Friday, July 31, 2009

Friday Updates


First of all a big "THANK YOU" to all of you who have prayed for Rosa. Joe saw her up and on her crutches yesterday and she is doing so much better. She will probably go home next week. As for her hospital bill, another big "THANK YOU" to those of you who have asked how you can help with that. While her hospital bill is minuscule in comparison with what it would be in the states, it is still a large amount for Ecuador, especially a family that lives in the jungle. The hospital charity fund has taken care of half of her bill but the family still needs a little over $1000, so they truly appreciate the help.
While I am thanking everyone, Thanks also for praying for our freight. We got word today that it is out of customs. The furniture we ordered won't be ready until Monday, so we should get everything Tuesday. While we trust God to provide for us, it still doesn't seem real that we will get everything.... I don't think until it is sitting in my driveway, I will believe it!

I will leave you with a picture of the closest volcano to us, Sangay . We had a beautiful clear afternoon today (very unusual) and we could see all of the mountains to the west of us including 2 volcanoes. I will post more pictures later, but I thought you might enjoy this.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Does Prayer Matter?

We have had so many people praying for us over the last few months and I don't think I have ever truly appreciated prayer like I do now. I have lots of unanswered questions about prayer, like why? If God is omnipotent and full of grace and mercy why does he need us to pray for people? why doesn't he just do the "right thing"? Or does prayer really change anything or does it just give us peace about the outcome because we have stopped to realize He is in control regardless?

Whatever the reasoning, God does want us praying for each other, and I truly believe that prayer does matter and prayer does change things. All of this to say that in the midst of the chaos that is my life, I have a new vision for my role in Ecuador. PRAYER. There are so many things that are happening in the hospital, in the lives of the doctors, in the lives of our Ecuadorian friends, that the Lord has shown me the role I can play in praying, just the simple act of prayer.

The children are playing outside and I am reminded of how quickly they are growing up. They will be in school in just a few months and I will miss this time. Research will always be there, I think that prayer is what God has brought me to at this moment.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

TIRGWB


TIRGWB or Things I'm Really Glad We Brought: My Crocs: pictured here on my feet, they are not only comfortable and Oh So Cute, but really easy to clean and that is an important factor in deciding on a shoe for Shell. When they get muddy (everyday), I just wash them off outside, and voila, there as good as new! I am so glad I spent the $30 dollars on my new Olivias, I just wish I had gotten them in black also. And for those of you who know me well, I very rarely spend $30 on a pair of shoes, much less "rubber" shoes, but this was a bargain!

Much needed updates




Ok, so we need to update you on many things. First of all, Thanks to everyone who participated in our poll. The correct answer is 25 hours. Yes, our dog Baron went 25 hours without relieving himself, and actually didn't even get a urinary tract infection or anything. He must have urinated for almost 5 minutes straight when he got out of the crate... it was a sight.

As to my trip to Quito on Sunday, thank you so much for your prayers. We serve a big and mighty God! I had left on Sunday afternoon on the 1:45 bus from Puyo and was scheduled to arrive in Quito 5 hours later. The trip to Quito usually takes longer than the trip back as you have to drive uphill into the Andes. The bus itself was probably not too different from the ones that we see on the highways in the States with the exception that the bathrooms are only for the ladies. If a guy needs to go to the bathroom there is plenty of asphalt outside =). The trick is to not drink any coffee and very little water before you get on. I was starting the trip tired from being up all night at the hospital and thirsty as well. Luckily the bus ride was uneventful.

When I finally made it into Quito I was dying of thirst and looking for a bathroom. The new Southern bus terminal in Quito, Quitumbe, is actually very modern and nice. From there I took a cab to the guesthouses that are near the HCJB headquarters in Quito. The funny thing about all of this is that it cost more than twice as much to travel from the bus terminal to the guesthouse ($13) than it cost to travel to Quito from Puyo ($5).
I was hoping that Monday I could take care of things early so I could leave in time to get home at a reasonable hour. What brought me to Quito was to sign a power of attorney in front of a notary allowing the Ecuadorian government to receive our freight (which has already been in the country for 2 weeks). In addition to getting that done early I was also able to get my Ecuadorian registration card, censo, as well. That was not expected, you see NO ONE gets their censo on the first try. Everyone has to go back at least a second time because of some new paperwork, or such . I had defied the bureaucracy gods and was hailed as the 'King of the Aduanas' (king of customs) by some of the other missionaries after I got back! Everyone was surprised with all that I had accomplished and was still able to be on a bus back to Shell before 2pm. The Lord was definitely responsible.

The bus trip back was definitely less stressful. I got back in 4 1/2 hours but did have to suffer through a showing of "The Condemned." The Condemned was the movie they were showing on the bus. It's a WWE production - enough said! It was dubbed in Spanish so I had an easier time tuning it out but couldn't believe they were showing it on a bus that had to have had at least 5 to 10 kids on it. It was bad enough that I had to watch it! All that to say that I had a good trip and hopefully we are one step closer to getting our stuff. Keep praying for us!

Friday, July 24, 2009

What can you get for $7 in Ecuador


I absolutely love having fresh flowers in my house so when I found out that there is a shop that sells them in Puyo (the next town over) I was very excited. For $7 I got 2 dozen large yellow roses, a dozen gladiolas and a bunch of alstromeria. We might not have furniture yet, but there are vases everywhere. Most of the fresh flowers in the US are from Ecuador so they are plentiful and gorgeous.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Update on Rosa



Well, I was going to update everyone over the weekend on Rosa’s condition but had to go to Quito at the last minute, more details later. As I had written Rosa did have her amputation. Unfortunately, it had to be done a little above the knee because of the absence of enough vital tissue below for the “stump”. The next day was still dicey for her as she was still fighting the severe “blood infection”. She required several transfusions, but by the next day she was already looking a little better. She is still receiving intravenous antibiotics but hopefully will go home in the next couple of days.

The loss of her limb still weighs heavily on the family. When her mother finally got to see her she was devastated. On top of all of this her family found out what the bill is. Despite this being a charity hospital, medical services still come with a price (usual a nominal amount). But given her condition and what was needed to treat her, she does have a substantial bill by Ecuadorian standards. Through donations from the supporters of the hospital there is a fund that does help needy families with the payment. Please pray that they may qualify and be free of this other burden. As to her prognosis when she gets home, while she will surely face many unforeseen challenges with only one leg, many children who have had amputations like hers have gone on to never miss a beat – climbing trees, working, etc. Please pray that she may find strength to face all of her upcoming challenges.

Lastly, I do want to thank you for your prayers as they have been answered. Rosa’s father broke down when I told him how many of you were praying for her recovery and the overall health of their family. Please continue to pray that her family may learn to rely on the Lord and seek a permanent relationship with Him.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Our first newsletter from the field is ready for print (on your printer of course). If you did not receive yours by email this weekend and would like it, please let us know. The actual print version will go out by regular mail soon to those of you without email, but then again, if you don't have email, your probably don't ready blogs, but I digress. One of our great friends in Waco has generously offered to print and send those out for us. I will try to figure out how to post the newsletter here on the blog, but I'm probably not that smart.

Boots, Boots, B.O.O.T.S., Boots!


We made a major purchase yesterday and bought the children rain boot, or more appropriately here, mud boots! All of their friends wear them and we have some coming in our freight, but we just couldn't wait that long. They loved them and even put them on while we were riding on the bus and walked home in them!

Friday, July 17, 2009

Don't forget to check out our prayer request on the side bar on the right. We truly appreciate your prayers. Also, there are just a few hours left in our poll about Baron. Make sure and get your vote in.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Mordedura de Serpiente

It was Monday afternoon and I had finished with the afternoon clinic and decided to stop by Dr Ivan DueƱa's office. He was the attending physician on call and it had been a relatively quiet day. When asked if he had had any new admissions, he just said that he was awaiting a patient transfer from the community of Macas, which is about 1 1/2 hours from here. Apparently a 9 year old girl had been bitten by a "serpiente" and was not doing well. The snake bite had occurred 4 days previously. Knowing that it had already been 4 days I figured she was probably septic (sick with an often overwhelming systemic infection) or she was in need of surgery.
This morning her case was presented in 'morning report'.

Near Macas is a large Shuar community that is predominantly indigenous and most of the inhabitants live in the jungle. Rosa had been working outside with her dad when she was bitten on the ankle. Her father had killed the snake and taken her to the nearby clinic. She was at some point given the anti-venin and admitted to the Macas hospital. Her condition worsened and she was presented to Hospital Vozandes del Oriente (HVO), our hospital. She was found to be fighting a serious leg infection that extended from her foot all the way to her groin of her left leg.
Snake bites will often cause significant tissue destruction and swelling that will jeopardize the limb. In order to relieve that pressure an incision is made over the area to relieve that pressure and it's then left open. In her case, that operation had to be performed by Dr Eckehart Wolff (our missionary surgeon) as well as removal of a lot of dead muscle tissue. All of this was performed in order to give her any immediate chance to improve.

Because of the extent of her infection and the dying muscle tissue of her lower leg she was also going to need an amputation of her leg, below her knee, if she was going to have any chance of improving. Without it she would most certainly die. It is a difficult decision to make and especially so if you live in the jungle. After having agreed to the procedure last night her father withdrew his consent this morning. It was all too clear, in his mind, what kind of a future she would have in the jungle with only one leg.

I had a chance to visit with both Rosa and her dad this afternoon. She was in and out of sleep but told me that her name was Rosa and that she was 9. When I told her that the rose was my favorite flower she just smiled and then told me that the red ones were her favorites. She then went to sleep. She was sick and receiving morphine for her pain. Her father told me that he was a believer in Christ but was a 'bad man' and had sinned. I found out that he had 4 other children who had all died in the jungle. Since that time he had promised God that if he were blessed with others that he would give them to Him. Thus came Rosa's 3 older brothers and then Rosa, all of whom are living. He seemed to have a relationship with the Lord but had strayed at some point in the past. We prayed together about his relationship with the Lord as well as grace to help him make a tough choice. By the time we were finished we were both in tears as I can't imagine going through what he's going through. As I write this Rosa has had her amputation and hopefully will be on the road to recovery. Please pray for her as she tries to fight this infection and adjust to the many obstacles she'll have in her future. Please also pray for her father as he struggles with this decision and also pray that he may open up his heart to the Lord again.
-Joe

Monday, July 13, 2009

Our First Week At Church


Sunday we attended our first week of Church in Ecuador. Well it wasn't entirely our first week. When we visited here in 2007 we also went to church, but things are much different when you know it is your home and not just a vacation. Anyway, we went to Iglesai Luz Del Evangelio (The Evangelistic Church of Light). It was wonderful and we really enjoyed the singing, although after the first 30 minutes, I wondered how long we would sing for. There is just something about singing worship songs (in any language) that gets you in the mood to praise God. We sang for about an hour and then a hour of preaching, so this baptist girl has a little to get used to, but it was very enjoyable. Church has allowed me to start my list of "THINGS I AM REALLY GLAD WE BROUGHT": A bible that is in Spanish and English. On each page there is column in English and one in Spanish and it is wonderful. I can follow along with the pastor as he reads and then skip over to the English side to make sure I understood. Very helpful.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Our First Guest


The first night we spent in the house I was mopping down the hall after the kids had fallen asleep when I saw something move. Our first guest, or maybe this had been his house and we were visiting, but there he was a very green little frog with large eyes. Since then, we have found at least one every night. We think they are coming up through the pipes... makes going to the bathroom very exciting!

Friday, July 10, 2009

Our First Week

Well, we have completed our first week here in Shell. We arrived last Friday early evening and spent the night in the guest house. Saturday late morning our first shipment arrived from Quito containing our refrigerator, stove, washer, dryer and mattresses. It took a few days and several trips to the hardware store in the next town over to get the dryer hooked up, but everything is working now. About a year ago, we bought a queen sized bed, a kitchen table and chairs, a bookcase and a desk from a missionary family that was moving to Mexico. So, Joe and I have a bed with a mattress and the children are each sleeping on two mattress stacked up until we can get their bunk beds make. Bunk beds are not a common occurrence here so we will have to get them made in the next town over.

Joe started work Wednesday and of course he is adjusting amazingly (no one doubted that.) The children could not be happier because they play outside ALL day and get muddier than I could ever have imagined. I am busy but enjoying life here especially with as hot as it is in Texas! Getting a house set up in the jungle is not the easiest thing ever. Fortunalty we have had a lot of help from our friend the Hardins and we have lots of advice for those coming after us!

We are hopeful that our freight shipment from the states as well as the furniture we ordered in Quito will be here in about 3 weeks. Hopefully we are not too far off because I never knew I could miss sitting on a couch so much! Our table and chairs are nice, but relaxing after dinner with a book just isn't the same on a wooden chair at a wooden table. I will write more on our furniture purchase later. As with most things here, there is a story to go along with it! I'll leave you with pictures of our house, backyard and poinsettia tree. Yes, TREE! When you only have one season and lots of rain, that small plant you give your grandmother every year for Christmas could look like this one day!


Is Anyone Out There?


Lena, a wonderful friend who is on her way to Uganda (you can be pray for her also - lifewithlena@blogspot.com) sent me this picture she took at a local Megamart. We have had several discussion about blogs and whether or not people actually read them or if we are just basically journaling for our own use.