Dr. Marc Chetta, Health Professions Faculty
In the summer of 2013, I took 22 BJU pre-med and nursing students to Arequipa, Peru. The local missionary had arranged for us to provide medical, dental and optical care to the Quechua people. They are descendants of the Incans and are considered to be lower class by the Spanish majority. The missionary told us that Quechua have a difficult time getting adequate medical care and when they do, they are given a cold shoulder or are ignored. The students and I decided that when we would see them in the clinics, that we would treat them with kindness and with Christlike love. As the Quechua people entered our clinic area, we would stand and speak to them in their language, acknowledging them with respect. Throughout the week we saw miracles happen. A little 5-year-old girl in great danger of dying from a peritonsillar abscess dissecting down into her neck was bathed with prayer and intramuscular antibiotics. Over the course of four days of treatment, she improved dramatically much to the joy of her mother (and us!).
Around the 3rd day a young lady in her 20’s came to see us (I usually had 2 or 3 students working with me each day). She wouldn’t look me in the eyes in spite of our extreme care and outward show of concern. She wouldn’t even tell us why she was coming to see us. So, I did a quick exam and prescribed some vitamins and other “freebees”. Just before she left, I asked her one more time if there was anything we could do for her. She began to cry and then shared with us that a few months before she had been gang-raped by five men. She was fearful, ashamed and depressed, despairing even of life. The students began to minister to her physically and emotionally. I shared with her that there was Someone who loved her very much and wanted to heal her heart and give her hope. She went on to accept Jesus Christ that day as her Savior and to this day is attending that missionary church. That week, 909 Quechua prayed to receive Christ as their Savior (out of nearly 3000 that came to our clinics).
The 22 students on that trip got to see God in action using us as His tools, His mouthpiece. We imitated the Savior’s M.O. by using the healing arts to break down barriers and show them that we loved them as Christ loved us. We were all changed.
I had the privilege of taking 14 present and former students to Romania this past summer. In a strange twist, we held our medical, dental, and optical clinics in a large concrete auditorium built during the terrible reign of Nikolai Ceausescu. This auditorium had been used to brainwash the local people with atheistic, totalitarian communism. This summer our local missionary and his people preached an evangelistic meeting in the same building. God always has the last say!
When you go on a mission trip to a third world country, it is actually you that gets changed…not just the people to whom you are ministering. One thing going on 28 or so mission trips has done for me is to make me appreciate just how good we have it here in the good ole USA. For example, I took a hot shower this morning. Do you know what an amazing privilege that is? (I’ve had so many cold showers in water that you better only hum in, not sing!) I heard the gospel when I was in college and knew no physical danger when I accepted Him as my Savior. Mission trips have greatly increased the gratitude I feel toward God for where I was born!
So, you see why we go on short term medical mission trips. We minister, see results, and in turn, we are changed forever.
Marc Chetta, M.D.
*If RSS feed is not working for you, please add it to your app or software manually by adding this url:
The CGO Blog
Written by the CGO staff, with guest posts from students and other faculty/staff at BJU to provide thought leadership for missions in a new millennium.