Not As Planned - My Mission Trip to India

Blog Post by Connie Kaiser - July 2022
India 2022:  Here I am sitting in my hotel room on the other side of the world. I am on the medical mission I have been asking you all to pray for, and the needs are great. When you look through the pictures you may notice that I am not in many. This trip brought much to mind, a lot of chaos, a lot of counseling, and for me, a lot of wrestling with God.

My daughter took a simple picture of me walking with my suitcase into the airport on the first day of my travels as I headed to check-in and prepare to board my first plane. I posted it to social media and stated that I was off to India, “Ready to serve any way I am asked”, #hereiamsendme (along with a couple of other hashtags). I receive a lot of comments for safe travels and prayers, but also a lot of comments about how awesome I am and praises for going. It made me uncomfortable that I received glory so I posted a comment thanking everyone but to know “this is about who sends me and hearing His voice” and to “find your passion and your talent and use it in your community, and anywhere you are called”. Little did I know God was going to put that thought and sentiment to the test. Are those words what I truly believe?
     The first few days we acclimated to the time change, sorted out meds, and found our way around the local village where we were staying. I was asked to be a team lead by default as our American team lead was delayed due to Visa issues and flight cancellations. He did not arrive until July 18th. No one else has been on as many trips as I have been, so I became the leader. On the first clinic day, we were to see 200 people. A villager stole some of our registration forms and copied them so we had to shut down registration at 325 people. We turned away over 200 people. Our medical team was swarmed by people and we were running out of medications. I had to stop the people from being seen and shut down with people still in line. It was dark and we were exhausted and it was past 6:30 at night. We would get back to a village with no dinner options if we didn’t leave. The need was overwhelming. Some people had come over 15km to see us. No one had been out to these villages in over 2 years. We packed with people still trying to get through to being seen. Our hotel allowed us a late dinner while we did our debrief and we set limits for the registration and how we would move forward the next day and clinics. I was exhausted. I had a runny nose and the policy for the group was to take a test for any symptoms because COVID was on the rise. I was positive. There went the rest of my trip. I had to isolate myself in my hotel room, order room service, and miss the rest of the clinics, teaching at the nursing school, and dedication of the water filtration system. I was bummed, jealous, and very frustrated.
               Did God really bring me all the way to India for a single day of clinic? Why? What about all the things I thought I was supposed to do, the reasons I thought he was sending me? What about the things I wanted to do? I was missing photos, teaching students, camaraderie, and hikes. I felt alone and frustrated. Finally, in my prayers and wrestling with God, I stopped venting and whining and began to listen. God became very clear…
               First, He reminded me of my social media posts to go and serve any way I can and that it wasn’t about me it was about Him. So if I really believe that, why do I not trust that his plan is better than mine? Perhaps I was infected on the flight, but I didn’t become ill until the team leader was arriving so that I could lead. Perhaps the organizations of pharmacy, teaching non-medical people to do triage, and making cheat sheets for those handing out meds were needed more than my presence as a provider. Maybe, the first few days of my “leadership skills” are what prompted the team lead to ask me to help him with organization stateside moving forward with fundraisers and volunteer organization. I was able to listen to God and then I was able to rest and look at the bigger picture of the week here is what I know God was doing through this team, even when I couldn’t see it at first:
  • 5 villages were visited.
  • 1100 patients were seen and treated or sent on to hospitals for further treatment.
  • 400 children received sling bags with school supplies, stickers, and lollipops.
  • We dedicated 1 water filtration system that serves 4 villages with access to clean water.

     Conversation between myself and some of the team members and translators occurred about faith. One of the translators is also from the US but his family is from India. He feels compelled to follow his family’s beliefs but knows they are not right and true. He also struggles with the hypocrisy of the church in the US and the caste system in India. Lots of questions were discussed and opinions were given from Hindus, Christianity, New Age, and Atheism. Pray for everyone involved that the light of Christ will shine through.
        Jesus took his disciples across the Sea of Galilee to save one man from a legion of demons and then get in his boat and come back across the sea. I went to India for 2 days of prep, 1 day of clinic, and conversations of faith. What will he do with that? What will he do with you?
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