It was eleven years ago – April 2006 - that I first stepped foot in Nicaragua. My apprehension at my first trip to a developing country was soon conquered by a budding love for the warm and welcoming people that I met and that I shared the experience with. After years of yearning, and some dashed hopes I joined the first short term team with the newly formed Threefold Ministries. We stayed in a dorm, completed only days earlier, in the dusty bean field that would become the beautiful Skylark Centre. Little did I know that the trip would be the first date of what has become a long standing relationship with the people of Nicaragua and with Threefold Ministries. The needs and the challenges in the second poorest county in the Western Hemisphere grabbed me and God called me to be part of this ministry longer term. It is ten years since we stood in the Cancha and dedicated the Skylark Center, at which point I was a new member of the board of Threefold. We are looking forward to a service of celebration in that same place this fall. Little did I know then that God would call me to follow our founder and first Executive Director, my friend Rev. Gary Robinson, as the Managing Director of Threefold.
I have begun this blog to share some of my history with Threefold and the amazing experiences of blessing and challenge over the years. I also want to share some of the latest experiences of our teams and staff as we continue to build community, empower communities and follow faithfully. Let me share with you a recent story.
Since 2008 with the construction of our Medical Building, we have been hosting medical teams. Physicians, dentists, nurses and a host of medical professionals have travelled to Nicaragua with us and conducted clinics to provide much needed treatment to hundreds, even thousands of Nicaraguans who otherwise may not receive treatment. This is a big investment of time and money for these teams. We are so thankful for those who partner with us to provide this much needed care.
This month will see yet another team of medical professionals conducting clinics at Skylark. This small team, consisting mainly of folk from Parry Sound, ON has come together as only God could arrange. While interest in a medical mission this year was birthed at a supper table last fall the journey was amazing. Each team must be headed by a licensed physician. Contacts were made with several but for a variety of reasons each had to decline. We had medical students interested and committed along with others but no doctor to lead the team. We concluded that a team would not be possible this spring.
While driving the 401 west to London earlier this year, my phone rang. It was a recently retired family physician from Parry Sound who is keeping his medical license and would like to work in developing countries and heard that Threefold does medical work in Nicaragua. Once again God showed that it is not our planning and organization but God’s power and provision that sustains this ministry. Next to the lead doctor a pharmacist is key to the effectiveness of the team. Of course God touched the heart of one, who had not been part of a medical mission before, to join.
All of these last minute arrangements are challenging. They are made more so given the volume of paperwork with the Nicaraguan government that must be completed so that the team can legally conduct the clinics. We require that all paperwork be completed, notarized and in Nicaragua at least two months before the team are on the ground. This allows time for the authorities to process the approvals, often taking at least weeks, more typically a month. Once again we have seen God’s hand by enabling the fastest approval we have ever received in nine years, just one week to get full approval from the Nicaraguan government, and this leading up to a significant holiday period.
The team is on the ground. I ask you to join us in prayer for this team as they conduct clinics and provide much needed medical services to the folks in the small community where our centre is located. Pray for health for the team members and for effective and meaningful connection with the people who attend. I am so thankful for how God arranged and provided for this team to continue our medical work.
Until next time!