Tuesday, June 14, 2016

When Medicine Fails Missionaries

Powerful testimony from Kenya.

His bottom lip trembled as I leaned in with my stethoscope. Although his eyes shimmered with a thin sheen of tears, he did not recoil. As had his toddler sister, he waited, straight, silent, and obedient, and he studied me. I crouched to his level, and we connected for a heartbeat or two. I listened to the cadence of his breath; he searched my face.

Searched for what? Understanding? Hope? The missionary leading our team often 
remarked, “You are the face, and hands, and feet of Christ.” As this child scanned my face, I felt the sweat snake down my neck, glimpsed the elongating line of villagers through the paneless window, heard the howls from the procedure room — and I realized the profundity of my failure.

I wore no face of Christ. I wore a grimy white coat, a stethoscope, and other flashy trappings incongruous with the dirt floor and dilapidated benches of the clinic. I considered the hundreds of people piling onto the grass into lopsided queues, stumbling over each other in the hope that we mzungu — white skins — would cure their cataracts, their diabetes, their oozing wounds and arthritic hips. I met person after person for whom I could prescribe only vitamins, and I watched their hopes crumble.

You can read the rest.