One word per week. Three words in all.

That’s how a five-member medical team from Wright State University each summed up their 3-week experience with The Luke Commission.

Trial, blessed, humbled. These thoughts tumbled from Dan Lui, a WSU family practice resident.

While serving in the field with TLC, Dan’s home was burglarized as his wife and baby boy were nearby. Twice the baby had to be taken to the local ER for treatment, unlike other times when the 5-month-old has been a picture of health.

“I realize God is much bigger, and I should not worry. But I’ve never been away from my new family this long. It’s hurtful to think my wife has to deal with all these unexpected things. That’s been my trial while here.”

Family practice “practice” includes many experiences, as Dan Lui works in the male circumcision surgery unit set up by The Luke Commission in a rural African school.

“I was blessed by Rebekah’s (Sartori, short-term visitor coordinator) and Echo’s leadership. They were sensitive to my situation time and time again,” continued Dan.

“While God or TLC doesn’t need me, God chose me to be here. That’s humbled me,” he smiled.

MC director Echo VanderWal (far left) is assisted in the circumcision of a 15-year-old Liswati lad by Dan Lui (center), WSU family practice resident.

Changed, challenged, encouraged – said Daisy Conduah, 4th year medical student from New York who has joined the army and is headed to a surgical residency at Walter Reed Hospital.

“When I first started pursuing a group to join overseas, The Luke Commission was not my first choice. I’m so glad things did not happen the way I thought they should,” said Daisy with an emotional catch in her voice, admitting she changed almost immediately after arrival in Eswatini.

 

Daisy Conduah represents The Luke Commission by giving gifts to new mothers in the maternity ward of Eswatini’s largest hospital where 35-40 babies are born each day.

“Then the work challenged me like I never thought I’d be challenged. I saw faith in Christ in action. I was constantly in awe of how much gets done at one TLC site. All the pieces fit together. The regular staff members have dual roles and change directions often. But they make it look effortless,” said Daisy. She particularly enjoyed the wild game park and the visit to Liswati staff member Sipho’s homestead.

Daisy added: “I was encouraged in my faith, though sometimes I questioned what I believe. I’m so happy about the services TLC offers to those who need it most. I hope the mobile hospital idea can be replicated in other countries.”

 

Daisy Conduah practiced her surgical skills in The Luke Commission’s MC surgical unit. She intends to become a surgeon.

Compassionate, empowerment, teamwork. Another 4th year medical student, Himaja Palur, zeroed in on these words. Born in India and today living in Dayton, Himaja intends to be a family practice doctor. These assessments summarize her time with TLC.

 

WSU 4th year medical student Himaja Palur assists with the circumcisions of dozens of youth in Eswatini, southern Africa.

“Everyone who works with The Luke Commission is compassionate. The patients, even the kids, are shown respect. Each one served has goals and purposes,” declared Himaja.

“In the States, you’d never get all those boys to circumcise. The key is the internal factor – many people working to show them why circumcision will help them. That’s empowerment.”

 

Marguerite Shegog and Himaja Palur are pictured in The Luke Commission male circumcision unit in a remote, mountainous area of Eswatini.

Himaja continued: “There’s no ‘I’ in TLC. It’s all teamwork. I learned a lot. Though I have a different faith then everyone else in my team, working with the underserved is big in my life. This was a wonderful opportunity.”

Openness, individual, jabulani. Marguerite Shegog, a former peace corps volunteer in Namibia and now a 4th year medical student, is marrying her long-time fiancé soon after she returns, but she wouldn’t have missed her brief time in Eswatini.

 

Shegog, 4th year Wright State University medical student, fits new TOMS Shoes on Liswati girls while accompanying The Luke Commission at a mobile hospital site.

“Everyone on TLC team showed us openness. They were flexible and literally let us become part of their family. Consequently, the patients were open and honest with us,” Marguerite explained.

“All of us are on different journeys, in different places in life. But when you’re in the middle of 600+ people and you hold one hand or exchange one smile, it’s just that one person in that moment.”

Jabulani means happy in SiSwati. “So much made me smile and laugh and giggle, even when I was tired or helping people with big problems,” said Marguerite.

Faith, compassion, patience. These words touched Melissa Mekesa deep down in her soul.

Openly and excitedly accepting Jesus Christ as Savior while in Eswatini and then sharing her decision before the whole team, Melissa noted: “To see how the greatness of God can affect my life, if I just open my eyes and heart it is amazing.”

 

Melissa Mekesa, WSU family practice resident, takes time out from medical pursuits to distribute TOMS Shoes to grateful young Emaswati.

“Anyone who comes here must have compassion and the desire to make someone’s life better. I couldn’t have gone on this trip, if I didn’t care about people,” said Melissa.

“Patience. I learned some of that, too,” laughed Melissa, who is a WSU family practice resident doctor. “I might think or say ‘This is how we do it in the States,’ but then I realize that’s not how it is done here. I had to listen and to wait. I had to sit back and be quiet. That takes patience.”

by Janet Tuinstra on the field with TLC

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