This past summer Kelly Ward, a senior health science major, and Luke Hall, a junior nursing major traveled to Nairobi, Kenya, with Dr. Marc Chetta and others from all over the United States to work at a medical clinic.
The team was composed of four students, two doctors and nurse practitioners, four registered nurses, a physician, an optometrist and the CEO of Medical Missions Outreach, Bradley Edmondson.
MMO coordinated the nine-day trip. The team used the free medical clinic to treat and diagnose the natives and share the Gospel.
Once the patients were helped, local pastors, deacons and other team members had the opportunity to witness to the individuals.
Following a 24-hour flight from Greenville to Nairobi, the team arrived on Friday evening and began working in the clinic on Saturday.
The clinic lasted six days in three separate locations.
The following Friday the medical team went on a safari in the morning and headed back to Greenville.
Through the medical clinic, the team saw between 240 and 280 people saved, and 1,200 patients were treated.
The medical side of the trip consisted of treating different illnesses, which normally would not be diagnosed in America, and hands-on experience with the patients.
During the trip, Ward was able to take blood pressures, oxygen levels and respiratory rates of the patients, shadow Dr. Chetta and do pharmaceutical work.
“I think Dr. Chetta is who I learned the most from on the trip,” Ward said.
“He took a lot of time to stop what he was doing and teach me.”
Hall and Ward were able to grow closer to the other teammates on the trip.
“We all shared two things in common: medicine and Jesus,” Hall said.
Dr. Chetta said he was able to grow very close to Ward and Hall and says the three of them will be lifelong friends.
Before the trip, Hall knew there would be certain spiritual expectations he needed to prepare for, especially in the areas of ministering to unbelievers in addition to working with believers.
“I was expecting to expand my medical knowledge,” Ward said.
“I want to do medical missions later on, so I was trying to get a feeling of what it would be like and what it would entail.”
Dr. Chetta, who has gone on six other MMO trips, expected it to be like the others.
“The familiarity is reassuring,” Dr. Chetta said.
“It makes you more comfortable, and there is not that sense of fear.”
One of the most impactful lessons Hall learned on the trip was not to take anything for granted, specifically the medical professionals and the medicine we easily access.
Another lesson he learned was to expect the unexpected.
“You expect to be a blessing to a lot of people, but the people in the church and the patients were also a blessing to me,” Hall said.
The most impactful lesson Ward learned was “not to see people as a project as much as seeing them as people who need the Gospel,” she said.
The most exciting medical experience of the trip for Hall was assisting Chetta in the removal of a sebaceous cyst.
Ward enjoyed shadowing Chetta and also going to see the hippos.
Chetta said the most exciting event for him was the nighttime safari.
The team was also able to go to a girls’ orphanage for children with HIV and AIDS and play with the children.
For Chetta, the bond that believers share in Christ was evident on the trip.
“The amazing thing is when you meet Christians, there is an immediate kinship that transcends ethnicity and color,” Chetta said.