Posted by: missionarytravels | August 13, 2008

My Story, A Nurse’s Heart for Missions

On the Amazon River

On the Amazon River




Medical missions has been a dream on mine since childhood.  Growing up in a Christian home, mission services have always been my favorite.  Since I was a teenager I’ve felt a calling to work as
a missionary nurse.  Graduating in June 2005 as a Registered Nurse, my first opportunity came knocking two years ago(2006).  Six weeks before my uncle, Dr. Wesley Scoles, MD was to depart on his fourth medical missions trip to Guatemala his pharmacist decided she could not make the trip.  Unsure why he thought of me,
but on that Saturday night my mother received a phone call asking if I would be willing to go with
him and the team to Guatemala and work as the team pharmacist. My answer without thinking was yes.  After spending some time thinking about it, I got kinda of scared. I’d never be on an airplane,
did not have a passport, and had never been out of the USA.  So I placed it all in God’s hands. First step, could I get off work? Yes! Second step, apply for a US passport.  It arrived in less then two weeks.  Okay God, ” I ‘m all yours.  You have worked everything out.  This must be where I’m supposed to go.” On our last day in Guatemala we had morning devotions at the cross overlooking
the city of Antigua with a large volcano across the way.  It was here that I finally saw the picture and
I gave EVERYTHING to Him. 
Guatemala, over looking Antigua

Guatemala, over looking Antigua

My uncle, Dr. Wes Scoles, had felt a desire to lead a medical mission trip to the Amazon region of Brazil for several years, but had no clear direction or contacts in this part of South America. A
chance encounter with a former patient led to a long distance introduction to Rick and Kim Parker, missionaries to the River People in Brazil for over 18 years. A few emails later the basic outline for
a trip in late May 2008 were established. The mission would include medical, dental, eye care and Vacation Bible School.
To facilitate the ability to receive corporate and private donations for medical and optical supplies,
my uncle, Wesley Scoles, MD, Paul Harmon, OD, and Katrina Guerry helped form “A Doctor’s Heart, Inc.” in July 2007. As a 501(c)3 corporation, all funds and supplies donated to the organization were then tax deductible. It was decided very early in the planning of the mission that all the team members would pay their own travel expenses. This would allow us to use all monetary donations
for the purchase of supplies.
Katrina, Phillip, & Byran getting ready for VBS

Katrina, Phillip, & Byran getting ready for VBS

Our Brazil 2008 was soon developed.  It was an odd looking and sounding bunch but each person
on the team was uniquely gifted by God with the ability and desire to reach out to those less fortunate.  We want every person we come into contact with to become a child of God.  The
members were: Wes Scoles MD, Brandy Willis MD, Phillip Treadwell PhD, Paul Harman OD, (myself)Rebekah Owens RN, Katrina Guerry, Chris Connor, and Bryan Mooneyhan. Wes, Brandy, Phillip, Paul and  myself were responsible for providing medical care. Katrina, Chris, and Bryan organized and
led a Vacation Bible School program for the children.
Our Home

Our Home

On the afternoon of May 22, 2008 we all arrived at Miami International Airport.  We had with us 8 people and 20 suitcases full of medicine, medical equipment, soap, toothbrushes & toothpaste, clothing, soccer balls, candy, etc. 24 hours, and a harrowing 4 hour bus ride through the Amazon jungle later, we arrived at the Amazonas port city of Itacoatiara. Here we embarked on the
Discovery II, our floating home for the next 10 days. The Amazon River itself is hard to describe, growing up in Missouri near the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers, one could never compare these Rivers to the amazing Amazon. For the next 18 hours we traveled up the Amazon and its tributaries, awestruck by the majesty of God’s creation.
Working in Santa Anna

Working in Santa Anna

Did you know that roosters can not tell time? They seem to feel that the sun rises about 4 AM. For the next 7 days we were welcomed in each new village by the cry of a rooster and sometimes the holler of a monkey and the anticipation of helping the villagers both physically and spiritually. The villages generally consisted of 10-15 small one room wooden houses. All were built on stilts to accommodate the rising and falling of the river. We were told to expect 40-50 people at our clinic the first day, we saw 300. Over 150 children and adults attended the Vacation Bible School. And this was just the first day.



In 7 days we served over 1000 medically, dispensed over 350 pair of glasses, pulled over 300 teeth and gave out over 500 lbs of clothing. We traveled 600 miles on six rivers and treated patients from 27 villages. Countless children participated in a great VBS themed on the story of Noah’s Ark. We slept in hammocks on a double-decker boat. We ate lots of Brazilian food (including crocodile,
paca(a dog- sized rat), armadillo, and piranha). We prayed. We laughed, swam in the Amazon,
trekked through the rain forest, laughed some more. Most of all, we were reminded that Jesus came
to earth as a servant, and it is in service that we are most like Him.  “Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue, but with actions and with truth.” I John 3:18.
Evening Devotions

Evening Devotions

It seems there is always a selfish aspect to mission trips. Most of us harbored a spiritual agenda somewhere in our soul that we hoped would emerge as a deeper connection to God. We hoped that
by being removed from the busy world that surrounds us, and spending time in an effort to help others, we to might also succeed in helping ourselves. The eight members of our team met every morning and evening in a devotional time. We looked to each other for guidance, encouragement,
and comfort. We were not afraid to lay souls bare, and were quick to heal broken spirits. The
saddest part of any mission trip is when it is over, and that nagging feeling begins that the deeper connection with God that you worked so hard to forge, will slowly slip away. But this trip was different. The bonds of friendship and lessons learned from our time with God and others sank
deep, and will hold fast. It is with that spiritual anchor, much excitement and anticipation that we prepare for Brazil 2009.
6AM Prayer Time

6AM Prayer Time


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