Most recently, I had the opportunity to do something that I have never done before. Ten days ago I boarded the Amazon Hope, one of Scripture Union Peru's two medical boats, and set sail on the Amazon River together with doctors, nurses, dentists, and the ship's crew to provide medical care to the remote villages in the Peruvian jungle. I was asked to travel as a translator on the boat as 1 doctor and 4 nurses joined us from the United Kingdom. What a great experience!
The Amazon Hope
Translating for Dr. Jenkins
Sailing at sunset
The team from the UK
Our boats set out on the Amazon an average of twice per month. The trips last anywhere between 10 and 14 days. The best part is that this is an ongoing ministry. Our boats are on a rotation so that they can visit each community approximately once every three months. We are able to provide some follow up care as well as build lasting relationships with the local communities.
It is amazing what a great variety of cases we were able to attend to on the boat. Last week we were able to partner with some nurses that work with Peru's ministry of health. The government is supposed to provide vaccines for children, but they are unable to complete that promise because of the inaccessibility of many of the villages. We offered them a ride on our boat, and they brought the vaccines! We also had two Peruvian doctors, one British doctor, and two Peruvian dentists who attended to the needs of the communities--everything from minor headaches and back pain to tooth extractions, prenatal care, dressing infected wounds, and a few minor operations. We also provided vitamins for infants and young children, fluoride treatments to all of the children and Abendazol anti-parasite tablets to all of our patients. Apart from the medical work that we do attending to patients on the boat. We also do work in the local schools. Pepe, a friend who also works with Scripture Union spends his days in the local schools giving practical health education. All in all, we had a record 10 days providing 3286 individual attentions!
The medical work is really only one facet of this ministry though. Most evenings we invited everyone in the community to our boat for a special program. We shared the gospel to the children through a clown/puppet show. We are also able to show Christian cartoons and videos each time we visit the community. For most people TV and constant electricity is a rare treat. Everyone was eager to watch.
The evening Bible program
Praise God for the work the Scripture Union is doing here in Peru's jungle. Please take time to pray for these communities and people who have so little access to health care, and in many cases very little access to the Gospel. Pray that God would continue to use our boats for his glory. Pray that these communities' needs would be met both physically and spiritually!