Before Jesus fed the five thousand, He asked one of his disciples, Philip, “Where shall we buy bread for these people to eat?” Philip answered him, “It will take more than half a year’s wages to buy enough bread for each one to have a bite!” Then another disciple found a boy with five small barley loaves and two small fish, but asked Jesus “How far will they go among so many?” After seeing Jesus perform many miracles, His own disciples still doubted their teacher’s requests. Despite His disciples doubts, Jesus took those five loaves and two fish and fed five thousand men as well as the women and children in the crowd.
When we were given the vision to create a medical database that would link medical missions with telecommunications, we had the very same questions and doubts. But I have realized over this first year of Sending70 that if we try to approach any situation without prayer and guidance of Christ then we are trying to feed a multitude with just five loaves and two fish. Without Christ’s love and heart centered in the middle of anything in our lives, that little bit of food will only go so far.
We returned yesterday from our first Sending70 mission trip to Barahona, Dominican Republic. The last five days have taught me that I need to be more like the little boy, bringing the loaves and fish to Christ and letting Him work through his children to feed the multitude. We arrived in Batey Central not knowing what to expect on this trip. We had our reservations and doubts about safety, the agenda for the clinic, and the number of people we would treat. We couldn’t have ever invisioned the outpouring of community support we received. .
In our previous story, Wilkyns Chal Bautista gave us his testimony of how God changed his life and how, through the school he started this past year, he was trying to fullfill God’s calling for his life through the children of Batey Central. Since most of the people of Batey Central are not citizens of the Dominican Republic, they are not allowed the privileges of public schools. And without educations, most find it difficult to find jobs or get any type of health care.
On this trip, we came prepared to treat some medical and dental needs of the children of this school and attempt to break ground on our first clinic. We were ready for hard working conditions; for example, extremely rocky soil, almost no power supply, and limited access to tools. We arrived at the school early Wednesday morning to only Wilkyns and two of the students. Within minutes of our arrival we were surrounded by numerous people of the community, ready to help us work. Some were parents of the children in the school and some were just people who wanted to help. They were not there with expectations of us handing out free items. You could see in their eyes, their smiles, and their actions the hope that Christ has created in them for growth and future development of their community through the school and the future clinic. In those three days, our team worked side by side with the people of Batey Central helping them dig and pour footings for a clinic that to us would meet their physical needs. To them, however, it meant not only help with their physical needs, but a hope that through Christ they could have a chance to change the direction of their community.
Max Lucado termed the phrase “accident of latitude” in the book “Outlive Your Life.” Each person in this batey is every bit as intelligent as each of our team members. We share alot of the same dreams and aspirations and have a lot in common. They were just born in the wrong place.
“A latitude void of unemployment insurance, disability payments, college grants, Social Security, and government supplements. A latitude largely vacant of libraries, vaccinations, clean water, and paved roads. In the game of life, many of us who cross home plate do so because we were born on third base. Others aren't even on a team.
Some people are poor because they are lazy. They need to get off their duffs. Others, however, are poor because parasites weaken their bodies, because they spend six hours a day collecting water, because rebel armies ravaged their terms, or because AIDS took their parents.” -Max Lucado