Sunday, October 10, 2010

Treasured Trash-Reflections from Sorting Supplies in July

In the Basement, it was a dank and dreary place.
 My job for the week was to sort supplies…boxes and boxes of supplies which were stashed in all corners and crevices of the hospital. Fortunately I did not have to tackle this alone. With the help of the wonderful SIMS team from Loma Linda, Kenny-a premed student who helped out for several weeks, David Harris (who unfortunately has had to go back to school now, but was a great person to have around) and the local staff we got a lot done. Most of the boxes that we sorted contained disaster relief supplies ranging from medical supplies to personal hygiene items, tents, and flashlights. Then there were the many other random pieces of old medical equipment, outdated computers, and mangled beds. Unfortunately all these boxes and old equipment were intermingled in a heap reaching almost to the ceiling in many parts of the storage room making it impossible to get to anything. It was an absolute mess and very overwhelming; however, our clean-up crew soon found that if you just focus on one box at a time eventually a cleared area would start to appear. It was a long and tedious process because in these boxes we normally found a random assortment of band-aids, hydrogen peroxide, gauze and anything else you can imagine. So it was our job to sort out the contents of the boxes and put like items together so that we could at least have an idea of what supplies we had.
It was about the 3rd day of sorting supplies in a dingy storeroom, without lights and certainly no air conditioning, with sweat literally flowing off of my forehead that I started to get sick of all this extra stuff in the storeroom. I just wanted to throw everything away. There were so many random things, a lot of it that was just old machinery that was only good for scrap metal at this point, yet for some reason the hospital was very unwilling to let it go. I thought to myself more than once, if only the local staff could see that this stuff is junk and that by holding onto it they are creating clutter and making it difficult to organize the good supplies that we do need to keep. We even told them that we had good supplies waiting to be sent to the hospital from the US but in order to make room for the new supplies the old had to go. It is physically impossible to have both the new and the old at the same time. It seemed like the hospital staff would rather hold onto what they knew they had even if they couldn’t use it and just let it rust in storage and take up valuable space, rather than trust that something better would arrive if they would just be willing to let the junk go.
In my mind the solution was so obvious and at times I was flabbergasted at the slow progress. Then the overwhelming thought hit me-- my heart is just like this dingy storage shed. There certainly are some valuable supplies in it, but there is also A LOT of things that I am treasuring that really are junk and by holding onto them I am hurting myself. God is offering me some of his beautiful gifts and I can just hear Him saying, “If you just let Me clean up this stuff I have some amazing gifts that I want to fill your heart and life with, just trust me.” Unfortunately it seems that more often than not I would rather hold on to my trash because it is familiar to me, rather than trusting that God has something special for me.
I know that often when people think of the dark dingy parts of their hearts they think of the sins that nobody knows about. When I think about God cleaning up our heart I definitely agree that He wants to purify us completely, but I think he also wants to take the baggage of fear, anxiety, lack of peace, distrust, and sorrow out of our lives as well and replace that type of junk with the fruits of the spirit of love, joy, peace, patience etc.  It’s a way bigger heart overhaul than just the secret sins in our lives. God wants to give us an abundant life. It is not just about cleaning up our past, but it’s also about daily living joyfully in Jesus. Sometimes it can be hard to have that joy if we have the foul odor of trash permeating all parts of our hearts and cluttering up our life.
A good Bible text that comes to mind is Ezekial 36:26 which states, “And I will give you a new heart with new and right desires, and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony heart of sin and give you a new, obedient heart.” With this verse in mind there are a couple lessons that can be applied to the analogy of the shed and my heart. First of all the shed can’t clean out itself, someone else has to do it for it. In the same way, I can try all I want to physically remove the junk out of my heart but I simply can’t because I can’t do heart surgery on myself. What I can do is give God the ok to work in my heart so that He can change me. But this whole process boils down to trust. Do I really truly trust that God is going to take care of me? Do I trust that he does have my best interest in mind, or do I cling to my clutter of what I can see, even if it is junk and harmful to me, instead of allowing Him to take out the bad and bring in the new?
From an outside perspective it is obvious that the junk needs to be removed, but I just pray that I am not so attached and comfortable with it that I’ll stubbornly hold onto it when God is anxiously waiting to clean up the mess and show me how to truly live. I want to trust him with every “box” in my life and be able to wholeheartedly say like David said in Psalm 31:14, “I am trusting you, O Lord, saying, ‘You are my God.’ My future is in Your hands.”
Here are pictures of the different parts of the hospital that we began to organize.
The Red Container, full of relief supplies that have not been touched since the earthquake.

David quickly moving boxes as fast as he can. This room was filled to the roof full of random boxes. But it wasn't just this room, it was this whole building (the aids clinic).

Claudy and me taking a moment to rest after a long day of working in the basement. We had to be careful cause there was mold, mice, and wild cats down here.

Jeanty, one of the translators, helping take supplies from the external storage to the hospital. This building was crammed pack full of mice eaten food, old beds and equipment, and everything else you can imagine.

Julie and the assembly line taking boxes out of the aids clinic.

The pharmacie. SIMS helped get that place whipped into shape.

The spiral stairwell was yet another area where boxes were stashed. It was cleared for awhile, but now more boxes have been put there. So sad.

The tent storage area-yet another secret hiding place for stuff.

And finally, the little closet that was absolutely stuffed full. It was amazing pulling things out of here becuase it just kept on coming. It was like a puzzle trying to get everything out, and when it was removed it was stuff that had probably been stowed in there from when it was first built. We saw some very rustic looking polio braces and other odd things.


1 comment:

  1. Hang in there kids - One day at a time - It will get done - really! Oh and thanks for the pics of the closet - it makes mine look pretty darn good :) Love ya