With the screening process finished, the Operation Smile surgeries began today in Chonburi, Thailand. What a day. Nearly 30 operations took place, from cleft palates and lips to facial reconstructions to the removal of tumors, the surgeons and support staff (all donating of their time and talents) worked miracles in the lives of these children in such desperate need.
One by one these professionals entered their work zones for the day. Looking at our XanGo staff and Distributors, they made it a point to thank the entire organization for its willingness to carry through on this mission at such a critical time.
Unfortunately, much of the world has steered clear of Thailand in recent months due to political unrest.
As Operation Smile Executive Director Christina Krause said, “This was not a scheduled mission for Operation Smile this year. Had it not been for XanGo, this never would have happened.” I hope you can all feel a little responsibility for making this mission happen, as well as a little joy from the invaluable change that it’s bringing into whole families’ lives.
To watch these surgeons—contenders for life—work miracles during these operations was amazing. They have such confidence… knowing what to do and how to do it. The phrase that sprung to mind was “healers of men and women.” Their work is really no different from the successes at XanGo. It is a humbling thought to consider the many lives that have been healed along the way as our XanGo Distributors have worked so tirelessly. I am blessed to be a witness as healing perpetuates healing and success breeds success. What a wonderful way to live.
Wade Hooton, director of the Western States for Operation Smile, ended the day with a story from one of his first missions to Nairobi. There he met a little girl named Lucena. She was born with a cleft lip and palate, and she spent most of her childhood looking at the ground… ashamed to have her face seen. In her home country, her name literally means “mistake.”
Undoubtedly her name was a testament to the shame both she and here parents felt they were forced to carry. But all of that changed one day when an Operation Smile mission came her way. Hope replaced grief and eyes streaming with tears transformed into a smile that brings smiles to all she looks upon.
There is no doubt in my mind that tomorrow, when these little ones awake from the night’s sleep, they will awake with a smile and (more importantly) a light that beams from their very souls. And it will happen because others chose to care about helping someone they didn’t even know existed until now—all of us here in Thailand have witnessed it.
And the only thing that needs to be said is, “Bring out the next 30.”