Monday, April 14, 2014

My First Caravan of 2014 to Bufeo and Kapawari

Map of Ecuador with Pastaza in Red
Pastaza with Bufeo and Kapawari circled in red (Shell is circled on the far left)

After being away for the better part of 7 months it was nice to be back in Shell and to get back to work.  There were no hospital duties awaiting me so our arrival in Shell was a bit surreal.  Normally I'd get anxious about returning knowing the responsibilities that awaited me - taking call, arranging schedules, dealing with the residents and the residency program, and all of the other little things that seemed to come my way.  What I did get to do was get ready for our first of many scheduled caravans into the jungle, the purpose of which was to provide access to medical care and help spread God's Word.

Gloria and Hanibal (both strong Christians in Kapawari)
My first trip took me to 2 communities that I'd visited in the past, Bufeo and Kapawari so it was nice to see some familiar faces.  We didn't have much time to prepare before we flew in so it was helpful that these were known communities.  The funny thing is that we arrived right during election time throughout the country as we did last year so it was almost like deja vu.  Last year it was the presidential election and this year it was for all of the provincial and city positions and it's mandatory that every adult vote.  If you didn't vote, you would be fined $90.  That doesn't sound like a lot to us Americans but wee need to remember that the stipend that government gives each adult from the jungle is about $90/month.  What makes matters worse for them is that you have to vote in your home town or the voting post that represents your area.  Bufeo had its own voting station but Kapawari did not, so those from Kapawari had to travel 2 days on foot in order to get to that community (Montalvo, which is due east on the above map).  All of those adults that would vote left Friday morning, our last day in the village.

Carlos Padilla and my posse.
Shoving off down the Kapawari River to see some kids in a nearby village, Pukuan.
I got to take a medical resident with me who was from Cuenca and hadn't been in the jungle before.  You can see from the pictures below that he had a wonderful time.  We saw a number of kids in both communities and I even got to share God's word with them.  We try to finish early enough each day to set aside some time for a 'culto' (a time of worship).  Since there is no electricity out there we have to be done before 6:30 when it gets dark.  The kids almost always come but you never know about the adults.  This time, however, many of the community elders were there.  Bufeo doesn't have a church and many of the Christian's have left to form another community so it's a village that needs God's word.  Kapawari, on the other hand, is a much more close knit community with the elders all coming from 1 family (they're all brothers) and they take worship time seriously.  Even though there isn't a pastor in Kapawari the kids go to Sunday School every week in a new church building and many of the adults take turns singing hymns in Achuar (their native language) and sharing Bible stories.  Here is a link to a story written on our mission's website about my visit there.

Since the Bufeo/Kapawari trip, I've gone back in 3 other times to other communities for a total of 4 weeks of travel.  Each community is different and has its own set of challenges.  Please pray for wisdom and His favor as we continue to reach these people groups.


I always get interesting things to eat when I go to Kapawari.

Chicha break (Jonas spilled it, not me ;-))

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Flexibility is Such a Dirty Word

Shannon over at Sweet Blessings posted this today and it really spoke to me.  Shannon has put together this wonderful graphic you can download along with lots of other great sayings.

The job that I trained for, scientific research is pretty precise and require a lot of planning, so unless you really mess things up, there isn't much of a reason to flex.  On the other (extremely different and far away) other hand, my second and third jobs, mom and missionary require extreme flexibility and sometimes....... I don't want to flex..... even if I can.  I just don't want to anymore. I'm done.  And (please don't tell my kids I just started a sentence with And.) so what happens?  I snap.  I snap at my husband.  I snap at the kids or the dog, or some poor person on the street who just happened to walk in front of me.  So even though it isn't a beatitude in the truest sense of the word, blessed are the flexible.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

History and Impact of Hospital Vozandes del Oriente

Here is a link to a great story about the impact Christ has made through our hospital over the last 60 years. My favorite part are the quotes from national employees. They really highlight the eternal impact, but also that the Ecuadorian church is alive and well prepared to influence their own country as well as other nations with the love of Christ.  I know many are saddened by the closing of the hospital  but I think that this is the culmination of many years of hard work and that these employees are ready to go out and be the salt and light in other hospitals.  We aren't called to stay, but to go.  I miss seeing them every day, but am excited to hear how they will change the world for Christ.