In The Atlantic Community
Welcome to another week!
Last Sunday I had the privilege of listening to Hannah Horne’s presentation on her medical mission trip to Pachacutec, Peru. Hannah, who grew up in Fallowfield United Methodist Church, is working toward her degree as a physician’s assistant at Lincoln Memorial University’s DeBusk College of Osteopathic Medicine. She traveled with 28 physician’s assistant students from the program. Two professors from Lincoln Memorial University, along with a pharmacist, his daughter, an optician, and a missionary couple from Ohio also went on the journey. The missionaries arranged the trip. Eighteen Spanish-speaking interpreters also joined the group.
Hannah went on the mission trip from April 1 through 9 because she’d never gone on one before and wanted to strengthen her faith. She’d been struggling a bit, and this opened her up to grow in her faith.
Pachacutec is a desert area that receives less than one inch of rainfall annually. Most of the area is sandy, and it is a very poor community. The average household income is seven dollars per day.
They partnered with Pastor Felipe and Iglesia Christiana de Pachacutec, a church that knows people need a relationship with Jesus. The congregation provided them with three meals a day. One Peruvian doctor worked alongside the missionaries.
Hannah and her group began their work by handing out more than 2,000 flyers around the city. They invited people to the medical, dental, and eye clinics, along with ministry classes and a kids’ carnival.
The clinics were open Monday through Thursday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. They examined 1,000 people at the medical clinic. They brought two exam tables from the United States and left them there for future medical missions.
Hannah saw a lot of patients with osteoarthritis caused by walking to work and standing all day. They had bone pain. These people worked selling fruit, meat, bracelets, and other items from around 6:30 a.m. until 9:30 or 10 p.m. Then they’d go home, sleep, and do it all over again the next day.
Many people had gastric reflux and she also treated a lot of worms in children.
The pharmacist dispensed medications as needed. They brought around $15,000 worth of medications to Peru.
The pharmacist distributed antibiotics, enough to cover the span of the illness. He also gave Tylenol and ibuprofen in 30-day supplies, and multivitamins in 90-day supplies. They could only give out 30-day supplies of most medications. That was the hard part of their work. But the missionaries explained that God will help them. They emphasized the spiritual part of healing and saw that caring for people’s physical needs opened their hearts to the gospel.
After people went to the medical clinic and got prescriptions, they had the opportunity to visit the evangelistic team. Of the 380 people who stopped by, 330 received Jesus into their hearts.
They also had classes for children. On Monday, 20 kids came. By the end of the week, 75 children attended. Every night there were children’s, teen, and adult classes.
The missionaries also sponsored a kids’ carnival. They brought sidewalk chalk, made balloon animals, and painted faces. They also had sack races.
The eye clinic served 1,200 people. It was stocked with donated prescription glasses and sunglasses. They dispensed 2,000 pairs of glasses and 1,000 pairs of sunglasses. The prescriptions were written on the sides of the glasses, and each patient got to try on glasses until they found one that fit. It was the first time some patients had ever worn glasses.
The dentist examined 300 people.
Each student had one rotation at the Peruvian hospital in the city. Peruvian doctors welcomed the students. There was one emergency room in the hospital. They can’t do anything complicated in this hospital. Patients have to go to Lima.
Many students, including Hannah, saw babies born for the first time. There was no air conditioning in the labor and delivery rooms.
Other memorable experiences include the medical team climbing Gorilla Mountain, a sand mountain. They also walked to the market. Unprocessed pigs and chickens were for sale in storage tubs, totally exposed to the heat.
There were also fruit stands. The students were advised only to eat fruits with thick peels so they wouldn’t get sick.
Joshua 22:5 summed up Hannah’s experience: “But be very careful to keep the commandment and the law that Moses the servant of the LORD gave you: to love the LORD your God, to walk in obedience to him, to keep his commands, to hold fast to him and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul.” (NIV)
Have a wonderful week. Blessings!