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This Is Why We Go

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Imagine yourself waking one morning and your fingers have begun to curl up into themselves. You try to straighten them, but you can't.

You don't understand. Finally you go to the doctor and seek his help. 

"You have leprosy." 

Miguel is 57 years old and was diagnosed with leprosy in October when his fingers began to curl and he couldn't straighten them. 

We met Miguel last week.  He is one of three new patients/residents to arrive since we were last here (in the Dominican Republic) in October. 

He seems like a humble man. He seems happy to meet us when we arrive. A nice looking man, other than his hands, there is no visible evidence that anything is wrong with him.

Miguel is Dominican, from Elias Pina, near the Haitian border. He was in agriculture. He has three children. He no longer sees them. They live hours away from Nigua. 

It is obvious he has not come to grips with his diagnosis. 

We gather around him to talk. When the conversation turns from him we see his obsession with trying to uncurl his fingers. He rubs them on his arm. He takes them with the bent fingers of the opposite hand and tries to pull them straight. He taps his wrists; trying to feel them I suppose.

 The tip of one of his thumbs is missing at the knuckle. He tells us he sawed it off with a knife when it wouldn't heal. He thought it was a sugar problem. He didn't realize at the time he had leprosy. I can't imagine! 

Miguel's is a case of not being diagnosed before life-changing damage is done. The cure is available, but for Miguel the need for the cure wasn't  discovered in time.


Saturday is a blessing. Arriving at the leprocomio (Spanish for a hospital for leprosy patients), the team of 8 Shandon College Ministry students immediately begins the process of meeting the patients. Our team of Abigail, Allie, Averi, Emily, Madison, Andrew, David, and Tristan meet and engage them in conversations and activity.

What a joy for me to see the excitement in the eyes of so many of the residents. The new patients are treated to the friendly, loving faces of the team, as are all the residents. It is easy to see how blessed the residents here are from the love the team shows.

I ask your prayers for Miguel. Pray that he will be able to cope with his recent diagnosis. Pray for his family and situation. Pray that he will find comfort in Christ and pray that we will find the right words to say to share the glory and strength we find in Christ as Christians.

Continue to pray for the college mission team as they serve with us this week.

Jim Whittle

GO InterNational



Posted by Shandon Baptist Church with

Flood Upon Flood

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by David Taylor

Flood upon flood.

It's been tough. It will continue to be tough. The rain didn't relent, and now the rivers continue to rise. I keep thinking of elementary science and geography lessons about rivers and tributaries. They all come together, the creeks, the rivers, and the bodies of waters they run through.

When torrential rain turns a city street into a river, it floods a creek or lake or river, which then floods more creeks, lakes, and rivers. The dams eventually break. When one dam breaks, that floods the next dam downstream, and so on. Flood upon flood. The rushing water is powerful and impossible to contain.

This has been the story of the past four days in my city, Columbia, SC. We have seen much damage. Lost homes, evacuations, debris, shut-down businesses, impassable roads, and impure water are just a few of our struggles, not to mention repairing the dams.

I have hope, though, much hope.

In the past few days, I have seen another flood, though not one of water. It has been an outpouring of love. Love has brought universities, churches, government agencies, media outlets, city officials, business owners, state leaders, and individuals together.

Today at my church, Shandon Baptist, I witnessed this. Throughout the day, I planned, prayed and worked with fellow staff and church members I already know well, but it was a little different today. I also worked with dozens of USC students I had never seen before, arriving in shifts from a student-led relief effort. I witnessed the AC Flora High School Football team load shuttles with relief items and search for those who needed it. Members of other churches came to help. Individuals and groups from around the city brought donations they knew were needed because WIS and WLTX were retweeting our needs. Newspring sent us a truckload of bottled water within an hour of our request. There were so many hands taking donations, sorting, and giving, I can't keep up with it all. It was chaotic and beautiful what was happening out of our church gym today.

And, this was just the second day. In 9 hours, more trucks will arrive to that gym and so will more volunteers. Friends from Spartanburg, Atlanta, Greenville, and Fort Bragg will be arriving to volunteer and donate. Samaritan's Purse will begin surveying and recruiting. We will continue to figure out what needs to be done and do it. Through people, we will see the love of God pour out from Forest Drive to those in need.

And as the love of God pours out from Forest Drive, it is also pouring out from other places throughout the city. Shandon is one small part of relief efforts. People are sharing and giving and helping from other churches and organizations who are working together. It's incredible that it is all coming together into a common current of love. His love through his people will overcome what seems impossible. No dam can contain God's love. Let it flow.

Flood upon flood.

Posted by David Taylor with