Recap

We don’t focus on numbers as we simply try to do what is asked of us. For some missionaries that means seeing 60 people in the middle of nowhere where it takes most of the day to get there. For others it means seeing over 200 people while sitting still all day. However I’d be remiss not to mention that we saw 1203 patients on this trip. Yowsers!

The best part is many more will be seen as a result of the trip. After a few trips now working with me, Socheat (school nurse at AIM) really understands how to use the flippers, has a solid stock of eyeglasses and is getting better and better at triaging eye disease. General Jane, the exhibitionist, took to the eye care more quickly than anyone I’ve ever met. Her knowledge of eyes and optics far surpasses any general care practitioner I’ve ever met. We left her plenty of glasses and medications along with a set of flippers so she is off and running.

It’s always tough when we get back and folks immediately ask us, “how was your trip?” Well for the first few days it was something along the lines of, “we’ve taken turns being in the bathroom all day and taken turns losing 6-7 pounds.” Not exactly tweet worthy.

The other part is these trips make my brain feel like it’s been put in a clothes dryer and set to tumble. The first day on the ground we went to the Killing Fields

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It’s not like we want or need some kind of emotional self flagellation but these kind of truths help us understand the enormity of the situation.

Each day is a crazy roller coaster of emotion. We spent one morning helping young ladies who have been rescued out of hell on earth. That night we enjoyed dinner with friends and celebrated a life altering eye surgery made possible in part by my local Lions club. Most days I’m just plain exhausted.

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Someone snapped this at lunch one day

During clinic times I have zero idea what is going on around me. If you’ve never been the end of the line for over 200 people it’s quite flattering but mostly intimidating. What if I get sick? What if I get frustrated? How do I give patient #208 the same attention and care as patient #6? Those answers come from so many other lessons in life but mostly come back to living in the moment and having faith as a mustard seed.

No posts about travel woes? Everything went smooth? Sure. Relatively so 🙂 We checked in for our flights from Phnom Penh to Chiang Mai and the agent said I paid for baggage from Bangkok to Chiang Mai but not from Phnom Penh to Bangkok. How that is even possible I still have no idea. Mind you this was one ticket, not some kind of goofy mixed segment fancy ticketing. Long story short is $122 later my bag with all our glasses made it. Upon landing in Chiang Mai we convinced the customs agent that she did not need to charge us for bringing in hundreds and hundreds of pairs of glasses. I didn’t bother to tell her about the medications worth more than $10k. And I was flattered my seat mate wanted to touch me for the entire flight, but after 90 minutes of moving, shifting and trying everything to get away, I just sucked it up and decided to be thankful to return to the idea of personal space when we landed back in the States.

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Just a random elephant helping out with road work in western Thailand. Wish I had a video of the dude on top riding bareback like a boss.

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Can’t read “Green Life” on the brim

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We’re all still laughing about these beds. I literally got a bruise on my knee from the springs simply from climbing into bed.

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Just commuting in to work for clinic.

Our last day we went to an elephant camp. On the way there Allan said, “Hey this is pretty cool. We’re going to do something just for fun.”

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That little fella sure loved Alison

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You can watch elephants painting on YouTube but it is nothing short of magical to see it in person.

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“Hey Jon wanna L sit on that escalator?” “Of course.”

This trip was an excellent reminder of how much I love my wife. She’s my best friend, my soul mate, the best gift I’ve ever received. Once again, we get home after two weeks of 23.5 hours per day together and as soon as I’m away from her for an hour I miss her like crazy. When she steps away from clinic for a few minutes, it immediately bogs down. She can read my mind most of the time and is already in the process of handing me something when I turn around to ask for it. When I’m hangry and turning in to Betty White, she knows just what to say. Below is a photo of me rubbing her feet in our hotel lobby while we sit and enjoy a live trio playing some jazz.

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For those who make these trips possible I cannot thank you enough. Thanks so much Grammy and Papa for watching Lilly and Berto. Thanks to those who donate financially. Thanks to those prayer warriors who truly pray for us without ceasing. And big thanks to Matt and Tracy for running the office so well that we can leave for two weeks.

Where we go from here, I have no idea.

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