It took me about five times longer to get up to this point than it took me to get back down to our house. I walked into our courtyard (after terrifying myself going down a trail I did not have the skill to go down), sat down, and thanked God that I get to live in this beautiful place and that I was still in one piece.
We had a medical campaign last weekend. We drove a couple hours up into the mountains above Curahuasi arriving at a little pueblo where we set up a small clinic in the local school. These clinics serve to encourage the local churches as they serve their communities. They are a lot of work, but they are also a chance to get to know a bit more of Peru. As workers in the hospital, it is a chance to know one another outside of the hospital setting. This campaign was nice, because we were not overly busy. We had time to enjoy the views. And I was glad to visit this lake that I had heard about, but never been able to find!
A medical campaign on the edge of a lagoon
Saturday morning. The darkness was still above Curahuasi when a force of about 30 employees gathered in the parking lot of the hospital Diospi Suyana. At 6:00, the two-hour drive over rocky, mountainous roads began. For the medical campaign, village Pastor Marcos Acuña had chosen the small settlement of Ccocha. No one was paid for this, and the Peruvian workers joined the expedition on a voluntary basis. When the cars finally reached their destination on the edge of a lake, the sun was shining down from the blue sky.
A small school was used as a makeshift hospital. For six hours, our team of doctors and nurses examined the patients who had come great distances on foot. Pediatric nurses Patricia and Esther entertained the children, and also gave medical and dental advice.
Lunch consisted of hot potatoes and salted cheese. Pastor Marcos Acuña and Wilmer Martín Asto gave testimonies about how faith in Jesus Christ had shaped their own lives.
Shortly before sunset, the convoy arrived back at the hospital. Missionaries and Peruvians alike were equally tired, satisfied, and enriched by many unforgettable experiences. We want to give a big thank you to all participants, especially to Kathi and Dominik Hüttner for their preparation for the effort. (Photos by André Bacher, Daniel Dressler and Dr. Martina John)
I would like to share that I am proud of my alma mater, Abilene Christian University. This past summer, in our little state of Apurimac, located in one of the poorest parts of Peru, we had five people associated with ACU working for the sake of the gospel and for the sake of the poor. From our little university, located in the dry plains of west Texas, somehow five of us managed to find ourselves through the leading of God to be in one of the least honored regions of our hemisphere. Most recently, the story of Kent Brantly, the physician who contracted the Ebola virus in Liberia, has been prominent in the news. Well, he is an ACU graduate as well. When we were in language school in Costa Rica, a school specifically serving missionaries, at times we had up to 10 students who had an association with ACU. That was 10 percent of the student body from one university, all in Costa Rica with the hopes of learning Spanish so they can serve God in some capacity. I read some Christian biographies and there are colleges that are prominent in American missionary history. One that comes to mind readily is Wheaton college up by Chicago. That small university has sent missionaries all over the world, and it has had a bigger impact for the sake of Christ than its size deserves. I wonder if in 50-100 years, if people will be looking back and wondering how that small university in west Texas managed to send so many people out to bring the message of Jesus to the world. I thank God for ACU. Here is a link to some of Kent Brantly’s interview on NBC.
While we were seeing some of the Inca sights with our friends the Reids who came to visit us last week, the hospital had an unexpected, but pleasant visit from the president of Peru. The day before we watched as a helicopter made a test landing at the hospital, and I wondered if he might be coming. The last time a helicopter landed at our hospital it was a test run for a presidential visit to Curahuasi that never occurred. This time as we were driving out of town to begin sightseeing, we saw many police. We asked what was going on, and they told us the president was coming. How fun it would have been if it was one day earlier so we could experience it, and even more if our friends could have shared it with us. See the post below from the Hospital Diospi Suyana website. As an aside, one interesting thing about his visit is that he ran through the hospital. He literally jogged very quickly the whole time while Klaus gave him a running tour in 10 minutes. I also heard he drove his own armored vehicle while in Curahuasi. Interesting president. I was talking to a patient today who told me he is definitely more along the Hugo Chavez line of presidency in regards to his thoughts about the American government, so I think it is a good thing that the face of our hospital is German.
The big surprise
Yesterday around noon, President Ollanta Humala’s helicopter landed at our mission hospital. In the bright sunshine, the president waved to the crowd that had gathered on the hospital grounds. After being greeted by a delegation of the hospital, he explained to the mission doctors John that he had read an article about Diospi Suyana in a magazine.
President Ollanta Humala attended a conference with the mayors of the state and his cabinet in Curahuasi’s town hall. Late in the afternoon he had just enough time for a short tour of the hospital. He was joined by the Minister of Health, Sra. Midori de Habich. After the tour, the Head of State and Dr. John ran together towards the helicopter.
At about 7 pm that evening, the President called the mayor of Curahuasi and told him Diospi Suyana was the best hospital in the southern part of the country. He said he was totally thrilled by what he had seen.
In the morning, many employees had prayed for God’s blessing. Up until 5 pm it was still uncertain whether the President would be able to visit the hospital before his return flight. However, the big dream became reality and in the evening, some of the missionaries gathered with their Peruvian colleagues to give thanks to God.
Diospi Suyana is fighting at many fronts these days, especially with regard to issues concerning imports and licensing. The meeting with the Peruvian President and the Minister of Health was a gift from God at just the right time.
Diospi Suyana would like to thank Lisa Isaak, Sarah Nafziger, Ryan Morigeau, Simon Giesbrecht and Christian Bigalke for the many photos taken and videos made.