GREENVILLE – EUM Church has been sending mission teams to Guatemala for 16 years. In that amount of time, Cliff Rapier, missions coordinator at EUM, has made over 30 trips. Sometimes he takes a construction team to build houses and sometimes he takes a medical team to help meet the physical needs of the people there.
The Guatemala Medical Mission Team met a man named Rudy at their medical clinic in 2017. He had lost his right leg in a truck accident the year before.
Rudy had been one of the few in the area who had a “real job.” He worked on one of the garbage trucks that hauled their load to the dump each day. He took pride in his work; earning a paycheck each week. Then tragedy struck. His leg became entangled in the garbage truck compactor and it had to be amputated.
On the medical team that year was Stephanie House, a physician’s assistant at Darke County Family Health. She met Rudy in 2017, “He was messed up, angry, and frustrated. He was mad at God.”
Rudy’s name came up on the Potter’s House list of families who qualified for a new house in 2019… and Cliff and his team just happened to be the ones who would build it. Despite having had a stroke just nine months earlier and against doctor’s orders, Cliff had made the trip to Guatemala to lead his team. He was unable to do the physical work he was used to doing, but led his team with grace and strength. Because of their physical limitations, Cliff and Rudy connected instantly.
Had Cliff not experienced a stroke, he probably would not have even taken the time to be with Rudy. Because he could relate so well to his situation, they understood each other on a different level and their connection was instant.
When Stephanie saw Rudy again at the medical clinic after his house had been built, he was a changed man. “How do I deserve this? I am not good enough,” Rudy said. But when Stephanie began to share some options about a prosthetic leg, Rudy became agitated. Others had made promises like this, but failed to follow through. The team continued talking and brainstorming about how they could help Rudy.
On the way home from that trip to Guatemala in 2019 at the Atlanta airport they “happened” to see the surgeon who would get the ball rolling for this prosthesis at the same gate. More conversations, doctor appointments for Rudy, a referral to Action Prosthetics in Troy, and a new leg was in the making. Carl at Action Prosthetics was able to build the prosthetic leg from spare parts.
In December, the team was able to present Rudy with his prosthesis and through an interpreter Rudy said, “I don’t deserve this. I can never repay.” In response, Cliff was able to share an eternal truth with Rudy. He said, “Mercy and grace are free… we can’t earn it… this we give to you freely”.
Since receiving his new leg, Rudy is a changed man. He has gone from being depressed, angry and suicidal to being a community leader.
For more information, go to www.eumchurch.org or call 937-548-3211.