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Sweet Oriesa’s Story

Oriesa with Jose Zunun
Oriesa with Jose Zunun

One of the young women, Oriesa Wiyona, who made up part of the medical outreach team from Redeemer San Diego shared her perspective on the trip. She did a great job sharing her story, so I wanted you to see it!
Yesterday was my third time going to Ensenada medical missions with my home church. I would be lying if I said I wasn’t at least feeling somewhat jaded and “numb”–whatever that means… I felt as if I had no business going again to serve the people there if my heart wasn’t fully invested. Truthfully, I think that one of the worst things to have is a lackluster/lukewarm heart (Revelations 3:16).
On Friday morning, the day before the trip, I was reading a Spurgeon devotional about those who have feeble faith :
“Oh that I had the courage of a great heart, that I could wield his sword and be as valiant as He! But, alas, I stumble at every straw, and a shadow makes me afraid… Peter and Paul, the highly favoured apostles were of the family of the most high; and so are you also; the weak Christian is as much a child of God as the strong one.”
Medical clinic in Ensenada
Medical clinic in Ensenada

Days before the trip, our team found out that a lot of our medical and dental equipments were confiscated on the way down to the border (ie medications, dental tools, lido injections etc.). What a disappointment… Usually we’ve had no problems with our items crossing the border, however this time, things were seemingly more difficult than ever.
On the way down to the border, one of our team physicians lead a morning devotional. He was quoting an idea from a book called, “When Helping Hurts” which stated something alone the lines of: helping and serving can often times feed into our sense of a God complex because people will thank you or “sing your praises”.
I was wondering whether my ego had started to feed into that role which led me to feel ‘holier than thou’ in a sense that these people needed me more than I needed them. Was I depending on the praises of these people to come and serve? Was I wanting to do everything by AND for myself? Were my intentions for going on to missions askew? A sense of sheer guilt began to wash over me for thinking that I could’ve possibly missed the whole intention/purpose of missions. The last thing I wanted to do was go into the missions field with a self-serving/righteous attitude.
However as I returned from Mexico that night, my feeble heart felt strengthened and encouraged as I began to realize God’s subtle blessings during our trip.
Some of our medical team
Some of our medical team

For example, the dental equipments that was lost ended up being provided by a friend of one of our missionaries in Mexico… a family member of one of the church planters is a nurse who rallied the help of her friends to aid with women’s health by providing screenings and free pap smears. And in the end, our team saw 77 patients and 7 prayed to accept Christ. Those numbers served as a reminder for why Christ intended us to do missions–not for my personal gain, but for His glory (One of our team members pointed out that 7 is a pretty holy number after all…)
So today, when my pastor addressed Genesis 1:1-9–the story of Babel, I was incredibly humbled and somewhat taken aback. These people were building towers for the sake of personal gain and achievements, however were rebuked in the end when God changes the language causing their tower building activity to fall apart. Whoa… that sounded a little too familiar.
Neighborhood where we held medical outreach
Neighborhood where we held medical outreach

Pastor Paul stated that that building our own tower makes us delusional–we believe that we are bigger and more important than we really are by providing our time, talents, achievements and accomplishments. When I compare my works to the vastness of His universe, I often forget that I am merely encircling myself in a web of pride and selfishness. Our towers do not last, no matter how big the glory and praises of the day seems. It was pride that led to the fall of Adam and Eve and it was pride that led to the judgement of Babel.
So while our doing is for the purpose of eternal kingdom work, it is only by His grace that the new faith of those 7 patients may be sustained AND that my feeble heart as practitioner/missionary can rest assured in His identity and be free to bless our other brothers and sisters in need. And lastly… what a beautiful reminder through missions that my prideful heart can be changed and renewed by His grace.
Thanks Oriesa for sharing your story!
In His Grip, Dave


  • By Larry Who
    Posted March 24, 2016 at 8:42 am

    “For if our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and knows all things.” (1 John 3:20)
    Just tell your mind to shut up and then keep on walking.

    • By diasolifeontheborder
      Posted March 25, 2016 at 9:07 am

      Preach the gospel to ourselves, there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, Romans 8:1

  • By Don Grabow
    Posted March 24, 2016 at 2:22 pm

    I have really mixed feeling about “when helping hurts”. Often I wonder if it is even from God or from the other team! It has devastated some church’s short term missions programs and restricted others ( including my own) from being the hands and feet that we should be. It has such an influence among the recently graduated missions ‘specialists’ that one would think it was part of the gospel.
    For example we once had yearly trips to build homes with BCM. We did it for 20+ years and yes some times the circus did come to town but we never got any sense that we were making people feel less than or that we were enableing anyone. people had a need and won God’s lottery and we built them a house. That program has been eliminated from our church by a misapplied understanding of “when helping hurts”

    • By diasolifeontheborder
      Posted March 25, 2016 at 9:04 am

      Don, I’m sure people have misapplied the principles in the book. I would agree that they overemphasize some things relating to dependency. On the other hand, dependency has been a big problem in missions, so it’s good to have healthy discussion about it. Of course, it’s good to keep a healthy balance.
      One of the things I like about working with Ministerios Transformacion is that they have a self sustaining model and their churches and ministries are doing a great work.

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