Screening day is a day that is hard to put into words, but I will do my best...
Chairs set up and waiting. Hope is tangible. Who knows who will walk through our doors. Feel the anticipation with me.
Before beginning, as we looked out over the empty spaces, we prayed. Prayed that those we could help would be there. Prayed that we would be used as God intended. Prayed for all those already in line.
As our staff got to the stadium, people divided up into their assigned roles, and extra instructions were given.
Some had spent the night.
People of every age and stage showed up.
after who knows how long spent in line, they reached the gates. The pre-pre screeners worked tirelessly through the night and day, assessing people and advising them which surgeries we did and who we might be able to help. Once through the first of two gates, the pre-screeners began their jobs of weeding out who we truly could help and who we sadly had to say "no" to.
Whether in line or waiting in chairs in the stadium grounds, children can use a little extra attention, so we also had a team of people who went around playing with the kids. Bubbles, stickers and chalk all make universal toys that don't require language.
The "pink slip" is normally a term for losing your job. The pink papers here, though, are what we write our initial assessment on. This paper travels with the person from station to station, slowly adding more and more information. At one point I gathered up a couple of papers that were then passed on to another person who took them from the room for a moment... and I looked at the person the paper belonged to. They were watching the path of that paper intently. Everyone else clutched their papers as though scared to loose them. This paper... it is gold to them. It's like the passport you bring into another country. It says who you are, where you belong. Without it, you could be kicked out. This paper was the beginning of their hope. It represented the chance they had waited and prayed for. The chance for change, for new life, for healing. It wasn't yet a promise of change, but the hope was there, clutched in their hands, tangible.
Little by little, they are filtered through various stations and specialties. Some get ultra sounds.
Some get biopsies.
The "no"'s were sent here. To the prayer tree. We offered every person who came through at least the first set of gates (1609) the opportunity to be prayed over if they could not otherwise be helped by us. I am told the number of people who showed up here seemed endless.
There were many, many heartbreaking stories that day. But in the end, those we could help was what we focused on. In the end there were smiles, laughter (hopefully not just the over-tired-giggles), and the belief that we are making a difference.The help we provide may only be a drop in the bucket. But to these two girls and many like them, their world has changed. And I got to be a part of it. I feel sooo blessed!