I am continually amazed at what God does through His mission here in Honduras. I can not begin to know everything that happens...the mission is simply too big for me to hear every story, every happening.
Case in point (you knew that was coming...I know) is a conversation I had with the general medical staff on Friday. We were discussing the very real problem of how much money we have budgeted for medicines, and how much they want to spend. They are great medical and spiritual people because they want to provide the best they can for our patients. Reina told me how many people we see every month (over 100) to whom we are their regular providers of high blood pressure or diabetic medicines, plus over 30 prenatal patients on an ongoing basis every month. Thinking about what would happen to them if we were not here...that alone is a little overwhelming.
We were talking about donations being down, having to buy more here, what happens when we have to tell patients "sorry, we do not have that, you will have to go buy it somewhere else." It was hard. Harder for them because they are the ones that have to look those people in the eye and disappoint them. Hard for me because we simply do not have the resources to meet every need.
Then Reina and Marlene (doctor and nurse respectively) both commented...how people do not only have to pay for the consult (those that can) but so many come from so far away, they have to pay multiple bus fares, find a place to stay over night to be there first thing in the morning to stand in line, go all day without food, etc.
What kind of service are we providing if people are willing to go through all that? What a testimony is that to what they are doing? As I shared that...I heard one of those stories I normally do not hear. Marlene said that a patient had come to her last month wanting to know how we did it. Did what? How were we able to give people the medicines they need? She explained we get help from brothers and sisters in the US. He then proceeded to tell her how impressed he was that we preached the Word, that we prayed, that we had devotionals with the patients and showed Christian videos...how nice everyone is, how much he felt loved in Christ....and that he told everyone in his family and everyone he knew about our clinic.
I suppose that helps explain how we have people coming from such distances to be seen. It was also a huge encouragement to Marlene that day.
They also mentioned that when they go home...they get people asking them questions on the street (how long should I take this medicine? Should I have this looked at? etc.)...that Reina heard people at the bus stop say one day "there goes the poor people's doctor."....and that they get asked occasionally if they are Cubans (the communist country does some medical work here and even takes some people back to Cuba for surgeries to show them how wonderful communism is...I have talked about that more in depth in the past here) All that to sum up that people do know there is something different about us. They may not always know what until they come in our doors, but we stand out as being different...weird...odd, and well we should.
I should be used to being stared at...I am a bald, white, over six foot tall big man in a land where I often have to bend over to the waist often to hug someone. But sometimes I wonder if that is the reason people stare...or sometimes they stare because I am weird (in what I am doing...I will skip the other physical or mental attributes that would also define me as weird) and doing things that are just not commonly seen. That is great, and I enjoy it for the most part...but indeed sometimes can be hard.
I continue to struggle with the medicine needs for next year (especially as the drug reps here say prices are going up at least 5%) and how we balance that with providing for our staff, and trying to avoid raising the price of being seen. We want to be able to continue to provide such a bright light of testimony that everyone can see it...and I am resisting at the best of my HS given ability to turn to raising that price. So much in the world right now turns to that...it just seems wrong to turn to that in light of what we are doing. Please pray we can find ways to provide the medicines needed on a monthly basis, in God's direction...be that through dedicated monetary donations, more physical medicine donations, and/or increased contacts with organizations that would be willing to help.
Also on Friday we had a meeting about CHE to get ready for the first training in Talanga on Wednesday. It was so good to see that I was practically not needed there...the excitement was great, and we all (Celeo was there, Jonathan, Oscar and a sister from another small town from near Talanga) were there to guide ourselves in preparation, and I will be doing some Power Point work, but all the facilitating/teaching will be done by them. That first training day comes on Wednesday...the opportunities there for Talanga, San Juancito and Cantaranas are huge and we pray that the message of CHE and the Gospel be proclaimed and eyes be opened this week.
Another big news item...the pipes for the public water system passed their first big test. We had to pay $40 to fix the pipe that burst from the pressure (lots of pressure is good...that means we will get water after all) which we were somewhat expecting because we did not properly hook up the pipe to our cistern...lest we get all the junk in the pipe in there (we are the last stop on the line.) This has been quite a bit of effort and time invested...but in the long run if we can get water this way it will be much, much easier, reliable, and as a nice bonus, much cheaper.
Much more going on than just that...just this week, you get the idea. Praise God for that, and I ask for prayer for us...for encouragement, for strength, for wisdom, and for relaxation....so we can keep going in His endeavor.