Amber Schrock, 28, a community development specialist with Wycliffe Bible Translators, volunteers her time as a nurse to assist her husband, Terrill Schrock, 28, a linguist, who within the last year has begun to work with the Ik people group in northeastern Uganda. Amber received her Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Florida State University.
“I wanted to put my skills and education into practice. I want to bless people. I thought it would be a good way to get Terrill into good standing with the Ik community,” Amber says.
Amber’s clinic is located beside their house in the back of a storage unit that is curtained off. She usually sees 30 people each day, three times a week–but sometimes she sees up to 60 patients in a single day. If a patient is too sick to come to Amber’s clinic, she will go and pick them up and take them to a hospital. There are ambulance services available here, but Amber called and they said they could only pick up the patient if she would buy the gas. So, Amber decided to go and pick up the patients herself.
Amber gets emotional as she explains, “The first couple of times I took a patient to the hospital, and I took back a corpse…that was really hard for me.”
She sees a lot of respiratory infections, diarrhea, dysentery, pinworms, and malnourished children at her humble clinic. She also sees many patients with diseases related to alcohol abuse…hepatitis and liver disease.
Today she treated chicken pox, skin rashes, respiratory infections and a bullet wound. Three weeks ago, warriors came and shot inside the window of Amber and Terrill’s guard’s brother. The bullet grazed his hand. Amber cleaned the wound with iodine and antibacterial cream.
“I see birth and death,” Amber says. “I don’t get emotional about the small issues. I do get tired.”
Why does Amber do this work? “My parents had a huge impact on my decision to help others. My Dad taught us to follow God and to serve other people. After high school, I pursued a career to ‘love one another,’” she explains.
Right now, according to Amber, it’s not safe enough to live with the Ik. But by having a public face and public identity with the local people and providing basic healthcare, she believes they’ll be able to establish rapport and gain acceptance with the Ik people.
“We really do believe that people need to meet basic needs before they will be open to Bible translation,” she says. “They are thinking about hunger, shelter–not, ‘Who is this man named Jesus?’ Once these basic needs are met, then the Ik people will start thinking, ‘Who is God?’”
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