Time for a little FYI -
A mission "unit" is either a single going on to the field, or a husband/wife/family going to the field. We are each considered a unit. For the first time since I was 15 1/2 I am not receiving a paycheck. If a husband/wife comes to the field, the wife typically is a stay-at-home wife/mother or has minimal ministry activity, they receive the exact same pay as a husband/wife team in which both members are working full-time - as in our case. My husband is the team leader for Team Honduras and works 40-60 hours a week. I am a nurse, have my own clinic and work the same - 40-60 hours a week. So in other words, both "units" receive the same pay regardless if both are working full time or if only one is working full time. So - who cares?! I certainly didn't become a missionary to make money. God clearly called us to serve the people of Honduras. But let's face it...ministry has a cost...
It has a cost on your soul. Every time a desperate person looks at you with a plea in their face, in their voice...and you empty your pockets to find that they are indeed empty and you have nothing financial to give. To look in the face of a person in a state of a medical crisis that only vast amount of money will fix, and you are not the person that can give it - it costs. And the cost is high. You couldn't be a missionary to stare into the face of desperation everyday and it NOT mean something. This is when you MUST turn to Jesus. You MUST show that Jesus is the ONLY answer for them.
Here is my time to be transparent. I basically volunteer my time. I make no money. On a daily basis I probably get asked a minimum of 10-20 times a day for something. For food, for money, for clothing, free medical care, free medicine, free speciality services, free glasses, free something. It is quite exhausting, I have to admit. The needs of the extreme poverty stricken people are overwhelming at times. We run a High School, a clinic, a street-children program, a single mom's home. Each has their own challenges, their own needs, but the bottom line - each are serving the extreme. People who have no where else to turn. Each of our ministries have people who are desperate, and if I were in a desperate situation, I probably would ask too. But being the recipient of those desperate needs not once, but 10 to 20 times a day is completely exhausting. To be asked for more than I am already giving - working for free, 10-12 hours a day, always looking for funding to keep my clinic running, food to feed the hungry, clothing to clothe those without, money to pay for things that otherwise wouldn't be paid for is tiring. To the individual who is asking, it is the most important thing in their life at that time. For me, it is the same story of the 10 or 20 people who came before them on that same day. Bottom line...I only have so much to give...so much money, so much energy, so much food, so much free care until I have no more to give. I pray that on a daily basis I am filled by Him who CAN give it all - who CAN do all things that I can not. It reminds me to be reliant to the master physician, the master farmer, the master healer. My "real" job is to let everyone else know to rely upon HIM and NOT to rely upon me. Because bottom line, I can only do what I can do. I can only give what I have, and no more. But there is He who can give all, and in Him I place my trust and reliance upon.
Transparent - I am tired...I am exhausted of being asked day in and day out for things I simply can not give. Here is me trusting in Him who CAN give it all! No matter how many times you look in your empty pockets, look in your wallet to find there are no funds, look in your pantry and there is no food to give, there is a source.. Jesus tells us in the book of John 4:13-14..."Jesus answered and said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will thirst again; but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst; but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life.”
Erin Pettengill is a missionary nurse through Mission to the World (MTW), the mission sending arm of the (PCA). I have been a Registered Nurse for over 20 years. My family and I served in Honduras for 7 1/2 years where we were involved in Medical/Mercy Ministry, Street Children, English classes, Kids Club, and Church Planting. We are now serving in Equatorial Guinea, Africa in medical/mercy ministry and biblical teaching.
Monday, February 24, 2014
Thursday, February 13, 2014
Why Vitamin A?
For four years running I have received a grant from Vitamin Angels. This allows me to be able to give vitamins free to children five and under. Along with that, this year Vitamin Angels provided me with Vitamin A.
So why Vitamin A?! Vitamin A deficiency leads to visual problems including complete blindness. 250,000 - 500,000 malnourished children in developing countries go blind each year. Approximately 1/2 of those children die within a year of becoming blind.
Vitamin A deficiency effects 1/3 of children under the age of 5. It is estimated to claim the lives of 670,000 children under 5 annually.
Vitamin A also decreases the ability to fight infections, increases children's risk of developing respiratory and diarrheal infections, decreased growth rate, slow bone development, and a decreased likelihood of survival from serious illness.
So THAT's why Vitamin A. I have a system in place in my clinic to track the kiddos who receive Vitamin A every 6 months. I am excited about this new addition of Vitamin A to my clinic.
This is little 10 month old Marcelo who came to clinic today for daily Vitamins and Vitamin A.
Thursday, February 6, 2014
Working myself out of a job...
So, after many interviews I hired Dilcia. The funds we make daily will cover her salary. She is a quick learner, from the community, a single mom, and it is so great that we not only have a great staff member, but we are able to help "one of our own."
It is good to know things will be taken care of while I am gone - between Doctor Roger and Dilcia, they've "got this". And no worries...I will STILL be working the clinic between now and when we leave on furlough. When I return from furlough, the luxury of staff will give me the opportunity to start doing some serious community outreach. I have a grand plan to start changing the health habits of Armenia Bonito when I return. Stay tuned....
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