Friday, April 1, 2022

El Salvador--Day 6

It's hard to believe today, at how fast the week has gone! I feel a second wind! I haven't talked to my family in a couple of days now...have had no connection with the outside world that I know...but I am ready to finish up serving here as I am needed to serve, and ready to relax later today and to celebrate a fruitful week!
 We all loaded into the back of this truck, and headed for Oasis to load up the equipment and supplies so we could drive on a few more miles to La Hacienda village where we would be serving today.

As has been the case every day, the people know we are coming, and they are waiting around for us as we come in! We truly have seen patients across the entire lifespan. We have seen more women than men, and lots of children. 

Today, we went inside the old run-down building that we were supposed to be serving out of. There was great dis-repair and absolutely no lighting inside. We decided it would be most comfortable for everyone to set up our clinic outside in the back of the building. The dentists set up their station on a small, covered patio area in the front of the building. 
The weather was beautiful. We did set up under a mango tree for shade, with full knowledge that any of us could fall victim to the falling fruit! 

I felt like the people were a little more friendly here. Their smiles came faster and were more abundant. Some of the kids enjoyed hearing their heartbeat for the first well as listening to mine. 
Dr Miller brought 10 or so packages of earrings, hooked into their own piercing systemr. He did babies, little girls, and adults. I also got to pierce the ears of a few kids. It was a special treat for them, and a fun new skill for me!
We cleaned out the rest of the kids' sunglasses, stuffed animals, and punch balloons that came over from the states. 
The balloons were a HUGE hit here. 
And they ran miles chasing one another around with them. I'm not sure how many hours those balloons may have lasted, but definitely long enough to provide hundreds of giggles and smiles.

One of the ladies that I saw had injured her hip. She has had a seizure disorder for decades. But because she has limited access, she has not been able to take her seizure medication. She had a seizure a couple weeks ago that she has been healing from. She had another seizure last week. Thankfully, Dr Morataya was going to be able to bring her the medicine she needs next Friday when he comes back to do a clinic. 
It seems that lack of medication compliance due to lack of resources is universal. I have many patients in the US that don't take their medications correctly because they can't afford it financially. Medication prices in the US are out of control. Though the medication prices in El Salvador are much cheaper, the majority of the people on this island make less than $1 per day. So limited access to medications, and limited funds make double trouble for compliance. 
As a side note, each of us got a packet of 6 pills before we left for the US. We were to take them when we got home to treat for any parasite that we may have picked up while we were gone. The six tablets of generic medications cost a few dollars at the most. When I looked it up in my medication resource at home, I found that, because it is in low demand in US, that it is considered "off label" and the cost for those 6 tablets was OVER THREE THOUSAND DOLLARS!! That discovery made me absolutely furious at our system of health care!! Problems like that...rooted in the fact that no one will make any money off of them otherwise...and at the expense of the people that need them...takes the joy out of my job!

One of the highlights of this trip for me was the simplicity of caring for people without all the beurocracy that we deal with here in the US. 
One woman sat down in the chair across from me and when I asked her how she was, she replied "You have descended upon us like angels from heaven. We are so grateful for the care you are giving us." That attitude was a blessing to my heart as well!

The week before I left, I turned around in my office to get something off of a shelf behind my desk. My little eye spied a English/Spanish translation book for medical words that I had scored years ago, but rarely have the chance to use. I held on to it for the week in case we needed to use it, but I promised Edwin that he could have it when I left so he could practice the words for interpreting. We did a small, official ceremony for the sake of a picture! ;-)

And then we staged a picture of Sylvita trying to steal it. HAHAHA!

They hired a horse and cart to take the three American providers back to Sister Magdalena's. While we were waiting for that to show up, this ox cart came by hauling green bean plants to the cattle since there isn't any grass right now. The cart had concrete wheels. It was an interesting sight. 

And on our way back on the horse cart, we passed a couple more carts in the road. It just struck me as funny, since it is so different than the life we know! 
I don't think we are in Kansas anymore Toto!!

This is the Island ambulance. A number of people actually have cell phones here, so if there is a medical emergency that can't be solved, one of Sister Magdalena's sons picks them up and takes them to the mainland in the boat.

We ate lunch, packed our things back into the boat, and headed for the mainland where our great driver Malchi was waiting on us to whisk us to the little medical clinic for our COVID tests. 

The tide was much lower than it was when we came in, so we had to separate from the rest of the team and go back in smaller groups. Bittersweet moments of goodbye. 

We were back in time to get settled in for the evening to our house that overlooked the beach. 

And we enjoyed a quick dip in the really warm ocean, as well as some amazing pictures as the sun sank into the sea. 

This was a picture of the pool at night from my bedroom door!!

Saturday morning we enjoyed a beautiful waterfront breakfast at La Pampa. Lydia left early in the morning, Steve left after lunch, and Rudy, Larry, Monica and I eventually ended up back at the mission house for the last night after we toured a huge cathedral and the historic National Palace in downtown San Salvador. The Palace was a place where they used to conduct the business of the country. It was absolutely huge, and we enjoyed the architecture and the green parakeets squabbling in the trees inside the courtyard! I saw ONE hummingbird the whole week. It was in that courtyard. I think it dove into the bush to roost for the night so the sighting was very brief!

So here we are...
At the end of a journey.
 It was a fast journey, with not much preparation. It was a busy journey, without much time to ponder what was going on. Because of the urgent way that God brought me into the journey, I allowed myself to believe that something huge was going to happen while I was gone. I believed that God was going to rock my world a little bit...or a lot....or that He might rock someone's world through my time there. 

I didn't see that though. 
In fact, I left wondering...and asking, "God, why me. Why then. What was so important that you led me right into that trip in a way that was completely YOU. What am I not seeing here?"

 I prayed over it for days. That God would enlighten me about the purpose of this trip. I worked hard. I loved hard. I served hard. I loved all of it. I learned from it. I was humbled by it. I would do it again and a heartbeat. It was an amazing experience for certain...but I just felt like I was missing something.

It was beautiful to see the way God has used Larry and Monica to take ownership of this community in a way that is serving His purposes for the good of these communities. They are literally being the hands and feet of God in a tangible way--physically, emotionally, and spiritually. But my question to the Lord was this "where do I fit into all of this. What are the lessons that you had for ME Lord? How will this change my life? How does this affect You and I?

I went back to my old life Monday afternoon. Back to my family. Back to my job. Back to being the me that God placed in this community nearly 30 years ago. And Tuesday evening, in the quiet of my thoughts, the Spirit broke in. He reminded me of a song that I love. It's called "I'll go where you want me to go." 
The lyrics read like this:

  1. It may not be on the mountain’s height,
    Or over the stormy sea;
    It may not be at the battle’s front,
    My Lord will have need of me;
    But if by a still, small voice He calls,
    To paths that I do not know,
    I’ll answer, dear Lord, with my hand in Thine,
    I’ll go where You want me to go.
    • Refrain:
      I’ll go where You want me to go, dear Lord,
      O’er mountain, or plain, or sea;
      I’ll say what You want me to say, dear Lord,
      I’ll be what You want me to be.
  2. Perhaps today there are loving words
    Which Jesus would have me speak;
    There may be now in the paths of sin,
    Some wand’rer whom I should seek;
    O Savior, if Thou wilt be my guide,
    Though dark and rugged the way,
    My voice shall echo Thy message sweet,
    I’ll say what You want me to say.
  3. Refrain
  4. There’s surely somewhere a lowly place,
    In earth’s harvest fields so white,
    Where I may labor through life’s short day,
    For Jesus the Crucified;
    So trusting my all to Thy tender care,
    And knowing Thou lovest me,
    I’ll do Thy will with a heart sincere,
    I’ll be what You want me to be.
  5. Refrain

Music has always ministered to my soul. After I heard this song a number of years ago, I printed it out and kept it my treadmill--periodically I would sing it as a prayer (I do a lot of prayer walking on my treadmill.). I have prayed this for years. Often I focus on the the second verse more than the others since I am always talking to people and counseling them--it's what God created me to do.

But Tuesday night, the chorus kept running through my mind...and I felt like the Spirit was whispering to me, "Child. For years you have told Me that you would go where I want you to go...and be what I want you to be. I took the path of short notice, faith walking, no months worth of planning. It's uncomfortable for you. I asked you to go. And you went. You have always said you would go on YOUR terms. I wanted to see if you would go on MINE. I asked you to go. You were obedient to the call I placed in your heart. The things that I did through you while you were there aren't to be revealed to you now. Obedience is what I desired."

This trip to El Salvador was a beautiful gift from my Father. He was giving me the desire of my heart--to travel to the "least of these" and serve Him by serving them. 

And its MY perfect world, I would have researched out all the organizations, all the possible locations, all the lengths of stay, the cultures, the food, the fun things. I would have picked the perfect dates...or put it off for years waiting on the perfect date and perfect set of circumstances before I would commit. I would have spent SIXTY dollars on a passport rather than $650 on one. 

He was right, I would have preferred it on MY terms...controlled by ME-giving credit to HIM. His perfect plan...He tested me. He gave me a gift that blessed my socks off. On HIS terms. His trip, His way, His timing.
And that was it. That was the lesson. That was the thing. 
He wanted to know if I would obey His call.
I have no doubt that I impacted people in El Salvador as much as they impacted me. 
I have no doubt that I met needs there that no one else on earth could have. 
I have no doubt that God used me physically and verbally to touch lives. 
I have no doubt that God is going to use my written story to encourage others to trust in the great big God that we read about in the bible, and that still small voice of the Spirit that says things that don't seem to make any sense. 
I also have no doubt, that the Lord will continue to draw me into the next thing and the next thing, because of my obedience to this thing!!
Most of the time, the next thing is right out my back door. And I have no doubt that the next things will continue to be right in my own little sphere of the world--not across the seas!

The most profound moment, truly, of my whole trip, was going through customs in El Salvador. They asked what our business was in their country. Dr Larry looked at them and said, "We are missionaries." MISSIONARIES!!! 
In my mind, those are people who leave everything they know and never come back again. 
But in that moment, I realized he was right. 
Missionaries are those who are sent on a mission, especially to do religious or charitable work in a territory or a foreign country. 
And we were sent on a mission by God to the forgotten boys in the rural villages of El Salvador...and to the little forgotten Island of Calzada.
But as I pondered that over the next 10 days or so, I realized that truly, I am a missionary in my own community. God gave me the mission to bring His news to teenagers in my area. He gives me the mission to bring hope and encouragement into the lives of the people I serve in my work every week.  

And the fact is, anyone who has accepted Christ as their Savior and Master...Has. Been. SENT. already. They/we have been sent to take God's gospel of salvation through Jesus to the ends of the earth. In our homes. In our neighborhoods. In our counties and states and countries. My mission is different than your mission. And your mission is different than the person who sits next to you on Sunday. But we all have a mission, given to us by God Himself! 
If you have received Christ by faith, you are also called to be a missionary. Are you taking that call seriously??

And I'm here to tell you, this was a heck of a way to figure that out for myself. But I'm glad for God's lessons, and God's methods, in God's time!! 
Thanks for reading through my story!! If you have a question, drop it in the comment box at the end and I'll be glad to answer!! Make sure that you don't leave without clicking the last song applies to all of us!!

                                                                   Won't Stop Now

El Salvador--Day 5

Dr Steve, Lydia, Me, and Monica

 This morning, we had eggs with vegetables, refried black beans, tamales, cafe and fresh fruit. We left for our next clinic at Oasis (Oh-ah-sees). They recently had a few young ladies paint new murals on the walls. The mural where we are standing says JESUS HEALS. It's next to the clinic exam room that they have there.

They had supplies for me to do some well woman exams. Several of the women hadn’t had one for many years. The table was a narrow gurney which had no brakes and no stirrups. They used a step stool to get on it, and there really wasn't access to good sanitation barriers-adequate to get the job done, but it wouldn't have passed the regulations in the US. The tools were archaic and took me a minute to figure out. I had a head lamp on to see (usually the lights are right in the tools we use to see). It was an experience to say the least, but the women were so grateful. One thanked me and gave me a big hug for taking care of her. I just hope that the pap slides that I  made were useable later!

Sylvita was the interpreter that helped me the most. She's a petite little thing!! She is in her late 20's or early 30's and super sweet. She works full time for Christ For the City International. She teaches English to the kids as well as some other things. 
We walked to the clinic today. It was only a few blocks. This lady lives next door to sister Magdalena. I happened to notice that she was drawing her water from a well. I didn't have the chance to ask anyone how routine that is, but I am going to guess pretty common!

Here is the set up at Sister Magdalena's. The shallow rectangular sink is also the "washing machine." We used it for hand washing. The procedure was to fill up one of those small blue pans with water from the circular vessel. Use the soap in the right hand corner of the rectangle sink, and then use the fresh water in the pan to rinse off. To the left of the rectangle was the eating area, and about 30 steps to the right of the circle was the kitchen. 

Here is a picture of the kitchen. There is a deep freezer in the back right hand side of the room, and a refrigerator to the left that isn't visible in the picture. She also has a large flat cook top (think Blackstone without the brand name) next to the red chair on the left. The dishwashing sink is in the back left hand corner. The picture looks bright, but that one light bulb up there doesn't light up much. It seemed really dark in there all the time. 
Here is a picture at the shower room. You can see that the tin roof fits only "loosely" onto the building. The shower is on the left and the toilet is behind the green curtain at the right. The girls bedroom was connected to the bathroom-to the left of the shower. 
There was also a cement sink in the bathroom area. 

This is the "lock" from inside the bathroom. The door was a wood framed piece of tin.

Now, back to the clinic. Again, people were already waiting on us when we arrived. This was a beautiful little place with a new, improved kitchen that they use to serve the community. They actually use it to supply meals to some of the most food-insecure people in this little community.
In the clinic room is a small air conditioner. It felt good for the half of the day that I got to do well woman exams. The rest of the time, Dr Miller and Dr Steve did lesion removals and benign tumor removals, and Lydia stitched them up. 
Dr Morataya and I saw clinic patients upstairs in the open air patio. There was another big tin roof over the top of it to keep the sun from us. It was BEAUTIFUL!! There was a slight breeze that felt SO good in the hot, humid climate.
In the extra suitcase I brought, between the plastic shoeboxes filled with eye glasses, I had stuffed snap bracelets, punch balloons, sunglasses, story books, and as many stuffed animals as I could shove in the crevices and dead space. The kids LOVED the snap bracelets. They had actually never seen anything like them. I could tell by the way their eyes lit up when I demonstrated it on my arm first. They were always willing to put their arms out to receive one for themselves. 

At the end of the day, Sylvita was looking through the suitcase of toys. She remarked at how cute the stuffed strawberry was. I told her she could have it if she wanted...She jumped at that right away. Edwin asked if he could also have a stuffed animal. He picked through them all and chose the little dog. He snuggled it up to his face in the sweetest way. When I asked if he had ever had a stuffed animal before he replied that he had never. My heart tugged at the thought of that. Most American kids have so many stuffed animals that they don't know what to do with them. And these young adults had never had the opportunity to love one! The little one on the right is Sister Magdalena's granddaughter. She also chose a little bear...and she carried it around for the next two days! If I ever go again, stuffed animals will for sure make the final cut for placement in the suitcases!

From the balcony clinic area, I caught a glance of a couple young boys. I had seen them the day before riding bicycles with these really long sticks. The sticks had a little enclosure on one end, we thought maybe to catch something out of the water. 
It turns out, they gather mangos with them. They were grabbing mangos down out of the trees with ease and piling them in a bowl. 
Here is our medical team--left to right
Edwin (translator), Francisco (dental assistant), Dr Morataya (medical director and doctor at the mission house) Raquel (pharmacist), Dr Steve from New York, Lydia, nurse practitioner from San Antonio, Sylvita (translator), Vanessa (dentist), Me, Monica (dental assistant, leader, Dr Miller's wife), Dr Miller (leader)

We walked back down the dirty roads to Sister Magdalena's. People were going by most of the day on bicycles or motorcycles. Sometimes there would be an old truck. Chickens were everywhere, being followed by millions of chicks. Someone counted, and a chicken we saw at the clinic that day had 28 baby chicks following her everywhere she went!!
We met this beautiful woman on our way home. She was happy to meet us. Teresa was her name. She was 78. 

A cashew tree!! It was the darndest thing I have ever seen!! The fruit (above the cashew shaped nut) turns a bright red.  Apparently they don't taste that good though. 

Here is a cluster of cashews!!

A picture of Edwin and I. He and I had a fun, teasing relationship. He was also good to translate things for all of us throughout the day--to patients or to one another on our team. 

Spanish was harder today. I can speak some basic things, but advancing it from there has been frustrating. Using the right word in the right sentence seems more difficult, and by the end of the day, I couldn’t even speak the things I know how to say. I was hoping that this experience would help my Spanish to improve, but I think it really only made me more confused. I am finding myself more motivated to get my Rosetta Stone system out when I get home and begin practicing. I hope tomorrow will be better as far as the language goes.

The people are grateful for the care. Several of them are taking medications. This is evidence that the sponsored doctors coming weekly is helping people to take better care of themselves. That is encouraging! I have had several kids over the last few days that are having pain in their feet, ankles, and knees that I am certain is related to the bad shoes that they wear. Another point of frustration for me. It doesn't matter how much medicine we have or don't have. If we can't fix the root of the problem (like decent shoes to wear), how can we effectively treat their problems for the long term. A lot of teaching went on about body mechanics and ways to stretch out their bodies to minimize the chronic pain that many of them experience. This will be something that I will have to sort through over the weeks to come...and a reminder to me, that, while I came to serve these people, the tension over helping in a few ways and not having the means to help in other ways is a real, real problem!

Francisco and I took a better picture earlier in the day with our medical garb on...but I was afraid I might never get it from his phone (mine was downstairs) we took another one before we left for the day

Dinner tonight was a hard-boiled egg salad with chunks of avocado, onion and radish slices. I hate radishes. But, not willing to pick things out, I ate them. They were pretty darn tasty. We also had fresh fruit, refried beans, and thick tortillas.
We have one more clinic tomorrow morning. Tonight was spent trying to rearrange my suitcase to get packed back up. After lunch, we will be heading back to the mainland to get COVID tests done to get back into the US..and to head for the Air BNB that we will spend the night in on the beach. It's hard to believe that our week is nearly finished!

                                                        All the Poor and Powerless

El Salvador-Day 4

 This morning we bid farewell to San Salvador as we climbed aboard these little motor boats headed for the port of Ranchon on Island La Calzada--a little "forgotten" island. We drove approximately an hour or a little longer to get to the boat launch from the Mission House.

Once we climbed onto the boat, it was about a 30 minute ride through the mangrove forest. The waterways started large, and then as we twisted and turned though the forest, the ways got more narrow. There were lots of water birds to see. 

There were also other boats-mainly with fishermen in them. Most of them were hand carved wooden boats like the two in the picture below!



They were loading boats when we got to the dock. Lots of fresh goodies!

 When we got off the boat, Dr. Larry and Monica had a meeting to go to. They have been coming to these areas for 6 years now and they have made the decision to invest in this community as much as they can! They are currently trying to accrue a piece of land to build a permanent clinic on the island. They also have a donor willing to finance a water system on the Island. Right now, there is a sketchy 4 inch plastic pipe that transports water from the mainland to this little island!! We drove underneath it on our boat ride into the island.

Dr Steven and I were given permission to walk around a bit to check things out as we waited on the rest of our crew and our supplies and baggage. With my camera in tow and an eager spirit, we took off!

Houses were stick and mud; brick and mud; stick only; and some had adobe covering

We turned onto a different street and I said “I’m pretty geographically challenged, so I won’t be any help finding our way home,” to which Steve replied, “Oh, I think we will be OK.” So we continued to walk and chat and my eye was to the sky looking at the flowers and produce on the trees…as well as from side to side looking at all of the little properties in the neighborhood and the primitive simplicity of it all.

We decided to finish walking the last little stent so we could get a picture of their really skinny cows. So we did. Turned right around, and walked right back where we came from….except, that the turn that we made, was onto the wrong “street!”

sugar cane crop

We walked and walked and in a bit became worried that we weren’t where we thought we were…SOOO… at this point. We have one phone with no service. Neither of us speak any relevant Spanish. It’s hot and we didn’t bring any water. We began to walk faster because we knew our team was going to need our help to unload…and I am becoming totally freaked out, because there are little roads going absolutely EVERYWHERE through this village. How in the WORLD are they EVER going to find us here.

The island has around 1500 people on it, and 4 small communities. We began asking everyone we saw to help us get to the school…or to the boat dock. They would ask questions that we couldn’t understand or answer. They would give us some hand motion directions accompanied by a lot of words…and we would say Muchas Gracias…and keep going.

We finally made it to A boat dock…and a woman that had a little more compassion. I begged her to go with us to show us where to turn...she had sleeping babies, that much we understood! So we took her directions the best we could understand them and kept going! Within about 10 more minutes, we had made it back to the clinic site… BEET red and so thirsty. JUST in time to fall into line to walk into the clinic that was ready to start.

I thought I recognized this woman later in the afternoon. She confided in Monica that she had seen us when we were lost. SHE was the woman that I was begging to take us back to the school!

The funniest thing was, that several of the people that we had talked to that morning, we saw later in the clinics…and either they recognized us, or we recognized them. Because Monica knew where most of them lived, she would say, “oh, you were way over there?? And then for the next person we recognized that we had seen, she would say, OH, you were all the way over THERE? She confirmed that we indeed, had walked a LONG way. It was a scary experience for sure, but one that I can heartily laugh at now!

Just another little homestead

I enjoyed this clinic so much. We saw many people. We took our own blood pressures and did our own finger stick blood sugars and a LOT of teaching. It was medicine at its most primitive and the most beautiful. The only thing that would have made it better, was being able to speak and understand more of the language!! It was also a very good reminder as to how fortunate we are in the US in the medical field with so many resources available to us!



If you read yesterday's post, you will recognize this story again. But it was SOOO important as a sign of God's faithfulness that I want to recap it again!  

One of the cool stories I have about God preparing me for this trip, was that my 8 year old stethoscope was wearing out and I was going to need to get a new one. I had heard from a peer about a new one that has noise cancellation and sound amplification. I looked at it literally for SIX weeks, unable to decide if I wanted to spend the money--it was double what a normal steth costs. I argued all the points, I rarely EVER work in the ER anymore or other noisy places where it would come in most handy. I could consider getting one in another 8 years when the  next one wears out…It seemed extravagant and unnecessary. BUT…after 6 weeks of putting it off and putting it off, one day I just decided to get the amplification steth. I practiced with it for a few weeks and loved it…But on these clinic days where 5 providers and translators and dentists were all crowded into cinderblock rooms to see patients, I knew that the Lord had prompted me to get the stethoscope ahead of time so I had it for the trip. It made all the difference in the world as I examined these people!!

This little tiny thing was our pharmacist!!

We loaded all the equipment back onto the boats, and they took us further up the Isla to Sister Magdalena’s house. She and her husband pastor a local church. She has a humble little cinderblock house with a tin roof, and another little building that has one dorm room with 6 beds and the bathroom that E.V.E.R.Y.O.N.E uses. So trying to get all 18 or so of us through the shower and toilet was insane!! The shower was cold. No hot water here. I do have pictures to show of their home in the next post! 

There was electricity but only 2 outlets in our room and lights in the house. I know that I didn’t mention it earlier, but they are unable to deal with toilet paper in their septic systems, so every place has a little trash can next to the toilet. You wipe and throw it into the can. I only forgot once!! They also don't have any type of trash service. There is no place to deal with trash. Most people have a little place that they burn their trash regularly. Around San Salvador, it wasn't uncommon to see little lots turned into trash dumps, and there was a lot of trash in the ditches! I've never really considered what a problem it would be NOT to have something to do with your trash!!

Dr Steve and Sylvita setting up for the clinic
It is mango season here. I didn’t like mangos until today. They picked them right off the tree, washed them and we peeled them with our teeth and ate them like heathens-with mango fibers hanging out of every tooth we have and juice dripping off of our chins and down our elbows. Some mangos we ate with chili lime salt, and some just plain!! They were SO delicious!! BUT, those suckers fall off the tree at their own will, and land on anything underneath them without discretion. And when you are sitting in the dark, and one falls off from 30 feet onto the tin roof, it sounds like someone just got murdered outside your room. It took me several times of this before I stopped jumping!

Vanessa and her brother Francisco. These two are HILARIOUS! You can tell, even without speaking much Spanish, that they have a love for life and fun. They worked tirelessly on all the patients with dental needs!

All the meals were outdoors under a tin roof. We enjoyed our first pupusas, the best food, allegedly in El Salvador. They are little tortillas, made like bierocks, stuffed with anything they want and then flattened around the filling and cooked on a hot surface. They were delicious. We enjoyed more fresh fruit, delicious avocados, the best refried beans, and fresh queso fresca cheese. We also had fried tamales, but unlike Mexico and US, these didn’t have meat in them, and they were more like a fried sweet corn bread. Very good!!

Most things that get said, including prayers, are translated either from Spanish to English or vice versa, depending on who was talking. As we began to learn one another’s personalities, I could tell so much about what they were saying by how they said it. The dentist, Vanessa, and her brother Francisco and I, would make a joke in our own language, and then the other one would follow it up with a joke in their own language…and then we would laugh and laugh. I have no idea if our jokes or comments even related to what the other had said, but we didn’t care. It was just fun to laugh together!!  You don’t have to speak the same language to connect to people!!

Health clinic held in the school

Before we dispersed to get in line tonight for the showers, we had a great lesson on the Good Samaritan and Romans 12. It was a beautiful reminder that our neighbors aren’t always neighbors logistically, but that anyone that we meet who needs help, is our neighbor. It’s been really rewarding to use my skills both to care for these people that have so little, and to support the medical staff and missionaries in this location-to help encourage them to continue serving and loving these people. Being Christian friends to those who won’t be going home on Saturday…but that will continue to pour out their hearts for the needy right here!!

 Two more days to go!! 

I love the song below. I heard it for the first time the week before I left! It was on a playlist on my treadmill, and I scribbled down some of the lyrics on a pad so I could find the song when I finished my workout...I knew it was another sign from the Lord that I was doing His will!!

keep changing the world