Flooded with blessings!

We are back! And astounded with our Lord’s abundant blessings upon our medical mission trip to Paraguay.  Every aspect of this trip evolved on a “grand scale”!

2014 Medical Mission Trip Group

Our medical mission team numbered 50 persons, including nine physicians, seven nurses, eleven students, twenty dedicated laypersons, our pharmacist, and two chaplains. Seven former missionaries to Paraguay enjoyed this opportunity to “come back home”. Our group included four complete families numbering three to five members! What a sincere spirit of service and love was demonstrated daily by each team member. And, as  commonly required on the mission field, flexibility was the watchword, as people switched tasks to meet the needs of that day. CMB Everyday our team was complemented by physicians, nurses, and chaplains from Centro Médico Bautista who accompanied us to the different clinic sites at Carapeguá, Límpio, Yeguarizo, and Lambaré. After these clinics were done we also conducted one at the hotel where we were staying for the employees and their family members. Our Medical Team provided physical care to 933 patients, prescribing free medicines and mark thomasgiving vitamins to each one. Tooth paste and brushes were also distributed to every patient and family member. farmacia 

Eye Team

The Eye Team encountered high demand everywhere, attending 699 patients, with each person receiving  free eye glasses. So many were excited to finally be able to see again!  fitting glasses  A unique aspect of our clinics is to assure follow-up for patients with serious diagnoses.  Over 30 eye patients were referred to the Programa Visión for cataract surgery at a very reduced cost, and medical patients needing follow-up will receive needed care at the Centro Médico Bautista.  These partnerships promises our patients more than just one on-site consult, but continued treatment as necessary.

 

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Soccer ball

 

 

 

Our greatest diagnostic tools, however, were the Evangelism Bracelet, a multicolored soccer ball, and the Evangecube used by our Vacation Bible School Team and chaplains to resolve the greatest problem confronting each patient:  their sin problem separating them from God.  Evangecube

 

336 persons accepted Christ personally as their Savior and Lord.  This is the fundamental purpose of our ministry. We are not committed to only provide physical and visual assistance, but to explain to every patient that God loves them so much that His only son died for their sin and present to them an opportunity to accept the free the gift of salvation and eternal life.

 

This flood of blessings and joy of serving Christ in each clinic were marvelously depicted in our visit to the Iguazú Falls situated on the border of Paraguay and Brazil which an amazing conglomeration of 275 waterfalls in one place and one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World. The waters rushing over these cliffs were at the highest level I have ever seen in my 30+ visits there.

Iguazu Falls

Just like these falls were overflowing, we were filled with God’s bountiful love each day, continuously replenished for each new clinic experience. As the mist rises from these magnificent falls, so did His Spirit surround and anoint us daily to reach out to our fellow man and woman, share His Story, and invite every person to meet their Savior, Lord, and Creator.

Praising Jesus15

What a wondrous adventure of purpose, peace, and His power to share Hope with the hopeless, and provide healing and sight, but most importantly, introduce them to a new life with Jesus Christ—so that they will possess a new hope forever! We are all so grateful that we could be used by Him.

True Joy is Serving Our Lord!

How often do opportunities open up for us to serve others on a massive and significant scale? When they do–God wants us to seize them for Him!

peggy with children

map of ParaguayThis Saturday I leave with fellow medical volunteers for my “former homeland” of Paraguay  where we will conduct medical and eye clinics in communities of the poorest of the poor.  Our team consists of fifty volunteers, all eager to serve their fellowman: physicians, nurses, pharmacist, chaplains and former missionaries, laypersons, and students.  Our group spans several generations!

 

 

Our physical ministry will provide medical care for those who are unable to access Physiciana doctor.  Needed medicines will be dispensed free of charge to each these patients.

Eye patientOur Eye Team will enable opportunities for the nearly blind to be able to see with glasses they could never afford.

Our Dental Team will distribute toothbrushes and others products, and teach dental hygiene.

Alongside these healthcare ministries our Vacation Bible School Team will be engaging children (who typically are over 60% of our patients) with exciting activities and sharing important stories from the Bible.

Child

But by far, the most important activity will be our chaplains who will share the Gospel of Christ withChaplaincy every single patient and family member.  This is the real reason we are there! Each team member will share their testimony, written or verbally, with every patient they see.

 

 

PharmacyAnd we will not be a group of North Americans ministering alone, but will be closely partnered with medical professionals and chaplains from the Centro Médico Bautista in Asunción.  Their presence and commitment assure our patients of any necessary medical follow-up from the clinic site, in the case of serious medical conditions, cataract surgery, or other diagnostic treatment.

This Medical Center was founded by Baptist medical missionaries in Paraguay 1952, and in 1995 CMB Fachada became a Paraguayan Baptist controlled entity which has continued to expand their vision and mission “beyond belief”, demonstrating their unfailing faith in Our Lord through their dynamic expansion of each of their medical, spiritual, social, and educational ministries.

 

Crowds waitingWe are extremely privileged to serve beside these brothers and sisters in Christ in Paraguay. This will be our 8th medical mission trip sponsored by The Paraguay Baptist Medical Center Foundation in conjunction with the Medical Center.  To date over 27,000 patients have been attended, $73,000 in free medicines and eyeglasses have been distributed, but, most importantly, over 3,000 individuals have come to know Christ.

 

I am assured that the Lord has assembled a very special group to serve Him in Paraguay in these next days and we will witness marvelous results of His abounding love flowing through us. Please pray that we will be used in every way, and as mightily as possible in Paraguay. I can’t wait to share what God has done after our return on June 23rd 

2004 Volunteers 2012 Volunteers

Let the Beatitudes Be Active in Us Everyday!- a personal testimony

Sermon on the MountThe Beatitudes are glorious promises and blessings given by Our Lord. Yet, even after we encounter them it is easy to leave these treasures from Above “on the shelf of life”. But God desires for them to be precious jewels of our daily spiritual attire, not unused and stored away. I recently experienced this very dilemma, in spite of my deep involvement with the Beatitudes over the past three years. In the midst of a family tragedy my temptation was to just “leave them be”. Yet God greatly convicted me to apply them in this grievous situation.

Spring What happened?  A few weeks ago, with spring foliage bursting   forth, the pen where four very cherished members of our family reside, required mowing.

 

 

COCO, was placed in this very pen as a puppy about eleven years ago—only a few months old, she stank to high heaven, and had a broken leg. We took her in, paid vet expenses to mend her leg, and Coco became a treasured member of our family pets. Coco

Then LITTLE BROTHER showed up, another stray, and mix of various breeds, very friendly, active, and who lived ecstatically for his dog bone each day.  (sorry I don’t have a picture of him)

 

CamCAM, a boxer mix was left in our garage one August day about three years ago, with a terrible mange and mite condition. Once again, we paid the vet expenses to bring him back to health and took him in. 

 

 

Then, last summer, our elderly German Shepherd had one lone puppy,Uno at birth BLACKIE, who rapidly transformed into a beautiful, huge, and friendly playmate for the other three.

 

 

UnoNote that each of these came “un-invited” into our household, but were welcomed in and received whatever medical care needed.

  As I opened the gate to enter with my tractor and finishing mower, the dogs shot past me for their periodic escape from “pen life” and disappeared into the expansive woods surrounding our house.  Normally within an hour they returned; however, four days later they still were not back.  Meanwhile my wife canvassed our community inquiring about them. Then one afternoon we received a call about their whereabouts. I came upon their four badly deteriorated corpses, dumped beside a back road, with evidence that they had been brutally murdered.

 Rest in Peace

This was so hard to accept as we covered them with dirt in the semblance of a burial. Each one had been a stray who had found a home with us, and had received constant love and care.  Yet, someone had instantaneously assassinated all four together.  What a cruel and merciless person had committed such an act!  Grief, anger, and bitterness at once overtook me.

Put yourself before God

Over the next days, God worked in my heart and the cherished Beatitudes began to take hold of my spirit.  My mourning was comforted.  We know not what happens with the spirits of our beloved animals in the After-life, but I was assured I would see my four furry friends again one day.  Beatitudes stairway

My angry attitude became tempered with mercy, and joined by the forgiveness of peace-making.  My selfish pride took a back seat to meekness as I prayed earnestly for the offender and the convicting power of the Holy Spirit to move within and bring that person to Our Lord. If that is the result and I can be a part of it, I am ready.

 

These Beatitudes avalanched into my heart and applied themselves to each area of spiritual and emotional need, offering relief, release, and a real sense of peace.  If the death of our beloved dogs can bring a soul to Christ, it is all worth it.

Oh Lord, let the Beatitudes be Your attitude in me—every single day!