Friday, November 8, 2013

Bolivian Babies

As our last day of clinics has come to completion, I find that I will be leaving my heart here with the children.  Being a nurse for 30 of my 50 years of life as caused me to see many, many things. Traveling to foreign mission fields has caused me to see even more.  I didn't know it was possible to break the heart of a 50 year old nurse the way these beautiful children have.  Please join me as I pray for these precious lives, that there are others that continue to come to show them love, and tell them about Jesus. (And maybe give them a bath or two)

Today was our last clinic. We went to an inner city church that has several different ministries for "transient people." Most of the people that this church ministers to are Quechan people from the mountains that have literally nothing, materially. They come to the city trying to find work and a better life. Most sleep in the market at night and do whatever they can find to do during the day. The church provides lunch for them on Mondays and Fridays. One of our translators said to me, "I don't know where they can eat on the other days."

Another ministry is baby bathing. They brought out plastic tubs and buckets for the baths and you should have seen the kids light up! They just threw off their clothes and headed for the tubs like it was the best thing they had ever experienced! What a ministry!!

As we set up our clinic, one of the leaders came to me (Mark) and told me to follow her, she was taking me to my "Consultario," (my exam room.) Instead of a room with a couple of chairs, which was what I was expecting, I was taken to a well equipped medical exam room! I found out that another ministry of the church is that they sometimes have Brazilian physicians come in who see patients. I felt like I was in a palace.

Becky headed up the pharmacy again today. She is very adept at it now. Eric may have competition. I think that she has even learned some Quechan phrases. It makes me so proud to see her calmly taking the chaos of a mission clinic/pharmacy and taking care of these folks with all the love and compassion that Jesus has so richly given her.  And thanks to GBC's  generosity every patient that we saw all week went home with vitamins!

We so enjoyed working with this church who is so active in reaching out with the Gospel of Jesus by showing love in these ways.


I have always been a Psalm 19 kind of guy. "The heavens declare the glory of God and the earth shows the work of His hands...." When you have a chance to sit and read your bible and look out at the Andes Mountains you gain a brand new appreciation for that verse. As I looked out at those massive mountains made of solid volcanic rock and as I saw the tiny houses clinging precariously to their slopes. I was struck by the absolute grandeur of a mountain range that stretches for thousands of miles and whose peaks are so high that there isn't much oxygen to breathe up there. I read the words that Jesus said in Luke 21:33 "Heaven and earth will pass away but My words will never pass away." I was even more awestruck by a Savior who loves me with a love more permanent than the Andes mountains or even the Earth itself.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Yesterday was quite a day, to say the least. We had the opportunity to go to the very remote community of Punata. It is an agricultural community and poverty is the rule not the exception there. We worked a small "Micro Hospital" that was set up by the government in 2006. Medical care there is very limited, even with the hospital. (Which was a building with a waiting room, a 10'X12" "Emergency Room," a room with a dental chair, a small "Consulting room" and a tiny pharmacy.)There are doctors in the "hospital" perhaps once a week and most often with no supplies. 
There were some local doctors that worked with us. As we arrived and began to carry in our supplies the Bolivian Doctors' eyes lit up like a child's eyes at Christmas. They were like children in a candy store. What was supposed to be a semi-orderly clinic treating 50 patients and trying to meet their physical and spiritual needs became somewhat of a "feeding frenzy." In the end, 120+ patients were seen and our supplies were picked clean. Much was learned by all about how to improve things when a medical clinic when the ministries of House of Hope return to Punata. I know that the Lord has plans for that community.

 Today, we are not having clinic. We are using the day to rest and resupply. The supplies are greatly needed and we need to take time to guard against a very serious ministry danger. The danger is that some time you can get so busy "doing" that you neglect the fact that it is ALL about God. What we are doing is to glorify Him and if we neglect our relationship with Him we cannot glorify Him. As always, we count on your prayers and we look forward to telling you all of the wonderful things our God is doing!

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Much has happened since we last posted a blog. (We are having internet issues so please, be patient.)

Sunday, we got up and had worship in English at the House of Hope, then we went to a Spanish speaking church to worship with them. Brian Knight, one of the construction team that is with us, is a pastor in Oak Hill WV preached through a translator. He did a great job! It was his first time preaching with a translator.  We also had the immense honor of celebrating communion with our brothers and sisters in Christ. After the service, we were able to pray with a lady in the church who has some very serious health issues and is facing possible surgery and the resulting financial ruin that would cause in this culture. What a honor to go with her to God's throne and have full assurance that His will, will be done!!

After church we loaded the vehicles, (including 2 vintage volks wagon beetles) and headed to an extremely poor village north of Cochabamba. The air was thin and  cool the roads were rough but the smiles of the people waiting for us warmed us quickly.  We twisted some balloons for the children while others set up the clinic. Then is was "Go" and away we went!  Becky was in charge of the Pharmacy and Mark was seeing patients.

The stories etched in the lines of the adults faces spoke of hard lives, determination and a hope that refused to be quenched. In the occasional brief smile of an adult or the constant smiles and laughter of the children spoke volumes to me about hope, love and grit.

Toward the end of the clinic, we were asked to make a house call. A lady was ill and too weak to come to the clinic. Becky and I grabbed our packs and away we went. In a very humble home with only two beds as furniture, we found a very, very ill lady. She was obviously dehydrated and malnourished. It took only a brief exam to discover the cause of the problem. Her abdominal tumor, was easy to feel. It was huge! It was very difficult to tell the family that their mother was going to die from her condition. The family was very poor and a stay in the hospital was impossible for them in this culture. We were able to offer very little except some things to make her more comfortable. We were able to find out that she is indeed a Christian and has accepted Christ as her savior. we  were honored to pray with her and her family though we had to have translators from English to Spanish and Spanish to Quechan.

We appreciate your prayers!

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Saturday in Cochabamba

Hello Everyone!
We found out this morning that we would not be have clinics today because it is a holiday, (Day of the Dead) Mario Morales used this as a great opportunity to allow us to learn more about the culture. I will take this time to post some pictures of the sights we saw, as well as a
 few of The House of Hope (which is where we are staying)  It is truly a palace!  We visited a market, a cemetery (completely decorated in fresh flowers for the celebration of The Day of the Dead) and the entire team was invited into a typical Catholic home to learn about how their dead family members are honored on this day.  They were very gracious and hospitable. Please join us as we pray for their salvation.  Enjoy the pictures, and know that we are safe and being very well cared for.  Hopefully, we will be able to explain in more detail the significance of what we experienced today at a service when we get home.
Love to all!
Becky and Mark