Whenever, and wherever Terri goes she is ‘on call’. Whether with the missionaries, at church, at a conference, or even at a hotel, as soon as people know she is a medical provider, a line forms with people asking to speak with the ‘doctor’.
Her work, naturally, begins with the missionaries– they are why she (we) are here in the Congo: our official call is as Medical Missionaries!
In every Zone, in all parts of the mission, Terri visits with each missionary. Together, we give them a full examination: I do height, weight, and an eye exam; Terri does heart, lungs, blood pressure, etc. Each missionary fills out a form with a series of questions concerning their past health issues. As Terri reviews their answers, and speaks to each missionary one-on-one, she gets a clear picture of each one’s health.
Often in groups, and/or with the Zone Leaders, Terri takes time to reinforce the Church’s policies on health and medical care. Every missionary that is sick is to contact Terri and work through their illness. If it is a simple issue, she simply aids them in treating themselves (each missionary apartment has a medical kit with over-the-counter drugs for headaches, colds, minor cuts, rashes, etc.). However, if it is more serious (a high fever, or more serious injury), she will direct them in emergency care, and to the nearest medical center, if necessary. With 170 + missionaries she is taking care of, it is a full-time job!
Wherever she goes, she has an audience! Children and members gather around to see her care for those who seek her out.
Once the missionaries are taken care of, it is not unusual for members to come to her for counsel. Her job and focus is the missionaries, but it is hard to refuse people in need!
As a result of her work, and her caring attitude towards others, she is followed everywhere she goes!
Although she cannot ‘treat’ people in the Congo (she is not licensed to work here as a PA, only as a missionary), she can aid them in understanding IF they are ill, and counsel them in the direction they should take to become better.
One by one she takes the time to hear peoples complaints and discuss their health issues. If she finds something serious, or feels more care should be given, she directs them to the nearest hospital/doctor for further care. For example, the kind hotel owner in Mwene Ditu was feeling ill and was checked by Terri. It was found that he had very high blood pressure and she directed him to the local hospital for follow-up. Perhaps he would never have known there was something seriously wrong, or put off seeing a doctor for months or years. But with a little care and attention from Terri, she was able to persuade him to begin treatment that will make him feel better and prolong his life.
This is the reason we were called to the Congo– to aid in the health and care of the missionaries. If a missionary is healthy, he can work, and if he can work, he is out preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ– bringing souls to Christ!
Ours is a small part of a large effort to prepare the children of God for Christ’s Coming, but we all have a work to do, and if done well, we will all receive our ‘penny’ at the end of the day!