Let Me Introduce You to Some of My New Friends

Ana

I met Ana when I was hanging out one day at the cooking school that Carlos and Telma help run. Ana has a 5 year old son named Kevin who received a surgery a little over a year ago to correct his congenital scoliosis. Ana has done a great job with him in physical therapy to help him recover from his surgery. He is running around and playing like a normal kid. But she has to continue to do exercises with him at home to strengthen the left side of his body. It is a challenge when she is trying to juggle three other kids, including one infant. So we have recently start coming to her house to learn the exercises they do so that we can help her do physical therapy with Kevin in the future.

Albertina

One evening a couple of weeks ago Telma told me about a lady who lives down the street who is suffering from a lot of pain and can barely move. I met her that same evening and she was telling me that she had suffered a stroke and that her children were also sick. I told them about our clinic and arranged for them to have a ride to the clinic since she could barely walk. The doctor prescribed antibiotics for the kids and we talked with Albertina for at least an hour. Some of the passages that Doctora Sara shared with Albertina include Lamentations 3:22-24, Psalm 23, and 2 Corinthians 11:18-31. We think the majority of her health problems are caused by high stress and anxiety as her husband has been out of work since he broke his leg and her children have had to quit school and start working up in the fields in the mountain at a very young age. We have visited her in her house twice since she came into the clinic and each time we can see that she is happier and happier. It means so much to her that we would come to her house with gifts of beans, sugar, rice, etc. and to read the Bible with her and encourage her. One afternoon I stopped by with some calcium supplements that the doctor wanted to give her. Her youngest son Milton called out my name on the street and brought me to his house. It was such a blessing to me too as she called out my name and greeted me with a hug! I have been learning so much from Doctora Sara about the importance of looking at our patients as people and loving them enough to care about there real problems. And it has been such a blessing for me to be able to build friendships with them and view them as my brothers and sisters in Christ and not just patients.

Jamie and Milton, Albertina’s two youngest children

Holly and Chris

This is a missionary couple fromFloridathat lives in Magdalena and works with a different organization to build houses and host a mentoring and sponsorship program inBuena Vista(another town a little ways around the mountain). I had dinner at their house one evening and really enjoyed getting to know them. They brought a family that they have been working with into the clinic to see the doctor the other day. It was their first time to come to the clinic and I was happy to be able to show them what we do in the clinic so that they can spread the word to the families that they work with inBuena Vista. The little girl they brought in was COVERED in bug bites. The doctor calls this situation sarcoptiosis, or sarna, which is basically scabies. It is a bed bug that is extremely difficult to get rid of and causes extreme itching and irritated skin. Doctora Sara felt so burdened by the severity of her situation that she personally bought the medicine that the girl needed because it is rather expensive and it was absolutely necessary in this case. Who knows how long this poor girl has been suffering from this. I am so glad that I have built a relationship with Holly and Chris so that we can work together to help these communities. I have already been blessed by our friendship.

Christian and Josefina

This is the family that I gave my race day raffle prize to. (dry beans and corn, sugar, oil, etc) I had visited them once before as Josefina was suffering from tension related symptoms and Telma wanted me to see if we could help her in the clinic. They have a one-room house made of corrugated metal laminate. The room was full of smoke from their cooking fire, which commonly causes respiratory problems in children. She came into the clinic with her face very swollen due to an infected molar. Christian had been without work for a while but when I was walking to the store with my friend Erica, he called out to us and told us that he had recently found a temporary construction job. His spirits had obviously been lifted and he was so happy to be able to take his kids to the store and buy them a juice that day. It was very humbling for me to allow him to buy me a bottle of water at the store. He asked if he could buy us one, and I knew that he was trying to thank and repay us for what we had done for his family and he now had the money to be able to buy us a bottle of water. I could have easily bought myself a bottle of water and had plenty of money to spare, but he spent some of the few cents he had to buy us water. I wanted him to be able to participate in that sacrificial act of love so that he could experience the act of giving as well and I could tell by the smile on his face that it was such a blessing for him to be able to give us that gift!

Rudy and Felipa

This is another friendship that I have made through Telma referring patients to me. I have mentioned Rudy in the past and how we have been working to get him diagnosed so that we know how to appropriately help him. I stopped by Felipa’s house this past Thursday to see how her second appointment at the Centro Neurológico went since we could not be with her for her second appointment. I was relieved to hear that she was able to arrive on her own alright and attend the appointment. It was pouring down rain when I visited her, so I wasn’t able to talk long, but she told me that the doctors at the center wanted her to bring Rudy everyday for special therapy and schooling because of his condition: microcephaly, or “small head.” I wish I could have been there to hear the full diagnosis, or why they think Rudy has microcephaly. It can be caused by many different things and can have many different levels of severity. I do not know what our next step will be. Although this is an amazing clinic that offers free diagnosis and free treatment of neurological problems in kids, Felipa and her family still can not afford to bring Rudy to the clinic everyday on the bus, nor do they have the time to devote to this. Rudy’s mom and aunts work everyday and his grandma Felipa takes care of all the kids. Without any fathers in the picture, their flexibility is very limited. I am a little overwhelmed at trying to figure out how much more we can help them. But I will definitely not give up and I certainly want to continue to visit and encourage the family. I know they are struggling with accepting Rudy’s condition and learning how to love and be thankful for him, just the way he is. I am once again blessed by the relationship that we have and that they are so happy to have me visit their family. As I was leaving in the rain on Thursday, Felipa just kept saying “thank you” and “God bless you,” “mamita linda” and I was so overwhelmed by the love that she was pouring out on me.

Lettie

I remember meeting Lettie in previous years as she has been part of the group of women who use a microloan to make greeting cards to sell. But I have gotten to know her a lot better this year and I have really enjoyed growing closer to her and her family. I held her baby girl for about an hour as she was working in the art exposition for our students to sell her greeting cards. And I have really enjoyed hanging out with her two sons, Bryan and Fabricio.Bryanwas over one evening with his dad and Telma was telling me how much he loves learning English, so I always try to teach him some English phrases when I see him. And Fabricio is just the cutest little three year old I’ve ever seen! I love it when they see me in the street and yell out my name!

Bryan and Fabricio

Sara and Francisca

I have been so extremely blessed by the friendships that I have built with Doctora Sara and nurse Francisca. They are such sweet, inspiring people and great role models for me. I have really enjoyed joking around with them at lunch and getting to know them better. I’m glad our relationship can go beyond a professional level and become more personal. I love hearing Dra. Sara sing worship songs at the top of her lungs in the car. I loved visiting Francisca’s family at her house inMagdalena. I love it when they laugh at me and say that I’ve done something cute. I love having great deep talks about our pasts and what God is currently doing in our lives. I think we are equally inspiring and encouraging to one another. The other day, Francisca said “I just don’t know what I’m going to do when you leave! I will miss you a lot!” What a sweet heart! Don’t worry Francisca. I’m not going anywhere for a long time! They threw a birthday party for me in the clinic, including hiding all of the patients in the exam room when I walked in at the start of the day and singing happy birthday to me! They told me “La queremos mucho!” And I love them too!

Doctora Sara

Francisca

Praise the Lord that I am building relationships with the people that I am serving and working with. The only way to minister to someone is to know them and love them. It usually takes a long time to grow close enough to someone that they share their deep thoughts, fears, and dreams with you, but I feel that God has been blessing these relationships and allowing us to grow very close, very fast! And of course it has been a blessing to continue my friendships with people I have met in previous years and get to know them better and grow closer to them.

We continue to do physical therapy with Bryan and Luis every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Their mom, Irma, is such a blessing to me! I have really enjoyed getting to know her better and growing closer to her.

With my last group, when we made our trip to the hospital to observe orthopedic trauma surgeries, we were faced with an unexpected surprise: The hospital had run out of anesthesia! So they were not doing any surgeries that were not emergencies. Thankfully, Dra. Sara was able to get us into the maternity ward and we were actually able to observe FIVE BIRTHS! Three were natural and two were Cesarean-sections. It was so incredible to be able to witness the miracle of life that morning!


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2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Sheryl Mattera
    Jul 31, 2011 @ 14:03:39

    I loved reading this blog Britney! I feel so privleged to read it knowing you and some of the people! You are doing such a good work in such love….Jesus is using you, what a thrill! I will continue to pray for you and Dr. Sara and nurse Fransesca! For strength and endurance, health and grace. I am planning on sending a package to the clinic, any specific requests? I will find out how to send it through SI.
    May God continue to bless you! Love, Sheryl

    Reply

  2. Cathy Leininger
    Aug 01, 2011 @ 11:53:29

    You are truly blessed to be a blessing, Britney! I love hearing about what you are doing and your new friends and how the clinic is helping families. Is there a way to buy some of the art studio offerings online or through you? I’d love to have a painting from Magdalena. Aunt Cathy

    Reply

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