Monday, May 24, 2010

Ministry = getting out and pushing... 24 May

Chris here, in Chula Vista
Part of sustaining the missionary project in San Vicente (SV) is transpo. Transpo down to SV. Transpo back form SV. Transpo of things down to SV. Back-and-forth. It's 150 miles from our US house to SV, but because of the two-lane roads thru the mountains, the military check[points (and subsequent searches), the bad roads and the traffic, the drive can be 4 hours one-way... and I am part of the transpo loop for Lori going down there.
Oh, yeah, didn't mention the border at Tijuana, which is a tangled mess on a good day, and a 2-hour nightmare on an average day.
Now add into the mix that the current ministry-to-Mexico vehicle we can afford to keep is a 1995 Jeep Cherokee (like the pic) with 126,000 (but way more engine hours)... and it's developed a liking for stalling out when it heats up from long idles at the border... the mechanics have looked at it, and are baffled...
SO... last Saturday, after a mind-numbing hour of crawling thru Tijuana because every downtown street was tore up and diverted... we get to the San Ysidro border crossing... and even though we have Sentri passes, we were stuck in line, not moving for quite some time...
and the Jeep stalls out...
and no-where to push off to the side...
SO, I push, and Lori steers our stalled 95 Jeep up to the border guard...
who kindly checks our documentation, and says we can 'push thru' (thanks, brother!)
SO... push into the bay just inside the inspection station, pop the hood, wait 10 minutes, de-pressurize the fuel system, and VROOM! Starts like a champ!

Just a slice of the dusty, grindy, what-else-ya-gonna-do life of missions...

Praying for the twenty grand needed for a newer/highly dependable vehicle that will survive Baja and not strand us...


Fernando Learns to Sew

May 21st from San Vicente by Lori

Yes, I sometimes have boys in the sewing class. Albina, one of my long time students invited several of her new neighbors to join in on this week's class. Tagging along with the two neighbor ladies were their 5 children including Fernando age 11. He wanted to know if he could join in on the class. So, he started out by sewing eye glass cases. I told him there would be something special for him to sew if he returned the next day. So, I dug through the fabrics to find boy themed designs that would be of interest to him. He choose the Superman fabric and sewed this pillowcase for himself. He assured me that he'd be returning next month with his Mom and his sister.

Sewing to Bless Others

May 19th from Lori in San Vicente, MX
During this week's sewing class some of my students have been sewing to bless others. The class uses a Mexican Medical Ministry garage for the sewing classes which is a huge blessing. One of the many aspects of the ministry is to check people's vision and to give out reading glasses to those in need. So, I suggested that this week we give back to the ministry by sewing eyeglass cases that could be given out with the glasses. The teenagers sewed up cases that will be used during a June medical/dental/eye outreach.

Pastor Martha visits class with "Angels"

May 2010
Lori from San Vicente, MX
Pictured is Reyna with Noah's Ark that she created during the "working day" with the Angels.

Pastor Martha surprised me by visiting the class while I was working with the Angels. It made me a bit nervous as she looked on. Well, she didn't just look on, but actually got involved by helping to create some of the props we are working on for the a lesson on "Obedience" using the biblical story of Noah. Some of the girls developed questions while others made song posters. After viewing the class in action, Martha asked if the materials could be used during the 4-day July outreach that the church will be traveling to do. The Angels will be in charge of the 3-day Vacation Bible School portion on the outreach. Then Martha asked me to join the church for their ministry time to the other church 2-hours south of San Vicente so that I could continue to guide the Angels as they grow in their ability to minister to children. Wow! I love being invited by nationals to join in when they are ministering. What an honor.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Preparing Young Ladies

From Lori in San Vicente, MX
May 16th, 2010

The teenage girls gathered together yesterday, so that we could continue to work on creating materials for upcoming outreaches. The girls are doing a great job coming up with ideas to minister in the upcoming month. I'm trying to act more as a facilitator than a teacher. There are really being stretched into doing more prep. I'll try and download a pic tomorrow of the creative addition they made.

Monday, May 10, 2010

A New Creation

Lori from San Vicente, MX
April 2010

It was so exciting today when Catalina (pictured with me) was introduced to the church body as a new believer. You see, Catalina, first came to my sewing class in Dec., then shortly after that began attending the church. It's wonderful to see lasting fruit from the sewing ministry. I gave Catalina a super squeeze as a long line of people lined up to welcome her into the "Family of God".

Sock Puppets

From Lori in San Vicente, MX, April 2010
I'm working with a group of teenage girls from a local church here in San Vicente that do children's ministry in several of the outlaying communities. Today, we spent time working on a lesson on "obedience" using the story of Noah's Ark. Pictured are some of the "Angles", as we call them, with the pairs of animals that they'll use in a puppet show to reinforce the lesson.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Helpin' these Kids Smile Again... Chris in Ensenada

Hey, Chris here from Ensenada, Mexico... May 8...

Many nurses my professional organization, the Hispanic Nurses Assn have been staffing the 1000 Smiles Foundation quarterly surgical outreach in Ensenada. A part of the Rotary Intl, this group has been doing cleft lip and palate repairs for 'low resource' kids in Mexico for quite some time. My friends have been pressing me to join the outreach for quite sometime... formal credentialling with the Mex Gov't took awhile... the credentials came thru, and I went for the intense 2-day trip.

Day 1 was mainly Pre-op screening of the patients by the surgeons, and fully stocking and checking out the equipment for safe patient care by the nursing staff (9 nurses). There were also dentists doing general dentistry for dozens of people. The clinic was my favorite type of chaos, people everywhere...

Day 2 was 'up before the sun' and in OR for 12 hours... our team did 14 cases in 3 Operating Room suites at Hospital General Ensenada. The American team came from 7 different states, joining the Mexican team of docs and nurses from Ensenada. I was primarily part of the Post Anesthesia care team, but also circulated in active cases. There were also the dozen other 'needs doin' now' things, including act as translator and communication laison, and help with the anesthesia delivery. 14 cases, some taking 4 hours of operative time...

As the sun set over the Ensenada bay, we all boarded the bus back to San Diego... 13 kids able to be discharged, one staying the night for observation in the General Hosp. A great day, we all agreed... and most fell asleep, exhausted, for the 3 hour trip back.

The high-tech, highly trained team (all volunteers) provided surgical care for kids who would have ZERO chance of such in Mexico, due to their 'least of these' economic status. Cleft lip/palate repair is not a one-time shot, but requires dozens of surgeries over a number of years for the multiple EENT issues... and 1000 Smiles has facilitated hundreds of kids to receive this complex level of long-term care.

A good part of my nursing career has been in scrubs and 'up to my elbows' in long-and-difficult cases over the decades, so this 1000 Smiles work was quite a joy to me (yeah, I really do like the work!)...

Of course, my first Post-Anesthesia kid out had a rough time waking up, requiring a full 45 minutes of 'that's all I did, one-on-one'... SOOO 'game on'... but she did great, and it was a joy to hand her over... all awake and doing great... turn her over to a mother weeping openly with relief and gratitude in post-op/pre-discharge...

Great weekend, happy in scrubs, again...

your bro, Chris