Thursday, April 7, 2011

It's been a long time

April 7, 2011

I know its been a while since you have heard from me and there's no need for explaining, but I'll feel better spitting it out.

Wednesday morning Rach shared her morning devotion with me and made me want to share what I had been repeating in my mind.

I told her that previously I decided to make a list of reasons as to why i hadn't blogged. I REALLY wanted to know. My list began with surface excuses: laziness, no computer, not enough time, etc. As I kept adding to my list, the reasons became more realistic and true. I realized that my frustration, disappointment, and true feelings where coming out. I was upset at the fact that I felt fake when I would blog. Yes, much of the stuff I had written was true, but it was more of a "fluffy" version --words written down to please my audience. The true knitty, gritty stuff is what I kept inside my journal. I felt that because I have an audience I would be judged for what they would read. I wanted them to read what an "ideal" mission experience is like. I wanted to write a "better" me.

I desired to sound intellectual, witty, and eloquent --not what I found in my journal. Being able to write like people that I admire had become my goal and I didn't want to accept any less. In reality I wished to be someone else and I wasn't excited for who I was. I'm simple minded and with few words. Yeah, I can sit down and talk with anyone about superficial things, but when it comes to deep discusions... let's just say I loose my words. I struggle with publicly announcing my thoughts and feelings. When I want to come up with something smart to say, I have to run it and rerun it several times in my head before expressing it out loud . For example, what I'm writing now was a discussion I had with Rach and it's a discusion I played in my head several times before spitting it out. It takes time and I don't like it. I want to live life and be able to write and speak about my thoughts as if it where easy as breathing.

So without really knowing these feelings, I stopped blogging. I merely made excuses.

As a child I grew up talking about daily things; our discusions never centered around intellectual topics. We never sat down and had a family discussion about Mozart or world polotics. It's not a horrible thing, but I wish I was better at having those types of discussions. I wasn't accepting that part of myself. As I journaled these thoughts, I felt God telling me that there was no need to worry or fret. He accepts me for who I am. Accepting my method of thinking, I decided that God would be the one to grant me wisdom as I live through different experiences. To make things even better, Wednesday morning Rachel read me this:

God made you you-nique. Secular thinking, as a whole, doesn't buy this. Secular society sees no author behind the book, no architect behind the house, no purpose behind or beyond life. It simply says, "You can be anything you want to be."

Be a butcher if you want to, a sales rep if you like. Be an ambassador if you really care. You can be anything you want to be. But can you? If God didn't pack within you the meat sense of a butcher, the people skills of salesperson, or the world vision of an ambassador, can you be one? An unhappy, dissatisfied one perhaps. But a fulfilled one? No. Can an acorn become a rose, a whale fly like a bird, or lead become gold? Absolutely not. You cannot be anything you want to be. But you can be everything God wants you to be.

Max Lucado, Cure for the Common Life

Society makes me think that I need to be an eloquent writer and deliver no less. But I'm not and God is ok with that. And so am I.

Each of us is an original. Even when it comes to writing or speaking or whatever it may be.

Galatians 5:26 (The Message and a little of me)

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Lots of rain along with some action

The past week it rained almost every day. Along with the rain came cooler weather, and I have loved every bit of it. Not only did we get rain, but we also got a lot of action.

On the first morning of rain we heard “parto” coming from outside our fence. “Parto!” A man was standing outside our fence yelling “birth.” It was 5:30 AM and the girls got up to get ready for the new baby. Unfortunately, I had just battled a fever that same night so I wasn’t feeling strong enough to help out. All I know is that while the mom was in the room hooked up to an IV it was raining cats and dogs outside. I never heard a thing, not the mom yelling or the baby’s first cry. I was a bit sad, but I knew that it wasn’t going to be the only women giving birth in our clinic.

As the days came so did the rain. It would not let up. Due to the rain we didn’t see very many patients. All the roads where full of barro (mud), making it very difficult for patients to come and for us to leave the clinic. There were some nights when we were unable to attend VBS because of the bad roads.

The birth wasn’t the only exciting thing we saw. I got to witness a circumcision of a 6 year old boy. Due to an infection he had he was unable to urinate and it was causing him lots of pain. The only way to help was to remove part of the foreskin and give him his antibiotics.

This week we should be having two other women coming in to give birth. I’m super excited! And this time I’m not missing out. So hopefully next week I can update my blog to let you know how it went.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Los Mangos

January 10-14, 2011

This past week we were at Km 6, La Gran Villa de Manantay or Los Mangos, holding a medical and evangelistic campaign. It’s been one of the busiest and tiring weeks of my life. But at the same time I have been blessed in so many ways. From Monday to Friday we have been pulling 8+ hours attending patients with dental and medical care. Our team may be small but we sure know how to work hard.

Considering we have a clinic at Porto Carrero we couldn’t stop attending patients there. So we had to split up the team. Luis, Rachel, and Dr. Cecilia stayed at Porto Carrero and the rest of us worked at Km 6. When the morning shift was through the team at Km 7 joined us for the afternoon shift.

In the dental side Lauren and Rebecca were cleaning/extracting teeth left and right. In the pharmacy Anthony and I were handing out meds like crazy. We were trying our hardest to keep up with the Doc. Once the shots started coming in all hope was lost. Ha ha. While Anthony handed out the meds I devoted my time to giving shots. Shot, shot, shot… It seemed like it would never end. I averaged 30 shots a morning. And the numbers would only increase in the afternoon when both doctors would prescribe multiple shots. I was giving shots to patients in my sleep.

Between shots I had to find time to do different procedures, like: scraping out infection from wounds, bandaging wounds, taking out nails, washing out tons of ears, taking out and putting in sutures, and the occasional translating. And I would always have those patients who would be like, “Doctorsita [little doctor] please explain to me how to take this drug.” Always going, going, going.

I was always thankful when Rachel would arrive in the afternoon. We have been working together since day one and this whole separation thing was not cool. But when we were together we were invincible. Keeping up with the Doc wasn’t so impossible. While she gave a shot I could be giving one as well. I don’t want to boast, but the Doc has turned us into machines when we are in the pharmacies.

If there was ever a question on a drug: the dosage, how many days to take it, its effects, what it was for, etc. We knew the answer. Of course there were those times when we had no clue and we had to ask the Doc.

I am BEYOND grateful for all that I have learned from working in these campaigns. And for all that the Doc has shown and taught us. Thank You!

It’s not over yet. Once we closed and packed up the pharmacy we had to meet up at the tent to gather all the kids. It was time for VBS. In total there was about 50 or more kids. We would start all together with songs. They loved to sing and that was the most entertaining part of it all. Then we would split them up in two groups: 8 and up and 8 and under. The older kids would study out of a booklet with Dr. Cecilia and Rebecca. The rest of us worked with the younger kids. We would sing, tell them a story, and then do a craft relating to the story. Once the kids program was done we would join the adults for their program. The hard part was trying to keep the kids quiet while the adults listened.

In the adults program we would sing, listen to a small message, have special music, and then at the end Domingo would have the main topic for the night. Occasionally I would give the 5 minute health chat. I did topics like: how to make a healthy salad, washing your hands, drinking water, etc.

When the day was done, we were all exhausted and ready to hit the bed. Once my head touched the pillow I was out and when my alarm would go off, I felt as if I had just laid down.


*The patients who thank you after you give them a shot.

*The smiling kid after you show him the large piece of wax you washed out of his ear.

*The strength God supplies you with to continue on.

*The meals of each day that the hands prepared. Boy would we get hungry by the time 2PM rolled around.

*All the smiling kids at VBS.

*The nice people who would offer you a free ride, food, cold, water, etc.

*The mom who thanks you for her kids medicine

*Our team working hard and together

*The home we could retrieve to when it was time to rest

*And many more blessings

Struggles and Searching for the Truth

Traveling in a bus during vacation gave me a lot of time to think. Time to think about where I was, where I used to be, and where I plan to be. Mentally and spiritually that is. As the scenery would pass by in front of me different moments in time would pass by inside of my head. I went far back as to when I was a child and dreamed of becoming a doctor. The days when anything seemed possible in a worry free world. I reminisced about the days at WACA (Wichita Adventist Christian Academy) when I met new friends, gained new responsibilities, but yet still young enough not to have to worry. Then my mind took me to Loveland, Colorado where the circle of friends only got bigger. I was away from home for the first time in my life. At first it wasn’t easy, but as soon as I got the hang of things, life was as simple as pie. Of course there was the occasional drama and stress over homework. The stress had a good purpose, because with good grades you could get a scholarship for college.

College. One of the best things that has happened to me. A wonderful environment called Union College where you can blossom and work hard to become what you’ve always dreamed of. More new friends who are dreaming of the same career, study groups, clubs, and so much more. If you desire to leave the country and serve God, you can do that too. Here in Peru I have a new family and friends. I’ve experienced so much and have learned even more.

All this time I’ve been blessed in so many ways. I have been taught to love my family, to love my neighbor, and to love my God. Growing up as a Seventh Day Adventist I’ve been surrounded by many good people who have taught me all I know. But all of a sudden I have hit this strange hole in the road. Unfamiliar with it I don’t know how to do deal with it. I don’t even know how to pray about.

Two weeks before Christmas break I was really struggling. Not wanting to deal with the confusion I pushed my feelings away, only to make me irritable at small things. I figured, “Maybe I’m just tired and I need a break. Hang in there Steph, break is almost here.” Break came and went and I only felt worse. It was in a bus when I found what was missing and what was irritating me. This truth that is in my mind is no longer in my heart. All these great things that I know have lost their meaning. The passion is gone. I got scared. All these years of knowledge and truth, is all just a waste? I felt like a horrible missionary portraying to be a Christian. How can I do my job here in Peru if I don’t have the passion for the truth?

I decided to talk to a friend about it. Funny thing was that we were both feeling the same way. It’s somewhat of a blessing for me. I was able to talk with her and relate with her. We pretty much came to a conclusion that we both want to search out this truth. We know the passion is deep inside us somewhere; we just need to find it. So I made a very specific prayer to God one morning.

“Lord, I want to know the truth. I want to search it out and study it. I want to have the passion for it and share it with others. However, I have no idea where to start.”

I opened my Bible randomly and landed to John 15:1, “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardner.” I was encouraged by the passage and asked the Lord to continue guiding me in this search. I’ve been following a 3 Track Reading Plan in search for the truth. I know that it’s in His word and that with his guidance I will have that passion once again.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Uno Mas

December 4, 2010:

Second Sabbath at Km 8. This Saturday we had many more members attend the service. We had at least 6 adults and about 15 kids! We more than doubled our membership. It was oh so beautiful. I had the greatest time leading out children Sabbath school with Lauren and Rachel. The other wonderful part was the fact that Chris, Jonathan, and Lyn decided to join us for our service.

For Sabbath school we learned about the time when Jesus calmed the storm for his disciples. The kids loved the story and to remember the story we built origami boats. When that was done we all learned Psalms 56:3 For when I am scared I put my trust in you. From the smiles on all the little faces I think Sabbath school went well J

We continued our service with songs, offering, and more singing. Then Lyn had the sermon for us with Dr. Cecilia translating. It was wonderful! I enjoyed this service very much and as far as I could tell I think the members did too. Once church was done we all got ready to head towards Ivan Sick.

Gady, from Ivan Sikic, had invited us to their 4th year church anniversary. Considering we are cheap we all (6 people) crammed into the smallest taxi and headed to Ivan Sikic. They prepared us a delicious lunch and treated us with great hospitality. We introduced Lyn to everyone there and they all became good friends with him. When we finished eating we headed to the church to get seats for the concert. We arrived an 1 hour early, hoping that they would start early. Ha ha. What were we thinking? As usual the program started an hour after it had been scheduled. At this concert we heard members from different churches sing with beautiful voices. And to our lovely surprise, they later called us to give a special music. So we did, then they said, “uno mas” one more.

By the end of the program we had sang 8 times. We did duets, trios, and then all of us together. It was a lot of fun singing and listening to others perform. At the end of the concert we all enjoyed home made cake J It was pretty yummy.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Rabbit rabbit

December 1, 2010:

The first day of December. I can’t believe how fast time is flying.

I just wanted to write about our friend Vilfredo. He’s the little boy that came to us a week ago in a very bad condition; very dehydrated and malnourished. Well since that day he has gained 2 more kg and he’s looking a lot better. His cheeks are fuller and his skin isn’t peeling anymore. His hair looks fuller and he’s got more energy in his little body. From speaking with his mother we know that he’s now eating solid foods and drinking his milk at least 4 times a day. Lauren even caught a picture of him smiling J

It just makes my heart smile every time he comes in. I will continue to update his progress as time goes by.

New neighbors too

November 28, 2010:

This evening we went out to meet our neighbors and let them know of our Tuesday evening event. We walked to the nearest house to ours and talked with anyone that we could find. Everyone that we met and talked to was very nice and hospital. They all offered us a seat and even a little treat. We sat with them for a good 15 minutes and just chatted. We swapped names and they told us about their families. After our visitations there was one man in particular who touched my heart.

His name is Pedro. Thankfully, it’s a very easy name for me to remember. When we first arrived to a fenced area we called out, “Hola?” We then heard a funny voice answer back, “Hola.” We smiled at each other and walked in. We found a man who looked like he was in his fifties – we later found out he was 75 – just working away. He had a shovel in his hands and was clearing away weeds that were starting to grow around his plants. We told him what we were doing and we immediately hit it off. When we asked him what he was doing he got very excited and began sharing with us all his hard work. He even gave us a tour of all that he had done. He showed us his papaya trees, his planted wheat, rice, aguaje tree, yuka plants, and so much more. He even explained how he would gather some of his produce. After his tour he invited over to his house for a little treat.

At his house we enjoyed curichi. Curichi is a popular frozen treat amongst the Peruvians. It is aguaje juice poured in plastic little bags and then frozen. As we ate our delicious treat we admired his small yet beautiful house. He had a fence around his home with beautiful flowers at the entrance of his home. Of course, all the flowers he had planted and cared for himself. Looking inside his house, it was very clean and organized. We also got to enjoy listening to him talk about his story. It was actually very entertaining. When he would talk about his dogs he would act out exactly how they would act. You would have to been there.

After enjoying his presence, I remembered why I loved doing this. We have the chance to meet all these people and add them to our lives. Just by listening to their struggles and victories in life is such a blessing. It teaches me how to connect with others by sympathizing, laughing, or being excited with them. I’m excited for the many more families we have left to visit.