Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Can't sleep.

Can’t sleep tonight – so I thought I’d try and write down some brief notes about the past couple of weeks:

Luis is a patient who swallowed (Lord knows how) his dental work and the appliance is stuck in his esophagus – mid-chest. We didn’t have the proper tools here to deal with the situation and he is now in a hospital in the nation’s capital – Tegucigalpa. They are unable to retrieve the device, so will have to “split his chest” and do a full scale operation tomorrow at 10am. Please pray for the success of the surgery and for complete healing.

I have had a rough week or so. Lots of disappointments and hurts. Tonight has been a wonderful evening of ministry by the Holy Spirit and I’m feeling spiritually refreshed. Thank you Lord for this. I’ve been listening to Jesus Adrianne Romero a lot tonight. Music touches my heart like nothing else. Thank you Lord.

I has just started to rain gently outside – so beautiful. The nights here are so dark when it is cloudy – no street lights or anything like that. There is a nice breeze blowing and it is raining gently. Beautiful.

Recent comment from Ben after mom said, “Ben I told you not to throw mud!” : “Mom I didn’t throw the mud, I only put it in her hair!”

Recent comment from Mariah after her daddy said “Honey, I know that marriage is the farthest thing from your mind”: “Daddy, marriage isn’t the farthest thing from my mind”. Oh dear. My Mariah turns 13 in just a few more days. I can honestly say that our communication has never been better - yet another beautiful gift from the Lord. She is doing so well and I am so thankful.

A poisonous snake has been killed at another area close to the hospital recently where some younger children play. Thanking the Lord for protection for them and praying for continued protection from ALL of the dangers here for the kids (and adults alike).

I discovered the joy of eating oranges while floating in the Caribbean last Saturday. I’m so sorry to have to reveal this to all of my friends who are suffering in the cold up north.

Our Spanish is coming along really well right now. Diana (our Spanish teacher) living with us four day a week is making a HUGE difference. We are starting to tackle the subjunctive tense of verbs now. I prayed tonight that God would “loose” my tongue to speak Spanish that I might be able to preach the gospel here. There are many opportunities.

Work is slow right now. But God is providing in other ways. We’ve received far above the normal amount of monetary gifts in the last two months. It is all from Him, no matter where it comes from. Thank you Lord for your provision.

Two Videos

My friend Rimas posted these two videos on his blog and I want to link to them here as I agree with him completely: video #1 is hilarious and video #2 is very profound.
Well, here is the link



Dr. Don and Jesus the machete

You have to know Dr Don to fully appreciate this - but I post it here just for the sheer joy of having you read it. It is wonderful. Thank you Lord for protecting Dr. Don. (by the way Dr. Don - we were out of anti-venom at the hospital - so you can be ever more thankful to your dad for the lessons).


He will bruise the serpent's head. Genesis 3:15

For this mountain vignette to make sense, I need to give you a little background. I pray it's worth your time, that it reminds you of how God prepares and protects us on our journeys:

1. I'm hate all snakes because I'm terrified of all snakes.
2. My friend Joe may never again speak to me after he reads this because he loves all animals.
3. The last thing I read before I climbed the mountain to Paradise today was Mike Fueyo's note. It read, "Go crush the serpent's head today."
4. My Dad, who died just 9 months ago, played ball with me for hours on end when I was a kid, sharpening my pitching arm's aim.
5. My encounter occurred after I'd been plodding the mountain for three hours and was fairly tired.
6. The encounter occurred while I was lost in another world, reading and reciting the Pilgrim's Progress in Spanish to polish my presentation and my pronunciation. When I saw the snake watching me, I had just recited the song about the devil attacking like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.
7. Our encounter occurred at least two hours away from anything even close to civilization.
8. Jesus always accompanies me in the mountains. Jesus is the name of the machete I carry as a walking stick which has guitar teaching chords written on it: It is my Support, my Protector, my Teacher, my Music. Jesus.
9. I''m typing this very quietly at midnight so Suz and Amy can't say "I told you so" about drinking coffee (which I NEVER drink) at 8pm:

He absolutely saw me. He straightened himself out parallel to the left side of the path and angled uphill at 10 degrees. His eyes locked on me; he froze and his head came up. He knew what I knew: one of us had to make the next move. There was not room for us both on this narrow path. My mind was racing:
1. Two to four hours from anti-venom. Alone on a mountain. With Jesus.
2. Mike said crush the serpent's head.
3. Yellow beard is the most poisonous snake. Not yellow-bellied; i.e., not frightened.
4. I wonder if Mike Bright's engineers can design a hand-held cattle prod I can carry in the mountains to shock myself if I get a snake bite. Electricity could possibly denature snake poison.
5. I don't want to get close enough to swing Jesus at him; I can't take the risk of getting bit on the arm.

I step back, delighted to find a baseball-sized rock on the path. I silently say "Thank you" to Dad. My opponent sees me retreat; he turns for the bushes. I wind up. The colors of snake and brush blend. Time is gone. The rock leaves the pitchers' mound. The strike hits the batter, who rolls out of the bushes onto the path to first base. In a mindless flash, Jesus strikes. The batter's tail is gone. Jesus strikes again. The head is gone. The inning is over except for a racing heart and a racing mind. Every stick the mind sees for the rest of the two hour journey down the mountain is another batter, another yellow beard awaiting a confrontation with Jesus. I am grateful to finally round third base and be heading safely toward home. I am grateful for the hours of Dad's pitching practice. I am grateful for Mike's prophecy. I am grateful for Suzanne's and your prayers. I am grateful. The inning is over and Jesus has won.

None of us know how much time we have. Let's play every inning as if it were our last. My unnamed stethoscope and I will be in Haiti Feb 9-24. We'll appreciate your prayers.

New Ultrasound! Yeah!

The following note came from Dr. Leon Greene, the cardiologist here at Loma de Luz. For years, the hospital has been needing a good ultrasound machine, and by God's provision, we now have the BEST!

Hey, all those of you interested in ultrasound (now I've eliminated about 75% of the readers)-

Blessings! We just acquired a (NEW) GE Vivid-e BT-10, 2010 model, ultrasound machine. GE released this model only last Friday - it's the latest and greatest. It comes with adult and a pediatric cardiac transducers. I'm not sure if I will have it in my hands by Friday when I begin the trip back to Honduras, but we'll at least have it within the next few weeks. Friends and contacts at GE and a Christian group called MedPro Imaging pulled their collective strings to make this happen. It wasn't free (they got it for us at about half-price), but we were able to purchase it with money we had in a ministry medical equipment fund. So PTL! It will be useful for abdominal/OB and could be used for vascular, too, if we later are able to get the vascular probe.

Thanks to everyone for praying for this machine over the last 3 years, and to those of you who also tried to get a machine from other sources. We'll have the best ultrasound available to mankind in a few days/weeks! Now all we need is someone who actually knows how to use it properly.


The Farm Plan

The following was stolen shamelessly from Josh and Linzy Browning. Thank you two for putting together such a nice story on our Hospital Farm Plan!

Although Hospital Loma de Luz exists solely to provide medical care and share Christ’s gospel with the north coast of Honduras, a lot of other non-medical work goes into keeping things running. A hospital, even a simple one with a great deal of volunteer labor, requires significant funding. Patient fees in this very poor area only cover a small portion of expenses, so the rest has to come from support raised mostly in the US. For years, Dr. McKenney (the head surgeon and founder of the hospital) has been working on ideas to make the hospital solvent.

Back in the early 90’s, Loma de Luz acquired a tract of about 60 acres, some mountainside, but about 35 acres being flat land adjacent to the coast. Of course, the hospital and its accompanying buildings take up some of that, but the rest has been sitting idly ever since. Every good farm kid knows there is money to be made off land, but what to grow in this physical and economic climate that would turn a profit had always been a question. The commonly grown rice, beans, corn, and tapioca just aren’t worth much. However, palm oil does have a significant commercial market as a food product and potentiall as a biofuel, so in the past year approximately 2, 500 African palm oil trees have been planted. It takes 3 years to produce a crop, so marketable crops should start arriving in 2012. Next time you happen to read ‘palm kernel oil’ on an ingredient list, please think of Hospital Loma de Luz, and pray for healthy little trees and God’s provision for the hospital through them!

A mature oil palm. The Hospital's palms will look like this in a decade or two!

While African palms are the cornerstone of the farm plan, it is much more than just a plantation. In 2009, Brad Ward joined the Loma de Luz missionary community as the farm manager. He is full of ideas and plans, including growing food crops and raising animals between the trees and using the farm to demonstrate environmentally and economically sustainable methods. This year should see two crops each of rice and corn, half raised using traditional methods from the area, the other half incorporating more sustainable methods. Other crops include beans, plantains, bananas, and melons. Right now, about 30% of the palm plantation is unsuitable for intercropping, so sometime during 2010, multipurpose meat/milk goats will be added to the scheme, grazing between the trees in an intensive grazing rotation. Chickens for meat production are also on the docket. As the trees mature, their canopy will make the underlying land increasingly suitable for goats and chickens, and the food crops will be phased out. A shade house (like a greenhouse, but in the tropics, plants need shade, not more sun!) for vegetable production will be added in 2010, as well as planting cocoa and neem trees under the canopy of 10 acres of otherwise useless forest land. In addition to providing financial support for the hospital, each endeavor creates work opportunity and experience for local Hondurans and a more stable food supply at the local level.