The Liberty Gazette
February 4, 2014Ely Air Lines
By Mike Ely and Linda Street-Ely
Mike: A few years ago our friend David Slack, a local missionary serving in Mexico, asked if I would fill for him in on a special flight. "Sure, where to?" I asked, excited. The medical mission would serve the small town of Xicoténcatl well south of Cuidad Victoria in the state of Tamaulipas.
The most visible part of any of these mission trips, the tip of the iceberg, is the doctors and dentists who use their medical skills to help those who would never have such an opportunity otherwise. But beneath the surface are the volunteers, both in Mexico and here, who are the backbone of the operation and provide the grease and prayers that things will keep moving. They are the blessings of God for these people.
I was honored to be part of this but mostly I was humbled by witnessing how hard all these folks worked and how much they cared and loved the people they were helping. I received far more than I gave through the minor role I played.
Tensions were high when two Houston area doctors and I departed from RWJ Airpark for our first stop, Reynosa, to clear Mexican customs. David had already prepared all the required documents, making for a quick stop and on to Cuidad Victoria. From there we traveled by ground via two lane highways and small country roads to Xicoténcatl.
My main job over until our return flight, I was able to participate in other ways. When people hear a doctor is coming, word spreads quickly. They began to show up and volunteers started the check-in process, finding out their ailments, writing them down on cards and then guide them to where they need to go next.
They see a doctor and/or dentist and they also have a chance to get a pair of glasses. One of the most fun parts for me was sitting at the glasses table. People would be brought to us and we would have them try several pairs and read cards. Seeing smiles because maybe for the first time they can clearly see enough to read something is rewarding beyond measure.
Perhaps you read before about this mission, Sus Manos Extendidas, which means "His Hands Extended" when we wrote about it a few years ago. It is a non-denominational Christian mission and thus part of the mission is to spread the Word of God. Volunteers from churches in Mexico will share the Good News of Jesus Christ with those who come and they are given an opportunity to ask Him into their heart. It is never a requirement that they do so and some don’t. However, there are many who do. We saw hundreds of patients the few days we were there.
It’s an experience we hated to end, but we broke down the tents, packed up the old bus and the trailer full of equipment and headed back to Cuidad Victoria for a night in the church compound. In the morning the doctors and I were taken to the airport and the other volunteers continued north to the border.
David is now putting his energies into an orphanage in Mexico and still seeks to serve God with everything he does.