Thursday, January 26, 2012

Hola 2012!

We are back in Ecuador and ready for action! A lot has happened since our last blog, so I will back up a little. When I last wrote, we were preparing for our time in the Dominican Republic. The first week, we were at MMI's flagship hospital in Santo Domingo. Nicole and Janice Hunter were so helpful and showed us every part of their facility. We got a lot of ideas that we believe will translate nicely to the hospital in Milagro. The second week, we were at the MMI Director's Conference and it was fantastic as well! It was a joy to see all of my friends from the Dominican Republic and around the world. It really brought home the fact that we are all a family and, in happiness and in troubles, God has given us a group of people to support and help us. Not long after finishing the conference and returning to Ecuador, we headed home to North Carolina for Christmas and New Years. I cannot tell you how wonderful it was to be home for a while. We ate, and ate, and then ate some more! We loved being able to go to our repective churches in Wilmington and Pinehurst, and also to visit other churches and individuals who are supporting us. It was very difficult to say goodbye (isn't it always?) but we headed back to Ecuador last week and we are back working in the hospital. In the few short days that we have been back, we have been busy! We are beginning a couple of exciting projects here in the hospital based on the insight we gained from the hospital in the Dominican Republic: Our first order of business was to revamp our optical shop. Previously, the optical shop for the hospital was located about 200 yards from the main building. By the time our patients finished with their appointments, frequently they just got in a taxi or on a motorcycle and headed home without visiting it. We are bringing the optical shop inside the main building and trying to make it a more inviting and comfortable space for our patients. Glasses are something that a patient is going to use A LOT, so we want them to feel completely at ease as they go through the process of choosing frames. Also, if the shop is inside the hospital, right by the waiting room, hopefully more people will want to purchase their glasses through us. Secondly, we would like to try to develop an audiology department within the hospital. This is more of a long-term goal, but we are trying to take some preliminary steps. At the Director's Conference, we spent a good bit of time with a pediatric audiologist who has worked with the hospital in Santo Domingo to develop their audiology department. She is eager to help us do the same! Unlike severe eye problems, hearing problems can be long-overlooked in children here in Ecuador and frequently, children with hearing problems are misdiagnosed as having autism. We are excited about the potential of this project and will keep you updated on its progress. Here in Ecuador, the children are out of school for their "summer vacation" until April, and it is my goal to offer a Vacation Bible School for the children of the poor neighborhood around the hospital called Las PiƱas. I am working with a member of the local church to obtain materials and teachers for a program in March. Although Josh and I do have the goal of improving business practices and efficiency in the hospital, our primary goal of course is to share the gospel in words and actions with the world around us. VBS is a fantastic way to do that! We want these children to feel the love of Christ and desire to know him more. We also hope that, through the VBS, more people would learn about the hospital and we would be able to help more patients. On a more personal note, Josh and I will be moving into our very own apartment (first time in 3 years!) either this weekend or next week some time. Needless to say, I am beyond excited. It was COMPLETELY unfurnished - no furniture, no appliances, no blinds, not even lightbulbs! So we have been busy this week shopping for good deals on all of these things :). I can't wait to start cooking again! Once we get moved in, I will post some pictures of our new place. Yesterday was my birthday, and I was blessed enough to have calls and well-wishes from my family, and not one, but TWO surprise parties! The family that we are living with threw one for me the night before my birthday, and then yesterday the hospital staff had a cake for me. I was definitely feeling the love. The year is ripe with promise and we are very excited and priviledged to share it with you. Here are some pictures from the conference and from Christmas:
Joshua and I in the Dominican Republic with the Ecuador Team
Willie Hunter, CEO of MMI, speaking at the Director's Conference
The White/Tucker/Sorzano family in New Orleans for Christmas
The boys :)
Josh and I with his Grandfather
Baya with her Christmas present (A UNC hat!) Love and God Bless, Stephanie and Joshua

No comments:

Post a Comment