Monday, July 27, 2009

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.

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