People generally need to know first that you care — before they care what you know. SHINE Medical & Dental missions first treat people’s physical conditions, and then, Lord willing, spiritual needs are met.
The missions follow James 1:22’s advice: “But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves” (KJV). SHINE team members, always with prayer, become doers. Begun initially as a one-time mission, SHINE has conducted missions to CoG7 brethren (and others) in needy countries since 2006. The recent mission to Aguascalientes was a milestone: the tenth mission in a decade.
Thirty-seven team members traveled to Aguascalientes, Mexico, carrying extra bags with medications and supplies to present five days of free clinics April 12-20 — a rare opportunity for needy people. An additional $30,000 of medications was purchased and shipped in advance to Aguascalientes. Free to patients, these medications prove invaluable. Prayer for patients —another key component by the team and medical staff — offers God’s love. Since early mission days, this love has multiplied. More than ten years ago, a small baby was born in dire need of heart surgery, and people responded with love — and the first mission.
Be on time . . . be on time . . . be on time.
The importance of these words lingered in the minds of SHINE team members as the gate was unlocked and they stepped onto the Aguascalientes mission site, around waiting people. The crowds attested to the fact that advance flyers advertising the clinics had reached people.
Cleaned and arranged the day before, the open courtyard was now set up with tables and chairs. It functioned as an area for registration, for securing blood pressure and blood sugar levels and weight, and for performing ear lavages and hearing tests. People could also wait there to see dentists or doctors. Eye tests and glasses were given in an adjacent building.
It soon filled up.
Two bright pink medical buses — one for women’s health and a second with dental stations — were parked in front of the clinics on the street, offering additional working stations for patients to receive care.
Aguascalientes welcomed the 2015 SHINE Medical & Dental Mission to Mexico. By the end of the five clinic days, 3,346 patients were seen.
Different segments of this mission came together well, thanks to the Lord (and the Aguascalientes governor’s office). Mission facilities were obtained through the Aguascalientes’ governor’s wife, Mrs. Blanca Estela Rivera de Lozano. She also provided tables, chairs, transportation, local security, additional local medical personnel through the government’s DIF (Integral Family Development), a part of the Mexican government’s social services. Individuals enrolled in Mexico’s many different educational career programs need to show that they have served so many hours (equaling one year of experience) before they can be certified in their fields. Thus SHINE, through DIF, was able to use the services of qualified nutritionists, optometrists, a nurse, two dental assistants, and an audiologist, enabling patients to benefit even more.
Twelve dentists — most from the Aguascalientes area — treated nearly 700 patients, some for two to three days as prosthetic plates were made and fitted. Dental hygienists and medical assistants also worked to clean, drill, fill, and extract teeth. Additional procedures and surgeries were also performed or scheduled.
Seven doctors and an experienced midwife (directing women’s health) treated 1,345 patients, including the cases below:
- A man who had suffered chronic pain on his left side. A naturopathic doctor treated him. The pain left, and the man returned the next day to profusely thank the doctor.
- A mother who brought her three-year-old boy with severe malnutrition, plus cerebral palsy. Other government agencies had rejected her pleas for help. Though SHINE could not give her son long-care treatment, we gave her a one- to two-months’ supply of milk.
- A two-year-old baby with deformed legs. He had no bed to sleep on in his home. In fact, all the family slept on the floor. SHINE bought a special bed for the child.
- A woman with Turner’s syndrome; its most common feature is short stature. She had not walked until her family made her a walker. SHINE supplied her with a wheeled walker, giving her much more mobility.
Each individual’s health information was recorded. Optometrists tested patients’ vision; 759 pairs of glasses were distributed. Hearing for 223 patients was tested. A medical assistant administered 36 ear lavages. Nutritionists discussed eating habits with 14 people. Some 239 individuals received haircuts.
Twenty-two special needs cases were identified, including cataracts, a clubfoot, tonsils, and a 27-year-old woman who hadn’t heard for two years. Eight children were among these cases, and another ten cases were dental related.
Shine Mission Facebook stories were upgraded by the media team and focused on more use of video clips. Length of these videos varies from ten seconds to just over one minute. If you haven’t seen these on Facebook, check them out at the “Shine Mission” Facebook site.
Working efficiency was enhanced by serving lunch each day at the clinics site. Cooked at a local church by a team member (assisted by four volunteers from the local CoG7 churches), healthy and delicious food was appreciated at the clinics.
Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers (Galatians 6:10, NIV).
It was a good mission: productive and well planned.
God’s Word was spread in several ways. Though team members were generally transported via bus and van, taxis were sometimes used. They offered opportunity to witness to the drivers and pass out tracts. Some drivers brought their families to the clinics. Tracts were distributed to clinic patients. Pastors held 36 counseling sessions. At the end of Sabbath services, around 100 people came forward for prayers. Then 200 boxes of food, bought for needy families, were distributed following Sabbath services. Smiles abounded as people clutched the valuable food commodities that would sustain them.
SHINE (Serving Him In Nations Everywhere) has reached out to eleven countries in ten years. In addition to its annual missions, 24 mini-missions have been conducted (including 13 completed by other countries as follow-ups to their missions).
SHINE is primarily a self-supporting mission through fundraising and donations. Team members are asked to pay their own airfare and help with their own local fundraisers.
Thank you, everyone, for your support with donations and prayers, which have helped make the SHINE ministry a success. Please continue support SHINE with prayers, team involvement, and donations. These may be made through the CoG7 website (www.cog7.org) by selecting “Donate” at the top left of the homepage and then following instructions. Contributions may also be sent to SHINE Ministries at P.O. Box 2728, Elk Grove, CA 95759.