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7/27/2012 (Friday)

6:00 am.  I awoke about 2 hours before the alarm was to go off and determined I would not get up in spite of being wide awake.  Like my daughter said when she was a little girl, “My eyes just popped open!”  The longer I was awake and wanting to sleep for the next two hours, the more frustrated I became and the more awake I became.  So I spent time praying for various people and for our country and the moral slide we seem to be in.  It appears the country is circling the drain ready to be flushed down to the sewer.  We all need to plead with God about the direction we are being taken by those who want to do away with any connection with God and His Word and celebrate their sin.  Interesting, when I finished praying, I fell to sleep and the alarm awakened me.  So now I am done with my breathing exercises in the shower and am ready to meet Jane to make rounds on our post-op patients.

Father, thank You for a new day and all that You have set into motion in what we call life.  Lord, You created the world around me and Your creation is awe inspiring to say the least.  I pray for today, Lord.  I pray for the post-op patients for healing, relief of pain, and return to normal health.  I pray also for those coming in for surgery today.  Lord, be with them and give them assurance and peace and guide our thoughts and hands as we work with You to accomplish the surgeries.  Lord, I especially pray for our country, where it is going morally and spiritually.  Please guide our leaders and show them the truth that is so visible in Your Word.  Father, please forgive us of our sins and guide us back to You.  Thank You, Lord, for Your incredible mercy and forgiveness.  Thank You for the grace that You pour over us and the unfailing love that is always around us.  Father, thank You!  Amen.

Yesterday, Jody was feeling better.  The sore throat was still there but improving and the diarrhea had stopped.  Thank You, Lord!  This morning Jane was able to print my thank you cards so I now have them all signed and in envelopes to hand out to the team members later today.

9:00 am.  Our first surgery is underway – a young boy having a circumcision.  Jane and Elizabeth are doing this procedure.  Jody is in the OR with us today and will be starting IV fluids on the pre-op patients.  Jane had asked me if I wanted to do the tuboplasty that was on the schedule yesterday.  Apparently the patient called and said she was better.  I told Jane the decision is more driven by anesthesia since Dalia intends to leave by noon and I don’t think we will have today’s surgeries done in time to work in this other patient.

11:30 am.  We finished the posterior repair.  It was large and Jane did a very good repair.  This should give this lady better bowel function and no vaginal bulge.  Our next patient is for an anterior repair because of a cystocoele.

12:30 pm.  The anterior repair is finished and we are done!  Jane has one more surgery to do after lunch and this is under local anesthesia to remove a mole from a lady’s face.  Dalia, our anesthesiologist, will be leaving soon to return to Esmeraldas and Loida just left on a bus to Quito.  This afternoon will be spent organizing my clothes and packing for travel tomorrow.  Now it is time for lunch.

2:00 pm.  Carmen fixed us lunch consisting of mash potatoes, pork chops and avocado salad.  It all was very good.  The avocado salad was especially tasty.  I asked about the recipe and there is none written down.  She said she cut up the avocado into chunks, added chopped onions and mixed in some lemon juice and a little bit of salt.  The lemon juice here is probably more like lime juice.  The mixture was really good.  It sounds easy but that doesn’t mean I could just throw the ingredients together and have the same result.

After a leisurely lunch we came back to the OR so Jane could do the last surgery, the excision of a mole off the face.  This mole is the size of the tip of a finger and sticks out away from the skin about a centimeter.  Following this we will look at one lady who arrived having heard I was here.  Apparently I did surgery on her in the past and she wants me to examine her.  Jane thinks the problem is a cystocoele but we don’t know for sure.  I can examine her but we cannot do anything surgical for her today.

3:00 pm.  We saw the patient and she is having symptoms of a urinary tract infection.  She has no surgical problem and the repair that she received here in 2008 is very well supported.  Her urine function is normal except for the burning with urination that began recently.  Jane placed her on Bactrim and some suppositories to treat a yeast infection.  The patient then asked if I could look at her daughter who is pregnant and having swelling in her legs.  I checked this patient who is in her first pregnancy at 24 weeks gestation.  She has mild edema of the lower legs and feet, blood pressure of 110/60 and normal fetal heart tones.  The uterus is about 24 weeks size with the head into the pelvic inlet.  She said she works on her feet for 8 hours each day.  I told her to get off her feet when she is home and if the swelling increased and the blood pressure started to go up, she should limit her work schedule and stay off her feet as much as possible.

3:30 pm.  Our work is done, the week is over!  This week has gone by so fast it seems.  Soon we will be taking Maria Luisa, Angelita and Gonzalo home and I plan to go along to get some pictures of the city.  This has been a tremendous week of surgery.  I can only praise God for that.

Father, thank You for a tremendous week here in San Lorenzo.  We were able to help several people through Your empowerment and support.  You brought us here to serve You through serving others.  Lord, I feel so blessed to be able to partner with You in this regard.  Thank You, Lord, for the healing You brought to the patients.  I pray Lord for the patients who are recovering from today’s surgeries.  Thank You for helping us do the surgeries and make a difference for these people.  Lord, I praise Your name today!  Amen.

7:30 pm.  We left about 4:00 to go to downtown San Lorenzo.  There have been a lot of improvements in the past few years.  More streets are paved and the city looks cleaner.  There is a nice park area that goes along the water and is all paved.  We walked down to the pier and it has had some improvements as well.  After walking around and seeing some of the city we then went to this little corner eatery where we had grilled cheese sandwiches and a fruit smoothie.  At this place the young lady serving us has a reputation of guessing someone’s age fairly accurately.  Jane and Damarys asked her to guess my age.  She looked at me for a long time and then said 55.  I told her I was 68 and she was shocked.  Then she said I must stay and marry her mother who was standing behind her and is the owner of the eatery.  The mother is a widow, the husband/father died a year ago.  The mother then kept looking at me, told me I was handsome, and I think she was hoping I would say yes.  I told them I was married and if I did what they wanted me to do, my wife at home would soon be a widow as well as she would probably kill me. J  Jane and Damarys got a good laugh out of that but the lady just kept looking at me.  When we got up to leave the daughter told me, “Tell my mom good-bye.”  She said it in English so I shook her hand and told her good-bye.  She just kept looking at me…

The San Lorenzo team: left to right Maria Luisa, Elizabeth, Gonzalo, Damarys, Jane and Angelita

The team including me. Elizabeth is running the camera.

A church under construction near the clinic

Typical side street into a neighborhood

Many of the streets are now paved.

Downtown

Downtown

Newly developed park area along the waterfront

Waterfront park and walkway

Waterfront park

Waterfront walkway and park

The tide was unusually low.

Waterfront at San Lorenzo

Zooming in on waterfront living

Boat load of coconuts and other harvest

Unloading bags of clams and other goods

Enjoying a stroll on the pier

Another downtown street

Sitting at the counter at the little eatery.

Fixing our grilled cheese sandwiches

Elizabeth is busy talking with some girls.

My meal…very tasty.

At the curb next to the little eatery was a pickup truck filled with fruit for sale.

The grapes were huge!

We obtained both types of grapes, cantelope, watermelon and other fruit.

I don’t know where the fruit came from but it was really delicious.

Another street scene on our way back to the clinic.

Another typical San Lorenzo street

As we walked to the corner eatery we passed the church building where the congregation that meets in the ministry building used to call home.  Apparently, the church building they were in either collapsed or needed torn down and thus the move to the ministry building.  The congregation is rebuilding the church building and tonight they were having a prayer meeting in the new church.  This is to bring the people to the building so they can see first-hand what work needs to be done and to pray.  The pastor showed us the building and he was excited to tell us about the progress.  The building has a long way to go before it is usable.  The pastor showed us how the sanctuary would be and where his pulpit will stand.  He was so proud of the building even though it is far from complete.  I had to think about the church I attend and all the amenities we enjoy and even take for granted.  I wish the people in my church could have seen the excitement and pride this pastor exhibited in showing us his sanctuary.  Many people in the States would not even step foot into this structure let alone call it a place of worship.  Yet, that was what it was and I know God will be praised and honored there.  In fact, tonight He received praise and honor from that sanctuary as the congregation gathered to pray and praise Him.

Church construction so far. The second floor will house classrooms and bathrooms. A roof will then go over the second floor and cover the sanctuary.

The pastor is standing where his pulpit will go.

The sanctuary

9:45 pm.  We came back to the clinic and had some fresh fruit we had purchased off of a vendor at the eatery.  We bought watermelon and large juicy grapes.  Angelita’s son and wife came to the clinic to see me and show me their daughter I delivered 1 year and 10 months ago.  What a thrill!  They wanted to see me and thank me again for helping them and for me to see their daughter.  We got some pictures.  This is part of the paycheck in serving others.  You get to see some of the fruit of your labors and this little girl just thrilled my heart!

The baby I delivered now 22 months of age.

Then Jane asked me to play a round of Ticket to Ride with the rest of the crew so I obliged and spent the evening playing this board game.  I need to pack my suitcases as we leave tomorrow morning after breakfast.  I will meet Jane at 7 to make rounds and then we will have breakfast and then head back to Quito.

Getting into the game Ticket to Ride

Karl stomped on all of us, almost triple of my score.

Father, it has been an interesting day.  The team is so thankful that I could come and help them with the surgeries.  I give that credit to You, Lord.  You invited me to walk with You to San Lorenzo to work with Jane and her team serving the people here.  Thank You, Lord for this great experience.  Father, I pray for the church that meets here at the ministry building and is building a new sanctuary for their church home.  Lord, I am humbled at the joy this pastor displayed in showing us the partially constructed sanctuary.  Lord, this church sings praise to You and You accept that.  Please honor them and facilitate the construction process.  Thank You, Father.  I pray, Lord, for a good night’s sleep and that we will have safe travel in the morning.  Thank You, Lord.  Amen.

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