Thursday, July 25, 2019

Thank You, Muchas Gracias, Merci, Grazie

The 2019 Mission Trip would not have happened, or been as successful, without the support of all people and organizations listed below.

Thanks to…  St. Paul Parish, Father Dan, Mary Kral, and the Human Concerns Ministry. They have been supporting the Connecting Hearts and Hands ministry since 2013.

Special thanks for St. Paul’s Annual Lenten fundraiser
for Water Purification. During the 2019 collection, our donors provided enough funding to purchase 108 water purifiers and purchase 160 buckets/covers. We couldn’t have done it without them.

St. Paul Parish for the many things they’ve done for this 2019 mission trip. Thanks for paying for all the kitchen supplies, electric skillets, waffle iron, egg maker, paper plates, plastic cups, kitchen knives, flatware, coffee pot, etc., for providing the funding to ship the 18 large bins of supplies containing the kitchen, medical, and water purification supplies, for providing $1,000 for our transportation, for all the website and bulletin coverage and for all the prayers.

Charlie Spindt, for planning the medical mission over the past 13 months. Thanks for her involvement in ordering supplies, arranging for shipment, writing letters to the Peruvian Health Ministry Department and the Peruvian Customs, driving to the Peruvian Consulate, coordinating tasks with Sister Paula, printing the labels, coordinating our trip to Machu Picchu, and much more. We couldn’t have done it without her. Also, thanks for partaking in the 2014, 2016, and 2019 mission trips. You are appreciated!

The Safeguarding Team, Amy Golden for accommodating our college students with another Safeguarding class, Sherri Meyer and Nancy Bastian for monitoring the completion of the class by our 23 travelers.

School Sisters of St. Francis Mother House. They provided us with the ability to fundraise, using their name. They kept track of all the donors, sent out thank you letters for the donors’ taxes. They also had a network of Sisters praying for us.

School Sisters in Peru. They were busy, planning this trip, since May 2018. They had to pick up our two shipments, unpack some of the shipment, buy the water purification supplies, communicate with many different organizations such as the Peruvian Customs, the Peruvian Health Ministry, and the local hospital. Charlie and I had a lot of communication with them over the past 13 months. They’ve done, much, much more. Even though Sister Monica is no longer in Peru, her leadership during the first five mission trips helped to pave the way for our successful 2019 mission trip.

Our many donors, for donating $21,000. Of this $21,000, $10,000 was given to the Sisters in Peru to purchase some necessities they’ve done without for years.

St. John the Baptist Catholic Church
in Edmund, OK, Cheryl Pierce, for shipping our supplies and packing some of the supplies for the March 2019 shipment.

The Church of Jesus Christ Latter Day Saints. They volunteered translators for our medical clinic – a critical need that the gladly stepped up to.

Rosary Man for providing rosaries for the school.

St. Paul Parish semi-truck driver who provided the transportation of 13 bins of supplies to Edmund, OK so that these supplies could be shipped to Peru

Bible Man
for providing 300 bibles. They’ll be shipped to Peru by Cheryl Pierce in December 2019.

Our Prayer Partners. Their prayers were very important to us and lifted our spirits.

Berkey Water Filters for our awesome discount. The discount allows us to purchase many more filters and provide many more families with pathogen-free water.

Last but not least…to the Connecting Hearts and Hands team of 23. Thank you, for all the sacrifices you had to make in your lives, to partake in this mission trip. A few of these sacrifices…attend many meetings, complete paperwork, participate in a fundraiser, pay for your own hotel rooms and airfare, write blog articles, and provide a donation to the School Sisters of St. Francis. During the week of Father’s Day, each person humbly served our Lord, by serving our Peruvian Brothers and Sisters, with love and patience, and participating in service wherever you were needed. You are all excellent team players. 

Thanks and apologies to anyone I may have forgotten. They were all very important to this mission.

Friday, July 19, 2019

Here's how we Served our Brothers and Sisters in Peru

Twenty-three people were called to serve our brothers and sisters in Paita, Peru during our June mission trip. Our volunteers could have either served in the medical clinic, provided clean water systems, or taught at the school.
  • Our medical outreach was a huge success. Over 700 people were seen by our medical providers and 1,600 people were treated for intestinal parasites. 
  • St. Paul Parish has been providing clean water systems since 2015. This year, 80 families were provided with new water systems. Twenty older systems needed replacement filters, and eight sets of replacement filters were provided for future failed systems. A huge thanks to the parish for collecting donations during Lent so that 108 sets of water filters could provide pathogen-free water, preventing people from getting intestinal parasites. 
  • Over 120 high-school students at St. Clare School were taught self-defense. This training is really important to the young woman who are often victims of abuse, assault and rape.
Our next mission trip will be August, 2020. We plan to:
  • Build, assemble, train and distribute 50 water systems. We would like to send, in advance, the Berkey water purifiers, so that we don't have the painful task of getting through customs every time we bring in these water purification systems in our suitcases. 
  • Provide self-defense training to:
    • Students at St. Clare School
    • Women in the Paita community
Please feel free to contact St. Paul Parish if you have an interest in helping.

Thursday, July 4, 2019

Water Purification in Peru

Written by Deb P.

Thanks to St. Paul Parish in Genesee Depot, Wisconsin, the 2019 Outreach Team were able to provide 80 water purification systems  and 20 replacement filters for systems that already existed.

How important are these systems to families? We are very fortunate to have somewhat pathogen-free water where we live in the United States. In Paita, Peru, the water is obtained from the Piura River. It contains many chemicals used in farming rice, bananas, grapes, etc. This water is processed through the water treatment plant located between Paita and Piura. In 2015, we had the opportunity to visit the plant. According to Professor Doug from Milwaukee School of Engineering (MSOE), it is a similar process to that done in the USA. The state of Piura does the best they can do with a 30-year-old water system.

Click on any picture below to enlarge.

Process of Cleaning the Water from the Piura River

Manager Explaining how it Works

Testing the Water Every Two Hours Before Leaving the Plant

Water Coming In From Piura River
The water comes out of the water treatment plant pathogen-free. However, there are many problems once it leaves the plant. People steal water by drilling a hole in the water pipes that are located above ground. Pathogens enter the system through these openings. Also, the water is only turned on for several hours a day, allowing the pathogens to also multiply from water backwashing and sitting in the pipes.

When the city water is available for use, homes must collect their water in a tank located on their roof tops. When needed, it runs down to a concrete cistern located  somewhere in  their home. In the home of the Sisters, it is located in  their laundry room,

Some people do not have running water and the water has to be delivered to their community in tank trucks. This is another possibility that pathogens will enter the water. They must purchase the water in their own 5-gallon buckets and walk these buckets to their home. Sometimes, they purchase 6 to 8 buckets at a time.
One of the Cisterns, Water is Delivered by the City and People Buy it.
As in Mexico and Central and South America, DO NOT DRINK THE WATER! You will get sick. Our medical team treated 1,600 patients for intestinal parasites. One can obtain these parasites from water, food, through your feet by walking in sand (hookworms), the toilet and unsanitary conditions.

One way to prevent intestinal problems is by drinking purified water. One system cost St. Paul Parish about $125. Each system provides about 6,000 gallons of purified water. With our experience over the past six years, each system lasts about 2 to 3 years.
Each family provided with this water system must clean it once or twice a month. They must test it to make sure it is purifying the water properly. It takes some work to maintain their system but must be done in order to get purified water. The people who have received a system are really thankful for the system. (The sisters look at the needs of each family and decides which family is to receive a system.)

Click on any picture below to enlarge.

Water Systems in the Hall of the Convent
Doug Filling Bottles With Red Food Dye for Testing Systems

Marc Getting Help From a Student after Systems are moved Outside

Marc and Michael Drilling Holes in Covers
Other Students Join Marc and Jon

  1. How does this water purifier work? (Two bucket system on table below.)
    1. Take a 5-gallon bucket and fill it up with unfiltered water.
    2. Pour the unfiltered water into the top bucket of this two-bucket water purification system. Put cover on top of bucket to keep out bugs and dirt.
    3. Let the water drip to the bottom 5-gallon bucket containing the purified water.
    4. Obtain the purified water using the spigot on the bottom bucket. 
Deb Training Mom With Baby, Who was Late for Training

Thanks to the team,  and especially to Marc S., who worked so diligently to finish drilling the bucket and cover holes after being without electricity for two days. Everyone was tired by Thursday evening. God gave Marc the gift of energy and he and a few others were able to complete the assembly and testing of these systems.  Also, thanks to Nancy and Michael for helping. I know how tired and/or sick you were that evening. Y'all  are awesome team players. It was a pleasure working with you!.

On Friday, we had to carry all the systems outside, where we were going to hold the training for all the families. Thanks to everyone who helped and especially to Jon for helping to carry the buckets outside. I know you had some back problems and yet you continued to help. Thank you!

Woman Receiving Replacement Water Filters
Mom Receiving System from Jon

Mom Receiving a System from Deb

Monday, July 1, 2019

Brothels and Sex Trafficking Worldwide

Written by Deb P.

Wherever we are, we are always doing networking with other groups. We met a group of 34 people from Pennsylvania, doing a medical mission in a remote village in the state of Piura, Peru. They saw over 1,000 people in their clinic and performed over 40 hernia and cataract surgeries. They told me about how the community they helped and described to me that many young girls are involved in prostitution. How did they get involved in prostitution? The parents forced them into it so that their family could have money for food and shelter. Yes, the families are so desperate for their lack of everything, that they give their girls to a brothel to earn money. I'm sure that their earnings are almost nothing. As parents, we are here to protect our children! I have never walked in their shoes to understand their life.  I can't judge because I have never been in that situation.

It has been many years since I've studied about Maslow's hierarchy of needs. Needs lower down in the hierarchy must be satisfied before individuals can attend to needs higher up. The needs in the lowest part of the triangle are food, water, warmth, rest. The children of these extremely poor families do not have those needs met. How sad! These families will never experience any level of the Maslow's hierarchy of needs!
Click on image to enlarge

This mission group shared a story about one young, 14-year-old girl, who was pregnant. It looked as though someone beat her in the stomach so that she would have a miscarriage, but she didn't. I'm not sure what was going to happen with this pregnant teenager once she returns home to her family. I can only imagine. 

This story brings up another thought - sex trafficking. When I was in 8th or 9th grade, I had no concerns about my safety.  I would ride my bike, alone, over to my grandparents' home in Franklin, about 8 miles from where we lived in Muskego. Today, nobody should ride their bikes alone. Why? Milwaukee is among the top cities in the USA for sex trafficking. We know that sex trafficking is a major problem all over the world. In Lima, 3-5 young women go missing every day in their capital city. 

I was reading on a site: Human Trafficking

"Human trafficking is considered modern-day slavery, and there are more slaves today than at any other time in history. It is estimated that there are more than 21 million human trafficking victims worldwide."

Please pray for all of the people who are missing and forced into human trafficking...

Prayer for an End to Human Trafficking

Oh God, we didn't see them.
But you did-
The hundreds and thousands of human beings
Trafficked each year to join the millions who are trapped in
modern-day slavery.
Under terrible conditions, they work in factories, plow fields,
harvest crops, work quarries, fill brothels, clean homes and haul water.

Many are children with tiny fingers for weaving rugs
and small shoulders for bearing rifles.
Their labor is forced, their bodies beaten, their faces hidden
from those who don't really want to see them.

But you see them all, God of the poor.
You hear their cry and you answer
by opening our eyes, and breaking our hearts
and loosening our tongues to insist:

No más. No more.

Prayer obtained from Catholic Relief Services at:
Prayer to an End to Human Trafficking

Self Defense Training

Click on Picture to Enlarge
Written by Michael Passino

When the Sisters visited us in 2018, they learned that I am a member of the Martial Arts Veterans Project ( MAVP is a team of Black Belts teaching martial arts to veterans undergoing treatment and therapy at the Clement J. Zablocki VA Medical Center in Milwaukee.

As part of our medical mission to Paita, Peru, the Sisters asked me to teach self-defense classes to the high school students at Santa Clara School.

The Sisters viewed the training as a very important part of our mission. The World Health Organization reported that 69 percent of Peruvian women said they had suffered from some form of physical violence in their lives. Wikipedia notes that in Peru “…traditional attitudes toward women aggravated the problems of rape and sexual abuse - particularly in rural areas.”

Working with the Santa Clara high school students was very rewarding for me. These young men and women were amazing to work with - such energy, enthusiasm and laughter! 

Thanks to Jon W. for his invaluable assistance - although he DID prove to be a significant distraction to many of the young ladies! 

The young ladies took the classes very seriously - it's a sad comment that regardless the country or culture, young women are at such risk today.

Sunday, June 23, 2019

Daily Prayer - Sunday, June 23

"The Lord will guard you from all evil; he will guard your soul. The Lord will guard your coming and going, both now and forever.” (NABRE Psalm 121:7-8)

Dear Lord,

We thank You for watching over us as our mission comes to a close. We have heard the cry of Your people and hope that we have given them some reprieve of their anguish. We have healed their bodies and their homes, but they have healed our hearts. You have shown us Your miracles, O Lord. Thank you for watching over us, You are a good and loving God. We ask for one more thing Lord: That you watch over us in our travels home and our travels to Cusco.

We know that You are with us always. In this mission we have grown closer to You and feel the fire of Your love. Help us to keep this flame alive by getting involved with those around us that seek You and Your Word. We love You, Lord.


Saturday, June 22, 2019

How to get Around in Paita

Written by Michael P.

So... how do you get around in Paita? Simple! You take a Moto!

Wait a minute... what's a "moto"???
Well, it's short for Mototaxi.

Still don't know what that means?
Think of a three wheeled motorcycle rickshaw that can carry two passengers, driven by some uniquely talented individuals who can maneuver and negotiate the streets of Paita where traffic signs, lane markers and stop lights are purely advisory in nature. Of course the liberal use of horns and hand gestures (no, not the kind you're thinking about) help.
Waving down a MotoTaxi

Need some groceries to feed all those hungry people working in the clinic and school?

Wave down a moto, jump in, and say "Plaza Vea, por favor" (a few prayers en route don't hurt).

The cost? A mere two soles each way (about $1.32 cents round trip).

Now you know how to do a grocery run in Paita! 

Join us on the next mission trip and test our your new found skills! 

Moto Taxi's Outside of School Waiting for Students

Peru Has Talent

Written by Michael P.

The kids at Santa Clara school put on a marvelous show for us.

One of the performers was the young lady in this video. She has an amazing voice!

I wish the audio quality did a better job of capturing just how amazing she sounds. If there is a "Peru Has Talent", she definitely belongs on it!

Give yourself a treat and take three minutes to listen to this!

Watch this awesome video of the children of the school dancing to traditional music.

Daily Prayer - Saturday, June 22

“Let us not grow tiring of doing good, for in due time, we will reap a harvest, if we do not give up.” (NABRE Galatians 6:9)

Today is the last day of our mission, O Lord. Many of us are tired and long for our comfortable beds and comfort food. Please help us to be deliberate and diligent in working, Lord. You have called us here for a reason and our service is coming to a close. Help us to remember the faces of those that we have served and to remember our impact on this community to bring new fire and love into our hearts. Help the Holy Spirit to fill us with the desire to finish our mission with kindness and compassion.

Bless our work, O Lord, and help to finish out the mission with just as much zeal and passion as we started with. In Your name, we pray.

Friday, June 21, 2019

My Family Involvement

Written by Lisa W.

I brought over half of my family with me on this mission trip. Only my daughter Lindsey and my husband Jeff stayed home. I wish Lindsey could have joined us but she’s in her first semester of the PA program at Carroll University. She came with me on the last mission trip. We had such a memorable time! She’s so disappointed. It to be here this time.
Jon, Olivia, Grace and Lisa
Olivia and Justin V. in Pharmacy
Olivia (my oldest daughter), Grace (my youngest daughter), and my son Jon (the youngest of all) accompanied me this time. It’s Olivia’s 3rd medical mission trip and Jon and Grace’s first. Olivia is amazing. She really wanted to work in the capacity of a PA but she only recently acquired her certification - not in time to have her registered as a PA for the mission. So she works the Pharmacy. The Pharmacy is a challenging place, located on the floor below the clinic. Patients visit the pharmacy after the visit and Olivia must fill their prescriptions then explain to the patients how to take them.
Many people here don’t know how to read so the explanation is “muy importante”. She has no translator and so uses her seven years of high school Spanish to communicate with them. She amazes me. Never rattled, always prepared, always thinking on her feet. It’s hot in the pharmacy with little wind flow. We try to keep a constant supply of baggies of the most used medicines. The pharmacy is too busy to hand out the parasite medication but every person and members of their family need it. We don’t do any fecal testing. We just know they are very susceptible and need the meds. So we have a separate station in the clinic to hand out the mebendazole. Usually Nico handles the parasite clinic. Today though Nico is working with the Vitamin A drops and eye glass stations so Justin will help Olivia in the clinic hand out the parasite medication. 

I wondered how Jon would participate in the clinic. He was a little leery about the trip - didn’t know what his role would be, didn’t know if he’d know anyone, etc. I’d have to say that Jon has surprised me the most. He’s been a floater assistant helping out wherever necessary.

Inside of Plaza Vea
He’s gone in a moto to the Plaza Vea, a local warehouse similar to a small Sam's Club, to purchase groceries. He helped Michael with teaching the school kids the Korean marshal arts of Tae Kwon Do. Jon turned red as all the teenage girls swooned over him! He’s pretty popular with them. 

Jon and Michael Teaching Self-defense
 Michael and Jon are two peas in a pod. They work well together. Both are kind souls who love to help others. I’m so glad we have the opportunity to get to know him.

Este Lucita de Mio - This Little Light of Mine

Written by Olivia W.

Justin, Morgan, and Jordan Singing
"This Little Light of Mi
A constant theme for me today was “this little light of mine, I’m gunna let it shine.” My morning began with Justin and his sisters practicing singing and playing the guitar to This Little Light of Mine and since that moment, my day has been filled with God’s Light.
This afternoon I was called upon to practice medicine for the first time in my PA-C career. There were families by the bus load from the smallest, poorest village of Bruni to come and be seen by a provider. It was exhilarating and at the same time scary

I knew what I was doing because I had a whole year of clinicals but there is something completely different about doing it on your own. I saw many patients today diagnosing them with asthma, Urinary tract infections, reflux, parasites, allergies, and colds.

However, there were patients that I knew needed special doctors, like Dr. Lou our pediatrician or Charlie who could better translate their story about seizures or Dr. Jim who could diagnose foot problems. Though I did not know everything, I knew I had people to turn to. Though my light was little, I let it shine.

Did I mention we did all of this in the dark? Around 2 in the afternoon, the electricity in parts of Paita went out, but we put on clinic surround by candle light so that we were still able to help the people. There were no fans in the stuffy rooms, no WiFi to check our dosing or to translate, and no light for our rooms. But we did not let that falter our plans, we continued to let our light shine.

Even as the day wrapped up, everyone continued to help in the dark and pack more medications and vitamins for the day. This was complete closure for me and my theme of my little light. As I sat surrounded by my mission team, I knew that God was pleased with us and our efforts, even if he didn’t think we needed light to bag vitamins.

It’s amazing when God knocks on the door, how many people answer. I am so grateful to be surrounded by so many intelligent, kind, passionate people on this mission trip. Not everyone knows Spanish or has a medical background, but there is no way that this mission would function without everyone helping, and somehow everyone has become their perfect puzzle piece.

What an Experience!

Written by Morgan V.

To be completely honest, I did not feel confident going into this mission trip. I just didn’t have any experience in the medical field and did not know what I personally could do to help the people here. When we started the first day of the clinic I was given the job of checking people into the clinic, which is what I continued doing today, and I was unsure of my Spanish skills and was really nervous at the start. It took a while to get comfortable with, but once I got the hang of talking to the patients coming in I came to realize they are really kind and respectful people. They each understood that I was not great at speaking and understanding Spanish, and a lot of them thanked me for helping them in the clinic. Today I even got to help a lady up the stairs, and she was so grateful for the help. I have learned that there is no greater feeling than helping another person and making them smile. One of the fun ladies I saw and helped yesterday came in again today to get some help with her forms, and she was so excited to see me again. I liked being the person in the check-in area because I was the face that people saw when they first came in and when they left. I didn’t meet one person who was rude or ungrateful for the help we were giving them.
Morgan and Abby V.

I also cannot thank the group we are with enough. God has blessed us with such a great group of people to work together for a good cause. I have no complaints because everyone takes part in some way to keep the flow going during the clinic. I am not usually good at meeting new people, but this crew made it very easy to become something more than just “some people who got together from church”. We have become a very strong, connected team, and this is only after a couple of days. I cannot wait to see the things this group can do throughout the rest of this week.

Market in Lima
I think the thing that shocked me the most when we first got to Peru, which was when we were in Lima, was how truly poor the whole area is. It’s sad to see the conditions most Peruvians are living in. It was a bit of a culture shock, especially in these hotels we’ve been staying in. I would say these are higher class hotels in this area, but most still don’t even have clean water. It helps me realize why we are here to help these people through the medical mission. I have been thanking God every day for how blessed I am for the life I have, and I can’t wait to learn more lessons in the coming days here in Paita.

Sylvia at Triage

Daily Prayer - Friday, June 21

“For the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many.” (NABRE Mark 10:45)

Dear Lord,

We have worked and helped so many of Your people already and have welcomed them with open Arms. I can see You in so many people here, Lord. I have seen You in the weary smile of a grandparent, in the playfulness and laughter of children, and in the hard work and eyes of adults. You work in so many miraculous ways. Thank You for calling us to be disciples of Your word and service.

In the words of St. Francis Xavier, Patron Saint of Missions, “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care about them.” Help these people to know how much we care about them. Help us to show them kindness and compassion as they share some of their most intimate thoughts and words with us, Lord. Please continue to bless this mission, our actions, our thoughts, and our words.

In Your Name, we pray.


Thursday, June 20, 2019

Goal for the Mission Trip

Written by Jordan V.

Hello world, my name is Jordan and this is my second mission trip ever. Before the start of this mission trip, I had a couple of people tell me that mission trips have a tendency to not have a real impact on communities; they claimed this is due to the many missions that don't teach the individuals how to help themselves once missionaries leave.

Needless to say, that quickly became my first fear. I was afraid that I may end up cooking for the group the whole time, or helping people who appeared to be able to help themselves, or that our work would not be long lasting. On my previous mission trip, I experienced both the good and bad of helping others. One family desperately needed our help, and the work we did would last for years. With my second location, I started to feel as though my help wasn't completely necessary, especially in comparison. 

My goal for this trip was to compare a little less and pray that each individual's intentions were pure. While I have experienced a few individuals becoming a bit overexcited about glasses who didn't necessarily need them, I have truly only seen our work do good. People have been taught how to wrap their own wounds, eat healthier, practice better hygiene, and have been provided resources for further support. 

On top of it all, the people of Piura are the kindest I have ever met. I have been showered with hugs and kisses, given gifts of local fruits, and more. Not only have they given me these things, but I have been gifted with the gratefulness that comes with knowing that my help is truly needed and appreciated. I love this city and all of its people.

Great Day for our Mission

Written by Denise V.

Today was a great day for our mission. We got to see so many women taking care of their babies. No day here seems to run smoothly and today was no exception. Our afternoon interpreters had a hard time catching a bus, so we had to improvise for about the first hour and we lost power and had to try to finish seeing patients before we ran out of light. Good thing we were able to complete our task.

When everyone made their way down to our lounge area we all worked on packaging vitamins and anti-parasitics for the next day. It's been great days providing help to those who are truly appreciative of our efforts. We continued to be without power through dinner and dessert, but it never effected our moods. I am so grateful for the opportunity to be here and for the people God provided for me to experience this mission with.

Daily Prayer - Thursday, June 20

"Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink?” ...And the king will say to them in reply, “Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.” (NABRE Matthew 25:40)

Dear Lord,

One of the greatest disciples of our time, St. Teresa of Calcutta, commonly known as Mother Teresa, said “I am not sure exactly what heaven will be like, but I know that when we die and it comes time for God to judge us, He will not ask, ‘How many good things have you done in your life?’ rather He will ask, ‘How much love did you put into what you did?’”

Lord, we love being here among your people and serving them. You are an all powerful, all loving God whose goodness has reached beyond what we can fathom. Though, we may be tired, help us to put our love into our actions, thoughts, and words today in our mission. Help us to be filled with the Holy Spirit. Allow us to spread love everywhere we go. Let no one ever come to us without leaving happier. We thank you for continuing to watch over our mission and allow us to spread Your Word, O Lord.

We love you, Lord. Continue to watch over us. In Your name, we pray.


Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Eye Opener

Written by Abigail V. 

This has been a big eye opening experience these last couple of days. I had the opportunity to work in the clinic area, downstairs as the receptionist with my younger sister, and helping out with translating here and there.

On the clinic floor on day one, I was in charge of running around and helping with translation as well as helping people find glasses that work for them. There was this one little girl who came up to me and couldn't see far away. So we had to go through all the prescription glasses that could fit children. We tried so many on and when we were feeling like we were out of hope I found one more pair that might work. The girls face when she could finally see was amazing. She was so happy and her mom was too. I'm so grateful I was there to see that little girl's face.

Day 2 and day 3 I worked the reception desk. It was fun being able to meet everyone before they went up. They were all very excited to get the help they needed. I recieved many hugs and kisses as I registered them and sent them upstairs. Day 3 was interesting because in the morning we had a group of elders who could not make it up the stairs. I had to help transport them to the near by room and tell the nurses and Charley to come down and help them out.

Day 4 was probably my favorite day. When I woke up on Friday I thought I would be working the desk again or maybe at the most helping out in the pharmacy, but we hit a speed bump. When we woke up two of our physicians had the flu which meant we were very short on people. Since I have my CNA they asked if I could go help out with the nurses station so one of the nurses could go work the pharmacy. I was very nervous but excited for the new change. I was brought upstairs to the clinic where I had to take people's glucose levels and take UVAs (UTI tests and pregnancy tests). I also helped out with taking temperature and weight. I was very nervous to take glucose at first since I never had before and I had to prick their fingers manually. Helping out in the clinic was amazing!

Day 5 started with an alarm clock set to 4:30 am. The clinic was closed and we headed to the bus to go to the upper part of Peru to the ocean. When we got there (3 hours later) they asked who would want to go swimming with the turtles and my hand shot up. I was so excited. As we boarded the boat and got our life jackets on a huge sea turtle swam towards us. I could not wait to get in. The boat toured us around the water until they put the anchor down and told us to get in. There were three rules when swimming with the turtles.

1. Do not pet the turtles. This is because they have a special algae coat on their shells to help keep them protected from the ocean.

2. Do not splash in the water/ move a lot. This would scare the turtles.

3. Do not yell or scream. This again would also scare the turtles.

I swam with my sister Jordan and Miranda and Nico. This was so much fun! I had a blast trying to maneuver around the turtles and seeing them under water.

As our journey in Peru comes to a close I am very thankful for going on this trip especially with my family. This is one of my favorite mission trips I have been on. I will be so excited if I am given the opportunity to come back to Peru in the future.

¡Paita nececita nuestra ayuda!

In Lima, Peru
Written by Justin V.

We took a flight from Lima that was pretty much blocking everything below us for the duration of the flight. If you didn’t already know, it’s overcast a good portion of the year in Peru. We had no idea what to expect when the plane broke the clouds for a landing. We had our ideas and premonitions but none of my family knew exactly what was coming. We broke the clouds about 30 minutes before we touched down and looked out at the bird’s eye view of Paita. My mother looked at me with a look that said “Not sure what I expected, but here we go”. The first thing that blew me away was the clash of ideas that I saw around me. By this, I meant that I saw people hawking water bottles on the street while holding onto a smart phone from the last year or so, standing in front of a dynamic billboard lighting up the absolute bedlam of an intersection populated by “motos”. The buildings were what I’d expect from a city like this. Some of the architecture was actually quite striking. Other than the initial culture shock, the ride to the St. Claire school was relatively uneventful.

Day 1 in Paita:

Sister Paula, Justin, Sister Matilde
We arrived in Paita and it was nonstop moving. Luckily, I had spent the day touring Lima the day prior so I was able to jump right in with a full tank of gas. I’m not medically trained, and all of my medical knowledge through osmosis from my parents, so all of my assistance was done in moving things with my mediocre man-muscles and giving input on how to design some of the systems we were devising to have people move through. Rest of the day was spent picking who would do what job.

Day 2:

Opening day. I was set to work the de-worming clinic handing out Mebendazol (had to look up how to spell). Working with people and speaking Spanish I learned very quickly what I did and didn’t know. I was surprised I actually know more than I thought but I also had a very poor level of comprehension when it came to understanding questions outside my knowledge bubble. Luckily I had Niko to lean on when I had a gap in understanding. We worked pretty well and we managed through with minimal hiccups while still providing the drugs people needed to rid themselves of the hookworms.

 Patient Consulting with Medical Staff
 Day 3:

Nothing to talk about. I built water filters all day. I thought they were cool, but I doubt me explaining how they work is interesting. NEXT!
Marc S. Buil

Play by play over:

So I wasn’t sure how I was going to be affected by the people that I interacted with in the clinic. I was working with some of the people and when we handed out the de-worming medication, we had the instructions on the side of the container. Some people could not read. Not being sarcastic, they were are part of the non-literacy statistic and that blew my mind that in 2019, there are people who can’t read or write, even in a small city in Peru. That was kind of sad but I wasn’t truly emotionally affected until we had to work with this small baby Valentine. It was the most heartbreaking thing I’ve ever seen. Watching the doctor beg and plead them to take this child to the ER because he wasn’t able to breath properly. Every gasp this poor baby had to take was laboring. The cough he had was wet as hell and I can’t imagine what the mother was going though. Everyone offered their prayers but I just wish the healthcare was good enough in a country that little babies didn’t have to die from improper care or fluid in their lungs. It sounded like the child wouldn’t be taken to the hospital and I felt so sad for the rest of the evening. I’m sorry Valentine. The world is too cruel.

Daily Prayer - Wednesday, June 19

For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, that God has prepared in advance, that we should live in them.” (NABRE Ephesians 2:10)

Dear Lord,

Many of us are gathered here today to pray. Some of us may have had fears coming on this mission: Will I make a difference? What gifts do I have that I can share? How do I make a lasting impact? Please help us to remember that we are Your handiwork. You have created all of us with a special skill set so that we can serve Your people. Please help our gifts and skills to be honed and sharpened. Please bless our hearts, and calms our worries about being good enough and doing good enough. Please allow everyone here to know that they are here for a purpose and that their help is pivotal not only in our mission but in Your mission for us.

Open our hearts, O Lord, that we can take special care of Your people.

In Your name we pray. 


Tuesday, June 18, 2019

First Full Day of Clinic Went by in a Flash!

Written by Dr. Lisa W.

The first full day of clinic went by in a flash. In total, we saw around 150 patients from all walks of life. The saddest being a small baby with congenital brain damage who was experiencing breathing difficulties. The prognosis doesn’t look good. Please pray for baby Valentine.

In my small corner of the world, my daughter Grace and I treated around 25 people. Grace was my interpreter, my assistant and right hand man. She would take the history and follow up by asking the patient any questions I might still have. She would help with the TENS unit and orthopedic supports. She would choose appropriate stretches and exercises for the patient and convey this to Denise as she walked them over for PT. Grace was amazingly helpful.

I had a full schedule. Many people here experience musculoskeletal problems. They work in factories, fishing wharfs, and drive motos. They take care of their parents, moving them from beds to chairs to the bathroom. The care for sick children doing the same. They hurt. Especially their necks and backs. Their muscles are tight and full of knots. The chiropractic treatment is give to them is usually their first experience. Most people feel immediate relief to varying extents.

The first patient we saw had never been to a chiropractor. She takes care of her father who is laid up in bed and her sock daughter. Grace explained that with the treatment she would hear “crujido” or clicking and that this was normal. I adjusted her full spine. After her adjustment she sat up and started crying. Grace looked at me and I looked at her. As Maria spoke to Grace, I could see Grace’s face relax and I realized Maria our patient was thanking us for giving her relief. She asked if she could bring her daughter back the next day. She hugged us and kissed us as she left. That was the way it went all day. We received hug after hug, kiss after kiss. All patients said they felt “mejor”/ better. It was a fulfilling day. 

Grace had some fun with my Spanish. The Holy Spirit did not gift me with the knowledge of languages. I can say the same word twenty different times and each time it would sound different. The Spanish word for up is arriba. Grace was amused that I couldn’t remember that for anything. She would have to remind me constantly that Aruba was an island. :)

For lunch we had another amazing Peruvian meal. Fettuccini noodles with pesto and beef in gravy.

By the end of the day, my body ached. Standing on the concrete floor, using a massage table instead of a lower chiropractic table, and the physical effort required to perform adjustments left me a wilted flower. I was ready for the day to be over.

At the end of clinic, we gathered in the living room of the school next to the kitchen. This is where we gather when we aren’t in the clinic upstairs. We were served sandwiches and chips, a welcome light dinner. After dinner, we divided more vitamins and medicine into baggies for the next day. The glass of wine helped the task lighter. And the many hands made the task faster.

We finally left for our hotel at around 10 pm. As we walked though a city courtyard and groups of teens performed dancing routines for us. We stopped to admire them for a few minutes. So friendly here. So kind.

We showered and I turned off the lights and feel into a deep sleep. Six am would be here in a wink. 

Honor and Privilege to Partake in Outreach to Peru

Written by Miranda S.

I think I witnessed and received more kisses on the cheek than I have ever before. However, that is normal every time I come on this mission.

This may be my third time in Paita, but those feelings of shock, gratefulness, sadness, and the dust in my eyes (which definitely isn't me tearing up from exhaustion) don't seem to go away. There are animals roaming the streets, people sitting or sleeping wherever they can find a spot, trash more present than there are plants, and of course, the first day of clinic like there is today.
Marc and Young Boy

Stress and emotions are always high as we are working out the kinks in our system, dealing with backlogs, and naturally, hearing the stories of people as they come in to get treated. Even though we are serving and helping this community, it is easy to feel helpless. Today, we met a woman who doesn't own a wheelchair that she needs to transport her bedridden mother. We couldn't convince a family to take their sick infant to the emergency room because their living of selling water bottles won't cover the cost. 

Dr. Papp with Mom and Baby
But this doesn't come without the small victories either. It's not everyday that by having a conversation with children through google translate, handing out little toys, or giving out a pair of reading glasses that you can put the biggest smile on someone's face. The gratitude that comes from all of our patients is unseen almost anywhere else I've ever been. They come up and put their children in your arms for pictures, practice their English phrases with us, and, of course, give us lots of kisses. That is why I and everyone else here do this mission and it's an honor and privilege to be a part of it.