Thursday, April 28, 2011

Frustrations working within the Peruvian Health System

I would like to tell you about 3 patients who came to the clinic one morning this week and the frustrations I sometimes experience working within the Peruvian medical system.

Saturnina is a 73 year old quechua lady from the countryside who does not speak spanish. She presented with a 3 year history of a skin lesion,abdominal pain and profound weight loss (she weighed 40kilos!) I am almost positive she has an aggressive skin cancer. Since she has no health insurance I gave her a referral letter to see a dermatologist at the government hospital. She is very poor but will have to find money for the consult and a skin biopsy, if she has cancer there will be no oncology treatment available to her in Cusco.She will have to queue up at 0500 in the morning hoping for an appointment with the dermatologist, it will be frightening for her since she does not speak spanish and is not used to hospitals.I pray that she will be treated with dignity and that people will take time to explain things properly to her.

Pelagio is 57 and has chronic lung disease requiring an operation to remove part of his lung. He has an insurance policy which will cover his operation however, he needs to pay for the anaesthetist, for 2 pints of blood ,( or find someone to donate them for him) his travel, food and board in Lima for the operation. I have been trying to make contact with a church in the Peruvian baptist convention to find someone who can help him in Lima (his family refuse to help him) and maybe visit him in hospital, we are working on it but it has been difficult to find someone willing to get involved.
It was good to invite him to join with the staff at our Friday morning prayer meeting so we could pray with him , for his medical, practical and spiritual needs.

Jesus is a 6 year old boy who has severe mental and physical disabilities, he is incontinent, he can not speak or walk, we were assessing him to try and make a diagnosis to pass on to a special needs school we hope will accept him , a charity that our friend has set up, this would be a huge support to the whole family. (His mum is currently in hospital having her leg amputated).

Three patients that all made me think how different things would be for them if they lived in a country where there was a national health service!
Wasn't it Mother Teresa who said she imagined seeing Jesus in each person she cared for? Well we try and do that at La Fuente clinic but to remind us further we even sometimes have patients called Jesus!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Everything looks so green!

Here are a couple of photos taken when we visited Moray in the sacred valley with the team a few weeks ago . After months and months of rain the green mountains are absolutely stunning. As rainy season ends Anjanette has started watering the plants in the garden again and soon all the lush green around us will turn dry and yellow and brown. However for now we are enjoying the combination of hot sun and green vegetation! We are blessed to live in such an amazing beautiful place!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Happy Easter

We have no spring flowers,spring lambs or Easter bunnies in Cusco in April however the church calendar prompts us to reflect on Jesus' death and resurrection this Easter time. Unfortunately the evangelical church do little to celebrate Easter, often taking the attitude that as a resurrection people every Sunday is a resurrection celebration and whilst we understand this we still enjoy setting aside a special time of year to remember the amazing sacrifice that Jesus made on the cross to allow us to have a relationship with God.

It has been a joy to listen to Jessica read the Easter story to us from her new bible and to talk with Jess and Sam about why God sent Jesus to die on the cross for us. Jessica decided that chocolate Easter crosses would be more suitable than chocolate Easter eggs, maybe next year she can make some for us!

Speaking of making things we are delighted that chef Scott tried his hand at a recipe for high altitude hot cross buns, a taste of home how wonderful! And as for the chocolate eggs , well the Bristol team and a few thoughtful others have sent us a huge amount of eggs so no need to worry that we are missing out!

Tomorrow our church service will be focused on the theme of Christ's resurrection and we will be having a special celebration meal with our church family after the service. Happy Easter! may you know the power of the resurrection in your lives at this special time.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Thankyou Bristol team.

Thankyou for praying for us we have had the most amazing time together!

Not long after we got back to Peru we helped the Ropers settle into their new home and it seemed as if soon after the Ropers moved out of our house we were preparing for the next big event preparing the timetable for the arrival of our visitors!

We had no idea how hosting a large group of non spanish speakers would really work out but it has been amazing. Steve the principal of Bristol Baptist college previously worked as a missionary in Peru in Cajamarca, so having him leading the team was wonderful, he preached at a number of meetings and was a very helpful translator. We really appreciated his wisdom and insight into mission as we reflected on what God was showing us and teaching us.

The team were really willing to get stuck into whatever was asked of them, public speaking and praying, painting, gardening,cooking,serving ,playing music, organising kids games or classroom lessons, even doing action songs in quechua when we did our hospital visiting.

So as well as having had a lot of fun,making some terrific friends and enjoying a lot of laughter and some tears they have really left behind some treasure for us.

As a result of the community events we held , we now have some new people attending our church, please do pray for these new folk and wisdom for us as we get to know them and disciple them.
The team was a huge blessing to La Fuente clinic and also to the hospital. They helped us take the lessons at the school in Huambutio, helping us to build up stronger relationships in the community.

So thankyou Bristol team, you have blessed us more than you can imagine. A HUGE thankyou to those who looked after their families back in the UK who made it possible for them to come!

Please pray for them as they go back to the UK and try and process what God has taught them . We know that they will all be terrific pastors and it is our prayer that this time in Peru will make them keen to engage their churches in mission at home and overseas.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Celebration Cuy

Our friend Maria from Yucay breeds guinea pigs, Peruvians only eat guinea pigs when they have special celebrations since they are such a delicacy , well Maria very generously cooked some and brought them for the Bristol team to try after our church service. What a service it was! many new people whom we had contact with the previous week came along and it was great to have a full packed church, many were challenged by the message that Steve Finimore(principal from Bristol Baptist college) preached and came forward for prayer ministry so a wonderful time was had by all, and the cuy tasted good too!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Hospital Visiting

A good friend of ours Robyn has set up a project visiting children in the burns unit and the orthopaedic ward in the government hospital. There are no teachers, play specialists or occupational therapists to work with the children and support their families and so Robyn and her team of volunteers take games and activities and work with them. We have been privileged to join Robyn this week and today Anjanette enjoyed chatting with the patients and relatives, many of whom have no visitors and no support. Some of the Bristol team played games with the children and one performed some magic tricks too! We had fun singing songs to them, they also sang to us and even taught us a song in quechua, hopefully we brought a little joy to their hospital stay, a bunch of gringos singing action songs should have caused some entertainment if nothing else!
We were also able to pray with the patients for God's help and strength in some very distressing situations. We thank God for Robyn and her team and the amazing work they do bringing hope and God's love to the scared and the lonely.

Poem for Robyn, by Ian O

Hard iron eyes lie on hard iron beds
The pain, too much to bare, has left faces drained of emotion.
Grubby whitewashed walls are unable to convey
That love and healing go hand in hand

Who knows these people?
Unknown faces in an unknown land
With foreign customs and a foreign tongue
Who can know their pain?
The torment of a broken body
Left abandoned in an obscure town.

Brokenness lies hidden.
Hidden beneath blankets and a wire frame
Hidden inside a concrete hospital
Hidden behind metal gates
Hidden in a world so far from home
No one need see, no one need know

Yet your eyes see it all
Your soft kind eyes running with heaven’s tears
Eyes that saw the suffering of your son
See suffering still

And yet there are some whose spirits are moved by yours
Who dare to expose what is hidden
Who dare to bring colour, toys and hope
Who dare to bring life and prayer and faith
And see vacant eyes returned to life
And health and joy and laughter.

Lord, melt my heart
That I might see those iron eyes
Now receive the gift of sight from you

Teaching in the school in Huambutio

Along with our plans to start the clinic in Huambutio we plan to work in the community there by taking lessons in the school and running other activities, so today was a great opportunity to take some english, geography and PE classes in the school . The teachers were happy to have a break from teaching and the kids were very happy to spend some time away from their books hanging out with the gringos! The welcome we received was terrific and we all really enjoyed our morning there.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Dancing in the street

It is not unusual in Cusco to be in the town centre and then quite unexpectedly to be surrounded by cultural dancing and festivities. This is exactly what happened to us in the plaza de armas today , it was a special treat for our visitors and as always a feast of colour of sound!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Peru politics

Yesterday was the first round of Peru's presidential elections. No candidate won by 50% hence on June 5th there will be a run off between the 2 candidates with the most votes. Many folk are very disappointed with the results, on June 5th the choices will be

Keiko Fujimori, age 35,she supports existing free-market policies, but is shunned by many Peruvians because her father, former president Alberto Fujimori, is in prison for corruption and human rights crimes stemming from his crackdown on guerrillas in the 1990s.

Ollanta Humala, a former army officer who led a short-lived military revolt in 2000,he has softened his anti-capitalist tone since narrowly losing the 2006 election.

please join us in praying for the country of Peru , thankyou.

Sunday, April 10, 2011


Ian, one of our visitors from Bristol wrote this poem about his trip to Yucay.

There’s a twisted concrete doorway in the village of Yucay
beneath majestic mountains and a clear blue blazing sky.
It stands a forlorn monument that testifies the day
when the river flooded over and washed the house away.

Nature hides the story of the horror that was there
now flowers and the fruit trees shade the terror and despair.
Imagine everything you have, your house, its memories
collapsed into a pile of mud, nothing but debris.

But the house is only part of it, it’s your livelihood as well
the crops and your whole future have been swallowed up in hell.
Left impoverished and desolate, the numbness and defeat
as the hopes and dreams are lost its seems in the mud beneath your feet.

So why now the smiling faces and the hospitality?
The welcome of bright flowers where the kitchen used to be.
Could it be that hope has come to this corner of the earth
and the message of the gospel has been a catalyst of birth?
That an understanding of true love, faith and community
that the pearl of greatest price is here, that the Kingdom now they see?

We, partakers in this kingdom work, give God thanks today
and as bearers of the gospel we give our Saviour praise
Greed and hate and selfishness, we want all this to die
and the cross brings restoration to the doorways of Yucay.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Kids event in the local sports court

Today Amanda and Neil organised a kids games event at the local concrete community sports area. We hired the sports court then had to pay more money for the man across the road to let us run a cable across road (cars literally drove over it!) so we could use our speakers and play music for the event! The children enjoyed facepainting, played football, did parachute games, made juggling balls out of rice and balloons, ran relay races, played with hoops, diablos and spinning tops. It was great to reconnect with some of the children in the community that we have got to know over the years, the kids had great fun and we invited them to church and explained that soon we will be starting up some kids clubs there. However for us the most exciting part of the day was the great conversations we had with people. The fact that we ran this event and had loud music playing meant people were stopping and asking questions, Anjanette had a long conversation with a lady from the campo who was selling flowers, she told her how hard it is for her to survive and provide for her family selling a few things since she is a single mother to 4 children.
Anjanette bought a bunch of flowers from her ( 6 gladioli for 25 pence!)and then was able to pray with her asking God to help her provide for all her needs. We also had some great conversations with people in the community who showed interest in coming to El Puente. It was great to have so many helpers from the Bristol team to make today such a fun event and to cause so many people to stop and chat with us, here are a few photos.....

Friday, April 8, 2011

Bristol team at La Fuente

Today the Bristol team had a practical day,they worked really hard at La Fuente clinic, they did battle with the overgrown back garden, varnished the chairs in the patients' waiting area, painted a stunning mural and put loads of vitamins that they donated to the clinic into dispensing bags.

La Fuente is a really special place to us and it was wonderful to have our friends join us firstly for our weekly prayer meeting and then to serve the community there today. While all this busy activity was going on Anjanette had her busiest morning ever seeing patients. Jess and Sam even joined in after school and helped to paint the mural which was a special treat for them.

We have been blessed to host many different visitors these last few years we have lived in Peru , however hosting theological students is an exciting new experience for us!

Every night we have been priveleged to join in their reflection time at the end of the day when they share about what God has been teaching them that day, things that have particularly struck them and then bible verses which further explore those themes.

We love living in Cusco and it is fascinating to hear other peoples' reflections about our great city of Cusco!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

The Bristol team have arrived

The team has arrived with all their luggage and they have survived their first day in Cusco they received a warm welcome from our church this afternoon.

They are writing their own blog about their experiences in Cusco these next few weeks
click here if you would like to follow their blog

Friday, April 1, 2011

Timetable for the Bristol team

Well we are getting ready to host a team of ministers in training from Bristol Baptist college ( 12 visitors in total) . Scott has been really busy with the logistics of their timetable arranging hotels, meals, visits, trips, translators and special events, Anjanette will be taking groups of 2 visitors at a time to the clinic/home visits . For those prayer warriors among you do pray for the time that they spend in Cusco that it will be a life changing experience for them and also that they will be a great blessing to the Peruvians that they meet.Please pray for strength and energy for the Cusco missionaries during their visit.

Sun April 3 arrive in Cusco , El Puente church service

Mon April 4
basic spanish lesson ,orientation and overview of the trip

Tues April 5 basic spanish lesson , visit central Cusco

Weds April 6 Cusco Pastors meeting / La Fuente clinic, pm sightseeing

Thur April 7 home visits at La Fuente clinic

Fri April 8 ladies manual work at La Fuente clinic, men manual work in Yucay

Sat April 9 young peoples' games/football game

Sun April 10
Sunday worship in Williamsons' home, day of Peruvian presidential elections no public meetings allowed

Mon April 11
visit Machu Pichu

Tues April 12
La Fuente ,childrens' burns unit,evening visit to seminary

Weds April 13 pastors meeting/La fuente, burns unit,evening seminary

Thurs April 14
La fuente/english classes in school in Huambutio, pm burns unit

Fri April 15
La fuente/Huambutio,pm burns unit evening outreach event El Puente

Sat April 16 all day trip sightseeing sacred valley

Sun April 17 am preaching in different churches, pm El puente

Mon April 18
free day in Cusco

Tues April 19
leave Cusco