Meet Corinne Miles, a short-term volunteer nurse who left Swaziland with a full heart. Just ask her, if you ever get the opportunity. With a wistful, unworldly look, she’ll smile.
And then she will tell you her story of two life-altering weeks working with The Luke Commission Compassionate Medicine team.
Don’t expect Corinne to talk much about herself, however. She views her time in Swaziland through eternal lenses that will humble those who listen.
“You are a gift from Jesus to the Swazi people. You labor tirelessly, obviously in the strength of the Lord.”
The Luke Commission is “an awesome work of God,” Corinne noted. “I see awesome mercy poured out to the Swazi people through TLC’s hands, feet, and love.”
Corinne continued: “This is a beautiful ministry on the part of every staff member and volunteer. Everyone is so gracious to us short-termers.”
At her last rural mobile clinic, Corinne said, “I love the Swazis. I’m always on the verge of tears here.
Nurse Corinne Miles of Sagle, Idaho, smiled her way through two weeks of Luke Commission clinics and hundreds of Swazi patients.
“I know I’m here mostly to observe, but God has given me precious memories and opportunities to serve.”
At one clinic, Corinne was on her way to an outhouse when she met two Swazi women walking the other way. A grin lit the entire face of one lady who exclaimed, “Siyabonga. Siyabonga. Thank you. Thank you. I was sick and you healed me.”
Corinne’s reply shows her heart: “I told her it was all Jesus. I thanked her. I’m not sure what she understood, but I did not expect to be approached personally. That brief interchange was a gift from God.”
The nurse for a long-time doctor in Sandpoint, Idaho, Corinne lives in the small rural community of Sagle. She and her husband David have three grown sons. She had never served overseas.
When Corinne expressed her desire to go Swaziland with The Luke Commission, her church jumped on board and backed her spiritually and financially. Her pastor Terry Robinson of Calvary Christian Fellowship, Spirit Lake, led the way.
“I see the love of Jesus poured out to the Swazi people on a constant basis. You are devoted to these people,” Corinne said. “You’ve given me a precious gift. Now what do I do with it?”
Corinne shook her head as she pondered her own question. “I want to keep going at this pace. I don’t just want to go back and be a nurse. There’s so much more to do.”
Considering the future, Corinne added, “TLC will grow even more. You can’t stop here.”
And for herself, Corinne mused, “Jesus is calling me to go on and tell more people about TLC. How can I not answer the call of Jesus? How can I go back to a Pollyanna world?”
Corinne worked in triage testing for HIV, helped in medical treatment, drew blood for CD4 counts, assisted in the male circumcision operating room, and reached out to the sickest and poorest in the Swazi bush.
Corinne checks schoolkids one by one, looking for ringworm on the head. Many young Swazis have tinea capitis, which is treatable but requires 4-6 weeks of expensive medication.
“I could see the light in the Swazis’ eyes as they approached us. Some realized Jesus was the reason we were there. In triage I would ask them if they knew Jesus. Some would nod ‘yes,’ and others would say nothing. But they knew we were helping them for free,” said Corinne.
In the prayer semi-circles, where every patient goes before being treated by Harry, Corinne watched the Swazis. “I could see, feel, and hear their reception. Then I listened to Thulani (a TLC staff member) preach and saw the people’s reaction. I could tell Jesus was working.”
The Luke Commission is “a medical mission that ministers to the whole person – physically, spiritually, emotionally. I can’t think of any other ministry more worthy of support.”
Late, late one night as trailers were being packed for the long ride to Manzini, Corinne said, “You don’t leave until every patient is seen. I’m so impressed by how this plays out.”
Corinne visited the nearby hospital, the largest in Swaziland, where TLC volunteers give away clothes and toys to new mothers and sick children in the pediatrics’ ward.
“Swazis don’t show much emotion when you’re talking to them, especially at the hospital. But when they turn their heads or walk away, they clutch the gift that has been given them.” Sickness and poverty are set aside for a few moments.
As Corinne prepared to leave tiny Swaziland, little known to the rest of the world except for battling the highest HIV/AIDS rate, she thought aloud: “I will have to process all this in the days and weeks to come. I told myself I would not cry, but…”
Three Scripture passage touched Corinne while she was in Swaziland. The Lord gave me this Scripture after watching all of you: ‘The harvest is plenteous, but the laborers are few.’” (Matthew 9:37)
Continued Corinne: “God also gave me “Whoever desires to keep his life will lose it.’ (Luke 17:33) That’s what this is all about.”
Finally, Corinne said with a crack in her voice, “I remembered throughout my days here, ‘I can do all things through Christ Who strengthens me.’” (Philippians 4:13)
And with these verses in mind, Corinne said “good bye” to new friends and “hello” to the not-stop-here challenge.
Written by Janet Tuinstra of The Luke Commission