- Written by Kimberly Pepmiller Kimberly Pepmiller
- Created: 25 July 2016 25 July 2016
After getting to bed early last night, this morning everyone was ready to get some work done. But first we had to get organized. Step one was getting supplies from the hold of the boat up the hill, which was still a bit muddy from yesterday’s storm. One of the boat’s crewmen spent a good hour hauling up eight-foot tongue and groove planks. Poor guy must have had a sore back! To avoid a similar fate, Don (after a couple of trips up the hill with a shoulder full of lumber) suggested we might do better by forming a chain of people to pass the planks up the hill. This worked so well that we got through our pile quickly—and the decision was made to haul out another set of wood for other projects in the village.
We are spending the week working in the village of Nueva Palestina. This is a Shipibo village where Peruvian missionaries Ricardo and Gloria dedicate much of their time and efforts. Ricardo and his team have developed an “Oralidad” program to spread the gospel message to the Shipibo people. The Shipibo have a cultural tradition of sharing information orally rather than through reading and writing. The Oralidad program was created to share the good news of the gospel orally. The community center our group helped finish two years ago in this village is primarily used to train people in the Oralidad program to share the good news with many remote Shipibo villages, many even farther up the Ucayali. Nueva Palestina also has an unfinished medical clinic that will be used in the future to care for patients. Ricardo and his team are also working to build living quarters for a doctor. The goal is to have a doctor from the city come to stay in the village to provide the medical care. The two buildings need to be completed in order for this to happen. These remaining village needs will form our group's projects this week.
We split into two groups. Kimberly put together a crew of nurses, a doctor and other helpers to start up a medical clinic for the week. Once they found the right building and got it unlocked, they set up several stations. Patients began with Nelly and Sharon in registration, where they obtained the patient's name, age and weight. The patients then transferred to the vital sign station, where the blood pressure, temperature and heart rate were taken and patients shared their chief complaints. The doctor, one of the volunteers from our Lifetree group, examined each patient and treated conditions as he was able with the limited resources available. Wyatt and Kimberly filled prescriptions while Sue fitted patients with donated reading glasses. Another couple of group members gave the children lessons on hand washing and teeth brushing. These lessons seem to have taken: later in the evening we saw a child dutifully brushing her teeth in the river. Throughout the day, our Peruvian missionary team served as amazing interpreters.
The medical team was able to serve seventy patients today. There are more families returning tomorrow that we could not serve today. We saw a variety of diagnoses including parasitic infections, lice, scabies, a broken pelvis, burns and diabetes. One memorable story Wyatt encountered involves two children, ages three and ten, who came to the clinic with a woman. This woman explained that the children's mother had passed away and their father had abandoned them. The children were homeless for two months before being taken in by this woman—who already has two children of her own. The shared responsibility in the community is very evident.
The other crew worked on the clinic and the doctor residence. Tom and Sam pulled nails for a good portion of the morning. The village had tried putting up sheetrock on the interior walls of the clinic, but without further finishing the material had disintegrated. Some materials just are not meant for the jungle! The crew replaced it with the tongue and groove boards that we had brought up earlier in the day. Don and other crew spent their day taking measurements and using a miter saw and a circular saw to cut and rip the boards. Don also got to join Janelle in sanding lacquer off the exterior of the building, which means that we can get to our favorite mission trip activity tomorrow morning: painting! In the process of sanding, Janelle found a huge termite nest. The Peruvian team doused the termites with paint thinner.
We just heard that the Shipibos found a poisonous viper lurking in the same grass we had been walking through all day! They stealthily killed it, but we will definitely be avoiding walking through any more suspicious-looking spots this week. We’re in the jungle, people!
“Hesed” is a Hebrew word that means “kindness,” “mercy,” “loyalty,” “loving-kindness” or “steadfastness.” It’s the way God intends us to live together—a “love your neighbor as yourself,” active, selfless, sacrificial, caring-for-one-another brand of living contradictory to our fallen natures. The “Heseders” are continually looking to work together to share some small measure of God’s extraordinary love. Won’t you join us?