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

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