On February 20th, the remaining six members of our team-Helen, Lia, Thalia, Aaron, Bob and I arrived back in Minnesota. Another Minnesota blizzard delayed our return home from the extended trip, forcing us to spend an unintended extra night in Minneapolis. Thanks to some quick phone calls, Helen was able to find us a nearby hotel so we could “wait out the storm”.
The next day-February 21, we made our final journey back to our homes/workplaces. Bob and Aaron bravely (and safely) drove us home from Minneapolis as they fearlessly tackled the ice and snow packed highways, the drifting snow and sometimes difficultly visibility. We were grateful for their skillful driving abilities.
The Chiapas team of 2014 was certainly successful and memorable. After returning home, I soon missed the clinic days of Chiapas Mexico and the team that quickly became a family that laughed together, prayed together, worked hard together, and sometimes cried together. A van full of eager volunteers chattering on our way to our next clinic was replaced with the eerily quite ride alone to the Wells and Winnebago clinics. The beautiful sights of the Chiapas hillsides, valleys and rivers, the villages, the markets and colorful tiendas were replaced with the chill of a Minnesota’s winter wind; snow covered highways, and the challenges of winter driving in Minnesota.
I still ponder and marvel at the work our team accomplished: how quickly we were able to get a clinic set up and running, the efficiency of our pharmacy team (Helen and Kyle), the tireless work of the interpreters (Lia, Thalia, Curtis and Val), the patience of our nurses (Colette and Sherry) who dealt with long lines of patients waiting to be seen, and the passionate care of our providers (Dr. Bob, Dr. Aaron and Dr. Don) as they affectionately cared for the person in front of them without the luxury of fancy x-ray’s, scans and lab work.
My thoughts still drift back to the memories of the people we served, the gratitude of the people we helped, the volunteers of the villages that helped our team and their people, the nuns who so caringly prepared some of our meals, and the beauty of a country and it’s people.
Yes- poverty, the illnesses related to poverty and the struggles’ of the people of Chiapas surrounded us daily and filled our hearts with sorrow and sadness. However, I believe everyone on this team found joy in caring for the people of Chiapas, felt privileged to have the opportunity to be a part of MDP, and selflessly shared their talents and time to care for God’s children.
We were humbled by the gratitude, patience, faith and devotion to family demonstrated daily by the people we served-the people of Chiapas.
Our lives are forever changed by the people we meet, the things we do, the places we go and the experiences we have.
I thank God for a safe and successful trip, for the financial supporters of MDP and for our family and friends who kept us in their prayers while we were gone.
I very grateful for each member of this team: the new friends, the reunion of old friends and the opportunity to work with my hometown friends/co-workers. I miss you dearly.
And lastly, I am forever grateful for the opportunity to work with MDP and serve side by side with our co-leader, Lia.
Lia spends endless hours in the months prior to our trip making arrangements for transportation, reservations for our team, coordinating the volunteers in Chiapas and setting up clinic dates for our mission in Chiapas. Lia’s passion for the people of Chiapas, her enthusiasm, her energy and her determination are so admirable. You are inspirational!
Thank-you Team Chiapas 2014! You have made a difference in the lives of many people in Chiapas… and you have touched my heart in so many ways!
God Bless, Nancy