Welcome back to Ecuador! We now have two clinic days in the books which is why an update was not posted recently. We have been busy and a little bit tired. Our first clinic day was yesterday at Pilgaran and today we held a clinic in Aloguincho. Both of these locations are a little off the beaten path and required some extensive travel time. So we had very early mornings and very late evenings the past two days.
Pilgaran was a great way to start our clinic days. We hopped in wonderful yellow school buses (our rides for the week) and set off nearly before the sun came up over the mountaintops. Leaving early is nice because you miss much of the busy morning rush hour through Quito. After about a 2 hour trek into the Andes we came to our location and piled out of the vans. Because we work with an incredible church, some of the brothers from that church arrived slightly before us and had everything set up! After a time of corporate prayer in Spanish and English and we started the day.
The clinic was not too busy and not two slow which allowed for time with our patients: sweet Ecuadorian people. Two men from the church, Fernando and Edgar boldly shared the Gospel to attentive ears and each person received a copy of the book of John. What a sweet sight it was to see men and women reading through that book while they waited to be seen by one of our team members. And since our clinic was not too busy, there was ample opportunity to continue the conversation. There was also time to pray with our patients. One lady began to open up about a recent significant family loss in the death of her son. As she spoke honestly, our team was able to pray over this precious lady. We prayed that she would come to know the peace, comfort, and friendship in Jesus Christ. Now we pray that salvation will come to her life and home through the Gospel message and the love and care of our team members.
After wrapping up the day with more corporate prayer in English and Spanish giving thanks to God, we loaded back into our vans and drove home. Everything about this first day was awesome. Which meant that something had to go wrong at some point. And it did. We were driving back late to the lodge. One van already dropped off half of our team members and was coming down the mountain empty while the other van was driving up the mountain with team members inside to be dropped off at the lodge. Well, on a dark, narrow dirt roads that is not a good combination. Sure enough, as they tried to go around each other they both ended up in the ditch. But, with a little brute force and a lot of dust being kicked up at us from spinning tires we got both vans free! It was time to rest for another long journey.
That long journey was today. We drove to a remote community called Aloguincho. God has uniquely orchestrated this team, this church, and the clinic volume in a way that only he can because today again was not overwhelming. People came and heard the Gospel. Our new medical assistants that we trained on Monday were doing an excellent job of helping with vital signs. Attitudes of love and care were on display. The clinic was running smoothly with a perfect mix of diverse people. But as in Pilgaran, the ugly face of sin and brokenness should it’s face once more.
This time in a story of physical abuse. The patient described to our team member that her deformities were from broken bones that didn’t heal properly from and abusive relationship. Our hearts broke. Why, Lord? Why so much hurt? While we did the best to take care of this patient physically, we prayed that God might, through this divinely appointed encounter, provide emotional and spiritual healing. Christ alone can bring hope from despair and while in this life there will be trouble, take heart, He has overcome the world.
In these two stories of heartache and loss, I am reminded again that the world is a broken place. Sin breaks hearts and it breaks lives. Our adversary comes to kill, steal and destroy. And so often the world appears dark and hopeless with all the evil. But in the midst of that brokenness, the light of the Gospel cuts through the pain, the sickness, and hurt. We have Jesus, who lovingly gave his life for us to bring us a hope everlasting no matter what this broken world heaps on us. A hope that we had the privilege of sharing the past two days.