year,a medical mission team from Ocean View Baptist Church in Myrtle Beach,
South Carolina,consisting of medical,psychiatric,and dental practitioners,
take time out of their busy lives to host medical clinics in the Mayan Zone as
a part of a mission trip to the Riviera Maya. This is done in connection with Fellowship Church of the
Riviera Maya,led by Head Pastor Doug Millar,who has spent the past 3 years in
Mexico building a strong relationship and trust with the Mayan village of Chan
Chen. Chan Chen is located about
80 miles west of Tulum and has a population of 1,200. Through private donations and money of his own,he has been
able to organize and carry out projects that have helped the village and its
While the people living in
Chan Chen are rich in Mayan culture,they are lacking in modern medical and
health care. The medical team is
truly a blessing to these people,who in only 3 days of clinics,are able to
see and treat over 400 people.
Along with giant suitcases containing a variety of medications that are
properly dispensed,the team also brings simple devices,like toothbrushes and
toothpaste,that are given to each patient.
For the past two years,I
have had the privilege of making the two-hour journey out to Chan Chen with the
medical team and serving as an English-Spanish translator. Translation is an interesting dynamic
in hosting a clinic with only English-speaking doctors,because many of the
people living in Chan Chen only speak Mayan,which is a completely different
language from both Spanish and English.
And because we did not have anyone with us who spoke English,Spanish,
and Mayan,two translators are needed in order to open the communication lines
between the doctor and patient.
With these lines open,hundreds of lives have been improved,some even
saved,by the medical treatment and advice that is provided by the medical
team. For many villagers,just
interacting with someone who shows that they care about their well-being is
enough to lift their spirits.
My favorite part of
volunteering at the clinics is to witness the happiness of the Mayan
villagers. They show up to the
clinics with giant smiles on their faces,bubbly personalities,and truly
appreciate the assistance given by the missionaries. To be able to interact with these joyous people who have so
little and live without most modern conveniences,despite living such a short
distance from one of the fastest growing areas in the world,is a humbling
mission that I am blessed to say I am apart of.