I wouldn’t know the desperation of one who is sick and has no access to doctors, medication, or any information on how to get better.
Inhabitants of Honduran villages and small cities mostly have low income. Doctor visits are expensive, so if you don’t have money and you’re sick, then the only option remaining is to live with your illness.
It is to relieve the pain of such suffering ones that the Adventist Church pays great attention to health and medical ministry, and that clinics are always an integral part of mission trips. It is to tell them the simple message, “God cares.”
Though the medical field is far from my calling and my knowledge of it near nonexistent, I did have one practical skill useful for this one-day clinic in Talanga that everyone on the trip got to participate in: massage. All credits go to CAMPUS Missionary Training Program.
This day was the pinnacle of my short, true education course. And that pinnacle of true education is called service.
My task was to give 5-min back massages at the booth where people learned about rest and relaxation as an essential part of healthy living. Damaris and Kelly, both full time missionaries with VIDA and the only Spanish-speaking individuals at the booth, would give a short explanation to those who came by. Then we would pray with each person before the massage. I liked that.
As my Spanish skill was just as nonexistent, I prayed that God would help me minister to this one person during each prayer. I prayed that my massage would be a blessing.
I wanted to be aware of every moment of the massage. I didn’t want to do it mindlessly, which, as I had learned in times passed, was very easy to do. Since I couldn’t speak or make friends with the people, I thought a lot instead.
We often minister to others by our words. But in the situation where verbal barriers exist, the Gospel still has many other avenues. For me, the only avenue that day was by touch.
At CAMPUS, massage was a means to make friends or ultimately invite people to Bible studies or meetings. That day, there was no more evening meetings to invite them to and I couldn’t say a word to them. The massage was not an avenue; it was the end. The massage itself was the ministry.
During the massages, I thought about the privilege of service. I asked God to help me show Christ’s love with each touch and help me do my best in serving this one soul. I joked with someone that I had the germs and sweat of the whole town of Talanga on my hands. But it really was a privilege to serve.
While the crowd for the booths subsided, many people still waited in line to see the doctors. The doctors, bless their hearts, were such assets.
As we waited for the doctors, a lady whom I had massaged before approached me, Ronny, and Kelly. She had something to say to me and via Ronny’s translation, she thanked me for the massage and expressed how grateful she was for it. Then she reached over and gave me a real hug. Ah, this was what Ellen White meant with “in our life here, earthly, sin-restricted though it is, the greatest joy and the highest education are in service” (Education, p. 309).
It was to me an affirmation from heaven that indeed what I prayed for was answered. You can communicate love, though fleeting, by your touch.
I was completely overwhelmed and wished I could say something more to her. I think I mumbled something unintelligible that in my mind meant “You’re very welcome.”
It’s pretty rare that you get to minister with just your touch; a ministry without words. Jesus too ministered with His touch and His touch brought healing. It was an honor to follow after the divine pattern.