Missionary life

Posted by: wrguptill on Wednesday, October 7th, 2009

The hanger construction has been going well. We poured the second apartment roof last night. I learned Filipinos can work twice as fast at night than they can in the day. We got the second roof poured in 6 hours instead of 11 like the first one. It is a relief to have the roofs poured. That was the last major hurdle in my mind.

Andrey has been welding hangar trusses together. We have one done and are working on the second now. We finally got the problems worked out with our generator/welder. After the second voltage regulator burned up, I threw it away and replaced it with a resistor. It is much simpler and more reliable now. Now we can change the welding amperage by changing resistors.

I have been flying more with Andrey to get him trained in our helicopter and used to the type of flying we do in the mountains. We have had a couple of emergency medical calls from the mountains but problems with the helicopter kept us grounded. Problems consisting of rats chewing the new spark plug wires through for the second time and drive belts turning themselves on their sides for reasons I have yet to figure out. We have things worked out now till something else breaks; we just installed a new starter relay so we don't have to start it from the outside with a wrench anymore.

We've been as busy as ever lately with 6 patients in the hospital—coming and going—ranging from Meningitis to Dengue, Typhoid, TB, and Rabies. Most of them also have Malaria, but unfortunately the doctors often fail to treat for it because they don't realize our patients (from the mountains) almost always have Malaria along with whatever else they have. I have occasionally been able to gently convince a doctor to prescribe Malaria medications even with a supposed “negative” blood smear. But I have to respect their positions and keep friends with them so I rarely push.

Last night I was able to convince a doctor to give Quinine to one of our patients whom I felt really needed it. She was having shaking chills and high fever every afternoon and that was her main problem. They were actually giving her Qoartem, another Malaria drug, but we haven't found it to be very effective at all, especially for severe Malaria. Then the next hurdle is finding the medicine. The government is supposed to provide all the Malaria medications, but they are often out of IV Quinine (which may explain why they don't like to prescribe it), so we have to find our own. Luckily I found the Quinine, though very expensive, and the baby is doing much better already.

Sad story
We had a sad, though not uncommon, experience the other night with an 11-month-old, Meningitis baby. The family was very poor, uneducated and had waited too long to bring her. We had spent several days praying, sharing the gospel, and teaching the family how to pray for their very sick baby. I even gave my tri-monthly allotment of blood to her, but it was to no avail. Michel and Sheryl (her nurse, friend that has come to help us for awhile) and I had spent most of the day back and forth from the hospital and had finally gotten home and crashed into bed, only to be texted by the hospital informing us that the baby had died. This was after several late nights in a row back and forth to the hospital. We went back immediately and found the family out back in the cold, dirty morgue crying in grief. We comforted them and asked them what they wanted to do. They wanted to go home, so we made the sad 30-minute drive out to Bingbilang. The stench was overwhelming—it seemed too soon for the body to be smelling already so it must have been the parents. Despite our efforts in giving change of clothes and soap and encouraging patients and families to bathe, sometimes the smells can't be removed so easily.

I really enjoy my role here as a social worker/hospital chaplain/community health or village nurse even though it has it's downsides. I always thought all of those professions would be fun and rewarding and now I have all three in one! I know Jesus had a “dirty” job too while he was on this earth with uneducated, sin-filled people constantly asking for his help. I just have to pray for patience and wisdom like He had in every day and every case.

Night on the mountain
As Dwayne said, we have had several emergencies lately where we were not able to use the helicopter because of one thing or another. Rats and wear and tear from the helicopter being out in the weather are doing it's toll. The other day we got ready to fly into the mountains to pick up a patient only to find some brand new wires eaten through again by rats! So, I hiked an hour or so, straight up the mountain in the dark to bring a mom and brand new baby out of the mountains. (She was unable to deliver the placenta so they had to do it manually in the hospital.) Luckily she had lots of caring relatives that helped carry her out. We are anxious for this hangar to be finished! It will be a huge blessing to the project.

Medical Mission group
We're getting ready for a mission group this week from Michigan who will be sharing their expertise with us here for a week. We will take them to the surrounding villages and projects to do medical work and simple surgeries. There will also be a couple construction workers to help with our building project. We are limited in what we can do with our present helicopter but we are still praying with faith that God will provide the aircraft that he knows will best fit the needs.

Brooke's Point youth ready to serve
We just started a new outreach group with the young people of Brooke's Point church. They are such an inspiration with their eagerness to do something. They already lead the Wednesday night prayer meetings, Friday night vespers, and Sabbath afternoon AY program. We encouraged them to reach outside their church and they were very interested. They were just lacking someone to help them get started. We got them started and even helped them appoint their own leaders and they are already reaching out to their neighbors with Bible studies and health education.

New Adult Literacy class
We continue to have a steady group of church members in Cabar coming to our Health Workers class. It's great to have Sheryl here now, also, to help with the class and translation. Michel also started an adult literacy class for the new (and old) church members so they can read the Bible and sing and not be ashamed in society. It's fun to watch them color and trace letters and hear them sing.

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