In January, our first short term Rapha International medical-dental team went to Cambodia – a country with a high disease burden, widespread poverty, lack of clean water, little sanitation, and inadequate nutrition. This team of dedicated professionals and pre-med students provided exceptional mercy care through daily mobile clinics.
Our first clinic was at Kids Club in Phnom Penh, located in a very impoverished neighborhood in Takhmao. It was a long, hot, and humid day as we provided care for 198 patients.
On that day, Barb Sanderson, a registered nurse, met 27-year-old, Visal, who assisted as her translator. In between providing care for patients, Visal shared his testimony of growing up in a poor village outside of Phnom Penh. Although his family lived on a small farm, they rarely had food to eat. His father did not encourage him to have an education, but a Christian medical team came to his village when he was nine years old, and that changed the trajectory of Visal’s life. He followed the medical team around all day and even learned a few English phrases. He vowed, at age nine, to grow up and do just what that team did. God planted a dream and hope in his heart that day!
Against his father’s wishes, Visal left home when he was 17 years old for Phnom Penh, where he worked in a restaurant and saved money to take English classes. Next, he worked to save money for college, working all morning, attending classes in the afternoon, and working again at night. Two years ago he graduated, and now Visal is a registered nurse working in a doctor’s clinic in Phnom Penh.
Five years ago, Visal became a Christian and was baptized in October 2018. With tears streaming down his face, he told Barb, “You have no idea the impact your team and its work will have.” The power of our words and our outreach can bring hope and instill inspiration.
Extending mercy care is a tangible way for Rapha International medical teams to demonstrate the love of Jesus Christ. The very essence of mercy care is extending kindness and compassion to someone who is in a very bad or desperate situation. In Matthew 10:8, Jesus says, “Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you have received, now freely give.” Jesus generously gave His twelve disciples power to drive out evil spirits and to heal every disease and sickness. They were empowered to carry out ministries for the Kingdom, and their mission was an expansion of His love and compassion.