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Medical missions team learns flexibility on the mission field

BRANDON, Miss. (BP)–Jason Hindman watched as his patient, a large Romanian woman, sat upon the examination table. The medical clinic in Brailia, Romania, was not furnished with even a fraction of what he could expect in the states, but his examination, he thought, would be routine.
The woman began speaking to him through a translator, and the more he heard, the more his expression stiffened. “It couldn’t be,” he thought.
After a few tests, and after speaking to the woman again, Hindman says he contacted George Cain, the head physician, who confirmed what he’d feared.
“She had the classic symptoms of a brain tumor,” said Hindman, a fourth-year medical student at the University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson, Miss., and a member of a recent medical missions team in Romania. “She needed an MRI and several other things that they simply didn’t have. This wasn’t simple stuff. We had a lot of chronic patients. The people who came to our clinic were sick folks.”
Hindman, Cain and six others traveled to a medical clinic in Brailia, Romania, June 23-July 7 as part of a medical team with the Romanian American Mission (RAM), a partnership between Baptist churches in the United States and Romania, based locally out of Brandon, Miss. Cain, who operates his own practice in Corinth, Miss., said the first lesson he learned on this mission trip — his first — was flexibility.
“It was frustrating at times,” Cain said. “They didn’t have enough equipment and other supplies. These people didn’t have temporary things; they had chronic problems. I had a couple that I am almost sure had cancer. What are you going to do about it?”
The group not only faced equipment problems, but because of problems with the local government, which locals said was hostile to the work of evangelical churches, all the patients were required to have appointments.
“During our set-up day [Saturday], a pastor drove from 300 kilometers away, and after talking to him we found out he was having a mild heart attack,” said Rick Dunbar, a fourth-year medical student from Madison, Miss. “He needed blood tests and many other tests, but was told to come back on Tuesday. That clinic’s just overwhelmed. One woman tried to make an appointment and couldn’t get one until October.”
With seemingly insurmountable obstacles in front of them, Dunbar and others said they also learned patience, as well as gaining a better understanding of their purpose in being there.
“A 14-year-old boy came to the clinic one day. He was almost my age,” recounted Lisa Dunbar, also from Madison, Miss., who assisted her father, Rick, at the clinic. “He saw the doctor and found out that he had asthma. If I did not know there was a God looking after me, I sure wouldn’t want to hear about one after finding out that I had really bad asthma, but he surprised me telling my dad that he wanted to know who Jesus was.
“My dad told him that Jesus died on the cross so that when we die, we can go to heaven. That boy, who could have been mad at God, accepted him to live in his life and forgive him of his sin. That made me think. He had never heard of God in his life before, but he accepted it gladly, even though the day had not been so nice to him,” she said.
Though the medical clinic kept them busy during the day, the team assisted a group of students from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary during the evenings, sharing their testimony and assisting with Bible school activities. During such times, team members said they learned a lot about the body of Christ.
“The thing God really showed me in Romania is that we have brothers and sisters there, too,” said Jamie Schlicter, a nursing student from Jackson, Miss, “and they treated us like that from the moment we arrived. I feel like we all should be taking care of each other and praying for each other more. Now that I’ve seen what their needs are, I know better what to pray for.”
“This trip really reminded me of what the Bible says about the body of Christ,” said Cheryl Newman, also a nursing student from Jackson, Miss. “I really saw that displayed concretely with the seminary students doing evangelism in the lines at the clinic, and us doing the medical part. I don’t have an evangelistic gift, but I do have a medical gift, and by serving them that way, we only reiterated what the seminary students were doing.
“The whole plan for Christ’s kingdom required all of us,” Newman added. “It should be that way in the church, too.”
During the weeks of June 23-July 7, 104 RAM volunteers served in different locations in Romania, serving the sick, leading in Bible school activities, leading worship services and serving on street evangelism teams. The organization is based at Buck Run Baptist Church in Frankfurt, Ky., as is its founder, Bob Jackson.

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