The last two days have flown by as our process now feels routine. Early mornings waking to the local birds,  coffee and fellowship followed by a few minutes to set up the clinic before breakfast. After breakfast in the school cafeteria Jenny and Mike usually lead us in a morning song before someone leads devotional. Once we move into the clinic and patients are being seen the focus on care and assistance consumes the day. We usually close out the process with dinner and a recap to discuss ideas for improvement, clinic needs and upcoming events. I believe all of us are spent and ready for bed by the time we make it back to our rooms.

Thursday started differently for me as it was my day to lead the morning devotion time. I awoke earlier than normal, before many of the birds even, and went down to the little dock in front of the hotel. It was dark, and I had to use my cell phone to navigate through the garden paths. I could make out the small villages surrounding the lake, just barely being able to see the lights on the farthest side. I sat in the dark and prayed, feeling overwhelmed with gratitude and humbled by these circumstances. The needs of the mountain villages, which I hope to visit some day, still weighed on my mind. A small group from our team had traveled there Wednesday and returned late in the day. They shared their experiences over dinner and I had fallen asleep imagining ways to help. I closed my eyes in prayer and tried to focus on this mornings task. The bird song and lapping of water on the shoreline and against the pilings was mesmerizing. After some time I heard the first fisherman as his small boat creeked and his single oar knocked against the hull. Only a few minutes later, off to my right, I was startled by something that caused me to look that direction. It was a woman setting up her spot to wash laundry. She was standing knee deep in the lake filling a large bucket with seemingly fresh water, another reminder of the how different my life is back home. I gathered myself and returned to my room. I still had no idea what I was going to say to the group this morning but had one verse written down. John 3:30 He must become greater, I must become less.
I ordered my coffee to go and hurried off to the clinic. I wanted to have time alone to continue thinking about what I might say to the group and I had a few repairs to complete before the first patient. Tasks complete, I arrived to the cafeteria first. During breakfast Paul encouraged me to share my heart. Which turned out to be great advice but also resulted in a very humbling and emotional experience. In an environment such as this, it can be easy to let your day-to-day guard down. I shed a few honest tears in front of the group as I attempted summarize my past and express my gratefulness for what God has done for me recently.  As I looked around I could tell that what I was saying resonated with the group. I am not sure if I have ever felt the freedom and spiritual connection that I did in that moment. The remainder of the day seem to pass by effortlessly. I never did share the scripture that was on my mind, but maybe that was for me alone. Our final day here has certainly left an indelible mark on my soul.

Joshua Walters

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