Monday, January 2, 2012

Meet the team!

Saturday, December 17th

Perhaps I need to start by taking a step back before trying to take another step forward.  I've talked about my sister, Cheri, but haven't explained how this all ties together.  Cheri is the director of MOG (Missions of Grace), and it is MOG that hosted/administrated/facilitated (not sure of the proper term) this trip. In October I accepted a position on the MOG Board of Directors and was committed to the idea that I needed to have a "boots on the ground" experience to be the most effective board member possible.  This December trip was planned and I basically invited myself along :-)  Embarrassed initially that it took me this long to get to Nicaragua (Cheri first moved there in 1994), those feelings were quickly forgotten when I saw my sisters excitement that her "little brother" was coming to Nicaragua!

My sis Cheri, with her granddaughter Adrianna
MOG was formed in 1994 when Cheri and her family (then 6 kids strong, now 10) moved to Nicaragua as Christian missionaries, living there full time for about 9 years.  The initial mission was to build an orphanage, and while there they were also active in hurricane relief, medical missions, church planting and more.  Since moving back to the states Cheri has remained committed to MOG and I don't think that it is overstating it to say that her first and last thoughts of each day are for the people of Nicaragua.  Two of the Mauldin kids continue to live in Nicaragua, Windy in Managua and Sarah in San Juan Del Sur.  A number of the kids are active in MOG, not the least of which is Rachel, a resident of San Antonio and wholly committed as well to the well being of the Nicaraguan people.

So now that the foundation is (finally) laid, lets meet the team!

Allie, Marwa (2nd yr med student), Tim
Part of our Friday (day 2) travels included a trip to the airport to pick up Allie and Tim.  My journal notes from that day read "Very friendly, attractive, educated and articulate young couple with wisdom, insight and purpose that is beyond their years.  Allie is all about the WINFOCUS ultrasound project and is jetsetting her way around the globe establishing and maintaining this project.  Tim is all about revolutionizing health care and education systems in the states."   When Tim and I were alone I asked him if Allie was as young as she looked or as old as she sounded and Tim indicated that while it was the former they were both "old souls".  I felt very fortunate to spend time with both of these guys during the week, both half my age (well, almost anyway) they had plenty to teach me :-)
Tim looking on as Cheri and Allie discuss application opportunities for the portable ultrasound...

Allie proved to be quite adept at organizing the details...

Suchil, Ana, Sam, Travis Coffman

Returning from the airport the Coffman family was at Windy's house, having flown in earlier in the day.  Sam and Suchil are committed to teaching sustainability, herbology, survival techniques and the like.  Incredibly knowledgable and passionate, I was ready to sign up for Sam' survival school by the time I left, and so appreciated Suchil's patience with me as she helped me with my (total lack of) Spanish and was inspired by her selfless commitment to the MOG mission by providing and teaching her soft tissue massage techniques (very helpful given the manual labor of most in the farming and fishing villages).  The kids (well, young adult children :-), Travis and Ana tirelessly attended to the kids that came to the clinics.  Every time I saw Travis he seemed to be a sweaty mess from playing soccer with the kids!

But back to Saturday, we all left Windy's for the airport to pick up the medical team which consisted of 5 med, 5 pharmacy, and one creative design students from Wayne State, plus two doctors.  With bag after bag after bag of medicine and supplies it took them a while to get through customs, but they eventually emerged and it was time to load everything onto the bus that would be our means of transportation for the next six days, and head southwest.  Loading the bus provided me a secret moment of levity as I heard student after student say "they aren't really going to put our luggage up there, are they?"  

Just need my chauffer's hat (and jacket, and limo... :-)
The team...

"You're not serious, are you?..."  :-)

Piling onto the bus.  We'd spend a fair amount of time here over the next several days...

While I did the hard work of holding the WHSO sign, the other guys, well....

Allie providing details of the ultrasound project

And I'd be remiss if I didn't introduce Camillo and Abraham, two of our translators.  Both have become friends of the Mauldin family as they have volunteered on any number of MOG trips.  Both worked tirelessly the entire trip, and proved to be a priceless asset to the team.  By weeks end, I do believe they became great friends with the entire medical team as well.
Abraham and Cheri discussing logistics...

Tim and Camillo as we wait at the airport for the team to arrive

I'll share more about the team when we talk specifically about the clinics.

One hour down the highway, another hour down the country roads, and two hours bouncing down dirt roads, through rivers, over hills, and we arrived at what would be our "home base" for the week - The Surf Sanctuary.  Far from roughing it, but they offer a rate to non-profit missions that can't be beat.  Tony and Nancy (Florida natives) are indeed good people and made us feel at home all week.

Nicaragua is made beautiful by its people...

And it's countryside.

Poor maybe, but being clean is a priority.

A burst of color


Mombacho Volano

Home base...

Settling into bed Saturday night, with the first of 4 clinic days to follow, my journal entry was simply a list of reflections:
Appearances decieve.  People are people.  So many in bondage to lies. We can't do everything, but everyone can do something.  Find a need and fill it.  Amazing connections. Awesome potential.  Awareness.  Awakening.  Inspiration.

Card from Bain, Day 3:
Isaiah 2:3 Many people will come and say, "Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob.  He will teach us His ways, so that we may walk in His paths."  The Law will go out from Zion, the Word of the Lord from Jerusalem.

A teachable person is someone who puts into action what they have learned.  The fact that we do not have all the answers is proof of God.  Men disagree, which is why we don't follow men.  God and His Word on the other hand are the same yesterday, today, and for eternity.  Is what we are teaching eternal, or will it pass away with the wisdom of men?

Press on friends.  

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