There was a lot of activity at the Mission Centre and three of our congregations this past week. A medical/dental/eye class team from Immanuel Lutheran Church in St. Clair, Michigan arrived. Using the Mission Centre as a base, the team held clinics from Feb 12-18 in Rancherea, El Piloto, Santa Patricia and the Mission Centre itself. Setting up in the churches, the clinic was organized in such a way that the individual patient first had his/her blood pressure and temperature taken as well as his medical concern recorded. The patient then move on to the consultation area where they were able to see one of six doctors. (Two Nicaraguan doctors had been hired to assist.) A small lab had also been set up to carry out elementary tests if required by the doctors. If more extensive work was required perhaps involving x-rays or scans, the patient was driven to the local hospital, the clinic covering the costs. There was also a medication dispensary. Four people kept busy filling prescriptions and with an interpreter giving direction to the patient before they left the clinic. Over 250 people passed through the doors of the clinic each day. Over 250 people were touched each day by the care and love of a Christian doctor, nurse and volunteer.
In another section of the clinic people lined up to have their eyes checked and receive a pair of reading or distance glasses. Two of the volunteers were a grandpa and his grandson. And behind the curtain were the two dentists, one American and the other Nicaraguan. On portable chairs, they treated patients in need of fillings or extractions. And on the way they provided some helpful tips on dental hygiene.
But as wonderful as all this was, even more wonderful was seeing our Nicaraguan pastors and deaconesses at work. These kinds of events in their churches provide them with the opportunity to meet and greet others within their community; they get to share a little of who they are and what they believe. With Bible in one hand and some hand-outs in the other, they tell of Him who heals from the disease of sin. And they take down their name and address and get permission to visit in the days and weeks ahead
For several years now, the Mission has talked of setting up a Medical/Dental Clinic that can provide services to our pastors and deaconesses and their families. Last year the dental portion of that clinic was started, but the medical was put on hold. The doctors connected with this team have encouraged us to move forward with the plan. Not only will the pastors and deaconesses and their families be helped, but also those who have received help through the clinic, but need follow-up care to monitor such things as blood pressure, diabetes etc. We already have a Nicaraguan dentist on board and I have been told that one of the Nicaraguan doctors serving with the team has indicated his openness to serve in the clinic one day a week. That would fit perfectly into the plan. The cost of this project: $10,000 dollars. Will we have the funds to make it happen?
I’m inviting all those in our LCC congregations who are involved in the medical/dental profession to help make it happen. Maybe you will also want to come down and help out in the clinic as well. (The rest of you can help too!) Just go on line to the LCC Website and hit the Donate sign. The project is named Nicaragua Mission Clinic. You can also take the more traditional way and send your gift to Lutheran Church-Canada at their Winnipeg office.
For our American friends who want to support this project and receive a tax receipt, we would recommend that you contribute through Immanuel Lutheran Church, 415 N.9th St. St. Clair, Michigan 48079 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Please pray for the success of this venture!