The dates have been selected for the 2020 Mission. The Mission will run from Saturday, February 1st to Sunday, February 9th. Packing day and informational meeting will be Saturday, January 18th. If you are interested in being part of the team, go to the Volunteer Tab and download the 2020 Application and the 2020 Health Form. Once completed, send it to the address on the application. Deadline is October 15th and we will be assembling the team after that based on needs for the team. Team size is limited due to the logistics of transportation while in country.
A couple of weeks before the team leaves for El Salvador the final preparations are made. The entire team gathers together, everyone bringing a couple of empty suitcases. All around the room are 20 to 30 tables filled with all the supplies There is toothpaste and toothbrushes, readers and prescription glasses, flip flops, muscle rub, medical creams of all sorts, gauze, children’s Tylenol…. all the supplies needed for the upcoming mission. After meeting some of the new members (newbies), socializing with friends, old and new, everyone is instructed on how the bags are packed. There is frenzy of bags being packed and weighed, packed again (or unpacked) until the desired weight for each bag is 45 to 50 pounds. The first bag is packed and you get your second bag and repeat the process.
Once the bags are all packed and there are no supplies left, the bags are set to the side and an informational meeting is held. A slide show is shown and the newbies are told about the history of the mission, typical days in El Salvador, problems we may see, the importance of being safe while in country, not drinking the water… information so everyone knows what to expect.
Packing day accomplishes two steps for the Mission. First, all the supplies needed for the Mission with the exception of the prescription medicines which were done early by the planning committee, are packed up so each team member can bring them to El Salvador. The second step is team building. It is the first time the team is together. Everyone gets a chance to see friends from previous Missions and get to know new friends. This is the beginning of building the team. They are working together to achieve the purpose of the Mission, to help the people of El Salvador.
I first heard about Mission of Miracles (MOM) last year from a friend / associate from the medical clinic where we work. He told me of the medical mission to El Salvador which immediately piqued my interest because I had wanted to participate in a medical mission for many years and the timing was perfect for me to commit. He had participated in the mission 3 or 4 times and spoke of what a joy it was to be part of the team.
It seemed to be a great way to utilize my medical expertise as well as fulfill a lifetime personal goal. Also I knew El Salvador was a Spanish speaking country and I had been interested in learning the language. I then decided to take an adult education Conversational Spanish Class prior to embarking on the mission.
Preparation for the mission was efficiently orchestrated by a wonderful core team which really made it easy to feel prepared and at ease upon departure to El Salvador.
On arrival to San Salvador we were warmly greeted by the Medical doctor, Daniella, who welcomed us all with open arms.
Five days of clinic took us to remote villages, each with its own unique needs and challenges. Driving to these villages, 1-2+ hours from San Salvador, gave us the opportunity to see the beautiful countryside which was surprisingly diverse with mountains, ocean, volcanoes and farm land.
The clinic days flew by filled with patients of all ages and health concerns. I found them to be extremely patient (waiting hours to be seen), thankful and loving (hugs were plentiful). I was humbled, finding there was much to be learned from these people of limited means.
The missionary staff – medical practitioners, nurses, students, assistants, spiritual mentors and interpreters were so helpful. All were excellent in their roles, supportive and dedicated to the mission.
The 2014 MOM was an incredible experience for me. It broadened my horizons and I am very grateful to have been part of the team. I pray for the people in need in El Salvador that in time with ongoing education, love and support their lives will continue to be enriched. Undoubtedly, they have enriched my life.
Upon arriving back in the United States after my experience with Mission of Miracles trip, I had already decided I would like to return to El Salvador. I was both impressed and inspired by the coordination and hard work of every volunteer on the trip- from the dentists, pharmacists, doctors, nurses, ministry and bus drivers!
When asked by my friends, family and college professors how my trip was, what my favorite part was and what kinds of things I saw I wasn’t sure how to respond. There aren’t many words that can adequately translate the emotions and memories I have from this trip. I witnessed and was a part of true miracles.
In each village we went to, the Mission of Miracles team shared knowledge, hope and helping hands in the purest sense. I gained not only a sense of community but also a better understanding of the capabilities of medicine, teamwork and interdisciplinary healthcare. Being out with the Salvadorians was really an honor and an experience I will hold dear to my heart. I gained much more than valuable nursing skills, but a greater understanding of the power of providing service to others.
When I went on the Mission of Miracles trip for the first time in 2013, I was just as nervous as I was excited. I had no clue what to expect, having never done something like this before and not knowing anybody except for my mom. Luckily, the group of people who attend this trip are some of the most amazing people I have ever met. From day one they made me feel welcome and comfortable in this unfamiliar environment.
It is hard to describe the experience we have on the Mission of Miracles trip. When I came back, my family, friends, classmates, and professors asked me to tell them about it. I had no idea where to start or how to describe the experiences I had. It is so eye opening and humbling to see how the people of El Salvador live, and how grateful they are for things that we take for granted everyday in the US.
One of the encounters I had that stuck with me is with a little girl and her mother in El Maizel. Terri and I saw her on my first trip, and she quickly took a special place in our hearts. Her mother brought her to us for a cough and a runny nose, but as we assessed her we found that she had a severe developmental delay. She was almost two years old, but was at the developmental stage of a 2 month old. Terri determined that she had cerebral palsy. I was very affected by this girl and her mother. The mother was doing everything she could to help her daughter, including taking her to developmental center every 8 days and doing stretches to help her stiff muscles at home. It was inspiring to see such great care being taken even when they had so few resources, but it was hard to accept that she was getting much less care than we would be able to give her at home.
Terri and I were lucky enough to see this patient again this year. Although they did not initially come to see us, Terri happened to see someone who looked like the mother across the street. When we walked over, we saw the mother, father, sister, and the little girl who we had been hoping to see. She is almost three now, and looked like she had improved so much from the past year! We found out that her mom is still bringing her to a developmental center (although not frequently) and we were able to bring her into the clinic and test her for anemia, give her vitamins with iron, treat her for an infection, and give her mother diapers and supplements for her daughter, as well as refer her to our nutritionist to help teach them the best diet for her.
Her mom was so thankful when they were leaving that she started crying and hugged us. This was a really touching experience to have made as much of an effect on her as they had on us. One of the best parts of seeing them again was that we were able to see how the father interacted with the child. We did not see him the first year, and were unsure of if he accepted her condition. Seeing him with her this year, though, we saw how caring and loving he was. He was playing with her and making her laugh the entire time we were there. Her parents assured us that they would continue to follow up with Dr. Daniella.
I am so lucky to have been able to experience the Mission of Miracles trip for the past two years. It has been a life changing experience, and has assured me over and over again that I made the right choice in studying to become an RN. Being able to help so many people was great, and they have taught me so much more than I could have expected. The people I have met will stay with me forever. I’m counting down the days until the next trip!!