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Trip 12, June 2014

This is my twelfth trip to San Lorenzo to work with Jane Weaver, MD.  She has several patients with gynecologic problems that need surgical care.  My hope and intent is to serve these people as well as Jane and her team by coming to help and offer my training and experience in helping Jane and also teaching her what I know about managing these problems.  She sees many patients who come in with gynecological complaints and problems and this was not her primary focus of her surgical training as a general surgeon with extra training in trauma surgery.  Over the years I have seen her gain confidence in managing the gynecology problems in surgery and in the clinic.  Many of the problems relate to hormonal causes and become more of medical management issues and not surgical.

I enjoy working with Jane.  She and I seem to think alike in surgery and we complement each other so well.  We work together as a team and this makes the surgical procedure move along smoothly and efficiently.  Good surgical outcomes depend on precise and careful technique, minimizing tissue trauma and blood loss, and minimizing time the patient is exposed to the stress of the surgery.  When a surgeon can work with a good assistant, what we call a well educated pair of hands helping, the procedure moves along almost automatically with little conversation needed to tell the assistant what to do to help expose the area or to help keep the surgical site clear so there are not wasted steps and time trying to gain the right exposure to place a critical suture or make the incision precisely where it needs to be.  In my experience in my practice I was blessed with a very able assistant who scrubbed with me for most of my cases.  She was so efficient and knew all my moves and was always a step ahead of me.  She literally took a half hour off the time it would take to do a complex procedure such as a hysterectomy.  Plus, she was a pair of trained eyes who could see something that was blinded to me because of the edge of the incision or an instrument and she would warn me of the problem right away so it could be corrected and not become a bigger problem later.  I loved working with her and was always thankful for her expertise in helping deliver top quality care to my patient.  I never had to feel frustrated when she scrubbed with me.  I get the same sense of peace and efficiency when I work with Jane.  We are a team, serving God and serving the patient.  In fact, we include God at the table and depend on His hands to wrap around ours to guide us through the surgery.  We wear Him like gloves and He blesses us and the patient by bringing healing and a changed life.  This is the paycheck for me.

This trip is special to me in that my brother-in-law, Howard White, is going with me.  He is going to work on laying ceramic tile in a new building on the campus of Jane’s clinic.  Howard is an expert in my eyes and I have helped him lay tile in my mother-in-law’s house and in my house.  In fact, he and I are currently laying new tile in my house.  Jane has had an apartment building, called a bodega, built next to her clinic and this will be used for guests when they come to work with Jane.  The building is up and now needs finished inside.  The next step is laying the tile on the two floors.  So, while I help Jane in medical/surgical care, Howard will be helping Jane completing the bodega so it can be used.

Making the trip even more special is my 16 year-old grandson, Jordan Clawson, is going along with Howard and me to work with Howard in the tile project.  Jordan attends a Christian school in Greenville, SC, and needs a service project for his school requirements.  This trip will not only fulfill that requirement but will also be a mission trip for him.  He is very excited to be able to go and be part of Jane’s ministry, even being a “pack mule” for Howard hauling tile, cement and grout, and getting down and dirty as they both work hard tiling the floors.

Usually, I go for about 10 to 12 days on these trips but this time we extended it to 16 so there would be time to finish the tile work.  When I am not needed in the clinic I will be out in the bodega helping Howard and Jordan tile the floors.  Jordan will learn so much about this type of work and he may come home being ready to tile floors.  He is very interested in a career in medicine and I hope to give him some exposure to what medicine involves, especially at a mission clinic such as Jane’s.

I must say these opportunities to serve God through serving people have been the best journeys spiritually for me.  Going to a place where resources are scarce to non-existent and still undertaking some of the most difficult surgeries I have ever done is a huge step of faith.  Yet, when I honor God by believing in Him, trusting Him and stepping out for Him, He always rewards that effort with His miraculous work.  I even have the distinct opportunity to participate in His miracles.  I get to see surgical procedures accomplished with no good explanation as to how we did it except for God standing at the table with us wrapping His hands around ours and doing the surgery.  I get to see incredible healing in people who have undergone extensive surgery and yet are up and about within 24 hours using very little pain medication and then get in their canoe or on the back of a motorcycle and head off to home by the end of that first day or early in the second day after surgery.  I get to see people with cancer where we cannot do what is needed surgically for them become cured of their cancer with no explanation except that God did it.  I get to see prayers answered before my eyes and even participate in the answer to those prayers.

Serving God in this way is the most exciting adventure of my life.  God calls us to have a close, intimate relationship with Him.  He longs for that level of relationship.  He wants each of us to come close to Him, lean on Him, and walk with Him.  He says, “Let’s do life together.”  He has invited me to walk with Him every step of the way.  He does the leading, I do the following.  And periodically He leads me to San Lorenzo where He presents me with more faith-stretching and growth opportunities.  He gives me multiple opportunities to be Jesus to those I meet and He will do that for you as well.

So…here we are, on our way to San Lorenzo via Miami, Quito, and then over the Andes to the Pacific Ocean and the Colombian border where we will spend the next couple weeks helping people, working on improving the clinic, finishing building projects, and sharing God’s love with those who come through the front gate.  Come along with me and then do me a favor…be Jesus in someone’s life today.


1. Darcy Clawson - June 13, 2014

I feel so blessed to have Jordan going with you and Uncle Howard. I am hoping this trip opens his eyes and his heart to God. This is the perfect way for him to start off his Jr year of high school. Only 2 days till I put him on a plane to meet you guys. I am nervous, but Jordan is ready….ready to serve, to experience, and to minister. Can’t wait to read about all of your adventures! Love, Darc

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