Friday, March 9, 2012

Concrete Toilets, Miracles, and Dentistry

This past week I had the opportunity to go down to Puerto San Jose to help translate for a dental team.  I got a call from a friend of ours a few weeks ago and he asked if I’d be interested in translating and I said sure, why not?  J  Anyways, there were just 6 of us that went out there; three of the people flew in from the states and three of us from Guate.  The man that flew down (Jim) is a dentist, his wife (Mary) helped him out, and Wendy was along for the ride, but washed all the dental equipment and was in charge of prayer.  Then there was Mike (our friend), who did extractions and worked with all the coordinating and electrical stuff, and another translator, Vanessa.  Oh, and I was there too…  ;)  It was really a fun group!! 
The group (minus Mike)

The team flew in on Sunday, so we picked them up from the airport, loaded up the truck and began the trek down to Puerto San Jose, the coast.  We unpacked that evening and set some stuff up, and then got our butts back to the hotel and crashed!!  J 

Monday morning we finished setting up and opened the door to the clinic which brought a steady flow of people through the door.  The dental clinic was actually set up in one of the churches in the village.  The church was concrete, but there were no coverings for the windows, the ground was dirt (except for a few square feet of concrete that we worked on), and we were often accompanied by lizards and ants.  We did have electric, but the generator also saved us quite a few times!! 
Where dirt turned to cement...
Mango tree right behind the church
View from the front door
The church/clinic
A few plugs?  ;)
Lots of people!!
Behind the clinic

Anyways, we got the clinic running as quickly as we could, Jim doing fillings and Mike doing extractions.  Once each patient was finished being seen, Wendy prayed over them and they were on their way!  By the end of the first day we had a waiting list of over 40 people, with more people asking to be on the list.  I was put in charge of the registration of all the people, which sometimes proved harder than it sounds like it should be!  Often it meant explaining why I couldn’t just put them right through to the dentist or why we wouldn’t be able to see them today, but by the grace of God, I think the point always got across!!  J  I did also get to interact with the kids quite a bit; coloring, taking pictures, doing puppet shows, teaching them how to brush their teeth, etc.  Oh, and I helped with extractions at times too… 
Let the fillings begin!
Extraction station...
Prayer post-work
LOTS of fillings!
Kids coloring center  :)

My "headquarters"
Even more extractions!

So we ran the clinic all day on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and half a day on Thursday.  Tuesday and Wednesday evening we also did film ministry in two separate churches in the village, which was interesting!  The first night we were right next to a mango tree, so there were mangos that kept falling during the movie, but nobody got hit!  J  The film ministry mostly consisted of setting up a “Jesus” film and then the pastor giving a word at the end.  It was interesting to see how many people showed up and the different reactions, but I think that overall they went well!

Miracles were another part of the trip that I had not really anticipated, but was amazed at and loved none the less!!!  For one man he came into the clinic using a crutch from breaking his femur a while ago.  The team asked if they could pray over him, and by the end he was walking out of the clinic, no pain and no crutch needed!!!  Upon talking to him a little later, he was actually scheduled for surgery to re-correct the bone and try to re-heal what had been broken.  Wow!  Another time a lady came in with dry-socket and a lot of pain from it.  Following prayer, her gums were COMPLETELY healed and she had NO pain!!  I think it really reminded me that God really is still in the miracle “business,” we just need to have the faith and courage to ask! 
When he came in...
When he left!!

The area that we did the clinic in was fairly poor, but not completely desolate.  They had concrete toilets outside, which took a little getting used to.  It was nice not to have to worry about the toilet seat or flushing though!  ;)  I’ll just show you some other things…
The Bathroom...
And the toilet!
Homemade broom
Motorcycles, cars and pigs share the road!
Well worn feet.

Thursday afternoon we packed up the clinic (after an AMAZING lunch!) and hit the road for home.  We figured that we saw about 50 people during those 3.5 days but I am praying that we were able to make much more of a spiritual impression than a dental impression!!  I must admit, it was good to get home and back into my own bed, but this really was an awesome trip and I am SO glad I had the opportunity to go!!!  
Lunch!!  :)  
Here are a few other pictures too...
He smiled AFTER I showed him the picture!  :)

He wanted a picture...  :)
Sweet kids!

So handsome!

LOTS of coloring!

Pool at the hotel, didn't get to use it much!!! 
I don't hate this sunset!!  :)