Thursday, December 4, 2014

Uganda December 3 Mission Trip Update

Uganda Update:

Our great team has arrived safely in Entebbe! (all our luggage arrived safely too!!!)  Thank you for your prayers for travel safety.  We are looking forward to all God has planned for us throughout the next ten days!

Friday, November 21, 2014

Colombia November 15-20 - Final Post

A few months ago I was presented with the opportunity to put together a medical team to conduct mobile medical clinics in Villeta, Colombia and nearby towns.  I had never been to Colombia.   And with only a short time to prepare, the team signed up to go was small.  As with most mission trips, particularly ones to new areas, you are never quite sure what to expect. Except for the assurance that "with God all things are possible" and without Him, all is for not.   God indeed was with us and the possible did happen! 

In a short 2 1/2 days a medical team of just two physicians and one nurse, working with Orphan's Heart staff and our Colombian partners were able to provide medical care and counseling to over 400 patients and be witness to God extending His saving grace to 25 new believers! It is so incredibly humbling to be charged with a task that is impossible and watch God in His infinite grace, unfailing love, and ferocious power show up and do work!  He exceeded our expectations!  He surpassed our hopes and our goals.  Through us He tended to bodies that had been broken and battered with injury and disease.  And beyond us He lavished some with His saving grace to heal and mend hearts and souls that were lost and broken.  

I cannot say enough about the our Colombian brothers and sisters that worked tirelessly in preparation for our visit and with unfailing determination during our long clinic days until the last patient was seen.    Their planning and organization, lead by Manuel, was exceptional.  It was clear to our medical team that it had been handled with compassion for the people of their communities and with the expertise of a seasoned staff.  In particular, sweet Rosia, who was in charge of organizing the clinics, blew us away.  Her attention to detail and her efficiency were absolutely invaluable each day and made each day a success.  

The needs were many in Villeta, Alban, Mave, and Las Marias.  There were those that suffered from high blood pressure, diabetes, seizures, and strokes.  Children suffering from malnutrition and asthma.  There were patients suffering from rheumatoid arthritis and others battling cancer.  And there was much weariness and despair.  For some we provided advice and counsel.  Others received much needed medicine and vitamins.  And for some, particularly those with ailments of the mind, soul, and body that medicine would not be enough for, we offered love and compassion.  We prayed with them. Cried with them.  Hugged on them.  Encouraged them.  We let them know that there was a God that is All Powerful and Good that loved them deeply.  We let them know that they were not alone in their fight and struggle.  We let them know of The Hope that is never ending. 

And as with all mission trips, we left changed and inspired.  Humbled to have been chosen by that same All Powerful God to be a part of the work He was doing in Colombia.  We had received much more than we had given, as is always the case with our Gracious Heavenly Father.   I, and I feel sure I speak for Brandon and Bill, anxiously await our next opportunity to serve God on the mission field.   Yes, hopefully even in Villeta, Colombia! 

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Colombia November 15-20 Alban and Las Marias

What an Amazing day in Colombia!  Our team had an early start to the day.  We left our hotel at 6:00am sharp and headed to a pueblito called Alban.  On the way we stopped at a home on the side of a mountain so the medical team could attend to a 90 year old bedridden man and his wife.  They were very hospitable towards our team and a plan of action was set to help improve his health condition.  After the home-visit we finally arrived at the pueblito called Alban.  We ate a traditional Colombian breakfast before heading to the church buildings to conduct the medical clinic.  All our Colombian volunteers and translators did an excellent job organizing the clinic. Because of this awesome team work, we were able to see more than 90 patients in a 4 hour time frame - Amazing!  Around noon we packed up and then headed to another town on a mountain side called Las Marias.  We used the local church in that community to conduct our final medical clinic.  Even though there was a fierce rain storm that knocked out the electricity, our team stay focused and served more than 95 people - Amazing!  The people were so grateful and thankful for our presence and for the consultations, medicines, and vitamins that we brought with us.  We are so thankful for this Amazing day in Colombia!

Guatemala, November 15-20, 2014

St. Michael's Lutheran School

The older kids got to spend most of the play time outside. Children excitedly ran around the jungle gym, and balls and frisbees were flying through the air. There was the occasional cry from one of the children who got hurt, but all of them enjoyed outside. After much playing, loving, and comforting, lunch was served for the kids. With the usual difficulty, all the food was eaten. The children then washed their hands and brushed their teeth a second time and prepared for nap time. 
The kids acted playful as long as they could until the nannies told them it was time to nap. Most of the children were pretty tired, so putting them to bed wasn´t that hard. After all the kids were settled, the team had a wonderful lunch of burgers and homemade apple strudel. After lunch, we all went to our daily afternoon tasks.
        We all went to breakfast, and those that had previously been ill ate light. Devotions were  led by a team member. Praising the Lord was one the themes. Another theme was the ability to jump, dance, and sing unto the Lord. Also we were reminded of how blessed we are in the US and we need to be thankful for all that the Lord has given. 
        Soon afterward we were all on the bus. The hour long ride eventually led us to the center. We were told to make sure we give extra hugs and loving today as this is our last day. The playing tired us and the children out, so snack time was a good time to rest a bit. We all prompted the kids to eat the much needed food. All the children were ready to wash up after the small meal. After bathroom time, the energy from the food went into playing with the team members. The older kids and some of the small ones got to go outside. It rained a few drops, but the children were too active to notice. They continued to play with the bin of toys or rest with the team members. The play time seemed longer than yesterday, but lunch came around. Around this time, everyone was realizing that this was the last day we would get to see the children. The emotions made the time all the more special. 
Lunch was served to the kids, and we all pitched in to have all the children eat. Some kids in the Chicks fell asleep before they were able to eat or drink anything. After the children were finished eating, it was time to clean them up in the bath room. When they were all hands were washed and teeth were brushed, we put them down for bed. While they were beginning their naps, we cleaned up their dining areas. 
A wonderful lunch of fried chicken, french fries, and chocolate-covered fruit popsicles was served. After lunch, we team members took naps of our own. After our short break, we all had to go to our afternoon tasks. We all knew that when dinner was served to the children, we would have to say our goodbyes. 

Tuesday, November 18, 2014