We made our second trip into Unilla on Thursday of this week. For those who do not remember, Unilla is a small community of about 7,000 on the border of Coban. It is inaccessible by road so we fly in - this time making 2 trips in with loaded with medicine, equipment and medical personnel. As we unpacked and set up the clinic, Francisco, (the medical advocate for the community) asked us to go and see a young woman who was "grave" (very ill). We walked into a wood shack to find Juana lying on the dirt floor, covered with woolen blankets in the 100 degree weather. She emaciated and appeared semi-conscious. Her family told us that she had been sick for 3 years and that they had just returned from the "spiritist" (witchdoctor) - a two day trip away. She was vomiting 10-12 times a day. We gave her some IV fluids, and did an ultrasound to find that she was 5 months pregnant (which they had vehemently denied). Her husband was not there - he had gone to get medicine for her. He arrived later with a two liter bottle of green liquid that he had been instructed to pour over her head in an effort to cure her. He immediately left again to bring back to the house another witchdoctor. The house was crowded with 30 - 35 people who had come to watch as Juana continued to vomit, never making eye contact with us, never changing expression when we told her she was pregnant with a baby boy. We prayed and tried to express to them the power of our God to heal, to save. We returned the next day to give her another liter of fluids, her vomiting had slowed some but she still would not eat nor would she make eye-contact with us. Please pray for her. I felt such darkness in that house and we know that only the light of Jesus' love deliver them.
We returned to the clinic and began seeing patients - working until 5. Craig and Malachi stayed the night and showed the Jesus film to well over 300 people. The rest of us returned to Canilla for the night and Duane and I returned in the morning to finish the second day. We saw around 300 people - with more women and children coming this time. We know that these first trips are times to gain the confidence of the people. We were told repeatedly that they are afraid of us. I spoke at length to the midwife - a woman who never smiled. I tried to explain that we had no desire to steal their children or their gold (a common belief here) and that we came only because the Lord has put a incredibly deep love in our hearts for the Mayan people. She stayed in the clinic area the entire time that we were there - both days - just observing. By the end of the second day, she began to smile. We are hopeful that God is beginning to break down the walls of fear and distrust.
Well, maybe I'll get this post done soon...a week has gone by already! Tomorrow we fly out to San Pedro. We don't usually plan trips out to the Zona Reina in two consecutive weeks as they require so much planning and are so physically draining. But since it is sometimes difficult to get medical help that is willing to make this kind of trip, we are taking advantage of the time that Malachi and Heather are here - since they both have willing and adventurous spirits! We will also be accompanied by Dr. Pedro, the dentist from Guatemala City who went with us last month. Although he saw over 60 patients last time, he had to turn away many people. The community leaders were very happy to hear that he was willing to return. Please pray that the weather cooperates, that we have safe flights in and out, and most importantly that the Lord will open hearts to receive salvation.
Our clinics in the past two weeks have been extremely busy with lots of sick children. Yesterday in Chiminisijuan we saw over 100 people - many who were very sick. Again, we were very thankful to have Malachi and Heather here to help us. Last week was almost as busy in this small community and I saw one little baby who really needed to be in the hospital. She had pneumonia and needed more medical attention than we could give her. When I asked her mom if she could take her into the hospital, she said no, that it was impossible. So we prayed and asked Jesus to heal her. Yesterday she came and when I asked how the baby was, thinking that she was probably still sick (my faith is so small sometimes!) she said, "Oh she's fine. I am here for my other daughter." She did not understand what a miracle it was that her daughter was alive - but I certainly did! We also had a young woman whom we had seen a few months ago. She and her husband had been together for almost five years and she had not conceived. In this culture it is assumed that infertility is always the woman's fault and many times men will not stay with women who cannot give them children. So we had prayed for her...we have no way of addressing that problem here. She came in yesterday, 3 months pregnant! God is so faithful!!
Here are some pictures from our trip to Unilla.