Wenatchee Members and Students Minister and Heal in Kenya
I looked at Katelyn, my partner in triage crime, as we asked the young woman sitting in front of us, "And how long have you been having headaches?"
"Her temp is normal, heart rate is 80 and respiratory rate is 16," nurse Dan Crowles told me as he removed his stethoscope from around his neck.
Katelyn finished writing down the stats, and I motioned for the young woman to follow me to the doctor.
Having a medical team was just one aspect of the Wenatchee Church and Cascade Christian Academy (CCA) 2004 mission trip to the Masai Mara in Kenya.
More than 50 church members and students raised money for airplane tickets, building supplies, medical and dental supplies, and a safari. Working with Africa Mission Safari (AMS), we held medical and dental clinics, did a Vacation Bible School for local schools, held evangelistic meetings, and finished constructing a medical building that a previous group had started—all in two short but life-changing weeks.
"It was the experience of a lifetime. Next time I want to stay for a month," stated Kim Eastman, the only dental hygenist in the group. The dental team pulled more than 110 teeth in five days with help from Josh Knowles, a full-time AMS employee who lives in the Masai Mara, and three wonderful assistants, Sydnee and Tammi Martin, and Courtney Starcevich.
Eric Dant, family practioner, and Mike Brendel, a registered nurse, led the medical team. They treated more than 350 people, including those with maggots in their arms and children with worms, infections and tumors, just to name a few of the more serious afflictions. Cassi Brendel, a CCA sophomore who helped the medical group, said, "Before, I never thought I wanted to be a nurse; now I'm pretty sure I'm going to go to nursing school when I graduate from high school."
Beginning with only the foundation laid and poles in the ground, the building crew did an amazing job of pouring the floor, raising walls and putting on the roof in the short amount of time that we were there. Garth Montgomery, a second timer to the Masai Mara, said, "Working on the building crew is awesome because at the end of the day, we've accomplished so much, and you can actually see the progress made."
Mark Witas and Shane Wood led the evangelism team and oversaw the construction of a baptismal tank next to the church. More than 50 people decided to be baptized as a result of their teachings. Ashley Eastman, a Walla Walla College sophomore, was the first person baptized in the new tank and surprised her family back home with a video of her baptism at church.
Although we worked hard, we also had a lot of fun. Every night Knowles guided groups of people on night safaris. Cheetahs, elephants, zebras and ostriches were among the many animals we saw in the park and even right in camp.
It was moments like Eastman's baptism, helping people know the great love that Jesus has for us, and playing with the kids at VBS that make mission trips so worthwhile. We may have treated people, built a medical clinic and taught them about Jesus, but they taught us to be more humble, accepting and caring to those we know and those we have yet to meet.