Wednesday, August 31, 2011

And the Journey Continues!

Another project under our belts! We just got back from Ambato and it was a wonderful project with a wonderful group. 10 of the participants were nursing students and they were all so eager to learn and help in any way that they could. Another 6 were a group from Canada who brought a ton of supplies and knowledge to the project. It is amazing how close you can get to people in such a short amount of time. We pray that they will return to Ecuador on projects in the future! In the course of two weeks we were able to attend to over 2,800 patients and all of them heard the good news of Christ!

This was the first project that Josh and I have worked on that included a surgical component and, after working out a few kinks in the first couple of days, we were able to do 19 surgeries! It was awesome to see how the American surgeon and nurse cooperated with the Ecuadorian surgeons and nurses, and they were even able to teach the team at the Hospital in Pelileo some new techniques for prostate surgery. Josh and I are so glad to have been able to work on a surgical project and it is going to be a huge help to us as we prepare for the September mission team in Sangolqui. Every project we complete is a learning experience for us and we are so grateful to the project director, Susana, for teaching us everything she knows!

Prior to the last project, we spent some time in Ibarra (about 2 hours north of Quito) to see if it would be a good site for the new permanent center. We talked to a doctor there who was very informative and eager to help us. He told us that the population in Ibarra has access to a Government Hospital (free healthcare to anyone), a Social Security Hospital (free healthcare to those who have jobs), and various private hospitals and clinics (healthcare for the middle and upper-classes). After spending time there, we can see that the permanent center would probably serve more people in need in a different location.

Also prior to the last project, members of MMI USA and the members of the Ecuadorian MMI board had a meeting in Quito. The purpose of the meeting was largely to talk about the direction for MMI’s future in Ecuador, but Josh and I were given a slightly different direction as well! MMI’s current permanent center in Milagro (southern part of Ecuador) is going through a change in administration and Josh and I have been named co-directors of the center to help facilitate that change. That means that we will be living and working full-time in Milagro. We will continue our search for the site of the new permanent center, and working in the Milagro center will help us to better understand the nuts and bolts of running a clinic. We are thrilled to have the opportunity and we are staying flexible!!

The next project group will arrive in Sangolqui on September 17th and Josh and I are living here in Sangolqui for the next two-and-a-half weeks to prepare. I am thrilled to see my parents since they are participants on this project, and the outcome of this project is very important since Sangolqui is still under consideration as a site for the new center. We are so grateful for your continued prayers and encouragement!!

We treated this lady at the clinic on the last day of the project. She has 9 children and 30 grandchildren!!

Love and God Bless,

Stephanie and Josh

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