A few weeks ago, I participated in a life-changing Operation Smile™ mission. The opportunity arose at the last second, and even though it meant some schedule swapping, Brian Holman suggested that I should be the one to go, and Jeanette agreed. A huge thanks to Jeanette for sending me and to Brian, who dropped everything on his full plate to take over the Making Connections events I had been scheduled to run. So, with that change to my travel plans, I headed to San Cristóbal de las Casas, Chiapas, Mexico.
I had no idea just how uplifting this would be. There was so much joy and heartbreak. I was amazed by the love of these families, some of whom traveled as many as 100 miles to give their child the opportunity to have a surgery. Though at first I felt overwhelmed by the needs of those who came, I knew that my place was to be a comforting presence, reassuring the children and their families. I felt blessed that, thanks to my Mexican father, I was able to speak their language and understand their culture, which helped me to serve them more completely.
It moved me to see volunteers from all over the world going to such lengths to help these special children. I love the quote from Operation Smile™ founder Dr. Bill Magee, “Love by definition is self-sacrifice. Love is a decision to make someone else’s problem your own.” And that is exactly what I saw these wonderful people doing.
Among the volunteers on the trip were medical team members from Italy, Canada, Spain, Russia, Paraguay, the United States, and Mexico. These talented individuals took time away from their own practices and jobs to donate their skills to the mission. The gorgeous and talented Kate Walsh, who is now an official spokesperson for Operation Smile, was also in attendance. She was so loving and sweet with the babies and families, and when she dressed in her scrubs, I felt like I was in the operating room with Dr. Addison Montgomery from Private Practice. 🙂
It was a privilege to be on the mission along with Kathy Magee, co-founder of Operation Smile. Kathy is truly an inspired person, and I can see God working through her. What she and Dr. Magee have created is truly life-changing, and I am so grateful that Close To My Heart is able to partner with her and her organization in making a difference.
This trip was an amazing experience for me, but there is just too much to share in a single blog post. I will be sharing more details of my story at our 2015 Close To My Heart Convention in Anaheim, California, as well as at our Australasia Convention in Brisbane, Australia. I hope that by doing so, I can help our Consultants feel some part of the motivation and commitment I feel to this amazing organization.
Until then, keep on blessing the lives of these children who need it so much! It only takes $240 to perform a single surgery, and it will change the life of a child. No matter the size of your contribution, you are making a difference. To quote Dr. Bill Magee again: “These children may never know your name, but they will never forget your kindness.”
You can support the mission of Operation Smile by purchasing the Happy Everything stamp set pictured on the back of the Seasonal Expressions 2 idea book. For each set sold, we make a $3 donation to Operation Smile. You can also include a round-up donation each time you place an order with your Consultant. Thank you for helping us support Operation Smile’s life-changing mission.