Mission Panama 2019 Update

Mission Panama

Panama Team is heading home

Your 2019 team is heading home! 🇵🇦😎♥️

Panama Day#9

Our #MissionPanama2019 team is about to head home but not until we delivered fundraising gifts from our congregations.

In total, First UMC Round Rock and Hamburg UMC was able to donate $16,800 to the medical programs of Mission Panama SPMA!

🙏♥️ THANK YOU ALL for giving so generously to this amazing cause. We could not do this work without our congregation’s support!

Panama Day #8

Saturday is our team’s R&R day. We’re out exploring Casco Viejo before heading to the Panama Canal!

Panama Day #7 – Visiting the Albergue…

Before we could leave Santa Fe this week, we had to see the respite center being renovated by Mission Panama SPMA.

This facility is intended to be a free place where the indigenous people can come and stay to receive long term medical treatment. Recently the albergue has seen and treated several tuberculosis patients, is home to a middle aged woman with an inoperable brain tumor and helped several expectant mothers with high risk pregnancies.

Most patients and families who come to stay here live more than 8 hours walking distance away from Santa Fe. 🚫 Long term care would be impossible if they could not live near a medical provider like they can in the albergue.

As you can see from the photos, this center is far from the level of care you might be experiencing when you check in to a hospital. 😞

Many of the 7 available rooms have been cleaned, repainted and mattresses have been furnished instead of the cardboard that used to cover the metal bed frame springs. The center has been fitted with solar panels and skylight roof lighting instead of wasting in to darkness in the evenings. And finally a new water tank has been installed to offer clean water to the residents.

There is still much to do.

There are no bathroom facilities here, only a full latrine pit in each of the bathroom stalls.

There are no medical supplies as of yet and new patients only get access to a room; no sterilization precautions take place.

Cleaning, repairs and turnover for rooms will be an ongoing task.

This center is a haven for those that need it, however we also know a cheerful ♥️ heart is good medicine. (Prov. 15:13) We pray for the people who need this albergue and pray for continued financial support for renovation and improvements. Bringing hope and cheer to this place can only improve the souls here who need great strength to recover.

Panama Day #6, last day of clinic…

Today was our hardest day. We struggled with the 🌧 weather, the rocky terrain, our energy levels, and especially not always being able to entirely “fix” the issues in these people’s daily lives.

Over the course of our trip we’ve seen 462 patients, 250 adults and 211 children. We wrote 1801 prescriptions including medicine, vitamins, albendazole for parasite infection and gave 19 referrals for continued treatments.

As we worked through each of our clinic days we tried to have just one goal; one at a time. Jesus had a way of seeing and caring for each person as an individual. (John 5:5-9) ♥️ So one patient, one treatment, one interaction to give the person in front of us all of us while we could.

Tomorrow our team will leave Santa Fe and make the long drive cross country back to Panama City.

Panama Day #5, we find the Tesoro of Panama…

Our first clinic day in El Guabal and we found the Treasure (Tesoro) of Panama. 🇵🇦 This man here is 108 years young and in better health than some of us that trekked through thick mud, slippery rocky slopes and steady rain to see him.

Years ago the last of his family passed away and some people brought him out of the jungles to a church in Guabal for care. The pastor that took care of him has recently passed away as well, but the ♥️ Tesoro lives on with the help of his community.

How great a site to see God’s mercy (Mark 8:22-25) and power of care in this indigenous community. May we all be blessed to live to a healthy, old age like the Treasure of Panama. 🙏

Tomorrow our #MissionPanama2019 team will make one last trip through the mountains for the last day of medical clinics.

Panama Day #4, our last clinic day in El Cuay…

The residents told us they feel forgotten by the modern world at times, but our visit changed so much for so many here.

We saw 263 patients, including two home bound, and filled 974 prescriptions over our two days in this untouched mountain community. They ranged in ages from 1 to 88 and all had the sweetest, soft spoken spirits.

The only thing not soft about them is their laugh. 😂 Many on our last day stayed longer than they needed just to take part in the conversation, laughter and community.

It was a bittersweet day because we had to leave them; there are so many that could need care.

Today they are joyous and well. ❤️ We will not worry about their tomorrow, because we have trust in our heavenly Father and He knows them. (Matt. 6:31-34)

Tomorrow, we’re on to Guabal.

Just a little earthquake…

Not to worry, we did feel some of the aftershocks here in Santa Fe but most of us thought our beds shaking was just a rowdy bunk mate or a nightmare about too much Chiva bouncing.

The whole team is well and on to our next clinic location.

Panama Day #3, our first day of clinic…

When they say you should take the road less traveled, I wonder if this is what they meant? Today we literally took the road less traveled. So much so that we had to ditch our city vans and rent “Chivas,” or 🐐 goats in Spanish, to climb us up the mountain to our work site for today.

Our entire team of 4 doctors, 2 nurse practitioners, 6 nurses, 1 pharmacist, 9 laypeople and 6 translators piled in and up we went to the virtually untouched mountain community of El Cuay.

We were cheerfully and eagerly greeted by HUNDREDS of community members. Some of our patients today in their 60s, 70s, 80s plus+ walked on average and hour and a half to up to 5 hours just to see a doctor.

Our team of doctors can typically see 85-90 patients a day. 100 if we really push. Today, we have no idea yet because we’re still reconciling! 😳 We had 198 sign up to see a doctor, and we didn’t leave until the last intake form was complete.

When Jesus told his disciples the harvest is plentiful (Matt. 9:35-38) he meant it! And we were ♥️ grateful to be the laborers sent in to a new field today.

Panama Day #2- Arrived in El Cway

Our 21-member mission team finally arrived in El Cway near Santa Fe in central Panama late today. Rev David Ceballos, Director of Mission Panama, welcomed us and shared with us his hope that we would experience God at work in our lives as we get to know the people we care for.

Early tomorrow we will travel to an even more remote area to set up a mobile medical clinic to offer care to the Ngöbe-Bugle indigenous tribes.

We ended tonight giving thanks for the love and support of First Church, praying together, and celebrating communion together.

Panama Day #1 – Arrived in Panama

We all made it to Panama City, this year’s team is 21 strong!