Visitors from around the world have always been welcomed at The Luke Commission. That is, until COVID-19 changed traveling plans, hopefully just for a short season. Here, we look back a few months with similar hopes for future visitors.

Sometimes when the inner impact of being with The Luke Commission is insightful and intense, a person’s whole experience needs to be shared. Such is the following narrative by Heather Mehra-Pedersen of Sandpoint, Idaho, USA. Even those who are “skimmers,” preferring to read and hurry on, will be warmed by letting the following sink in deep.

by Heather Mehra-Pedersen

The struggle is real. And no matter the relativity of it, God shows up in the cracks to heal and use His people to do the work. And so it was with me and a small team from a tiny town in the panhandle of a low-profile state, headed overseas to serve alongside The Luke Commission in a small, encapsulated, once-forgotten country called Eswatini.

Unbeknownst to any of us at the time, the extraordinary team of ministry-focused staff of TLC paid inconspicuous attention to our individual pains and buried heartaches—all behind the scenes.

Heather loves Swazi children, and lets them know.

With tender and quiet care, they spent valuable time chatting, asking key questions, probing with respect and non-judgment, while keenly listening to our stories, sharing in our lives, genuinely attuned to our needs on all levels—emotional, spiritual, mental, and physical. While we showed up to “give”; in hindsight, it seems all we did was “get.”

Managing their daily work of caring for the sea of underprivileged and sick, they made coordinated and deliberate time to care for us, but not simply supply food and living comforts. Taking an intentional, deep, personal interest in each of us became apparent.

Mid-trip, my own sea of pain entered my world, as unexpected family news came from halfway around the world. My knees buckled beneath me in anguish. But this team—this honed, God-appointed team of sold-out, dedicated, TLC-ordinary people—caught me before I could hit the ground, and swept me up in the arms of Christ. Somehow, they not only managed to make me feel like the only “patient” in the world, giving me time with the right people at the right time, but it astounded me that I was not the only one in crisis. Each one of my traveling team members also received tremendous healing and recovery from lightly probed festering, malice gone untreated. They were at work in an effort to restore life and light to each one of us.

Echo stands with Heather and TLC staff after a nighttime surgery session for patients with tumors. They were so thankful to have them removed, no matter the time of day or night.

It was never our intention to be on the treatment end in Africa of all places, but this is the testament of God and TLC that their ministry is not boxed to exclude ANYone no matter the time, day, race, religion, need, or color. They remain true to their calling.

Our atheist teammate accepted Christ and was baptized at the 11th hour before departure. Another left with plans to get baptized at his home pond so he could be reminded everyday. Our youngest team member stood in awe as she witnessed the miracle of all the healing on so many levels, exposing her to much unexpected truth and witness.

We all left stupefied and unusually quiet in reflection and amazement at the impact of our visit, how our Almighty Father bottles each tear in witness that he cares, and how the team at The Luke Commission obediently, lovingly, and skillfully partners with Him to be the true, unadulterated, pure, real deal of Christianity as Jesus probably meant for us to be.

I encourage you, if given the opportunity, to jump in to your TLC experience with both feet. Be vulnerable. Trust the process, and let God speak to you while you see 1+1 come to equal 11. Be multiplied with Harry and Echo and their dedicated team of service, where ‘not about me’ screams from the TLC campus, and servanthood is demonstrated.