On Brigade in the Jungle

(copied from old blog. entry dated: 7/21/2008 3:31:00 PM)
On Brigade in the Jungle.

These past two months, we have been busy.
Sure we had visitors in April- David, David and Wesley from Bay Community Church, Daphne, Alabama. These guys were here for a week but were able to accomplish an incredible amount of work in that short time. Shortly after they left, we braced ourselves for theonslaught of visitors that were soon to arrive. Wendy assigned rooms, sleeping time and schedules, bathroom times- lists upon lists- etc. because, as you know, we do not have our dormitory building finished. So the visitors were going to be in our house in every corner and every room.
Since those relatively peaceful days, we have had a continued presence of short-term missionaries come alongside us to help and encourage us all.


All the way up to 2006, we were in the “someday phase”; by that, we mean that people were content with the plans we had drawn but were only on the drawing table. Since then, we have been given complete clearance and authority from the government officials to carry out our scheme. Also during the period between 2006-present, we have been visited by gifted people that have helped shape and fine-tune the dream and vision God has for our work (Healing Place Church).
So since 2006, we have been seeing patients and are now known throughout our mountain cove. In fact, our mountain people are boasting of our love and affection and medical attention. We are now getting patients from La Ceiba and from towns and villages east and west of La Ceiba. Now, this is not to boast of ourselves but of what God is doing: they can just as easily visit government hospitals or clinics in La Ceiba, but they make their way up our mountain road, the 20 kilometers all the way up to Hospital Rural Dyer de Rio Viejo- our jungle sanctuary.

We are innovative in that we are a haven for the sick, a place to access when there is something wrong with a family member. Right now we serve as out-patient only but we are setting up for 24/7 service. Our uniqueness lies in the fact that we also go to them and see and experience their living conditions. The economic spectrum here is very wide indeed; some are very wealthy and vary only slightly from people living stateside. Others, however, live under the worst conditions imaginable- no amenities at all. Their modest mud-hut with thatched roof  always brimming with inhabitants of all ages are under conditions favorable for infestations and epidemics. Also, the lack of education and common knowledge in hygiene and nutrition becomes very evident when we see them in their natural living conditions. Our influence is best utilized when we witness our brethren’s shortcomings; it is then and there where we can lovingly teach and instruct them how to do it better and eliminate the most likely causes of disease and malnutrition. We see that preventative medicine is just as effective as therapeutic medicine–only that it makes for better quality of life. With just a little bit of education and instruction, villagers can have more well days than sick days per year; this is especially important for our younger population with the full-time job of growing up. Along these lines, you should know that we do not as yet have all of our medical equipment; the two containers are being readied in South Alabama’s port to be shipped to us soon. But we have been busy using what equipment God has made available to us. Already implementing routines and starting schedules to visit villages and their schools, we have not been lax about the plans God has for this place. Just now as I sit in one of the corridors of the clinic,typing away, a patient walked up to me to ask if we have started doing ultrasound exams. I answered, “Our machine will soon be here.” Our machine not being here implies that she would have to spend a day’s journey and 3-5 days’ wages to have a simple ultrasonographic study. All of this will be done here for a fraction of the cost- convenience, excellence and affordability- all under the same roof.


So for this busy season, when stateside visitors take advantage of summer vacations to do mission work and visit us here, we have had 4 brigade groups in which I have been able to saturate certain areas of the jungle. Some of these villages are remote and isolated, so much so that younger members of some families have never ventured from their village setting. Consequently, they have never seen cars and trucks and public lights and city living, etc.
Most of these visiting groups have been generous with the local people and with us, leaving their surplus medications they had intended for brigade purposes. As a result, we have our pharmacy’s shelves stocked for the time being. Isn’t God good? One of the most difficult aspects medical missions offers has been overcome relatively effortlessly, using short-term medical missions groups.


Three weeks from now, we will be flying into Orlando’s airport, on my birthday, no less. We will be boarding a plane in the middle of the night and arriving early in the morning. We will be on US soil from August 12th thru September 23rd. During this time, we will be visiting different churches and touching bases with as many of you as possible. We will be petitioning for more support for further construction projects and ministry vehicles that have became indispensible. The buildings include a home for our family: a one story building that is 48′ x 48′ with new furniture and cabinets and all the stuff to make a home and lastly a recovery ward for the back side of the hospital. We need to finish the perimeter wall all the way around the property.  The vehicles we need will be expedition-worthy Toyota Land Cruisers: a pick up and a Troop Carrier (SUV) which are often used as ambulances here in the Third World. Both vehicles will be used for medical brigades to move people and supplies; they also need to be 4×4, diesel and super tough. Up to now, we have been driving older vehicles to save on new sticker price but have had to deal with constant maintenance and upkeep on trucks that were never meant to be driven in the rivers and over rocky terrain. Over the years we have seen these Land Cruisers in all kinds of expeditions and brigades coming and going with little or no damage to them. We are ready to drive the Land Cruisers.
Ok, so as you can tell, we are a needy bunch, but our God is a great supplier. His ear is inclined to his children and His hand is ready to do. We are so thankful to all of you who have come to lend a hand and be with us this summer.  We look forward to seeing you all in the fall!