Update on last weekend’s outreach trip

Thanks to those who prayed for the medical outreach last weekend in “Rivertown”, a village across the border in our neighboring state.  Here are some thoughts and quick hits from the trip:

  • Rhonda and Sarah joined (if I’m remembering correctly) three doctors, two dentists, and two other nurses giving consultation.  The group saw a combined 670 patients Saturday and Sunday.
  • The village, as promised, was part of a group of communities that is very isolated.  It only ended up being a 10-hour drive to get there (not the 14 we were expecting), but that for a village only 50 miles from our town as the crow flies.  (I love the things I can find out with Google Earth.)
  • People came from probably 10 surrounding villages.  Trucks brought many of them, while others walked several hours to come.  Sarah’s doctor had one lady who wanted medicine for her daughter who was sick and had a fever.  The lady then mentioned she had three more sick kids at home.  When the doctor asked why the lady didn’t bring her other kids, she responded that it was a three-hour walk from their village, the kids weren’t strong enough to walk, and she couldn’t carry them all that way.
  • The people of the area are noticeably poorer than those in our district (and the villages in our district aren’t exactly rolling in dough).  Many people don’t wear shoes, and some kids were running around naked or only halfway clothed.
  • The people are also much more monolingual than those in our area.  Kids about age 10 and up and men in their 20s-40s were generally the only good bets for speaking decent Spanish.  We had six Christians from another village in the same language group with us to translate.  Those translators were absolutely vital, as many times it was impossible to figure out what someone was trying to communicate without them.
  • On the way to Rivertown, we really enjoyed meeting a missionary couple in a market town two hours from where we live.  He’s Mexican, she’s American, and they’ve been working in their town for 10 years.  They’ve planted a church and have several neat outreaches going.
  • I loved working with the local drug rehab ministry that organized the outreach.  It was great getting to know them and their ministry better.  They really have their ducks in a row!  Learning more about their ministry (they’ve been very successful in this country in ways few others have been) gave us some good ideas we’re praying about for our work.
  • It’s possible the villages we were in are nearly devoid of gospel witness just because they’re so isolated.  All of us felt like they’re in great spiritual bondage, though.  Pray God opens and frees Rivertown and the villages surrounding it.
  • A real need exists for more and better audio resources in the languages of our region.  I’m amazed how much literature well-meaning Christians are handing out to illiterate people.  We’ve got to find a better way, realizing that our Western way of evangelizing others just doesn’t work in much of the world.  (One can raise the question of how well it works even in our own part of the world.)
  • Getting to know some of the Christian brothers and sisters of that area was a great blessing.  They’re a neat group, and they’ve had to endure some tough persecution.  We also had the privilege of meeting an American couple who have been doing Bible translation over there since 1983.  Their humility and genuine love for the people was evident, as has been the case with all the Bible translators I’ve met around here.  Pray Ephesians 1:17-19 over the local believers as well as the missionaries working with them.
  • I’m really glad we went on the trip, even though it hit at a busy time for us.  We learned a lot, saw a new area that’s very needy spiritually, shared the gospel, prayed, laid hands on the sick, and served.  I have an even greater burden for our area now that I’ve seen more of it firsthand.

Here are a few photos:

Rivertown, where we did the outreach

Rivertown
The second day they put me to work cutting hair. I gave 20 haircuts!

Chris cutting hair
Rhonda and Sarah give an IV to a man very sick with pneumonia

Rhonda and Sarah attending man
People pile in for a 1- or 2-hour ride back to their village

Villagers loading into truck
Me on the left with Dave, Rhonda, Sarah, and Nick

Our team

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