My name is Cesia Rodriguez and I had a chance to go with Dustin’s Dream this year to Guatemala City. From an early age I knew I wanted to be a missionary nurse and throughout my college years, I asked God to lead me to the right ministry with which I could begin to fulfill His calling for my life. It was during my trip to Guatemala last year that I got to meet the Dustin’s Dream team in Guatemala City. I immediately knew that I wanted to join them as soon as I became a nurse. So, this year I had the privilege of being part of an incredible team that went to serve at Heart of Love Clinic and surrounding villages in Guatemala City.
During our time in Guatemala, we were showed so much love and thankfulness from everyone we cared for We were encouraged by their testimonies, and learned so much from their way of living out their faith. I believe God spoke directly to me as I encountered one of the most difficult cases I have ever come across. I was one with of the physicians of our team when a young lady in a wheelchair entered our office. We began by gathering some basic information. Her name was Estela, she was 22 years old, and after a very tragic accident a few years past she received orthopedic surgery and had not been able to walk since then.
We began to further our assessment to get a better picture of her physical capabilities. We realized her leg muscles were atrophic, she was underweight, but, she had good strength and mobility in her arms. After a few other assessments we quickly realized that although she had not been able to walk in the last few years, with some effort and therapy we could help her walk again. We thought we had the GREATEST NEWS to give to this young lady. Her days of begging and depending of other’s mercy on the streets were soon to be over. We knew a much better life was waiting for her– she was going to be able to walk again! As a 23 year old myself I couldn’t imagine ever getting better news than of a better and more independent life than what I currently have. So, with much excitement I translated as the doctor began to explain to Estela that although some effort was going to have be put in, she was going to be able to WALK AGAIN! I was surprised to see her lack of excitement.
However, my surprise was bigger when she said, “I don’t want to walk again, I just want a new wheelchair. Are you going to give it to me or not?” I thought that she probably did not think she would be able to afford the therapy needed. Thus, we continued to assure her that we were going to provide all the therapy and equipment for free, the medication to alleviate the pain that could come with it, and the encouragement she needed to get through all of it. Unlike all of the other patients we had seen she did not want to get better and after much conversation with her and others that know her, we realized she was a drug addict who knew that begging on the streets and being in a wheelchair increased her income. She found her life as a 22 year old paraplegic, who is at increased risks for other health complications, to be much a better reality than ever walking away from such misery.
Although I am not proud of it, I have to say I felt a whole lot of frustration when I first talked to Estela. I found her to be ungrateful and a little bit stubborn. I felt offended that she came to seek for medical help, but was not willing to trust our knowledge to help her condition. She came looking for guidance, but already had a plan laid out for us to simply follow and do as she wanted. Soon enough I realized that Estela and I had more in common that I had realized, which would explain my frustration with her.
More often than not, I come to God like Estela came to us. I have a plan I want God to grant me so, instead of seeking His expert opinion I only ask Him to bless my own desires. Through my interaction with Estela, I caught a glimpse of how I often make God feel. When I completely ignore what He has already planned for me, thinking I know what best for myself, I am saying I don’t trust Him. When I refuse to follow his direction, I am showing stubbornness and ungratefulness towards His perfect and loving will for my life. Just like Estela, I often want to hold on to the misery of following my poor choices instead of being willing to exchange my current reality for the freeing life He constantly offers me.
This trip to Guatemala was an incredible blessing and learning experience. I pray for Estela that she would come to Christ and receive the freedom that only He can offer. I also pray for myself and others that like me, know of the greatness of our Savior but continue to struggle to let go of our own pride to follow His will.
Cesia was part of a Dustin's Dream medical mission trip to Guatemala City, June 1-8, 2019. They sent a team of 17 to Guatemala City where they saw approximately 180 patients daily for general health care and dental needs. Additionally, they provided a Vacation Bible School for approximately 100 children each day. They also participated in a time of worship and feeding for the homeless and feeding those living in the settlements.