Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Day 5 in Rio

Yesterday was our second day at clinic. We were afraid that it was going to be even hotter than Monday. However, God answered prayers and provided clouds, a breeze, and at times, a light drizzle. It made all the difference in how we felt at the end of the day. I just hope that this weather will continue.

A lot of our work was similar to the day before. But, I thought it might be helpful if I explain some of the process. By the time we get here in the morning, there are already people waiting on us. BOM-GEE-A (spelled phonetically), means good morning.

We'll set up clinic, making sure that supplies are where we need them to be, tables and chairs are arranged accordingly. Then, we'll have a short devotion where a team member will share a few verses along with words of encouragement. This ensures that we start off the day right.

Then, we begin seeing people.

First wave of people coming down the stairs.

At the front of the gate, will be secretaries. They will help the patients fill out the form (or FEE-SHA). Then, they'll send down people in groups of 10 to the evangelism area. Everyone we see goes through evangelism. This ensures that no one leaves without knowing why we're here and that we believe God has a special plan for their life and that Jesus loves them. We don't try and beat them over the head with it, but as Peter says, we want to give the reason for the hope that [we] have. (1 Peter 3:15)

When Betty asked if anyone would like to receive Christ, this sweet girl said yes. She climbed up in Betty's lap to pray.

Kelly and Roger, Father daughter duo, sharing in their evangelism group.

Then, they'll go to their individual areas: eyes, general medicine, or dental.

This area has been named the "Kath Lab" -- because it's Kathy Warren and Kathy Alwahab.

Within each area, we'll take their blood pressure. In the optometry area, this is especially important, because we'll catch things. A lot of times, people that have headaches or have trouble seeing, have high blood pressure. While we could go ahead and size them for glasses, that's not the real problem.

Then, they'll see the doctor or nurse. Even though I've walked around and taken pictures of each group, I can really only speak to the optometry area.

The first thing I do, is I ask what their name is and introduce myself. Some of their names are hard for me to pronounce. Admittedly, sometimes I have trouble even hearing the nuances to know exactly how to say their name, but I try my hardest. I want them to know how important it is that I be able to call them by name. They are an individual, not a number.

Then, I ask them how I can help them with their vision. We only brought reading glasses with us and can't fill prescriptions or anothing. It's so disheartening when we can't help them with some of their other needs, but for a lot of them, all they really want is some attention.

Royce meeting with one of his patients.

Brenda with one of her patients.

Alice with one of her patients

I'll pull out a Portugese Bible, with versees from the Plan of Salvation underlined. Then, we have paddles with the different numbers on them, raning from +1.0 to +3.0. I've found +1.5 is a good starting place. They're supposed to hold the Bible almost an arm's length away. I can usually get a good idea of whether to go up or down on the scale based on how close or far away they try and hold the book.

Esa or Esa? This or this? I always keep trying to make sure I find the best option. Once we zone in on one level, I'll go pick a pair of glasses from our supplies.

I'll give them their glasses, and then check their form to see whether they marked down believer or unbeliever. If they're a believer, I'll try and affirm them in that. If they're not, I'll usually try and present the Gospel one more time. I know they've already gone through evangelism, but I also know this will be our last point of contact with them. I want to make sure they have every opportunity to make a decision.

Regardless, at the end, I'll ask them if there's anything I can pray with them about. They are so selfless here. A lot of their requests revolve around family.

Beth praying with one of her patients.

I love working in the eye area. As a graphic designer, and then a photographer, this week, my vision is very important to me. So, to be able to help someone see! ... ahh, what a gift! It brings a whole new meaning to the song, Amazing Grace: I once was blind, but now I see.

Each area, works with several interpreters. We are so thankful for them! Without them, we'd be stuck, trying to communicate. It's amazing how God is able to use them to overcome barriers, as big or as small as language.

I'll say a phrase or a sentence or two and then pause to let Marcus interpret. It's funny, by lunch time, I've gotten in such a groove talking and pausing that it almost feels weird not to pause!

Lunch is a special time. The church volunteers prepare food for us each day. We get to eat with our interpeters, getting to know them better.

One of the ladies helping out in the kitchen.

Lunch with Brenda and one of the girls trying to learn English

Roger sitting around the circle with some of the church volunteers.

Food tent

Roger and Kelly singing Taylor Swift. It's funny, they know a lot of the American bands, like Bruno Mars and Foo Fighters.

The afternoon is more of the same.

Kevin reading Scripture with one of his patients.

Two of the small children that came to the clinic with their parents to receive care.

This was the first lady that Alice and I fit for glasses. She came back the next day with her son. She was all smiles.

This was a whole family that came to know the Lord.

Janel was handing out stickers.

After Brenda helped the sweet lady next to her, she wanted to pray over her.

Beth handing out stickers.

Mandy helping her patient understand her perscription

Some of the church volunteers.

Paul meeting with some of his patients.

We try and leave before 5, though, to avoid us much traffic as possible.

When we get back to the hotel, we'll have a team meeting, another devotional, and share time. Some of the stories that people come back with are amazing.

Mandy sitting inbetween her Tennessee boys.

Last night, Royce shared with the group about a man he saw Monday who had trouble seeing far away.--and he's a bus driver! As I mentioned before, we don't have any glasses for distance. But, Royce felt prompted to test him with our distance paddles anyway and encouraged him to return the next day anyway. Royce mentioned something to Sharon about it, and the next day she arrived with a 2 pairs of distance glasses that she had found in her supplies. The man returned and Royce was able to give him those glasses.

Again, another man came who had trouble seeing far away. Royce felt prompted to just try the 2nd pair of distances glasses we had. The man put them on and he immediately said, "Oh my gosh!"

I don't think we completely understand. For these men, seeing is part of their livelihood. The glasses here are either really expensive, or the ones they can buy on the street are actually harmful to their eyes.

More and more here, I see all the paradoxes that exist. The poor are the ones that are the most gracious, the most generous, and the most receptive to truth. They have nothing and their family is the most important thing to them. They recognize it's not about them. The children we see are the quickest to believe, the ones most eager to trust and accept Christ. The weak ones, here, are the strong ones in their faith. I don't get it. I'm not sure I'll ever understand it.


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