When I left for my medical mission trip to El Salvador, I anticipated having to give of myself. And I felt empty leading up to the mission trip: empty of love, empty of energy, empty of everything I thought I would need to give of over the next week. But I knew I should go, I knew God had called me to go. So go I did. And the week was hard. Not only was it long clinic hours with many patients, but I felt drained many times. I tried so hard to “pray my way” through the day, through the week, but continued to feel empty. On my third day of clinic, I had a patient whose blood sugar was very high – so high that here in the United States she would have been admitted to the hospital in order to bring the sugars down. I did a small task for her, I administered IV fluids and rechecked to ensure her blood sugar had come down to a more appropriate (but still very high) level before sending her home with instructions to go see her PCP within a week. It felt like such a small thing that we could do for her. But this woman was so grateful! From telling her the plan and starting the IV, to when she walked out of clinic with a huge smile on her face, she hugged and thanked me over 25 times. From this singular moment on, I realized that it was as if God himself was giving me hugs and thanks for the work I was doing – he was using my patients to fill ME up! Unexpected! I went expecting to pour out love, to be a blessing, and instead I felt that God brought me there in order to be poured into and to be blessed. When I think back to my experience in El Salvador, I have an intense feeling of gratitude for the people I worked with and encountered during that week. Each patient was a gift, each one a blessing to me; and my team and the students who translated for me constantly poured into me the love of God and his goodness and purpose. I walked into this medical mission trip empty and drained and wondering how I could give on this trip; I walked away from this experience feeling full of God’s love and excited to pour out his love as it had been freshly poured out on me.


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