For much of July, I was sick. In many ways I was surprised I wasn’t sick before July, but inevitably, it became time for me to endure the dreaded traveler’s sickness that dampened an otherwise wonderful month. My experience with stomach aches, body aches, allergic reactions and various other ailments took a toll on me mentally. You see, COSAD is in the process of opening a clinic in Bukoba, but it is not operational yet. Though there are a hand full of health clinics, medical supplies, and doctors in Bukoba, the reality is they are nowhere near as equipped as the USA’s health care (hence the COSAD Clinic project).
Thus, while sick, I was scared. Really scared. If you know me, you know I love to pretend to be invincible and brave (and sometimes I even am!) but when I got sick, every ounce of me was completely afraid that I would need medical treatment that I could not get to. Now mind you, this was not a legitimate fear because I wasn’t really that sick, but rather it was because I recognized I wasn’t in America where I know how to call 911, where I can drive (or be driven) to an ER in the middle of the night if necessary, where there are specialized doctor available for any serious or unusual issue a person might have, and where a chopper can transport you to whatever hospital necessary.
So my very, very minor stomach aches and body pains managed to magnified my weakness for fearing the worst, while also warranting our work for the COSAD Clinic in a big way.
After my sickening experience, I now empathize with my friends in Bukoba on a level I hadn’t before. I deeply want my friends to be able to rush their ill mother the the ER in the middle of the night when she is in unbearable pain. I want sisters and brothers to rest a little easier knowing if there is an accident on the streets, they can bring their injured relatives to the nearest hospital and have surgery, stop internal bleeding, and go on living a full life taking care of their families. I want there to be access to treatment for all types of diseases, because what is worse than knowing there is no other option other than death, is knowing that there was another option, but you couldn’t have it.
While I’m on my wish list, I also want my friends and their kids in the villages to have food to eat, for kids to go to school with breakfast and a packed lunch, and to be able to prevent a vast majority of health ailments before they become an issue.
That is what I want.
The verses below have been reminding me how to respond to the needs of others, including my friends in Bukoba. I should be generous, just, and responsible.
“But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him?” 1 John 3:17
“Whoever oppresses the poor shows contempt for their Maker, but whoever is kind to the needy honors God.” Proverbs 14:31
“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?” James 2:15-16
I guess this is exactly why COSAD (and many other organizations like COSAD) exist. However a person finds themselves positioned in this world, it seems like there is no shortage of ways to love and serve others if willing. Family, neighbors, refugees, strangers, employer, employee, the organization overseas trying to tackle ocean-sized social problems- we all serve in one way or another. So let this be an encouragement to you, to keep serving in the ways you are, and perhaps turn to Christ to understand why it even matters. Christ’s servanthood is incredible and unmatchable. I was never meant to save the world: Christ saved me by dying on a cross. I was meant to glorify God, and enjoy Him forever; even after the pain and joys of this world fade away. Part of glorifying God is serving others.