Monday, July 27, 2009

Friday July 24, 2009 in Puente Piedra

We left the hotel about 8:30 this morning. Our first fright was when Michael, Maddy and Gabriel were coming back from Vivanda Grocery Store with our water and crossed the narrow but busy street at the light. Michael was last and as he started across on the green light a car who had the red light ran the light and came right at Michael. Michael saw him and was able to do an acrobatic jump or he would have been hit. There is an arrogance here that some feel they are above the law and can do what they wish especially when driving their cars. The government is trying to crack down on a lot of this but there is rebellion and thus the strikes. Actually there have been 2 days of strikes this week but it failed in Lima. However we saw on the news that it was successful all over the rest of the country and tour buses were attack, rocks thrown in the windows etc. We were spared.

Thank you, God, for your protection. I think a lot of you are praying for our protection.

We arrived at the church and as we turned the corner we were met with a multitude. More children than you can imagine. Adults as well. We had told them we would be here ½ day. There are more people than yesterday which was for a full day. We have to think what to do. The team is working fast and how do we see so many. And more keep coming. So Amigos in America can you come back and help? We can’t even touch the need. They are such sweet and humble people. They appreciate even a hug and smile. As we got off the bus the crowd broke into a loud clap as if we were the National champs of some great athletic team. We think why would they do that. We have so little to offer.

Debbie Drain, one of our clowns, came to this church with a group about 5 years ago. She fell in love with these people and decided she needed to come back. She studied Spanish and not finding a group to come back with she just came by herself. In 2008 she heard about Regency and joined us. She has prayed we would be able to come to this church and community.

During the past year Pedro’s brother, Luis, has met with the pastor several times and in April he and Pedro spent some time with him. We decided that even though it meant shortening our time in Rimac we had to come here. Pedro observed that the church had no tables and chairs in the rooms we would use for the medical clinics. He wrote Luis to get some tables so the doctors would at least have a place to work. In Rimac furniture but no space, in this place lots of space but no furniture. Regency sent the $400 needed to have the tables made knowing God would provide. Simple but sufficient.

When Debbie raised her funds for this trip she raised $395 more than she needed. She asked if it could be used here. There was the money needed to cover the tables. God is so creative and surprising in His provisions.

The bus is parked very near the entrance to the church. The driver stays with the bus so we can leave our bags and personal items on the bus. When our box lunches come that is where we eat them. I decided to come back to the bus and start writing this blog since most of my work is done and to give the driver a break if he needed it.

Pastor Segundo walked by with a tiny little Quechua lady. She looked as if she was in agony holding her hand against her body. He asked if she could sit here for a minute. Then as we talked we found she had fallen and injured her hand and wrist and also her shoulder. She had seen one of our doctors who thought she had a fracture. There is no way she could get help. The doctor wrote orders for what she needed and then added $$ to it. Pastor was finding someone to go with her to the hospital in Lima to get an x-ray. With money they would do it and probably follow up with the help she needs.

Debbie just came to me almost in tears to tell me a story. We are on the side of a mountain. There is a little park right in front of the church where the children’s workers are doing their projects. Debbie had looked up the path that comes down the mountain near the park and saw this older lady (70 years old but looked 90) hardly able to walk. She met her and found she was in great pain. She did not have an appointment but heard there were doctors down here. She had walked a long way. Instead of her going the rest of the way inside the church Debbie had her sit on the park bench and went to get Joan and Diana. Joan and her translator came out to help. There was little or nothing to do. Her back probably has stress fractures. She has severe OA. Those are the situations that make us cry. We could give her something for pain temporarily. She needs long term care for osteoporosis, calcium. In her poverty we know there is nothing that will be done.

Debbie had to come to the bus for a moment to gain her composure so we both cried. Except for the grace of God it could be you or me walking in that ladies shoes. Why do we have so much and she has so little? Why was I born in the USA and she was born in these dirty barren, rocky mountains? There is no answer but if you are reading this please stop and pray for these people, for the poverty. We know that first and foremost the poverty of the soul is the thing most needing care. We can share our Lord. God will use our being here to open doors for the Pastor and the other Christians in this church to minister to the needs of these people. We can only say as we are here for today for such a time as this. We will never know what if any impact we will have on a single person but we do know our Lord has far more compassion for them than we could ever have. I know God’s heart hurts for them more than does ours. I know we cannot know why other than we know that the sin of this world brings about much injustice and sorrow and god of the darkness of this world wants it to stay that way.

I feel I want to stop the story telling here and start preaching, begging all of you to see what we see and feel what we see. God reminded me that that is not for me to do. I can share with you but anything that you feel or sense has to come from Him. I go back to the stories.

Joy James just came over to tell me that they were sharing with the kids and several of the children asked Jesus in their hearts. They are giving the names to the pastor for follow up. Yesterday Gabriel (the man from Rimac who is helping us this week) shared as he walked around and talked to people and 4 people prayed to receive the Lord.

Note: At the end of the day when the team got on the bus Jamie Hite told us that over 30 children prayed to receive Christ.

It is now 12:45 PM. We were supposed to shut down at 1:00. The place is packed with people probably 50-60 just to see the doctors, others to see the dentist and the eye clinic. They keep coming. I think if there were sufficient lighting and we could stay to midnight there would still be people coming. Where do we stop? The doctors decided that we would see 25 more patients and then cut it off. No one is happy patients or the team but we know we are not indispensible. We have to stop somewhere. I remember the passage in Mark 6 at the end of the chapter. Jesus had been preaching to the crowds, had fed the 5000 and He and disciples were tired. Jesus looked at the crowds and had great compassion but He turned to the disciples and told them to get into the boat and they all went away to rest. Thus the sadness of missions.

I just saw the cutest little Quechua lady come down the stairs from the 3rd floor where the eye clinic is located. She was with some younger family and they were all laughing and happy. She waited until she reached the street and turned to one of her family who was carrying her new glasses. She has such a tiny little face that they looked quite big on her but as she put them on I saw the thickness and wondered if she were nearly blind. All smiles she started walking and so happy. She had new glasses. Thank you, Jim Mays, for coming and using your expertise in this way and thank you, Daniel Hast, for learning and doing the “construction” of the lenses into the frames. Thank you, Esther, (Peruvian medical student) for translating and triaging. You have seen and helped so many patients. I believe the number yesterday was over seventy. Thank you, Life Church, for providing the equipment and materials for Jim to use.

I love going up to the area where the doctors are seeing patients. Next to them are the two “pharmacists”, Stacey and Stephanie. They are so good. The doctors will call out. I need 20 tablets of _____ and they immediately find it, bag it and take to the doctor. Such a great team. Last night they told us that we were out of such and such and were worried about today. We were able to find those things at a pharmacy (a large chain called Inka Farma). When you are the team leaders it is so great to have people that you put in charge and then never have to think about it again. That is the way with Stacey and Stephanie and our “drugs”.

Several of the team have told me today that they wish we had spent the whole week here in this place. They love these people. The team is so impressed with the kindness of these people. They are so friendly. The children are so well behaved, so content, so happy. There is a lifestyle here that is removed from the Lima madness. They are a close-knit community and you can see that. The pastor is well known here and well respect somewhat a leader even though not an officially elected one. He loves what he does and it reflects.

Our half-day went much longer and without the team stopping for lunch. The pastor finally had to talk to them and say we could see no more. They were so disappointed but orderly.

That is the story of our last day working in Lima.

Tomorrow is a day for the team. We have found that it is crucial to have time for them to learn something of the culture and history of this great country. We have a short tour of old Lima tomorrow and then to the well-known restaurant, La Rustica, in Barronco for late lunch. They serve a huge buffet with foods typical of most of the areas of Peru. The salad bar is to die for but sorry, team, hands off. You have to fly home at midnight tomorrow night. Nothing uncooked. Actually there is one dish that has such strong vinegar and lemon dressing it would kill any bugs. Pedro will tell them they can eat that salad.

We have zillions of pictures. We will post them later. They tell an even better story.

We know we can’t write the emotions we feel here. We can only give you a glimpse.

May God put into your heart anything He wants you to know from this trip. May He allow you to have a vision of His vast world and the people He chose to create. We pray that something we write will touch your heart for His kingdom’s sake.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

A new place today. Far far away at least it seemed that way. We had a new (old but new to us) bus and great chauffer as they call the driver here.

We are in Puente Piedra – the Rock Bridge. It is in the far southwest side of Lima going up into the mountains. It is one of the largest districts of Lima and goes to the remote area of Lima.

We traveled south on the Pan American Highway which was so crowded. As we turned off Pastor Segundo Torres and Dr. Jiu, the Peruvian dentist, were waiting for us at the main road and rode up with us the last mile. The road narrowed considerably became dirt and then to mostly a lane. As we turned the corner we saw the crowds waiting. Crowd it was. Pastor said they started coming at 7:00 AM. We were to arrive at 9:30.

As we got off the bus one by one they clapped for each of us. There is a difference in this crowd and the ones the last two days as we worked in the mayor’s clinics. There is more order, calmness. Looking out the bus upward I see areas of mountain being cut out and a flat area made to build another “house”. Looking in front of the bus are one and two storied houses partially with brick and the front “wall is cardboard supported by wooden strips. The windows for now are cardboard. I see a tarp like material on the top as a roof. Further up is a row of houses mostly completed, painted with glass in the windows. Most build here as they can pay for the materials but move in as soon as possible finished or not.

Everyone looks clean and the children have happy faces and seem well cared for and loved. There are so many babies and small children. As the patients come out from the clinics there is a smile on their faces. Joy because someone “touched them” and listened. For those of you who have been here in past, Puente Piedra makes the Rimac church look rich.

The day was so busy and active. The church leaders had organized well. Appointments were given so they knew when they were to be seen. At one point I was on the bus and the door was open where I could see out. It was parked close to where the church wall starts. I was startled to see the cutest little boy about 2-3 years old probably of Quechua Indian descent pull down his pants, relieve himself and quickly pull up his pants. But my surprise was when he bent down and carefully and meticulously grabbed hands full of dirt and covered the wet ground to perfection. Satisfied he quickly ran to play. I have to remind my self this is a way of life. It is survival.

At noon while they were eating their lunch I asked the team to tell about their morning. A blur they said. Rachael Hulstine is translating for Joan. They all have bone pain she said. That is how they describe their aches and pains.

A man showed up and found Pedro near the bus. His mother goes to the Rimac church and had told him we were going to be here today. This area is far away from Rimac but he came with his wife to see Pedro. At that point there was no room to examine his knee. Pedro brought him to the bus and realized his knee was very inflamed. He needed an injection. Pedro told me we have to do it here. So we made a place and he got his injection on the bus. I watched his face as the loooong needle went in and he did not flinch even. Later he said, “That did not hurt.” I sensed an element of surprise and wonder in his voice as if he were not sure Pedro had really done anything. Later the pastor gave Pedro his office to see patients.

Lunchtime came and the team came to the bus to eat our box lunches one by one so no clinic shut down. All were telling about their experiences for the morning. Some of the people had a dialect of Spanish that even the translators had difficulty. They were of Quechua descent or were Quechua who came from the province of Ancosh about an hour south. They have never had any kind of medical care come to them so for some this was a very new experience. I watched as Stu gave baby Tylenol to one mother for her child. She had never seen a medicine with a dropper. Rachele was translating and had to explain several times to her.

The children’s team set up a lot for the children to do in the afternoon but the hit was the jump ropes. Jamie had brought several long ropes and she and Gabriel (our helper from Rimac) and Maddy and Michael and Joy James started throwing the ropes but most of the children did not have a clue. Michael got someone to throw for him and started jumping. AW!!! So that is how it is done. One of the teens probably about 12-13 started. Slowly after a while others got into the jumping. They did not want to stop. They jumped for hours it seems. The first girl wanted to have a contest with Michael as to who could jump the longest. She won! Jamie left the ropes with the pastor as well as some individual ropes. I think they will be used.

One of the older boys there had a large green parrot. As I walked over to see him the bird jumped from his shoulder onto mine. He started pulling my hair and screeching loudly. I told him I knew it was a mess but not to advertise it. The boy wanted to sell it to me for $100. I told him no thanks so then he offered him for $20. I tried to tell him even if I wanted to buy him I could not take him on the plane. His eyes got so big as it he could not imagine flying on a plane. He kept trying but I finally convinced him, I think, even though he offered him again the next day.

At the end of the day as we were leaving, Daniel commented to us that this place felt peaceful and there was a sense of community. We wondered what made it so different. Was it the remoteness from the chaos of Lima? Was it because they have so little exposure to the lifestyle of Lima? They are not that far away from the beginning of the Lima craziness but something is different.

We left late, arrived back to the hotel and most were ready to crash. What a day!

Tuesday and Wednesday July 21st and 22nd

Working in the Mayor’s clinics

Before we left Oklahoma we asked the question as to why we are working with the mayor instead of just staying in a church. We questioned if this were a wise decision. The only answer we found was that God opened the door and that Jack and Milena Meier, the missionaries here, saw this as a need and encouraged us to do it. Our first day we really wondered if we had been wise and if we had made the right decision. Tuesday was a very hard day.

I think the Holy Spirit prompted us at breakfast Tuesday morning that it might be a rough day. Diana Webber reminded us that her experience on earlier trips had been that about mid way it was the time Satan did his greatest attack. We talked about the need to be on guard for the day. We put on our armor.

We had been told by the mayor’s assistant that we would have security to control the crowds and keep order. When we arrived in this one area, it was so dirty and smelly. The place was not set up. It was a small outdoor coliseum for the neighborhood. It had rained which is a rarity so we knew that had slowed the process. We saw only 2 security people who seemed to be there as observers and little else.

We set up our outdoor clinics and an area for the children’s workers. The Florida team was there to help us as were a number of men from the Rimac church and Jack and Milena. There was a local doctor supposedly in charge but she made no effort to put order. Our medical team went right to work patient by patient but they were crowded out by the patients who began surrounding them trying to hear and see what that patient was getting. As Joan said later, “If one person got a certain medicine then all the others had that same problem so they could get the same. There was not the same attitude we found in the people that came to the church clinics and these people. Do I dare interject my own opinion here? Why is it that anything involved through the government causes people to portray an attitude of I have my rights. There was a more demanding attitude yet in the church clinics there has been a sense of gratitude so different. What is the difference? What causes the difference?

About an hour after the clinics started some people from the mayor’s office (we assume) set up huge speakers and a puppet tent. One of them went to our clowns and said we need you to stop working with the children so we can do “our thing”.

Our team was very cooperative. The music started. Louder than loud. Every few minutes the announcer would give a propaganda speech. “The mayor has brought these doctors from the U.S. to help you. We are doing this for you.” Somehow we did not receive this too well. Meantime the doctors said, “If the music does not stop we pack up. We can’t hear vital signs. We can’t hear the translators to understand what is wrong with the patients.” Michael went 3 times and asked the guy to turn down the music. He would and then five minutes it would later he would turn it louder. Pedro and others did the same. This went on and on. There were a couple of men who also work for the mayor’s office and they understood our concern. Somehow they were not able to make a lot of change. Eventually the puppet show finished and things got a little bit quieter. At the end of the time they allowed our children’s workers to present their skits and work with the children.

On the bus home Pedro and I with Michael and Maddy got some feedback and decided we would meet at the hotel restaurant and talk as a team. The team felt the day had been difficult and were not sure we had seen the people needed to be seen because of the chaos. We decided the next day we would make human shields and keep the people away from the doctors’ areas. We had a great time complaining and finding fault with the day. Then in a brief pause Joy James spoke up and said, “ But no matter what even if one person was helped and heard the gospel wouldn’t it be worth it?” There was silence. We had to refocus and think that way. We had to realize that no matter what we felt was done God was accomplishing his purposes. As Michael likes to remind his parents, God is an opportunistic God and can take bad situations and accomplish His purpose.

Diana Webber reminded us that even though we felt the politics of the day, at least the people we saw would know that we cared and we came. We prayed with them. They would not see this as from the mayor but from God as we touched and loved them.

We prayed for God’s protection, for the situation the next day to be better and organized.

Wednesday morning came and we left with some trepidation. The location for this clinic was in another area of Rimac. The team arrived and was surprised to find the tents up, several police already there and much more order. The first thing Pedro did was to find the person in charge and told them if they started playing the loud music, then we immediately would pack up and leave as the doctors could not care the people at the same time. They could not hear them or their vital signs. These men seemed to grasp that and were eager to corporate. It was a delightful time and the morning went very smoothly. Patients were happy! The Team was happy! We felt that our prayers for the protection from the agony of the day before had been answered.

At the end of the day the mayor and others from his office came. He expressed thanks to the team for helping and insisted on a photo to made with him and the team together. Wonder if that is for propaganda for the next election.

In spite of this we have been thinking that Jack and Milena Meier are very involved with these clinics and are able to talk to the people and share with them. Pedro met a man who is the mayor’s point man. He goes to all areas of Rimac which is a quite large district of Lima and finds the areas that are most in need. He also goes to the Rimac church where we worked and he told Pedro he does not hesitate to tell people about the church and its help to the very poor. We have to believe that God will use all these things to bring about some help. We know He uses powers of government to accomplish His purposes. We will leave all this in His hands and He will use our being there as He wants.

By the way the point man told Pedro one of the greatest needs in the poorer part of Rimac is pure water. Such a need. Do any of you have ideas? Anyone ready to come?

Our pictures will tell you the great side of the day. Just to look at the people’s faces tells a complete story.

Tomorrow on to Puente Piedra.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Monday July 20th in Lima Peru.

It never really rains in Lima. It is basically a dessert area. Monday and Tuesday it rained. Gary England would probably have described it as a spring light rain in Oklahoma but it was enough to puddle in the streets – streets which have no culverts for run off. All the people were talking about it. It is very hard for the people of Lima to deal with as it is rare and the city is not built to handle much of this. Should Lima have one of our Oklahoma gulley washes many of the houses and mountainside huts would come sliding down. Thankful that did not happen.

Monday the team spent in the Rimac church seeing patient after patient. Such needs.

Teresa Perkins was taking a break and went to the building next door where we were given space to work and the doctor there has x-ray and lab that we were able to use and pay a very small fee. As Teresa was looking for someone, she saw Stu and Joan and others looking at an x-ray down the hall. She at that moment saw a sad looking lady sitting in one of the rooms she passed and somehow felt there was a connection between what the doctors were seeing and the sadness on that lady’s face. Teresa went in and sat by the lady and said, “ Can I pray with you?” The lady was so eager for Teresa to pray. Teresa had shared earlier that at times she feels her Spanish is so inadequate here to really be the translator that is expected (her opinion, not ours). But as she started praying with this woman she felt words pouring out that seemed impossible to be from her. The Spirit of God works in so many mysterious ways and like Teresa we all sense that this week. Teresa was right. There was bad news for this lady from the doctors. She has cancer and after they had prayed the doctors came to tell her the news. God is so good to have sent Teresa just a that moment to be there to hug her and pray with her so God’s Spirit would comfort her.

2 Corinthians 1:3 Our God is a merciful God who always gives us comfort.

One of the things that impresses me with this team is their intense desire to do more than physical care. The patients encounter God through the team members. For some it is a new experience and even though they are hoping for a physical cure they are touched more spiritually. For some it will be for today, a seed dropped on the side of the road to be plucked away. For others it will be a seed that will be nourished and grow as only the Spirit of God can do.

At breakfast Tuesday morning we asked the team to share some of their thoughts or observations.

Amy Maley (Neo-natal ICU Nurse): I am so overwhelmed by the kids. I love the kids and want to care for all of them. I love the way God gives us eyes to see them, arms to hug them and most of all ability to just love them.

Stephanie Schatzman (starting pre-med studies at OU): (note Steph is contagious especially her smile. If you are having a hard day and everything is upside down, just go be with her.)

This is my first mission trip like this. I am usually with a team that does construction work and we are not involved with the people that much. Here I love the people. I love helping them.

Jamie Hite (Clown, teaches English as Second Language for OKC Schools, Spanish teacher, 3rd year here): I love being with the children and watching them relax and get involved as the 4 year old who joined us and started playing his pretend guitar along with us.

Joy James (starting college freshman year in fall, 3rd year here, works with children): I get for more than I give. There are hugs from everyone.

Joan Bathon (Rheumatologist from Johns Hopkins, sister of Jack Meier our missionary contact here): I am so impressed with the courage and resilience of the people. Most are manual labors who keep doing the same physical activity over and over just to survive. I can give them a joint injection etc but unless they change their life style it is so temporary. One woman is a construction worker who digs 6- 8 hours per day and makes 15 soles per day (about $5 per day). She has constant pain. Like others patients I inject her hands and she may walk away saying, “I am cured!”, but I know it may be for a few weeks and then all with be back.

Jim Mays (studied a class for missionaries to do measure and do glasses:) I love my team in the eye clinic. Judy from the Florida team triages the patients, I do the measurements and Daniel Hast helps make the glasses. (Note: Jim gave Daniel a crash course.) We are able to see many patients each day.

Joy Hast (children’s worker, great organizer, Daniel’s wife, 3rd year here): I love to watch the reaction to the kids when we make balloon animals for them. Many of the children do not come in smiling but they will relax when they have a balloon. We were doing a singing time and trying to get the kids to join in. Many of them are so shy. There was one little boy about 4 years old who lost any shyness he had. As we started to sing, he played on his imaginary air guitar and really got into it. That brought a lot of smiles.

Stacey Paniel (works for Johnson and Johnson sells items for operating room supplies and is in operating rooms at times): I am impressed with the attitude the patients have toward the doctors. Personally I have never seen my doctor and then as I am leaving give him/her a big hug. These patients are so thankful they cannot say enough to the doctors and the nurses etc. They have to hug. My doctor never asks to pray with me when I am about to leave. I love seeing this relationship. We do so little and yet their gratitude is so great.

Diana Webber (Nurse Practioner, doing PhD at OU Health Science Center- She also works at Crossings Free Clinic) As I work with these patients, I remember the words in 2 Cor 4:5-6 that we do not preach ourselves but Jesus Christ. I see that we do so much more than treat them medically. The most important thing we do is share Christ, lay hands on them and pray with them.

Debbie Drain (Professional Clown): I keep thinking of the story of Esther in the O.T. and the words spoken to her that she was there for such a time as this. I keep asking myself why I am here and what can I do. Then I remember someone or something that is said and know I am suppose to be here.

Nathon Overbey (medical student at OU, works at OK Heart Hospital as medical assistant this summer): I realize here why it is so easy in USA to loose sight of the real purpose of studying medicine. In OK it can be all about testing and diagnosis but here it is the patient. I need this time to remind me of what medicine is all about.

Stu Schrader (Medical doctor): Adding to Diana Webber’s words about not preaching ourselves…. In that same passage 2 Cor 4: 5-6 it says we are the light of the knowledge of God for them. We are here to be God’s light as we touch and love them.

Maddyni Gismondi (Michael’s wife and the most efficient business manager for the team): I am most impressed by the willingness of this team to come here and give of themselves as they do. They spend money sacrifice time to get here and then give everything of themselves.

Pedro Gismondi (our leader): Everyday we experience God in some new way. We see His hand working on our behalf and the doors He continues to open.

There are some missing people but they had a reason. Maybe they had gone to buy our bottled water for the day or some other errand to make our day workable. Poor people are just not able to sneak in a sleep-in each morning. Too much accountability.

My quoting or paraphrasing their comments does not do justice to what we could see in their faces and hearts. You would have to be here to do that, but hopefully it gave you a glimpse into them and their perceptions as they work with these sweet people.

More to come

GG and the Peru 2009 Mission Team

Monday, July 20, 2009


Saturday-- more about 1st Clinic Day

Jim Mays said that he saw more than 40 patients to measure for glasses. Daniel H his assistant was able to make 4 sets of glasses himself. At one point Jim asked Pedro to come see a lady who no matter what they did she still was seeing blurry. As Pedro questioned her he found that she was a severe diabetic. They realized that because of not having proper care the diabetes has now done enormous damage to her eyes. Pedro took her to someone medical, a Peruvian, that was able to tell her a clinic she could go to for help though it may be too late for much.

Joan Bathon saw only Rheumatology patients though she was willing to see anyone. But hearing a rheumatologist would be at the clinic many wanted an appointment. She did quite a few injections but the saddest part is many of the women come with severe hand problems and carpel tunnel. Many of them have jobs where they use their hands constantly such as working in laundries washing and wringing clothes by hand. How can she tell them they have to stop? They must feed their families. These are the kind of things that break your heart. Yet it will only get worse. In these cases, just the love and touch in the name of Jesus, and a prayer is the only thing to offer. Sometimes an injection in severe cases but how long will that last if they go back tomorrow to the same activity.

Pedro and I decided before the trip that for the first time he would not have scheduled clinics for himself but would spend the day with the other doctors and nurses and the eye clinic. He has never had that freedom to just see what is happening and really wanted it at least for the first 2 days of clinics. He was very busy. Sometimes he translated or as with Jim helped with a problem, could sit with a patient and talk to them about spiritual things and advise them on medical issues. One of the church helpers talked to him a long time about her wrist and today he was going to find a special wrist brace for her to wear.

Diana Webber our nurse practioner speaks fluent Spanish and has done many mission trips. She is so on the go and great to have. I will ask her to write you some details of what she is seeing.

Working along with Diana, Stu, Amy, Nathan, with Teresa Perkins helping Amy with translation, have most of the children to see. I hope to get some more details from them in a future blog.

The Florida team, mostly teens, is here also. About 17 of them. Saturday they were suppose to have some concrete brought to take to their projects on the mountain. It did not arrive (should we be surprised?) so some of them helped with the children's program. One of the girls has been doing Irish Dances since age six. She did a show for the kids and I think did a little class for them.

Because the church wanted to make sure we did not get overwhelmed they had given appointments to people and only so many. The team worked much faster and were finished and ready to leave at 5:00 instead of the usual 6:00. They were suppose to go to the Nun's Restaurant on the way home but it does not open until 7:00 PM. Pedro called me and said what can I do with them for 2 hours. We decided to cancel the Nun's and they would go to Norky's which is one of my favorite places just blocks from the hotel. They had 2 choices within the budget - Roasted Chicken (ah! so good) and Pasta with Beef Strips. All except 3 ordered the chicken. When the orders came, the beef strips turned out to be a big steak on top of pasta. Pedro was one who ordered that and he felt so guilty. But Nathan our medical student was sitting next to him and told him he would help him take his quilt away. In other words, I will share with you. In the end those who got chicken also got free ice cream. The best surprise of all was the salad all got. Michael and Maddyni had gone to Norky's before we got here and talked to them. Because so many Gringos eat here they clean their salads with bottled water and something like iodine (I don't know what.) It is safe to eat.
I think they enjoyed that more than the meat.

Stacey and Stephanie are the top pharmacists. They got set up and no pharmacy is better. Stephanie is practicing doing blood sugars on herself so she can do that as needed. Good introduction to pre-med school at OU in fall.

I hope to get all of the team to write notes for this more detail. After all my insight is that I am in a hotel in a corner room with all glass watching people walk by and hearing horns non stop. I can see the ocean when the clouds clear some which today has not been but a few minutes. I can hear the constant hammering and sawing as they are remodeling a room down the hall. I can go down to the lobby and people watch and walk a few blocks to stretch. WOW what a mission trip. God and I have had some long talks these last few days. First of all Michael and Maddy are doing what I would do and probably better. God keeps telling me to let go. I am asking myself if this is maybe a control issue and that I am so worried because I am not there and might be needed.
Michael was telling me this morning that before we came I was so exhausted. True. I had had little sleep at night because of my shoulder pain and I was so stressed with getting everything done. Not really bad stress just stuff to do. He reminded me that maybe God gave me this stomach problem for me to just cool it and let go. HM! I know he is probably right but ....

For those who keep asking about my shoulder: I did have the shoulder joint injection on Monday before we left and got a lot of relief. The other 2 injections done in the facet joins was not helpful. It is not as bad as before. But it is there and the pain going into the arm and fingers is quite intense. And if I sit at the desk to type, it is quite bad. I do think I have to still think, note just think, about the replacement very soon. But how can I take off 6 weeks? Can't write, type, drive. I do have to be able to hold our new twins when they come in February and Asher at the same time. Please keep praying with me about this.

Pray for team, for the health of each one. So far they are going strong. Pray for the Spirit of Jesus to flow through each one of us. Pray for the cases they can't help, for the sadness we feel in our human abilities and that each of us will see that all our sufficiency is in Jesus alone. We love you and miss you.
GG and for all the Peru 2009 Team
PS I am thankful Mrs Chappell my 4 years of high school English teacher won't read this. I am not editing for mistakes.... so please don't find any. HA!

Sunday July 19th in Lima Peru

Sunday morning the team all came to breakfast on time 7:15 but their lack of sleep the night we traveled finally caught up with them. They were dragging, but dressed and ready to catch the bus at 8:00 to go to El Camino Iglesia. Because we had all our supplies in all the rooms the church had cancelled Sunday School and were having their worship service only.
It is such a small place we felt some concern about going and taking up space from the regular people but Pastor Jerry would not hear of it.

I, Glenda, did not get to go. I got a stomach bug on Friday and still not able to go each day. I am writing this Monday afternoon and though I don't feel sick, when I eat, it does not stay with me. I am living on crackers, ginger ale and blue gatorade. Thankfully no vomiting. I hope to be able to go with the team tomorrow. I am sure that is all you want to know about it.

Back to Sunday. Pedro said that the service was wonderful. Pastor Jerry taught from John 17 and was so clear and had a great insight into the Scripture. We both are so impressed with this humble man. His ability to know Scripture without great scholarly training is amazing. Jose translated for him so the team was able to understand. Afterwards he introduced the team and welcomed them and thanked them for what they are here to do.
There is no way to describe a church service in another language and culture until you experience it. The team did that.

After leaving the church the team went by bus to La Muralla (The Wall). It is in very downtown Lima in the old part of the original city. It is part of a new city park. This new park, complete with a track for children to cycle and a pedestrian walkway, sits on the banks of the RĂ­mac River. During its construction diggers unearthed the remains of 500-year-old city walls that were once meant to repel both the rising river and Dutch pirates. A small museum on the site explains some of the history of the wall and the city of Lima. The bus left them in the central plaza by the palace. It was time for the changing of the guards so they waited for that and saw the "ceremony" for this. The resturant called also La Muralla was excellente so I was told last night. The prices were good and yet they felt like they had feasted. I decided I would rather not hear what I missed.
Arriving back to the hotel about 3:30 the team had the rest of the day free. Most napped and then went to Laromar a shopping area that looks over the Pacific considered one of the best in the southern hemisphere.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Saturday The First Clinic and Work Day

The team left after breakfast to go to the first day of clinics in El Camino Church in Rimac with Pastor "Jerry". Jack and Milena Meier, the missionaries from Florida who now live here and work in this area were there to greet the team.

Joan Bathon, our doctor friend from Johns Hopkins arrived late last night safely ladened with a bag full of stuff donated by her friends in Baltimore. Joan is the sister of Jack Meier and the reason we found this area 3 years ago when Pedro met Joan on a China trip. So via China, we are here.

Yesterday afternoon the team set up for today. Since the church is so small we had great anxiety of having space to accomplish much. Next door to the church is a small clinic where there is a recent medical school graduate who is an Ob/Gyn Doctor. She has a very small lab and x-ray area. For about $3.00 she can do a chest x-ray and limited lab. There is a small pharmacy and another office area that through Milena they offered us.
Jim Mays is setting up the eye clinic in that area and Joan was given an office in the other room. Way more than we could have hoped for.
Rachael who is translating for us brought a friend who is a dental student. His name in English is Moses. He will come Monday and work with us the rest of the week. Great surprise again that God provided.

Our 2 clowns Debbie and Jamie have new outfits for this year. They are now clown nurses. They have an awesome team to help them as they hug and play with and sing to these little ones many of whom come down the mountain to this church feeding kitchen M-F for their only daily meal. The Florida mission team is spending the week going up to the "homes" where these children live trying to help make the places more habitable.
Pictures will come later.

Our devotional theme for this week is Philippians 4:6-9. The 5 P's - God's way of helping us in trials.
Pray, Praise, Peace, Positive Response, and Practice. Each day we see ways God is teaching us to follow Him in this pattern. He is allowing us to choose to obey Him this way.

So what is the point of me (Glenda) having traveler's revenge today and being told to stay in the hotel? I am spending the morning in Quiet Time with the Lord and so far no answer except He says to trust me. See I am one of the planners; they can't function without me. I am the gofer; the answer to their questions. Without me how will they know when to stop for lunch, how many more patients to see. Fretting about this and just the fact it is boring to stay here in the hotel all day, I then pulled out my Bible and little devotional book with a fussy attitude in my heart. I looked at the page that fell open and there was the story from a pastor who used to have this recurring nightmare. He would dream he was looking from the pulpit out to see empty pews - no one would ever come. He realized he did not need a dream therapist to interpret the vision.
He said, "I thought I was responsible for the results of God's work." The congregation needed him. No they needed God. In John 2:28-29, Jesus was asked, "What exactly does God want us to do?" Jesus answered, "God wants you to have faith in the One (Jesus) He sent."
I have read that many times before but this morning it was once again a reminder that all God expects of me is to have faith in His Son Jesus. No where does it say anything about my being responsible or if I am not with the team, they won't have their needs met and they will be lost all day. WOW! Who am I to feel so needed? That requires an attitude adjustment to say the least. The team will have a wonderful day.

We covet your prayers, your thoughts and also your notes to us. You can send us your thoughts and questions and anything you want at this site or directly.
We miss all of you.
The Peru 2009 Mission Team

Friday, July 17, 2009

Letter home about arrival in Peru July 16-17th

WE arrived in Lima 1 hour late last night - 11:50 PM. Some got stopped in customs but bags were scanned and not opened so no problems. One official asked Pedro if we were all part of al medical team. Then he asked, "are you bringing in lots of medicines?". Pedro told him yes and then he wanted to know if they were all date expired. We were so thankful to say no they were not. Apparently they are not too happy about expired medicines being brought on large scale. We were not really sure what was the point.
Our bus was on time but would not start. For 1 1/2hrs they were working on it. Arrived at hotel at 3:00 in the morning. Today we unpacked then onward to work. Pedro has another option for renting another bus but we decided to give this guy one day of grace to see if it works.
Humid, hot 68 ' but Peruvians walking with jackets, coats b/c it is winter. We are happy in short sleeves. No Sun.
We spent all morning unpacking and sorting the meds and supplies. What a job but so awesome. Pedro's brother, Luis, had ordered through his pharmacy friend lots of things that we needed and they were brought here this morning. We could do this because of the children at Faith Bible Church raised so much money during their VBS for us to use. Thank you to all of them.
We had 3 of the guys per room but turns out to be quite crowded and we need a place to store all the medicines as we can't take all everyday and since we are not in the same clinic every day we will resupply each night. We decided to give Jim a room all his own and then he will also share his room with our supplies. He does not seem to mind. Joan Bathon, the doctor from Johns Hopkins, whom Pedro met on the China trip and who also came with us 2 years ago will arrive tonight. We have a strong medical team to start clinics tomorrow. And of course with our 2 wonderful clowns and all their helpers our children's ministry will be great.

We saw that when we left OKC the weather really got cooler! Today about 88' from the mid 100s for so long.
Someone on the team said that was because all the warmth (meaning us) left OKC. Interpret as you wish.

Today there has been no problem with transportation strikes so that may have settled down. The new rules and steep fines that were put into law effective the 15th are not liked but hopefully they will be accepted and enforced.

Rachael Hulstine joined us today and will be with us most days to translate. We love Rachael's story. She came to Peru the first time with her dad when a team from Crossings came with us to work in the Posada orphanage. She decided someday she wanted to live in Peru. Well now a college graduate she does. Thanks, Rachael, for your help, Pedro's nephew came for a short time but he has laryngitis so difficult for him to translate. The doctors "worked on him" and hopefully tomorrow he will be able to talk or at least by Monday.

All the employees in the airport even the janitorial staff were wearing masks because of the swine flu scare. We were asked to complete a health questionnaire on the flight with details of our stay in Peru and where etc and these were collected by the flight attendants for health officials to have.... just in case. We were all laughing that it should have been done before we got on the plane and not after.

There were a lot of people on our flight from Japan and all of them wore masks. I guess swine flu is foremost in many minds. Pray that we will be careful, not too overly confident and will be safe. There is no way we will triage these people who "look" sick especially the children and say we can' see you because you may be contagious.... Whoever comes we see and give a hug.

Pedro and I are so enjoying having Michael and his precious wife with us. They have spent past few days finding places - affordable food -- and now will be with us all week. She has now been given a date for her interview for her visa -- August 7th -- here at the Lima American Embassy. Now just days after that she will be able to come to the USA. Sad for us is that by then Michael will have moved to Chicago and she will join him there and not OKC. But she will be in the USA with Michael.

I was in the hotel lobby this morning waiting to ask a question and there was another gringo. We started talking. He was a Hollywood photographer here doing a documentary. HA! I told him, "Stay with us and we will give you a REAL documentary." He had lots of questions. They were leaving to go to another town.

We look forward to the next days of meeting people and working hard, laughing, sometimes crying over the needs we see but most of all just going forward in the name of our God. We will see what He brings into our path.

Keeps us in your prayers
Pray for the bus to function, for our great fatigue and good rest tonight. We start out with breakfast at 7:15 AM then non stop.

We love you,
Pedro and Glenda and the Peru 2009 Mission Team

Regency Ministries International, Inc
Pedro A Gismondi M.D.
Glenda Gismondi