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Niswonger Scholar Grace Williams Counts Her Blessings


Grace and Uncle Paul Brown in Mexico

Counting My Blessings
A Life Changing Experience to Ixtepec, Mexico
Medical Mission Trip - March 2010

By Grace Williams

Growing up you always hear, or at least I did, about the impoverished countries around the world. I clearly remember being told to count my blessings on multiple occasions, but not until I experienced such uncomfortable conditions as the ones on my trip to Mexico did I fully grasp the validity in what I had been told for years.

Getting to the village of Ixtepec was a long and winding journey, literally. The road we traveled took us up a mountain road that was big enough for a small car and we were on a charter bus (you can imagine my anxiety as I looked out the window down at a cliff). I went on the trip with the Mexico Medical Mission team headed by Jim Dougherty and my Uncle Paul Brown who headed up the team of doctors. We had come to supply this small village with medications and medical care. The village had no hospital, doctors, medicines, or even simple vitamins. I can't tell you how many times I had to write out directions for taking a daily vitamin-something so natural to us yet unknown to them. We, the women, spent four days living in the mayors house and the men stayed at the church. The women all received beds or cots and the men slept on benches and cots- by the end of the week my back was throbbing, but on our the last day, I went on a home visit and saw what a normal villager house and bed looked like. There was a bed that was lying on the floor; it was two boards and some blankets, not even a pillow in sight. I suddenly did not feel the need to complain of my backache.

We spent the week filling approximately 2000 prescriptions and seeing over 500 patients. From little children to the old and crippled, we saw it all - head injuries that left some with holes in their heads that had been there for years, little children with teeth rotting out, and even a woman whose diabetes had caused her so much trouble that her leg had to be amputated from the repercussions of not being treated. The cases were numerous but everywhere, even in these terrible circumstances, there were smiles…little children running and laughing in the streets, the woman catering to our needs to fill our stomachs, and the men always there to lend a hand in some way. I cannot capture all the memories and eye opening things I saw in words. It would be impossible to describe the warmth I felt from the villagers and the satisfaction I found in helping others. The humble spirits, happy hearts, and love for the Lord that was so evident there can only be expressed by a personal witness of it. But I will say, I learned to truly count my blessings- a lesson I hope to keep with me forever.

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