Ruth from Auckland joined the last Medical Team to China as a non-medical volunteer. It did not turn out the way she expected!!
9th August. I flew to China, feeling like a warrior going to the battle-field.
At the airport in Gansu Province, I met my Kiwi team mate Michelle and we set off to our accommodation for the night.
CCSM Medical Team: Ruth centre front
Our host took us to have the famous Lanzhou Beef Noodle (doesn’t that make you green with envy? It was genuine Lanzhou Beef Noodle!). But alas! It was so hot I could not enjoy it at all! I was certainly not in a good humour … Never mind, the Bible says “I am the vine, you are the branches. Whoever abides in me I in him.” The branches have nothing to boast about except its elasticity and adaptability. So the first day passed in my attempts to adjust to this strange place.
11th August. We set off to X county. This was where we were to work for the rest of our time there.
12th August. Our medical work began. We drove for two hours to a village. I kept praising the Lord on our way when I saw those clay cottages, as I remember the houses in my home-town was also like them. My Lord had led me all the way to where I was, living in a beautiful environment in New Zealand. We were kept busy for the whole day and treated over 200 patients, most of whom were grandpas and grandmas. They came very early to wait in the queue under a scorching sun. A granny walked for four hours to get here. She was almost 80 years old. My heart ached for her.
I was indeed exhausted at the end of the day as we took the bus back to the hotel where we were staying. I wasn’t at all happy. 1. The village where we were working was dirty, messy and poor. 2. The work was not very challenging to make it feel worthwhile. 3. I was really exhausted. I asked God, Father, why am I here? 4. I had diarrhoea!
13th August. During our devotion time in the morning, a foreign doctor shared her experience a few years back on this medical team. (I think she saw that I was quite upset!)
Once she was treating an elderly woman who had bound feet. She offered to give the granny’s feet a wash. The granny was embarrassed but the doctor proceeded to untie the cloth that bound her feet. Then the doctor realised they were really filthy and badly needed attention. She was disgusted at what she saw. She asked God why he had brought her, a highly qualified doctor across the world to be doing a menial job like that! Then the Holy Spirit moved her and told her it was really Jesus who was washing the elderly woman’s feet. He was depending on her to be His hands... The foreign doctor’s whole attitude changed – she has gone on the Medical Team now NINE times!!
God also moved me and said to me that He loved the local people, but he needed our hands to show it! Was I willing to love these people and accept them on His behalf? I said “Yes, Lord, I am willing. The work might be simple but it is also honourable.”
15th August. Today Michelle and a few other team members set out for the disaster-affected region as early as 5 in the morning. I was left behind by myself in the hotel. I felt miserable and I came before our heavenly Father and told Him I was feeling all together miserable. As I spoke, I found that I could not help complaining that I did not at all like this place. I felt as if I was being wronged and complained to Father for bringing me to a place like this.
While I was praying, our heavenly Father told me that I was like a little flower in a glasshouse, which thought herself to be a gigantic tree and pestered all the time to be put to use. So He used this opportunity to test me. The heavenly Father asked me whether I would persevere for His sake. I said I would. Strangely, as soon as I gave Father my willingness, I was no longer bound by the situation.
As Paul said: “I can do everything through Him who gives me strength.” So I persevered through to the last day, without the heavy load. (My diarrhoea also persevered to the end of the trip!!)
The trip was completely different from what I thought it would be like, but I received much more than what I expected. Dear Heavenly Father, I still say I will do it again for you. My life is in your hands and I am willing to be used by you all my life. Please make me a fit vessel.
Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead. (James 2:14)
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