This past February—for the thirteenth year running—a dedicated group of volunteers, including medical professionals in various specialties, high school students, and retirees, traveled from Central New York to our Companion Diocese of El Salvador to be part of the Mission of Miracles.
Volunteers visited five villages in the course of just one week, partnering with the Episcopal Diocese of El Salvador to provide crucial medical and pastoral care to 1,029 Salvadorans. 467 Salvadorans received general medical care; 289 received vision care, and 52 individuals sought nutrition counseling and assistance. 188 patients also took advantage of dental care, sponsored by the Diocese of Central New York. Mission dentists reported that they’ve seen a vast improvement in patients’ dental health over the years; fewer extractions are needed and there is a greater focus on preventative care like cleanings and restorations. This improvement is due in part to the dental care education that missioners provide each year.
For the first time this year, Bishop Skip Adams and long-time Mission of Miracles team member Maria Dawson provided formal pastoral care as part of the mission work.With Ms. Dawson serving as translator, the pair listened and prayed with thirty-three Salvadorans, including eight children under the age of 18. “Sitting with God’s people in El Salvador and listening to person after person speak the burden in their heart was an incredible grace and and gift,” Bishop Skip stated. “I was honored to be trusted in that way as people spoke the truth of their soul. We cried. We laughed. We asked God’s healing mercies to be present for folks who, in some cases, were in deep pain of the heart, pain rooted in fear and despair.” In the end, he said, “we sought to give a word of hope.”
The goal of the Mission of Miracles has been to promote the health of the Salvadoran people. Along the way it has also changed the lives of team members from both El Salvador and the United States, with some young members changing career choices because of what they’ve witnessed on the Mission. This is God’s love reflected through God’s people. “It’s about love,” said Bishop Skip, “Nothing but love.”
To learn more or to donate to the Mission of Miracles, please visit missionofmiracles.org.
Watch a video by 2016 Mission Team Member Jordan Dunaway-Barlow.
Read our previous post on the preparations that go into each Mission.