Tuesday, June 12, 2018

There are no good excuses

Last Friday I encountered a woman who collapsed in the afternoon just outside of our house. She is a young mother with two small boys. She had been selling her homemade bread throughout the pueblo and was just returning home when out of nowhere she dropped to the ground hitting her head. Her little three year old boy was at her side. At the sight of his mother laying on the ground he cried. 

Initially I tended to her son. I spoke with him and led him outside of the room where the crowd brought her. We talked a little about pre-school and how silly my twins are in his class. I reassured him that Jesus loves him and the Jesus knows how much he wants his mommy to be better. In a few minutes he was able to smile and we once again entered the house. 

I then directed my attention to getting the young woman the medical attention she needed. As I listened to the people attending to her I learned that she had donated blood earlier in the day. She also only drank chicken broth with a glass of milk for lunch before heading out to sell her bread door to door in the heat of the day. As I asked a few questions I also learned that she suffers from almost daily migraines and she should not have donated blood in the first place. She then had a hard time keeping her eyes open and her feet were cold. I decided to run home and get my medical kit to do a quick exam on her while we were waiting for any medical professional to pick up their phone.

Thanks to the generosity of one of our friends they gave me a stethoscope and a blood pressure cuff. They also taught me how to use it while they were visiting. We were also gifted with an oxygen reader and diabetes testing supplies. I took her blood pressure and it registered low. Her oxygen level was fine and she was not suffering from diabetes as many people here do. We spoke with her and kept her awake while waiting for a nurse to arrive. I asked if I could pray over her. She agreed and I placed my hands on her. I asked for the Lord to come upon her and that He heal her. I begged that He would guide the doctors so they could make the correct diagnosis. As I prayed she suddenly had to throw up. We sat her up and she spat up. As she spat I prayed in my heart for His help.

When the nurse finally arrived she retook her blood pressure. It was now registering in the normal range. Some of her other symptoms had changed as well. Her feet were no longer cold and she was more alert. She no longer struggled to keep her eyes open. The nurse advised that she return to her home and that she lay in bed while she tried to contact the hospital in Picota to see what they should do. We walked her slowly back to her home. After the walk she had more difficulty keeping her eyes open. Her head throbbed but we did not know if this was a symptom or if this was a result from the fall.

Later on that evening she seemed to take a turn for the worst. The hospital in Picota would exam her. They loaded her up in a motocart along with her two sons and started to Picota twenty minutes away by car. 

Today she collapsed again in front of our house. This time it was 8:00am and she was walking in the shade. She again hit her head. Taylor called to me to tell me she had fallen. I went out to see her. Just like before she was sluggish and could hardly keep open her eyes. Talking was again difficult and she needed to be supported by two people so she could sit up. I was able to learn that the doctors determined she was suffering from tachycardia. They had given her some medicine to help with it. 

We once again walked her home and waited until the nurse and doctor could arrive. While she was laying in bed her boyfriend gave her chest compressions. They were told to do this when an attack came about. Three times he gave her compressions with the hope that they would send her heart back on normal rhythm. We waited and chatted hoping that this would pass quickly. Her head was once again pounding and her feet were freezing. She was not alert yet. Her boyfriend informed me that they had an appointment to see the cardiologist this week. This was a pleasant surprise since it can take well beyond a month of waiting before being able to see a specialist. He also informed me that there was a chance this could be caused by the lack of nutrition in her diet.  I listened to how she ate and suggested that if it was indeed caused by a poor diet I would be more than happy to teach her how to prepare a cheap and balanced diet. Her boyfriend liked the idea and agreed to let me know how everything would turn out.

I went about preparing the church for Padre Paco's meeting with the animadors and arranged the flowers for mass. As I was getting ready to leave the church I felt the Holy Spirit nudge me to ask if she wanted Padre Paco to visit with her and to anoint her. I didn't even know if she was catholic at this point. Up until now my only concern was getting her to the medical professionals. I returned to the house and explained that padre was coming to town to give a teaching and to say mass. If she wanted and padre could visit with her and pray with her. She was still unresponsive and couldn't answer for herself. I asked her boyfriend if she was catholic and if they wanted me to invite padre. He accepted and said they would wait for him.

When Padre Paco arrived I greeted him and quickly told him about the sick young woman. He agreed to see her and left his items in the church and followed me to the house. We arrived at the same time as the doctor and the nurse. We waited outside her room as the attended to her. I took this time to recount what happened to him. 

After the consultation we were able to enter the room. She was still very drowsy. Padre explained who he was and that he wanted to pray with her. He then asked if she had received any of her sacraments. She responded no. He asked if she was baptised. Again she responded no. At the sound of her no my heart sank. She wasn't baptised. I became sick at the thought that she could die today without knowing Jesus and His great love for her. How could this even be possible? 

Taylor reminded me that this was precisely the reason why we are here. We are to reach the people of the fringes of society. We are to search out the lost and forgotten. 

There are no good excuses as to why this woman has not been evangelised. 

Yes it is true that for many years here where we live was under the control of the cartel. God, medicine, and education were no permitted into this area. It wasn't until the 1990's when the cartel was pushed out, that missionaries could reenter and evangelise once again. When you live so long without something it is so hard to show the importance and value of it. 

There are three different churches here in Buenos Aires, all of them alive in God with pastors and congregations. We have lived here eight months. Before us there were missionaries who lived here for a year. And yet none of us have taken the time to share the love of Christ with this one person. 

Please pray that God will enliven a missionary spirit amongst all of His faithful in our community of Buenos Aires. Please pray that we can be a living example of His missionary call. Please pray for the Holy Spirit to touch the hearts of everyone in Buenos Aires who does not know Jesus. Please especially pray for this young mother that Jesus will heal her illness and that she will receive Him as Lord of her life!!!!