of the situation.
Roy continued, "It just makes it hurt that much more -- and then
you just want to do that much more for them."
Just inside the clinic doors, Michael Agy's wife, Arlene, approached
him and noticed the tears in his eyes. "What's the matter," she
asked. "They just announced that we can't take any more optical
patients," he answered. Immediately she broke down and cried --
she couldn't say another word.
This was the end of a two-week medical mission to the State of
Puebla, Mexico, conducted by Operation Blessing International
with the cooperation of the CBN Latin America,
and CBN Mexico. Early the next day morning the team was back in
front of the hotel in nearby Puebla, Mexico. They were loading
the busses for the familiar trip to the Puebla airport -- but
this time they would load the plane, secure the cargo and taxi
down the runway, preparing to leave Mexico and the precious people
who they served.
Tears poured down the faces of many on the medical team as the
plane roared into the sky -- the grand Popocatepetl volcano that
stood like a sentry guarding The Flying Hospital for two glorious
weeks now slowly faded from view as the volunteers of the Operation
Blessing International's medical mission to Mexico made their
way home to their families and loved ones.
As Roy Davidson peered out the window at the smoking volcano
his thoughts were of the applause from the Mexican villagers.
"Bravo, Lord," he whispered, "Bravo."
Learn more about Operation Blessing at the Web site, www.ob.org.
Read "ChurchWatch: Craig's BLOG on CBN.com
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Buseck on CBN.com
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von Buseck is Ministries Director for CBN.com. Send
him your e-mail comments. You can order Craig's books, Seven Keys to Hearing God's Voice and God's Supernatural Power in You on ShopCBN.
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