Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Week "off"

Last Saturday officially ended our summer teams. So this week we have "off". Our team mates took this opportunity to go to the islands, while we each are playing some small roll in watching their 4 kids. Mike and I are staying in town as Madison has school, so can't get away, and our team mates Shannon and Bethany are keeping our team mates kids during the night, so are hanging in town as well. However, in a small way, each of us are taking some time for ourselves. But, as you may know us, we can't completely take time off. For some reason it's just not in our make-up (unless we get away and are forced to take time off). We have dental appointments this week, and I am headed with my team mate to a meeting with Child Protective Services this afternoon to see how we can better serve abused children that we come across.

Mike and I are still trying to determine how we are going to be doing our ministry in Armenia. Bethany, our intern, is the last intern to be leaving in a few short weeks. In the midst of Madison in school, no more interns, etc. it's just Mike and I doing English Class, Kids Club, clinic, and special events. So...prayers for clear guidance and wisdom would be greatly appreciated as we figure this all out. The continued pull between being a missionary, mother, wife and nurse. To be there for those we minister to, but to be there for each other, and our family as well.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Covenant Presbyterian Church Mission Trip to Honduras

August 20-27, 2011 we hosted a short-term mission team from Covenant Presbyterian Church of Paso Robles, CA. The team put on a medical clinic in Armenia Bonito and treated 38 patients. They also did construction on a house and a ministry center, taught English and organized Kids Club.

Watch this 2 minute 30 second video to see their amazing work:

Friday, August 26, 2011

The week has ended

It's been a long week. I've been sick, then Madison got sick. Pretty bad too. High fever, severe cough, and other symptoms you don't need to know :-) Just that she was sick...and is still sick. What's a missionary to do when there are pulls from the team...pull from the long term team...and pull from your family. It's hard. Hence the name of my blog - Missionary, Mother, Wife, Nurse. It's hard - filling all those hats. Unfortunately, Madison was most sick on Thursday - I say unfortunately because that's clinic day. Fortunately, as we didn't need too many interpreters, Mike was able to come out with us to the village, set up, then was able to go home to be with Madison. But it's hard - being a mom - you want to always be there for your kid. But Mike's a good dad - and a great nurse - brought her home some gatorade, and took care of her. We were able to serve 38 people in clinic, a few who were as sick as Madison - so I felt good being able to bring them medication to make them feel better and get well. Madison still continues to be pretty sick, but I was able to put her in bed with me last night (as Mike is at the dorms), and take care of her during the night. Today the team is off to the local islands enjoying the beautiful water and the amazing day, and I'm hanging out with my kid and my husband. Tomorrow we send the team off - and it's the last team of the summer. We are currently making decisions on what our ministry is going to look like.

What does our current ministry look like? Bethany who has been an amazing intern, will be leaving us in a few short weeks. Shannon is starting her full-time ministry with high risk moms, and John continues to be our foreman for construction. Kathy is monitoring our scholarship kids. That leaves only Mike and I to continue the ministry in Armenia. So, we are trying to figure out how to do English Class, Kids Club, clinic, discipleship, etc. with just the two of us! Going to be quite a challenge indeed! Oh - AND be a mother/father, getting Madison to and from school etc. We are hoping some interns will come soon so they can help out with the ministry. It's the first time in 2 1/2 years we haven't had interns! Boy do we miss them! But - this is how the ministry all started...just Mike and I...doing all the ministry...so it's kind of interesting seeing it come back that way.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Final team

Our final team of the summer is here. My schedule has been SO crazy lately, that I'm so behind on so many things! Pulling 15+ hour days can leave you that way. So, yesterday, I stayed behind in town. In the morning I spent some time with Shannon going from house to house assessing and evaluating potential young ladies for her future ministry house. She will be opening a house for high risk young moms. Got home around 1pm after going grocery shopping. Cleaned house, and then went to pick up Madison. Got her home in time to run back to the school for open house. Was there for almost 2 hours, back home to make some dinner as I missed dinner with the team. All in all a productive day, just not in the way I had planned. Today I will be trying to do some data entry - I have over 500 patient data sheets to enter into my computer! Yikes! The team will continue construction, and this afternoon will do Kids Club in Armenia.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Coming and Going, Rats and Lizards

Tropical Storm Harvey came in with a boom! The rains came it rained pretty heavy all night - we monitored the track of the storm because our team leaving needed to get to the airport! Gratefully there was a break in the storm long enough to get them where they needed to be. Our final team of the summer has been traveling since late last night - so we know they will be exhausted when they arrive. We continue to pray for the weather that it will not hinder their arrival.

On an interesting note - we have a rat in the house. We've seen his evidence. However, last night we had Max in our room with us - with the Tropical Storm, we wanted him in the house and out of the storm. Right before bed, he jumped up, looked under the bed with a lot of interest and went nuts. Uh oh...we thought...and the next thing we knew, there was a rat streaking across the floor and climbing up my robe that was hanging on the back of the door. I'm not afraid of rats, and Mike was sitting up on the bed with his legs curled up under him - so I opened the door and managed to scoot him out of the room. We were so exhausted, it was no time to chase him around the house - so we will set out poison or traps soon. Sorry no pictures, I was too busy chasing him and Mike was too busy squealing like a girl.

This morning I went outside to check on my water-soaked garden to see what had managed to survive the deluge last night when I looked over at our washroom in the back. There, sitting on one of the window slats trying to keep out of the storm was a pretty big lizard that lives in our yard. I had seen him earlier this week in our tree. From head to toe he's probably at least a foot and a half long. Pretty cute.

In our tree earlier this week

Trying to stay dry

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Medical Brigade Day 4

Today started out with a bang! One our way to clinic, we had gone about 10 minutes down the road when we saw a motorcycle coming toward us on the opposite side of the road. He hit a patch of gravel, started fishtailing, and then totally spun out and flipped his bike! I guess the best place to have an accident is right in front of a truck full of not only doctors, but medical equipment! So Dr. Greg and I jumped out of the car, grabbed our stuff, and took care of this guy. Had he not been wearing his helmet, we may have been driving him to the hospital. He hit his head pretty hard on the curb, and then flipped over and face planted! As it was he will probably be VERY sore tomorrow, perhaps a mild concussion, neck strain, but mostly some pretty scraped up skin which we cleaned, bandaged up, prayed with him, and gave him some supplies to take care of his wounds at home.

The day continued by seeing 22 ultrasound patients, 24 dental patients (for 72 teeth), 65 medical patients, for a total of 111 today.

For our weekly totals:

Ultrasound2 - 72 patients
Dental - 79 patients, 179 teeth pulled
medical - 181 patients
Total seen in the clinic - 332
Total seen during the week (including the school) - 457

Tomorrow we are all ready for a much needed day off - this team has worked VERY hard and have been a HUGE blessing to all.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Medical Brigade Day 3

Our day started out GREAT! We worked at the local public school in the village. There we had different "stations" throughout the school - stations like Parasite prevention/information, Bible Story, Crafts, Food Pyramid, Physical Fitness, Dental Hygiene, and a vitamin/deworming station. The other station we had for the 5th and 6th graders was abstinence. After that we grabbed a quick lunch, then went back to clinic to finish out the day. In 2 1/2 hours we did 13 ultrasounds, dental had 19 patients for 45 teeth (they did not come to the health day - so were there all day), and our providers saw 30 patients - so 62 patients in total.

Jairo teaching parasite prevention
Greg, Gina and I at the vitamin/deworming station
Shannon and Nancy telling a bible story
Katie and Bethany teaching Dental Health (each kid received a toothbrush)

Pam and Kathy teaching the food pyramid
Matt and John with physical fitness
Heidi with her "train" taking them to the next station

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Medical Brigade Day 2

Today was an interesting day. We saw 21 ultrasound patients, 16 dental patients (for about 32 teeth), and 48 medical patients for a total of 85 today. One of our most interesting cases today was a woman who was referred to me. A woman who lives locally in La Ceiba (I will keep her unknown for the privacy of the woman I will refer to)has a friend of hers who had problems with a prior baby that she delivered here in La Ceiba at the pubic hospital, and the baby ended up dying after being transferred to San Pedro Sula(the next largest city). The woman and I know each other via the internet, and each others blogs (don't you just LOVE technology). Anyway - she knows that I have a clinic, and wanted to send her friend to me. This was very providential as this week is our medical brigade, with specialists, and Dr. Greg with his ultrasound. So, the young woman showed up at the clinic today and was referred to one of our docs first (mild urinary tract infection which we treated with antibiotics), and then to us for the ultrasound. All I can say is, this was a divine happening. Most woman here do not receive ultrasounds during pregnancy. She would have gone on with this pregnancy, the baby moving, getting bigger, none the wiser of her condition if she had not come. Dr. Greg has been training me on the use of the ultrasound. He started the ultrasound and was unusually silent. I kept looking at the monitor, wanting to wipe away something that appeared in the way. Finally, Dr. Greg said, very quietly - when I asked what that "thing" was in the way of the baby - and he said, "that's her placenta". I said, "okay - now that's totally not what I've seen in all the other ultrasounds...it's in a bad place, isn't it?". He looked at me and said, "Yes, it's completely covering the opening of the cervix." Now remember, I did teach childbirth classes for over20 years, had an internship in L&D, and am a nurse - all those things combined gave me more information than I needed. Yikes...complete placenta previa. Not good. Next came LOTS of education, things she needed to do, follow-ups she needed to receive, etc. etc. It was a somber moment. She had already lost one baby, and now to tell her that not only was the baby at risk, but so was she, was not great news to pass on to her- but SO important, and I felt humbled, that through the connections of the internet, and a referral from someone else, we were able to give this so important news to her and hopefully prevent the potential negative outcome.

Our pharmacy crew hard at work!

Nancy working hard at kids club!

Monday, August 15, 2011

First Clinic day with the Medical Brigade

Today was our first clinic day with the full medical brigade from Trinity Presbyterian Church. We got started a little late, but this was due mainly because we wanted the group to tour the ministry center, and then it took a bit of organizing to see how we were going to arrange 3 provider stations, 1 ultrasound station, a dental station, the pharmacy, intake, etc. It took quite a bit - required all of our brains and finally had a good working clinic! It was AWESOME!!!! Our dentist ended up seeing 20 patients, for about 30 teeth pulled, Dr. Greg did 16 ultrasounds, and our provider stations saw 38 patients. We had Nancy outside hanging and entertaining kids, our pharmacy going full steam to provide for everyone, and all of us being translators, and overseeing things. We also had some construction going on, and our English class at the end of the day! Whew! Let's see what tomorrow will bring!

Many pregnant women came in today for an ultrasound - for many of the women it was the time they had ever had an ultrasound - Dr. Greg put on the audio and they were able to hear their babies heart beat.

Dr. Jiaro - saw many complex and high risk patients

Dr. Gina taking care of the kiddos

NP Heidi taking care of the ladies

DDS Wade saw lots of patients and had a great time (his words)!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Childbirth Education Classes

For a long time I've been wanting to put on some childbirth education classes. The concept here is (if you will) quite foreign. Ladies here go to the hospital, are admitted, labor by themselves, and deliver their baby - most without prenatal care, and most if not all any idea of the process. Now I don't know about you - but that seems pretty scary to me. So, after a long time, I met up with a lady (Silvia) who is committed to changing the concept of childbirth here in Honduras, she has a ministry called Dar La Luz. This got me motivated to start the process. I received many Spanish materials through the internet, through Silvia, through some books, and some I devised on my own. Some, however, I had to create on my own. I need visual aides for my classes, and can't buy them here - so I thought I would create them. That's been my motto since living in a 3rd world country for over 4 years now. I created my own visual aide placenta and uterus. I've already given one class for one individual, and plan to do many more. If the ladies commit themselves to my classes, then I have told them I will assist them with delivery at the hospital. I'll keep everyone posted on how it goes.

My baby and uterus

Placenta, amniotic sac, and umbilical cord

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Learning From A Bad Experience

If you have recently read our other blog, newsletter or Twitter you know that we just fired 12 of the Honduran construction workers who had been building our ministry sites. This was one of the worst days we have had as missionaries in our three years in Honduras.

For over a year our team has been building two ministry centers in La Ceiba, Honduras. In that time we hadn’t missed a payroll or been late on a payment for supplies. In fact, in the past year God raised and we spent over $250,000 for the two ministry centers. So, what went wrong? How did we get to a place where we were forced to fire half of our labor force?

Seldom did we ask for financial support. We trusted in the Lord’s provision. When God wanted us to have money He sent it. This resulted in very sporadic and unpredictable giving. One month we would receive tens of thousands of dollars in contributions and nothing in the next three months.

For the Armenia Bonito ministry center, in six of the past 12 months we didn’t receive enough contributions to even cover our monthly payroll. We used previous month’s contributions to make ends meet. For the downtown ministry center, 60% of our total contributions came in during a two month period and less than 40% of our total came in during the remaining 10 months.

In an effort to be good stewards of the blessings God is giving us and to help us better budget and plan, we have devised a solution. We are asking churches, individuals and foundations to prayerfully consider supporting either of our two ministry centers at a modest, yet predictable monthly amount.

Here are the two projects:

The Armenia Bonito ministry center sits on two acres in the middle of the super poor community of Armenia Bonito. On this property we are building an indoor soccer field, a five-classroom high school, a four exam room medical clinic and a church. If you would like to provide monthly support for this project print, fill out and mail in THIS FORM.

The downtown ministry center sits on a small plot in the middle of busy La Ceiba. On this property we are building a dorm for visiting mission teams, a high school, a theological seminary, a homeless children drop-in center, a medical clinic and a church. If you would like to provide monthly support for this project print, fill out and mail in THIS FORM.

Please repost this link on your blog, Facebook or Twitter and forward the information to your friends and church leadership. And, please prayerfully consider your role in God’s amazing work in Honduras.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Madisons first day of school

In Honduras, schools only go through 11th grade. Because of that, Madison and I will be homeschooling her final year to prepare her for her GED. That being said, she started 10th grade, which in the States would be her Sophomore year, but here in Honduras they are called Juniors. So - she started her first day of Jr. year today. But - nothing could go without a hitch. Yesterday we were putting together her uniform, everything was ironed, and set to go. This morning, however, the one thing we didn't think of last night - her shoes. Madison has a size 9 1/2 - which is almost impossible to find here, so we specifically purchased shoes in the States while we were there. Well...we brought them back in February - and let's just say - they were no where to be found. We searched and searched and searched. We don't know if they were put into our ministry clothes closet (although I looked all through them), scattered or stolen when the thief invaded our home, or what - but they were no where to be found! So - what did we do? We managed to find a an old (yet usable) pair or shoes in the clothing closet. So - we are off to the mall after school today to prayerfully find a pair of shoes. Madison has gringo size shoes - so what we have found here is that shoes only go up to about a size 8. So the hunt is on.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Madison In New York City

Our daughter Madison just returned from spending the entire month of July in New York City. She served as a Cross-Cultural Intern at MTW's missionary training. She helped to prepare missionaries and missionary kids for their service around the world. It was a very busy and enjoyable time of service for her.

Watch this 2 minute and 50 second video of Madison's time in New York:

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Tuesday with Rincon Mountain

Day 2 of full-time ministry. Today we continued with construction on a house, construction on our ministry project, and a full day of clinic. Today we had two provider stations, saw about 30 patients, and placed stitches on a young boy who severely cut his toe with a machete. All in all within the last 4 weeks we've done 1 set of stitches a week. Not so sure I like this trend - but what a GREAT service to provide to people who would otherwise not receive them, nor antibiotics. There were no medical "issues" today - everyone was VERY conscious about drinking water and staying hydrated! Yeah! A hard lesson learned, but it was taken to heart. In the afternoon we had a GREAT Kids Club with lots of kids in attendance, very fun craft, and lots of hanging out with kids! We ended the day at a local restaurant where we had baleadas (a national dish), tojadas (fried plantains), and ice cold soda! Yum! Everyone is now back at the dorms, probably talking about the day and getting ready for tomorrow. Sleep well everyone!

Rincon Mountain and the first day

So...if you are a frequent reader, you've noticed a number of ways in which the Enemy has been striking the team here in Honduras. But - he's not picky about who he goes for, this week, he is selecting our visiting team - Rincon Mountain Presbyterian Church. And it's only day 2. They left on their adventure by being split up - first 12 arrived Sunday night (after a delay) and the remaining 5 arrived Sunday morning. The 12 had no luggage, the 5 did. A trip to our house was made to hit the clothing closet and provide them with at least a set of clothing, some shoes, toothbrush and toothpaste. Then came Monday. Monday is a construction day, and clinic. This day consisted of Heat Exhaustion (IV started and 1,500ml's of fluids), displaced patella (that's the knee cap), another mild case of heat exhaustion, flushed a foreign body out of an eye - and no...those are NOT the patients that came to clinic, that was from the visiting team. We saw 23 patients in the clinic - removed some stitches on two patients, breathing treatment on a pretty sick baby, lots of skin infections, etc. Our construction crew worked on starting the walls for a house for a single mom with three kids, and the other construction crew is working on a wall at our project. The end of the day saw them hosting an English class and then dinner at our team mates house. WHEW!!! I'm exhausted just writing this! But everyone was a trooper, hardly a complaint by any. It's Tuesday, and we shall see what the day brings.