If you ask Diana Sherrod what she loved best about serving with Lay Mission-Helpers in Uganda, she would say changing lives.

Now a retired nurse, Sherrod continues to go on annual short-term trips to serve others. She recently returned from Bolivia where she was part of an 18-member team of medical professionals that set up clinics in Santa Cruz and San Julián. The group was sponsored by a church in Portland, Oregon.

“We saw 760 patients in five days,” said Sherrod, a member of St. Nicholas Church in Laguna Woods. “Our doctors, nurse practitioners and nurses worked together to administer health and dental exams, give basic lab tests and provide treatment.” Diana worked in the pharmacy, which offered free medicine to patients.

“It’s a good feeling knowing you can help people in different countries,” she said. “You get addicted to serving. In a foreign country, even if you help a little bit, a little goes a long way.”

One patient stands out from the rest. A 10-year-old boy came into the clinic concerned that he needed to repeat the first grade for the third time. His parents couldn’t figure out why he was doing so poorly. Dr. Dahl, the optometrist, asked if they had ever had the boy’s vision checked, but they had not. When the doctor put the glasses on him for the first time, the whole world opened up to him. Sherrod was amazed at how a pair of Dollar Tree glasses could have such a big impact.

As a Lay Mission-Helper in Uganda, she was use to watching little changes make big improvements. She taught nursing students practical healthcare and computer skills that enabled them to improve their patient care. “I almost think the computer classes I taught were more important than the nursing courses because the students didn’t have access to a lot of books,” she said. “Medical knowledge is constantly being updated so learning to access to the Internet opened up a new realm of information.”

Having previously served in Haiti on three medical mission trips, Sherrod has already signed up to go on her second trip to Bolivia next year.

“Mission is the hardest thing in my life I’ve ever done, but also the most rewarding,” she says. “I wouldn’t exchange it for anything. And now I have friends all over the world.”

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