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Trip 14 – August 2017

This is my 14th trip to Ecuador to work with Dr. Jane Weaver at her clinic in San Lorenzo. Traveling with me are my brother-in-law, Howard White, a close friend, Lynn Harder, Katie Wysong, RN, who went with me last year, and Tricia Atkinson, RN, who is going along to work with Katie. Last year we were unable to do any surgery as the operating room was involved in construction that was ongoing at that time. The construction is completed and Jane has now a fully functioning post-op facility connected to the clinic building with access to this post-op area from the operating room and recovery room as well as a front entrance from the main hallway in the clinic building. We were able to walk through the post-op area last year and it was well-designed, roomy and will be a real asset for Jane to provide top quality care for her patients.

I had learned to know Lynn through our men’s ministry at our church in Englewood, FL. In talking to him about my medical mission trips, he immediately wanted to go with me on my next trip. As dates were eventually set for this trip, Lynn was part of the team. He and Howard will be working on tile projects for Jane. A few years ago Jane had some floor tiles on the second floor of her clinic building come loose. Over time several more have loosened and have become potentially tripping points for people. Jane wants to reinstall these tiles and Howard and Lynn will keep busy with this project. Also, she would like to put tile on the exterior walls of the clinic building for a few feet up from the ground. She has a work team coming to her clinic in July and hopefully they can get the exterior walls prepared for the tile so Howard and Lynn will be able to install tile around the lower part of the clinic for her. They will be busy the whole week. Each of them has had a lot of experience with installing ceramic tile so they should be able to work together and accomplish a lot for Jane.

This year Jane is planning surgery and Katie and Tricia will be there to help care for the post-op patients in the recovery room and in the post-op area. They may also be working with us in the operating room. We will likely have a full surgery schedule for the week and having a couple nurses who are comfortable with post-op care will be a huge relief for Jane and me as we can focus on the surgery we are doing and not have to be thinking about and managing a patient in recovery room at the same time. In the past when there are no additional nurses along, Jane and I are not only the physicians but also the nurses. At times one of us has had to break scrub in surgery to go attend a patient who might be having a problem. Before the new post-op suite addition, the place where the post-op patients were housed was in a separate building. This meant leaving the clinic building and walking to the albergue (the post-op care building) to see the patient. Now, we will just walk through the door from the recovery room to the new post-op ward to evaluate the patient. The efficiency this brings will be huge.
Jane communicates with me via email throughout the year with questions related to various gynecological problems she encounters with patients she sees. Some of these will eventually need surgery. She also will collect a list of patients who will probably need surgery of some sort and will have them come to the clinic so I can evaluate them with her. This year we will travel to Ecuador on a Wednesday and because of the arrival time at the airport we will travel directly from the airport to San Lorenzo. Thursday morning Jane and I will begin seeing patients for consideration for surgery. Jane and I will see patients Thursday and Friday and will build our surgery schedule for the next week.

Our surgeries will begin on Monday and we will operate full days through Friday. These days are long as we are standing in one position most of the time. The back gets tired from holding your torso in one position and the legs get tired and swollen. Jane and I will do three to five cases each day, all will involve some sort of major surgery such as hysterectomy, bladder repairs, prolapse, and even some tubal surgery to reverse a tubal ligation that had been done previously. Generally, Jane will also have some general surgery cases to do where I can be an assistant for her. These might include gallbladder removals, thyroid surgery, hernias of various types, and other problems. Thus, our week will be full and we will be able to render care to several patients.

The benefit I receive from this mission work is being able to help people who would otherwise have no opportunity to receive this care. It is a thrill to see a life changed forever, health restored, healing taking place. I see what happens as a miracle that God performs and He graciously allows us and empowers us to participate with Him in doing this for the patient.

In the process of rendering health care we also have the opportunity to introduce people to Jesus Christ. Jane’s primary mission focus is to serve God in this mission field and to be used of Him to bring people into relationship with Him through faith in Jesus Christ. As Christians we are called to do that. We serve God by pointing people to Him. We can be partakers of the miracle of salvation as we are used by God to teach people through example, word, and service about faith in Jesus as their Savior and Lord. To not only see physical health restored but also see healing spiritually is an absolute thrill.

I see my relationship with Jesus Christ as one who walks with Him every day, every step along life’s path. Together we deal with whatever crosses the path before us. Jesus leads the way and I follow Him. We walk together, talk together, and I become His hands, His mouth, even His eyes as He allows me to be Jesus to the people I meet. This is a huge privilege for me and regularly Jesus heads to Ecuador where we walk together there helping my sister in the Lord, Dr. Jane Weaver.

So, come along with me as we travel to Ecuador and work serving Christ in San Lorenzo. I will discuss each day while there filling in details of the work we did and even add some pictures. Hopefully, what we experience and accomplish through Christ will spur you on to do the same with Him sometime, somewhere. Believe me, these trips are some of the absolute highlights of my life.

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