Category : El Salvador
Serving in the lab all week, I would greet our patients with a smile and, in Spanish, “Hello and welcome! I’m Betsy and, I’m sorry, but I’m the nurse with a needle!” My gentle jesting served to calm them a bit, but they chuckled and relaxed more when I said, “I have hugs, too, and if you don’t cry, you‘ll get a sticker when we’re done!” Sweet Ava, with me in the above photo, had her electrolytes, hemoglobin, glucose and kidney function tests checked, monitoring her Diabetes Type II in ways unavailable in Salvadoran rural clinics.
MTW is in process of estab-lishing a formal relationship with Mission to El Salvador (MTES), Director Jon Snyder. and his wife Danielle co-founded the ministry in 2009. With a team of national pastors, counselors and psychologists, they have a multi-faceted min-istry to addicts, the trafficked and the homeless… the least of these, as Jesus said. Medical Project Administrator Sally Mercer and RN Mary Fran Morris ably co-led, clinically and spiritually, our team of 10. Personally, I loved not being Team Leader, for it gave me constant interaction with patients I could “love on”! Pictured L to R: Sally, Jon, Mary Fran, with MTW’s ST Teams Coordinator Philip Ajamian.
Ada Guerra was an-other lady I loved on with another kind of needle for an intramuscular injection of Rocephin. Ada came to us with an infected leg from a mi-nor scratch a few days earlier. She returned for follow-up the next day with her leg much improved. Dr Bernard Hildebrand (TX) is my kind of MD… before I even knew that he was ready to change Ada’s dressing, I found them outside where he was being a terrific nurse—God bless him! And by God’s providence, our Medical Director Dr Ted Kuhn was with us that day and ruled out any leg clots using his portable ultrasound.
We cannot serve without the co-ministry of our interpreters. Dr Bernard was blessed with Alfredo, a brother-in-Christ who, because of his own testimony, not only empathetically communicated, but also shared the saving power and love of Jesus with them. By the end of our first clinic day, we were calling him “Dr” Alfredo because of the many joint-injections with which he assisted Bernard. While Bernard prepared the steroid and lidocaine mixture, Alfredo educated their patient by explaining the procedure and what to expect afterwards! What a team, relieving doz-ens of soon-grateful patients of their knee and shoulder pains. Alfredo was a good hand-holder, too! …see at right! ♥
Our patients were lovingly greeted at our initial clinic station, “Triage”, by RNs Edra Adams (GA) and Melissa Aguirre (CA). Salvadoran by heritage, Melissa was pretty fluent, but MTES intern Jenni Wegener assisted her, while Cynthia interpreted for Edra.
Both our sisters-in-Christ were eager to share the gospel after vital signs and other ’intake busi-ness’ was completed in preparation for seeing a doctor. Jenni and Cynthia used the Evange-Cube® (above left) or gospel bracelets crafted by children in Mary Fran’s Atlanta church. (above right). Prayer then often followed, as it did at each one of a patient’s team-encounters throughout their visit.
One of our sickest patients was Maria Magdalena, 57, who suffered with uncontrolled asthma. An initial aerosol treatment of Albut-erol® did little to alleviate her wheezing, so Bernard asked me to give another. Craig then supple-mented it with take-home oral medi-cation and MDI’s (‘rescue’ inhalers). We prayed, asking God to be her Great Pulmonologist and do more than we could with our limited re-sources.
Even-sicker Jorge Luis, 18 months, came into clinic with fever, wheezing and bronchiolitis. After our nebulizer treatment his oxygen saturation was only 90% (normal = >98%), and his breathing remained labored. Dr José Roberto Abarca, the rural clinic director, called for an ambulance, but when it didn’t come quickly, Dr. Roberto shepherded Jorge and his mother to the hospital by car for more intensive treatment. I don’t have his picture to share, but please pray for both little Jorge and sweet Maria Magdalena.
Four other gifted U.S servants helped care for our more than 360 patients: Sarah Beadles FNP (GA), Dr Craig Lem (NJ) and
Dr Mike Miller (OH). I’ve had the privilege (and fun!) of working with and learning from Craig and Mike in other countries, and I pray to serve with Sarah again soon, Lord willing!
Two Salvadoran MDs, also pre-cious sisters-in-Christ, Jenifer Ama-ya and Mirian Guerrero completed our providers. I delight in the rich fellowship of bi-cultural teams, but some very practical blessings in-clude:
1) local clinicians can follow-up with our sicker patients; and,
2) they facilitate patient-referrals with-in the national healthcare system.
Non-medical personnel are vital on our teams. Often working behind the scenes in important indirect patient care, they allow us to serve in our rightful healthcare capacities. Businessman Jordan Wilson (GA) was Mary Fran’s ‘right arm’ in pharmacy, smoothing the process of prescription-fills for all of our providers and their patients.
In some countries we have to turn away patients, but we were glad not to have to do so in either of our clinic locations: urban Santa Ana or rural Chalchuapa. Salvadorans are a patient and gracious people… very grateful, too, for what we could offer them. One after the other told me in the lab that they were not always used to such listening ears and kindness.
And we are grateful… for you our supporters, and that God is gracing us to spend our ‘retirement years’ in medical evangelism alongside some of the most spe-cial and gifted Christian brothers and sisters worldwide!
To Him be the glory forever and ever! Amen.
Praise God …for His providence in putting just this exact team together ……for the leadership of Jon, Sally & Mary Fran …for an-swered prayer: team safety & health; all luggage arriving & relative customs ease; team unity, sweet fellowship & worship; and generous hospitality of Salvadoran siblings-in-Christ …for dedicated Salvadoran & N. American laborers with whom we worked.
Please pray for …the Snyder family & MTES leadership & ministries …MTW interns/missionaries to be called to El Salvador …Holy Spirit to draw many in Santa Ana & Chalchuapa to Christ because of our clinics & subsequent follow-up by national MDs & pastors …the trafficked, addicted & homeless who are as yet without hope, whose hearts are rebellious & unreceptive to Christ …our January 2018 Trinidad team—3 more providers (MD, NP or PA), portable ultrasound & 2 non-medical servants needed …balance in work, worship, rest, time with family & friends. …our health & our marriage to thrive …Romans 15:5-7, by grace, for all assigned teams!
Upcoming schedule …Nov.10-12 MTW every-3-year Global Missions Conference, Dallas TX …Jan. 20-28, 2018 Trinidad, West Indies team …Feb. 22-25 Mitchell Road PCA missions conference, Greenville SC …April 7-14 Costa Rica team (already full, PTL!)
Thank you again for partnering with us in Christ’s work of medical evangelism.
May we be blessed with abundance so as to bless others with abandon!
Until He returns or calls,
Ash and Betsy
Home address: Donations Address:
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