Monday, January 6, 2014

A Letter from Dr. Eston Wenger

Hello my name is Eston Wenger.  I am a general surgeon from Cleveland TN. My family and I visited and worked in the D.R. over Thanksgiving week.  This was my second trip to Sabeneta with Richard and my family's first trip to the D.R.  My parents came as well.  They are the reason, along with Richard, that I have come to the D.R.  I wanted them to get a sense of what life was really like in this part of the world.  I can tell my wife's and children's eyes were opened to the need in this area, but felt a real sense of love from the people we met.  Even though they didn't have much (per our standards), they still had smiles on their faces and plenty of hugs to give!

My wife (a nurse practitioner) saw 65 people in less than two days time. There is a great need for basic primary care.  Mindy (my wife) and Richard were able to obtain the needed medications for her patients.  Just mention the word that a physician is in the area, and the line starts, but never ends.  She is planning to return again (she wants to do more reading on tropical disease-she is a perfectionist) and help more people in the village.  I think the need really weighed on her heart and mind.  I think she did an amazing job for the little time she had to prepare and for the first time visiting the village.

My children had a multitude of questions about the children in the village.  The beautiful thing about children is this (a lesson we could learn)--they don't know the difference between rich or poor, white or black. They just played and had a wonderful time.  They brought things from home that they could share with the other children.  My oldest daughter made a dress with her grandma to give to one of the girls.  I asked them if they wanted to go to Disney World or the Dominican next time, they all said, "The Dominican."  As a father trying to raise three children for the Lord, that is a good feeling.  Even now, they are still looking for things they can bring next time.

I want to give a special thanks to my parents for helping me find Richard and a place to give back.  The Lord asks us to give according to our talents.  I pray that my talent of surgery is helpful to the people of Sabeneta.  I could not have done it without their support and encouragement. They have been with me all the way through this process-in person, in love, and in prayer.  I appreciate their support, helping with the patients, and the children.

For myself, I thank all the people involved in God's ministry.  From my parents getting me involved with Richard, to Richard finding a place to operate, to the clinic and its staff that make the operations possible-Thank you!  And for my wife, thank you for your unending, selfless support of the work done and to be done in Sabeneta.  I love you.

Working in the D.R. has been quite an experience!  I have thoroughly enjoyed getting to know the people of the D.R. and especially in the village of Sabeneta.  We typically arrive on a Friday and go to the village. Saturday involves meeting all of my patients preoperatively.  This involves examining them and telling them about the surgery and then scheduling them. They are also seen by an anesthesiologist (and a cardiologist if necessary). Patients are given a bag of ibuprofen and vitamins as well.  Sunday, we go to the church in the village, which is special for me since the plaque of my grandparents is present in the church.  A sense of my grandfather preaching at summer revival is felt in the air.  At our last visit, they were nice enough to translate the message in English.  It was about love and giving. Giving without love is nothing-I believe that was an appropriate message for us that day.  Monday and Tuesday are the operating days.  Typically, we operate on about 17 people in two days.  Mostly,  inguinal hernia surger is performed,  but also lumps and bumps.  Wednesday, we go back to the clinic and check on patients.  I could not do what I do without the staff present at the clinic, especially Dr. Rousseau!  He translates for me and helps me with medical issues not familar to me in the U.S.  He talks to the families and sees the patients back the following week.  He is my right hand and thank him from the bottom of my heart.  The two days of operating are usually all day events.  It is tiring, but when I see the smile on the patients' faces, it is all worth it.  I don't want to think that I am doing anything special, I just want to do God's will.  It is more than worth it!

Lastly, I don't know how many of you reading this know Richard Taylor.  As mentioned, I have been down to the D.R. twice now with him.  This is a man that gives tirelessly of himself to these people 24/7.  His service begins from the time he arrives in Sabeneta to the time he leaves-which could be for one month or several months.  He serves these people with a smile, a hug, and the love of Jesus Christ.  I have never heard him complain once. His blue Chevy van is constantly on the go as a taxi cab, ambulance, or for any number of other tasks he performs for the people of Sabeneta.  I don't think you can appreciate his devotion until you have seen it first hand.  It took this second time for it to sink in for me.  Richard, you are an amazing man in Christ and thank you for all you do!! 

Eston Wenger