As I have been preparing for my trip, I've had to inform my patients who may need me in my absence of my impending plans. I have been overwhelmed by the warm responses that I've received! I thought some patients would be upset about my lack of availability (as I've seen from past vacation trips) but so far none have been. It seems that I underestimated the value that the average person sees in mission work. I try to offer a brief explanation of my role in PAACS and its goals and values. But, there is just never enough time to do it justice. I was especially moved today by a longstanding patient who gave me an affectionate touch on the back while stating her intention to pray for me. I can think of no better way to support me and the work I hope to do.
Early this morning the men in my Discipleship class at SECC laid hands on me and prayed for me, my family and my mission trip. While I expected prayers from this remarkable group of men, I was deeply moved by their prayer and their pledge for prayer support for me in the days ahead. I don't exactly know why I've been surprised by these outreaches of affection. But it has shown me that the concern for the poor and the needy runs throughout our culture. I pray that my mission will help raise awareness and concern for the people of Africa and that collectively, we can bring God's hope to them!