The Rev. Cynthia Taylor and a group of medical missionaries traveled to the Dominican Republic recently not only to help those in need but also to form a lasting bond.
Tab Carter, a member of a missionary group that went to the Dominican Republic recently, poses with some of the children the group served.
Taylor, minister at the Church of the Holy Comforter, which meets at the Savannah Rapids Pavilion in Evans, was one of 15 people who traveled to San Matias in the Dominican Republic a week ago. Since then, she has stayed in close contact with Ercilia Canella, a minister from San Matias, whose church is in Santana Bani, Dominican Republic. Taylor now has plans to invite her cross-continent colleague to Evans.
"The test of a friendship is crafting a relationship," Taylor said. "That's why I've invited her to come here and visit us. I want to make sure that my relationship with Rev. Canella remains. But I don't want our relationship to be pastor to pastor, I want it to be church to church, people to people."
Taylor said the mission group met Canella, her congregation and a team of volunteers while in the Dominican Republic for 4 1/2 days.
While there, the mission group spent hours in a clinic treating a gamut of patients who suffered from topical skin diseases, Taylor said. She said that when the clinic closed, more work had to be done.
"We saw 250 people in 3 1/2 days ... and distributed 700 prescriptions," she said. "There were times where we would leave the clinic, tired from a long day, and we would all go to my bedroom to fill prescriptions so they would be ready for the next day. One night we stayed up until 2 a.m."
Martinez resident Brent Edwards, a medical coordinator and a private practice adult cardiologist, was responsible for finding the appropriate medications to take on the trip.
Edwards said he spoke to several people, including Cheryl Allen from South Carolina, who shared medical information with him. He also spoke to Eric Chow, a pharmacist at University Hospital, who told him where he could find help from medical organizations and Web sites.
"I was able to find medication that was an ideal formulary for treating people," Edwards said, adding that he was able to purchase $6,000 worth of medicine for $1,900. "We got some excellent help to help us have a very successful mission."
Without the financial support and assistance of volunteers and the help of those at The Church of Our Savior in Martinez, St. Paul's Episcopal Church in Augusta and Church of the Holy Comforter, Taylor said the mission trip would not have been a success.
"The Church of Our Saviour went with us and provided staff support, and St. Paul provided a pharmacist for us," she said.
Taylor also thanked veteran missionaries Bob and Ellen Snow.
The Rev. Cynthia Taylor
Photo by Jim Blaylock
"The Snows warned us about North Americans coming in with a can-do attitude," she said. "They told us not to come in on a Sunday and start the clinic. They said spend some time getting to know the people and then by Monday we could get to work."
Because of her trip, Taylor said she no longer looks at Columbia County the same way.
"Sometime you have to go away to come back and see your community with new eyes," she said. " You go to help some people and work with those who might not have the resources you do. Then you come back and say what can I do?"
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