Yesterday was the first day that we split the team up and half of the team went to one location and the rest went to another. First, let me share the back story. A few months ago I was sitting in church when I felt a promoting from the Lord to talk to Dana Giarrizzi about doing medical missions in Bolivia. I mentioned it to Jim and he confirmed the idea with me and so, after a little bit of planning, Dana and I went to lunch. Over lunch she shared with me that she had felt led to talk to Pastor Gil about possibly doing something with medical missions within Lakeshore and was looking for the right time to do so. Isn’t that just how God is? He has everything planned out in advance. We began talking about what this could possibly look like and prayed about what God had planned for Lakeshore, Bolivia and medical missions.
Over time, God confirmed for both of us that Dana should come with us on this trip and use this trip as a scouting trip to determine how we could integrate a medical team into the mission we already have here. Our first priority is still the building project and will remain so. We are all spending the majority of the time on the work site. What we added this year is one day to travel out to Peji to offer medical care to people who are unable to afford it on their own. This mission trip is going to used by Dana to determine how a medical portion of the mission trip will work from here going forward. It’s our first trial run to see what we need for the future, how medication can be distributed, how the facilities will work and what we will need to bring with us if more people in the medical field come with us on a future trip.
We worked it out with our friends, Pastor Robinson and Pastor Simona, who live out at Peji, and they coordinated times for the people to come in to be seen. We limited the number to be seen to ten to make sure we had plenty of time with each patient. Yesterday we started the first free medical clinic that we were able to do out at Peji. We had Brandy Caudle, our nurse, doing the intake of all the patients with Patricia translating and Lauren noting all the information on each patient in one room. From there the patients moved to the next room where Dr. Dana took the time to see them all. She had Genelle helping her translate and Breanna noting all the information on each patient. There was a little confusion as to time so the patients didn’t get to the house until about 10:30 but we were able to see thirteen patients over three hours. We saw everything from a three year old girl with dwarfism to an elderly gentleman adjusting to a new colostomy bag and everything in between. There were several children with what looked like some sort of parasites in their little GI systems and several upper respiratory infections in the children as well. We were able to spend a good amount of time with each precious patient and not only see what their problem was and get them treatment but also pray for each one as well. In the midst of all of the sickness and pain, it was a beautiful chance to be the hands and feet of Jesus to these precious people. His presence was in each of those exam rooms.
While we were out at Peji, the rest of the team was at the work site checking off the list of items that Edwin wants to get completed this week. We are still working on the platform. All of the dirt needs to be sifted through by hand to remove big blocks of rock and concrete. The area first needs to be loosened with pick axes and then the area gone through by hand and all the debris put in buckets and thrown away. Once the area is cleared, it has to be leveled and then tampered. This process happens and then if there is still too much dirt, it has to be loosened again, more dirt removed and then tampered again to make a level surface. It’s a long process but once we finish it, we will be ready to put in rebar and then put cement on the platform.
On the other side of the sanctuary, huge pillars are going up to the roof of the building. The team needed to fill these pillars with cement. The rebar was already in place as was the wood form to hold the cement. In order to mix the cement, first all of the cement bags needed to be moved from the street into the church area. The bags are 50 kilos, or about 110 pounds a piece. Some of the guys carried those in to the work site. Then big piles of sand and rock are dropped at the curb of the church and they have to be brought into the sanctuary site by wheelbarrow. This all happened yesterday morning and then they started with the cement mixing in the small cement mixer the church owns. As the cement was mixed, it was poured out one bucket full at a time. Edwin and Tony were up on the scaffolding and they used a pulley system to pull the buckets of cement up one bucket at a time to fill up the frames. That was completed yesterday as well. Each job takes a lot of work and a lot of time but when it is finished, it feels like a tremendous accomplishment.
After the group got back from Peji, we had lunch together and had another devotion time. Dana led our devotion time and God used her to share a truth she had received that morning in her devotions, that the work we are doing was already planned by the Lord and we get to be a part of what He is already doing. It went along perfectly with what Tony spoke about the day before. It is always beautiful to see how God weaves everything together.
We were back to work in the afternoon and then about 4:00, a few of us had a meeting with Pastors Ruben and Isabel, Yamil, the architect of the building, and the church treasurers. Each time we come they spend time showing us where each dollar is spent on the work site, where we are currently in the building process and what is still necessary to complete this building project. It is always encouraging to see how diligent they are with the money the spend, how good God is to be providing for this church, and how attainable it is to have this church completed. Pastor Gil looked at Pastor Ruben with tears in his eyes yesterday afternoon and said what we are all feeling, that this church is going to be beautiful and that we are just as happy for Pastor Ruben to have it as we would be if it was our own church. We are just thrilled for him and what God is doing to bring this church building to fruition. What an honor to be a part of it all.
We are so blessed to see all that God is doing. There are some areas that we could use some prayer for. Several people have what we think is probably a little parasite. We now have antibiotics to kill off the parasite and we are believing for complete healing for each and every person on our team. We would love to have agreement in prayer for that. We have also had some small injuries on the work site. God is good and people are still working but it is not without pain. We are praying for complete healing and restoration of each person’s body in Jesus’ name. Please join us as we believe in healing for each person on our team.
God is good and He is working in the lives of our team and in this work place. What a joy it is to partner with what the Lord is doing in this place. Thank you for being a part of this journey. You are in our thoughts and our prayers while we are here and we cannot wait to show you all that you have been a part of with your partnership in this process. We love you all more than words could say.