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Both seasoned world travelers, Tyler and Jacqueline Ramsey's trip to Panama was one of the best experiences they've ever had. "Our faith and our marriage are stronger for it," Tyler said.
As partners with Joyce Meyer Ministries, the Ramseys are part of a diverse group of 36 volunteers and Joyce Meyer Ministries staff who traveled to Panama for a medical/dental missions trip in the inner city of Curundu. They worked together to spread hope and the joy of knowing Jesus in a personal way.
The clinic was set up on an old soccer field, overlooking a sprawling landscape of dilapidated housing. Tyler likened the scene to the aftermath of a hurricane.
"People who'd endured incredible hardships were hanging their clothes out to dry, going about their lives," said Tyler. "It was peaceful inside the clinic, but outside there was a lot of tension in the air. There's a lot of gang violence in Curundu."
During the trip, Tyler, who is a talented artist, painted a mural to pay homage to the outreach. He and Jacqueline both prayed with patients as they came out of medical treatment, giving hugs and leading people in prayers for healing and hope through Jesus Christ.
"When people walked into the clinic, they seemed nervous and skeptical― hardened by life," said Jacqueline. "But as they were treated and ministered to…you could see their spirit change. Half of them started crying because they were so thankful, not just for free healthcare, but because people were there to talk and pray with them."
"It's very noble sounding to go help someone on a missions outreach," said Tyler. "But the truth is, you don't have to go anywhere to make a difference.
"I think that simply sharing joy is one of the best ways to get the Gospel out. Joyce Meyer Ministries does that very well. And when you see an organization that's so good at spreading joy, you can't help but get involved."
The Ramseys said coming home from the mission field to a culture of self-preoccupation felt shocking.
"I've never experienced culture shock like that before," said Jacqueline. "In Panama, we'd wake up in the morning and wouldn't think about ourselves at all. We were only giving. Even though we were working long, hard days, it was very rejuvenating."
"During the trip we were entirely focused on working as a team to help people who needed help," echoed Tyler. "That's where the joy came from."
With this life-changing experience behind them, both are more committed than ever to sharing God's love with others on the mission field and at home.
"I think if we're going to experience a high level of enjoyment in our life, what we need to do is learn to try to make other people happy," said Tyler. "Ultimately, God wants us to help other people. In a nutshell, that's what partnership is all about. It's awesome when you finally get that."
Hand of Hope is the missions arm of Joyce Meyer Ministries. Our goal is simply to help as many hurting people as we possibly can, to alleviate human suffering and to help Christians grow in their faith.