Sent home, shut in isolation, studying in our bedrooms, trying to survive our first year of medical school, and we weren’t even at school! When the four of us entered medical school in the Detroit, Michigan area in fall of 2020, it certainly trumped any expectations we had.
Christian Medical & Dental Associations®
I have a heart and passion for missions and have traveled with Global Health Outreach (GHO) for about 15 years now. I have never felt closer to God than when I’ve stepped outside my comfort zone and said “yes” to serving Him, especially those difficult first couple of times. Despite the fear, once you step out in faith, you can see how God works not only through you but in you. Then the “yes” gets easier and easier as you learn to trust Him. It’s not just amazing, it’s a miracle! The King of Kings and Lord of Lords invites us to join Him in His work around the world. One might wonder why, until they serve Him and see for themselves. It deepens your relationship with Jesus in a way that all the Bible studies in the world cannot. It is exercising your faith. And to be honest, it’s just plain fun!
In 2019, GHO was set to launch more teams than ever before to more countries in its history. It was also the first year we planned more mission trips inside the 10-40 Window than outside of it. It was so exciting! Then COVID-19 hit, and all those plans came to a grinding halt. It was so hard on the GHO staff! Not only did we stop sending mission teams, but we were hearing from our national partners around the world about how numbers of their population were struggling to eat. In most of the countries we visit, they work each day for the food they eat the same day. Because of these concerns, our team leaders and regular GHO participants began to help fund some of those areas so the pastors and churches could hold food drives for their people. The gospel was still being preached and we were still helping, although not in the way we would have preferred. It was another lesson in trusting God. I knew He was at work in all of this, but it sure is more fun when you can go and see for yourself.
The God Sightings book was completely Holy Spirit inspired. I was walking through the lobby at CMDA when He gave me the idea to write a book about our God sightings on the mission field. So, I pondered it all day long and started planning how I could put it together. I didn’t want it to just be my stories. On every mission trip, I have heard great stories of God sightings. Each morning and evening we hear devotions and testimonies. At the end of each day, we give the team opportunity to share where they have seen God at work in their day—their God sighting. The day after God spoke to me about the book, one of my best friends from my mission work called me and the first thing she said was, “You should write a book!” I just love that about God. If it is in His will for your life, He is going to make sure you know it.
A compilation of experiences from our team leaders, trip participants and even some of our national partners, God Sightings is a beautiful, heartwarming collection of stories of the best God sightings from around the world. While the GHO staff and I were suffering with discouragement and disappointment at not being able to send out mission teams, I set aside one morning each week to work on this new project. I sat and read through the stories I was receiving. I had no idea at the time, but God knew I would need this project. Amid the glum feelings, I would read a story and be so encouraged. It was as if God was speaking to me directly through the stories. It enabled me not to lose heart and not to give up even when we hit the milestone of one year from the date of our last mission trip. I knew God was not finished with GHO! I knew He was going to use us to send clinical teams to the nations once again, demonstrating the love of Christ through healthcare and proclaiming the mighty name of Jesus to the least, the last and the lost. This book is truly a treasure trove of His stories. Our story is His story, after all.
My prayer is for this book to encourage and inspire others to have the courage to say “yes” to however God is asking them to serve Him. The first “yes” can be hard, but the rewards in serving Him will surpass your imagination, and you will be so blessed. You will truly know Him in a way you haven’t before. Knowing God is not just amazing, it’s a miracle!
Enjoy these excerpts below from God Sightings and don’t forget to purchase your book at www.cmda.org/store.
Trish Burgess, MD
Director, Global Health Outreach
I was serving on a mission team to Nicaragua and brought my entire family along to serve together, including my husband and three children. We were working on Ometepe Island, Nicaragua, and the team leader requested we bring shoes to donate since they were hard to get on the island. We lived near the University of Georgia and the athletic director donated lots of tennis shoes from the athletes. Apparently at the end of each sports season, they turn in the barely worn game shoes. We had way more shoes donated than we were able to bring, but each of my five family members carried one suitcase full of shoes. (We left all the size 14 and above!) We also brought a few pairs of smaller shoes that we donated from my children’s personal closets. One of them was a pair of lime green converse tennis shoes.
My family enjoyed serving immensely. My engineer husband worked in the eyeglass clinic and my three children, ages 11, 13 and 16 at the time, rotated through several areas of the clinic. My daughter, Marisa, worked at triage the first couple of days helping to escort patients where they needed to go from triage. On the second day of clinic, we were already running out of shoes! She helped assist an elderly lady who had trouble walking from triage to the medical waiting area. The lady asked Marisa about shoes, and she said she would
check but they were running low. So, Marisa went to check while her patient waited in line.
Marisa did indeed find that a few pairs of shoes were left, but only one pair was available in this lady’s size. You guessed it, her lime green converse! So, she brought them back for the lady to try on. She was wearing a pale pink dress and you can just imagine how they
When Marisa went to help her when it was her turn to be seen by the doctor, the lady told her she didn’t need to help her. She could walk! It turned out she was having trouble walking because her shoes were way too small and her toes were curling under, making her balance difficult. Marisa came running to find me in the clinic to get my camera so she could get her picture and share her story! She was so excited to have helped!
At the team closing just a few days later, Marisa had this to say; “What I learned is you can give anything to God, even a used pair of shoes, and He can make a miracle with it!” Who would not want their child to learn this lesson? Oh, the faith of children! How precious in His (and their momma’s) sight!
God Saved a Life That Day
Tamara Norton, RN
On this day, I saw a woman bringing a small, wrapped bundle toward me, and I began to motion to the pediatric nurse. One of the teachers at the school, David, said simply, “No, look.” When mom dropped the blanket back, I saw a small, limp, dusky infant. I have seen
death previously, but I always knew it was coming. Time stood still, it seemed forever though perhaps only seconds passed. I am pretty sure I ran for my team leader who is also my favorite doctor. She was only a few steps away. We moved the mom, with baby in her arms, quickly to a private area. Along the way I saw and grabbed two startled students.
I felt like I was yelling and running, though someone asked later, “How where you so calm?” God gave me calm in that moment.
As we unwrapped and began to assess the limp child, we recognized his shallow breathing and flaccid muscles as a critical situation. He had a slight fever, had been vomiting and had diarrhea for a week, and his mother stated he had not been able to nurse in the past 24
hours because he was too weak. We all carry a “bag of tricks” with us when we travel. It may contain dressing supplies for wounds, tubing for an IV and even duct tape! You never know what you will need in a foreign country. My “bag” will always have a small bag of IV fluids, as I had learned the necessity of that long ago.
“Please, Jesus, please,” were the words on all of our lips as I found a small catheter and the small bag of fluids. Dr. Trish knew just the spot to put some IV fluids just under the skin between his shoulder blades instead of doing a regular IV, which can be tricky in infants,
even when they’re not severely dehydrated. Within seconds the child began to improve quickly. Something interesting happens in these critical moments; colors become brighter, sounds change and events become like a tattoo on your brain. He took a sudden deep breath and screamed! It was the best thing we have ever heard.
As we dropped the fluids into the tiny guy, the students holding on to the bag for dear
life and applying pressure to the bag to “push” the fluids, we began to cry. God had brought light to the room! We were no longer afraid. We “MacGyvered” some Pedialyte solution into a sterile glove after poking a hole in a finger with a needle and began to drip the solution
into his mouth. If you have ever lived on a farm, you recognize this trick. Within a few minutes he was taking small sips, he would rest and look around, and then sip more as he laid in his mother’s arms. He was kept in the clinic for about four hours since we wanted to make sure he had gotten plenty of fluids in orally as well as watch the subcutaneous fluids to assess they had been absorbed by his tiny body.
Things calmed down and we returned to all the other clinic happenings as the mom and baby slowly recovered. We prayed with her and asked that she watch him carefully, but we also asked her to please return to clinic the next day so we could check on him. The next day, she dutifully appeared showing off the smiling baby boy she carried on her back, his name “Brian.” In some languages, the name Brian translates as noble or strong, I go with strong because he and his mother certainly are.
CMDA’s Global Health Outreach (GHO) is a short-term missions program that sends 40 to 50 medical, dental and surgical teams around the world each year to share the gospel and provide care to the poor. Sign up to travel on one of GHO’s short-term trips this year and join us in our eff orts to transform the world. To find a trip that fits your schedule, visit www.cmda.org/gho.
About the Author
Trish Burgess, MD, is the Director of Global Health Outreach (GHO), a short-term missions ministry of CMDA. Dr. Burgess attended the University of Georgia, achieving a bachelor’s degree in chemistry. Trish then worked as a firefighter in Athens, Georgia for two years
prior to starting medical school at the Medical College of Georgia. She performed her residency in emergency medicine at the University of Missouri in Kansas City, Missouri. As an emergency medicine physician, Dr. Burgess primarily practiced in Athens, Georgia
for 23 years and traveled on short-term mission trips with GHO for 10 years before leaving her clinical practice to become the Director of GHO at CMDA. She has written and published several articles and a book called God Sightings, and she speaks about her experiences in missions and human trafficking. Trish has traveled the world on short-term mission trips with GHO. Her heart and passion are to serve Jesus through healthcare missions and to help
mentor the next generation of healthcare professionals.