Dr. Gin Gin Diokno, a great friend of HFWA and a pediatric sports medicine specialist, recently returned from a month volunteering her skills to the medical teams at the Faith Alive Foundation - Nigeria. Below is a reflection on her relationships with Dr. Chris Isichei, Founder of the Faith Alive Foundation - Nigeria, and Sister Oresoa, Founder of Anawim Home and the Missionary Sisters of the Poorest of the Poor, and her most recent experiences in Nigeria.
|Dr. Chris, Sister Oresoa, and Gin Gin at Anawim Home in Gwagwalada, Abuja, Nigeria|
Reflections by Gin Gin Diokno
It is a rare opportunity to be in the same place as Dr. Chris and Sister Oresoa so when I had the good fortune to do so back in December, it was definitely an Instagram moment to cherish. They are two of the most amazing human beings I know. It is very humbling to be in their presence especially as a witness to God’s work through them.
It all started in 2009 when I had the opportunity to go on a mission trip through our Church of the Nativity. For two weeks, we visited Faith Alive Hospital in Jos, Nigeria and got immersed on the day to day activities on this facility that provides wholistic health and social services to HIV/AIDS patients. In 2011, I had the chance to return but this time to Abuja, and stayed with the orphanage community of the Anawim Sisters led by Sr Oresoa. We literally slept, prayed, played and ate with them. We got to be a part of the lives of the Sisters, the abandoned infants, young boys and girls, the mentally disabled, young mothers and the men and women they reach out in their community. Our missions are about connecting with people and building relationships with these partners. As cliche as it may sound, we missionaries have received more than what we have given to these trips. For me personally, the experiences have made me more grateful for the blessings I have received and continue to receive in my life. With that gratitude comes a calling to serve even more, not just in mission trips, but in everyday life.
Fast forward to fall of 2013 when I had a little bit of margin of time, another opportunity came across my path. During Dr. Chris’ visit to the US, he invited me to return to Faith Alive and after much thought and prayer, I decided to volunteer to be part of the medical team. It was a very fulfilling time as they even welcomed me more like a family member. As always, the FA community is very loving and hospitable. Between morning devotions, pediatric clinic, staff meetings, World AIDS Day celebration, visit to outreach sites, Christmas festivities, getting to know more staff members, sampling Nigerian cuisine, morning runs around the soccer stadium in spring-like weather, the month flew by pretty quickly. I felt when I left in 2009, I have become their friend; this time, I have become a family member. I have warned them if that’s the case, then I can just drop in any time to visit. I hope to be given more chances in the future.
People sometimes tell me how brave and courageous I am for doing these. Then I get to witness the work that Dr. Chris and Sr Oresoa have committed their whole lives to-- talk about faith and courage! To be a small part of it is a tremendous blessing. God does not call the equipped; He equips the called-- a quote from our pastor which I pray I take into heart if and when I get called again. I know that every single time I have answered, despite my doubts, He has never failed.