We're celebrating the completion of our first medical aid event – a group effort by four Family International mission centers – held in the Sierra mountains in Nuevo Leon, Mexico on March 18, 2009.
27 volunteer doctors from the U.S. had originally volunteered to assist in our medical brigade. Three of them came last year to scout out the need and all were eager to help this very remote, needy area. Then suddenly, only two weeks prior to the event, the doctors informed us that they could not come after all! Because of drug-related violence at the border in Reynosa, a border town nine hours away, they were strongly advised not to come. The FBI, the Mexican embassy, their lawyers, Department of Homeland Security, the Border Patrol and even their funding sponsors all counseled them not to cross the border into Mexico. They and we were both so disappointed.
So we lost our U.S. doctor contingent for what was planned to be a three-day medical camp. But as we've always found to be true, "All things work together for good to them who love God" (Romans 8:28). So we went right ahead with the event, scaling it down to one day, and everything went great! Especially because this was our first time to hold such a big medical event so far away from our center, we ended up being very thankful for a scaled-down team.
It was not only a great turnout and help to the grateful local village folks, but a wonderful training experience for us as well. Our young volunteer "trainees" were all just tremendous, dependable, hard-working and dedicated. Additionally, ten of our local friends (including three doctors and one dentist) showed up to volunteer with us! This was very commendable as they had to travel two hours up steep curving mountain roads, which most residents in our city never dare to try!
We also invited the State Police and their "D.A.R.E." program which includes a talk for children explaining the dangers of drugs, crime, gangs and violence. "The Family International" youth band performed songs and character-building skits, and prayed with the entire crowd of 350 people to accept Jesus into their hearts as their personal savior.
Besides the free medical and dental exams for all ages, our dentist friend gave a presentation on proper dental hygiene. We also gave each attending mother a package of rice, beans, snacks, pastries, and clothing. Each child was given toys, school supplies, books, posters, card games, puzzles, snacks, and balloons.
A special thanks to Activated Ministries for sponsoring the excellent Christian books, posters, and games for these 350 children! It was a great experience and we plan to continue to partner with our friends to bring aid, education, medical attention and Christian values to these mountain villages. Please keep these on-going projects and missions in your prayers!