That is the first question I came home to:
So... how was Nigeria?! Life-changing?!
But let me tell you - I wrestled with this question. I needed time when I came home because I wasn't ready to talk about it. I was overwhelmed and I didn't realize that I would need to process what happened. Mainly because Jose came home and was like "ok, back to work!" - meanwhile, these emotions are stirring in me and I'm wondering: um, does anyone else from the trip need a moment?!
Turns out I wasn't the only one. Phew. Thank God for debriefing meetings. Let's just say those dang tears came out. Because this is how Nigeria was: incredible and incredibly hard. No - I was never in the midst of a moment where I felt: wow, that changed my life. In fact, I really struggled on the first day to connect with the mission! This was a medical mission trip where we would be providing medical attention to thousands of Nigerians who's only chance for medical attention is the one WE bring.
.. I realized I was doing it all wrong. As people waited in lines outside, they started to sing to pass the time. Some even swayed side-to-side to the music their voices created, dancing. I looked up from my camera (i.e. stopped hiding behind it) to look at them and smile. To say with my eyes: I love your singing - this is beautiful. And when I smiled and started to sway side to side with them, they laughed and smiled with me. Lesson learned. Give them value by acknowledging them. I was so scared and overwhelmed by the masses that I didn't see the power of simply engaging with them.
This was what served as the operating room and table.
Huge shout-out to my husband for assisting me with photography and allowing me time to serve along with taking photos.
I adore this little girl. The day before she was at the hospital and came over to talk to me. The following day she was in the midst of the boys who were swarming to get a soccer ball and as I was photographing them, I realized she was there - in the middle of the chaos - looking right at me!
Ok. Here goes. Something that shook me was this photo right here:
This. This was just hours before...
Those are the moments that haunted me and I needed to process when we returned. Every day was go-go-go, get as many patients as possible, that when it all slowed back down in the States - my heart needed time.
"But in your hearts worship Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have." 1 Peter 3:15