By MOLLY MEEKS, LPC, NCC
Jesus said, ”The first commandment is this: Hear, O Israel: The Lord your God is the only Lord. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength. The second is this: Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these.” Mark 12:29-31
I have always had a heart for missions. When I was at Millsaps College in the 80s, I was a member of their campus ministry team and worked with a variety of ministries in the metro Jackson area. Several of my friends and I were interested in joining the Peace Corp and going to Botswana upon graduation. One friend actually pulled it off, but that apparently was not God’s plan for me.
Instead, I graduated from college and married a wonderful man in the same month! That was way back in 1988 and life—raising 3 daughters, helping care for my father with Alzheimer’s, intertwined with working—kept me pretty busy.
In 2013, a door opened and it was finally my season for missions! I was given the opportunity to go on a mission trip to Uganda, Africa. It was a fabulous experience and I feel certain that I received more from it than I gave. However, 2014, on a return trip to Uganda, was when my life was changed.
On this trip, we went up in the mountains to Kaganda Hospital. The doctors who were with our team saw patients and notified me when they felt someone would benefit from counseling.
A mother had lost her husband in a mosquito net fire and one of her daughters had spina bifida, but no wheelchair nor access to school. The mother’s question was, “What have I done wrong that God is punishing me?” So we talked, and I did my best to help her see that life’s not fair, but it has nothing to do with her actions because we are all sinners. And God loves each and every one of us!
That being said, He calls on those of us who are living in abundance to help those of us who are struggling. If we all followed God’s words, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” Luke 6:31, then life would be so much better! By coming alongside this hurting mother and just offering kind words, empathy, and nonjudgmental encouragement, wonders were worked.
We were able to also get her child a wheelchair so she could attend school. And her child, sitting on the floor watching me show love and kindness to her mother, drew me a picture. It was of me standing beside a Christmas tree with these words written by the drawing, “Auntie Molly, I love you. You are my best friend. Love, Divine.”
This family came to the United States in 2015 hoping that doctors in the US could perform surgery that would help Divine. That was not possible, but Divine is now receiving physical therapy, learning to walk with a walker, and attending school in California. Her mother, Peace, and sister, Martha, are with her.
Molly Meeks, LPC, is a therapist at Summit Counseling providing counsel in the areas of caregiving, depression, stress, anxiety, loneliness, and grief. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 601.949.1949.