Sunday, February 21, 2010

Success in Pucallpa

Success in Pucallpa!!!

We made it! Another project down…What an adventure we had in Pucallpa. We had an 8 day marathon of medical clinics coupled with tons of kid activities and games. It was a fantastic time filled with tons of stories for sure.

Royer, who had been in an accident with his 10 year old daughter, showed up one day to our clinic. He was brought to my attention because of the difficulty with communication that he was having with our volunteer. He explained some of his dilemma and proceeded to drop his pants and show us his terrible burn which covered most of his clothed body. He told us what had happened to him and his daughter and my heart sank.

So the story goes that they had an accident where gas was spewed all over the two of them and it was ignited by a spark. They both were seriously burned. The government is taking care of the girl, but he is left alone to deal with his injuries. It happened in September. His wife and daughter are a 20 hour bus ride away in Lima. The medical attention for the daughter is being paid for by the government, but the mother who is homeless and without food or money is trying to survive near her daughter while trying to help her daughter sustain life. This father cannot work because of the pain and infection from the burn and is not able to support his family. What a predicament he is in. He asked if we could do anything to help. With God, all things are possible. Our group rounded up some funds to send the father by bus to Lima. What a blessing that is for this family to be together during this difficult time. We will have a pastor working with them to take care of some of the basic needs that they will have in Lima while the healing process is taking place.

This project group was comprised of two main groups of people; One from Ohio and another from California. There were a couple of others in the mix as well. Emma was blessed to have another feisty little friend to hang out with during this project. They had a blast hanging out, doing puppets or jump rope, or getting muddy anytime they thought they could get away with it.We had two doctors, a dentist, a handful of nurses and a solid group of impact people. This was a fantastic team full of energy and willingness to serve. It is always encouraging to see how God uses people and their strengths to build His kingdom.

One pleasantly unexpected and relatively unplanned thing took place during this project. We had a baptism service on the river. This is not just any ordinary river. It is a river that feeds the Amazon. You know the big river that runs through the jungles of South America? Someone put a bug in my ear about doing a baptism. The thought never crossed my mind before, but wow, was it a good idea. We decided that we could do it after our clinic on the last Friday. Well, I talked it over with a local and found out that it was best to do it in the morning. I also found out it was not a good idea to have a baptism after dark. Apparently the crocs come out when the sun goes down. This left us with a little window of time to get the river, do the service, and get out of the water. So our plan was to go straight from the clinic to the river. We arranged for the bus to take us to the spot where it was suggested to do the baptism service. We figured that we would arrive at about 5:30 and this would give us about 30 minutes to do the service. Well, everything took longer than expected. We got close to the river and drove up to a spot in the road where there was a guy laying in the ditch on the side of the road. He was apparently in a motorcycle accident where he was a passenger along with two other drunk people. It looked a lot worse than it really was, but we stopped the bus to help as we had two doctors and a bunch of nurses. We figured that we might be able to help out with our people. It pushed back our schedule a bit and got us closer to dinner time for the crocodiles. No worries! The river was close and we arrived shortly thereafter to the baptism spot. In all, there were 6 people that got baptized. It was a memorable time swimming in the "coffee with cream" colored water. Once the baptisms were done, many just jumped in for the experience. It was a great time that finished with a 45 minute bus ride back to the hotel. It was filled with a beautiful sunset, a number of worship songs, and some great times fellowshipping with the team. This was definitely a memorable time in the jungle for this group of volunteers.

I witnessed something that melted my heart the other day at one of our clinics. I was outside working with our impact team while one of our volunteers grabbed my attention and demanded that I come and take a look at something. What could it be, I thought. When I got into the clinic room, there I saw my daughter Kayle holding the hand of a little girl of the same age who was scared to death of the treatment that the doc was about to give her. I observed a little American girl with a heart so precious and full of compassion that I could not hold back the tears of joy that were bubbling out of my eyes. My Kayle was giving this girl a dose of encouragement that could send any team to a championship. How amazing is this gift that God has bestowed on my life. I thank God for my family! Way to go Kayle. I am so proud of you!

The clinics were tough, long days, but we made a huge impact in those communities in which we served. Thank God for his provision, giving us energy, and allowing all of us the opportunity to serve in this capacity. We treated about 900 patients in 8 days of clinics(Kudos to my wife who lead the clinic team), showed the Jesus film 4 times to a total of about 500 people, played about 20 total hours of soccer, painted hundreds of butterflies on the sweet cheeks of the little Peruvian princesses, perspired gallons while our volunteers braved the “Rico” the cuy/guinea pig costume, had hundreds of decisions for Christ, and just had an overall wonderful experience with this group of dedicated people.

To God be the glory great things he has done…onto the next project in Cusco…

The Englund Family

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Getting started in Pucallpa

We are sitting by the third world pool at our hotel (the pool that was empty when we got our reservations) and one of the best wifi spots that we can find, just waiting for the action to start. Our group of volunteers will be arriving tomorrow. We just finished a project that will mimic this one, so we are somewhat versed in how it works. It is amazing how you do something for the first time and it takes 10 hours to prepare, then the second time you do it, it only takes 2 hours. We are ready. We have a group of medical people coming down to run 8 clinics in and around the city of Pucallpa. We also have an Impact crew that will be doing events with the local kids while their parents are being treated in the clinics. As we discovered in Iquitos, this is a great way to reach people. So here we are, going to do it again.

I am privileged to have such an amazing team to run these projects. I am specially honored to have my wonderful wife to lead the medical clinic. She spent some time observing how our last medical project functioned in Iquitos, and because we needed someone to take the leadership responsibility, she jumped in and is doing a great job. She is just amazing! I am a blessed husband for sure!

Not only is Teri right in the middle of all of the action, our kids, Kayle and Emma are ready for the battle. They will be joining me on our impact events. They are super helpful, as they can communicate with the local kids as well as help out our volunteers who speak English. I am convinced that these are the two sweetest little translators in all of South America.

So one notable thing that was worthy of a little story, was that today we got word that our ship had come in. I know it is cliché, but it did. We sent all of our medical clinic supplies on a ship from Iquitos to Pucallpa. It was supposed to be a short 4 day journey. Well, it took 8. We had been wondering if our clinic schedule and plans for Pucallpa were really going to work, or if we were going to have to reengineer the entire project the day before the group arrives. Thank God the ship came in.

We sent a local from the church in Iquitos to travel with our stuff. Everything made it safe and sound. Ramon was a little weary when he got off the boat, but was in one piece. He showed up at the hotel and helped us coordinate getting our stuff off the boat, into the truck, and to the hotel.

I saw something today that I couldn’t believe. We had just finished loading our stuff into the back of this downtrodden vehicle that somewhat resembled a truck. The driver whips out this long piece of metal and jams it into the side of the cab and begins to spin it. It was just at that moment that I started to make a joke about how the guy looks like he is going to start his rig by winding up the motor. Sure enough, it fired up and my joke was no longer funny, but totally right on the money. I was quite surprised at a couple of things on this journey; we made it back to the hotel without breaking down, it only cost 25 soles(9 bucks) to haul a good sized pile of stuff, and he let me ride shotgun while the wind, dust and bugs hit my teeth because there was no windshield. It was surely an interesting experience. Everyone should experience hanging out at the shipyard in Pucallpa at least one time in their lives.

I will keep this one short and just ask that you all keep our project in your prayers. There are always a million things that can take place outside of our planning. God has given us the flexibility and the wherewithal to be able to adapt and overcome, but sometimes it is just easier if they go as planned. Rarely does that happen, but it is something that you all can pray for. I will write again soon.

Stay blessed,

Scott Englund

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Hello all! It has been about a month since I last wrote. Sorry for the long delay. Here is a rundown of some things that happened during our Extreme Amazon Iquitos project:

It is Sunday morning at the hotel Pascana in Iquitos Peru, and I am listening to a number of our volunteers packing and preparing the supplies for our next project in Pucallpa that begins in just over a week. What an amazing experience that this has been. First of all, the fear of the unknown has passed, as I now understand that a medical clinic can be administered by a bunch of crazy Extreme long term volunteers. We now know how it works!

For the details of our project, we just finished a medical/impact project where we were able to set up 7 different clinic locations throughout some of the communities of the city of Iquitos. We targeted some existing church locations and some brand new areas as well. In all, we treated about 1300 patients in the clinics.

As far as the impact goes, we held kid festivals each day at the clinic locations. We had programs for thousands of kids which included puppet shows, jump rope, parachutes, face painting , crafts, and tons of soccer.

After 7 days of soccer, most of which was on uneven surfaces, the ankles and feet are pretty torn up, but the grin is permanent.

Our project went without any hiccups. For us, that is an abnormal thing. In a culture where nothing is confirmed, everything is subject to change and is strange if it doesn’t, we had a flawless project. Tons of people were reached by our medical clinics as well as our impact. In all, we had about 400 decisions for Christ. In addition, there are thousands of potential converts as our local leadership and our 40/40 missionaries will be following up with a contact. It was a blessed project in everything we did. God was and is still with us.

There were a couple of notable stories that really stick out. Many more that I do not have the time nor the space to write, but I will share a few of those with you.

I will try to keep it short and give you the highlights.

Story of Trust

First of all, the second morning that we were in Iquitos, I had a number of errands to run. Instead of paying the fares for dozens of motorcar rides (three wheeled motorcycle taxis used in the jungles), I thought I would check into renting a motorcycle for the day to run all of the errands. When I got to the shop and asked if they rented motos, the guy reached into his pocket and offered me his keys. Blown away by this gracious act of kindness, I stammered to figure out his motives. In the end, he just wanted me to use his moto. So I did. I drove all around town, filled it up after I was done, and returned it in one piece. I did finally introduce myself to him once I started out the driveway. He trusted me like I was his brother. I thought to myself, what a wonderful world. I love this town!


Another strange thing that happened was that I met a guy that was paralyzed as a boy when a fruit fell out of a tree and hit him on the head. He owned a little store near where we set up a clinic and he offered to let us use some chairs. Great guy, crazy story!

Pastor Enrique

One that touched me really deep down was the story of Pastor Enrique. This is a pastor at the Malvinas Church of the Nazarene. He has a couple of sons, one of which is a pastor at another Nazarene church. It was at the end of the day of our clinic at the church, when Pastor asked to visit with me. He was a bit torn up and I could tell something was eating at him. He brought me into his house and slid the curtain divider to the side and showed me his son.

Ever is his son’s name. Ever was laying in a fetal position on a wooden bed frame, eyes rolled back, rocking from side to side, totally out of his mind. Pastor continued to tell me the story about how 9 years previously his son went to bed one night and woke up like this. Violent and unable to communicate or function, this boy had existed in this state for 9 years. We, as a group of doctors provided hope to this father and pastor. He asked me if we could help. Not knowing what we could do for him, I volunteered to pray. I put one arm around his wife and the other around Pastor and prayed like I had never prayed before. While I was standing there, Ever jumped out of bed like a scared rabbit and ran past me, out the door, and into the back courtyard area.

Keep in mind, that the pastor had already told me that he was violent. I immediately thought that he might be running into the clinic area. I knew that there were kids, women and volunteers in the room next doors so I went into protect mode. I ran to the door and about the time I got there, Ever had retreated on a full sprint back through the door, turning the corner, and then proceeded to dive back into the concrete corner where he had spent the last 9 years.

My heart was broken for this pastor. What could I do? He told me that he could not get his son to the doctor because he was so violent, but he could not afford a doctor anyway. The only thing he could think of was to have the doctor come to the house to observe Ever and see if he could diagnose the problem. He asked me if I could help. I had to do something. I knew that if I asked this group of volunteers to help, it would happen. That is exactly what we did. We took up an offering and raised enough money to have a psychiatrist come out and figure out the problem, provide a prescription, as well as a follow up plan. The next day, I had the honor of handing over the cash so that he could finally figure out the problem that his son had been fighting for 9 years. He called me that same afternoon to tell me that he got an appointment and that the next day his son was going to be seen at their house by the doctor.

The doctor gave his diagnosis as schizophrenia. It can be treated with medication, and although the kid may never function at 100%, he will probably be able to function much better. It was a blessing to be a part of this process. We lifted a burden from this pastor. He now knows what the problem is. He can now combat it with medicine.

The pastor wrote a letter that expressed his feelings. I was able to translate it and read it to our volunteers during one of our devotion times. On the paper were many emotional words that came from deep within the heart of a beaten down pastor. I think we were able to make a difference in a pastor’s life that day. Keep Pastor Enrique and his son, Ever, in your prayers.

Sweet Little Missionaries

I need to tell you about two of the sweetest little missionary girls that I know. Kayle and Emma were in action during this project. They jumped in and helped out with the clinic and with Impact. Kayle found her niche writing down weights and blood pressures for the nurses in the clinics. She was a huge blessing. Emma was observed with a bunch of Peruvian kids showing them some cool jump rope moves. They each helped with some of the puppet shows and face painting as well. I am so proud of how they have jumped in taken the roll as missionaries, not just missionary kids.

40/40’s in Iquitos

Our 40/40 missionaries that are in Iquitos right now for their training were very involved in the work that we did during this project. They were a delight to work with. They brought energy and ideas to the mix and allowed us to reach

thousands more people. I am so proud of all of the 40/40’s. I am convinced that we chose the right people for this mission. Please keep them in your prayers as they will be going back to class after we wore them out for almost two weeks.

God Bless you all and we ask that you keep us in your prayers. We have a lot of projects all lined up. It will be taxing on our family, our bodies, and our relationships. We will continue to keep you all in our prayers as we wish showers of blessing on your lives.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Firemen for a Moment.

It was near the end of the day at our 6th day of clinic, the line of patients that we couldn’t attend to had dissipated. We were almost all packed up and ready to start hauling our supplies up the muddy trail to the road where we could catch our transportation back to the hotel. It was just then that a frenzy of activity started taking place all around us. It was then that the screams of “FUEGO” started ringing in all of our ears. What were we to do?

Without hesitation, an uncoordinated effort of Extreme volunteers, both long and short term, began running to the scene. On the way out of the church, the drinking water buckets and the latrine buckets were grabbed and distributed to the hand full of us that were running toward the action. Over the sewage drainage that was canalled in the middle of the road between the shanty houses we scurried. Through the opening in the fence and up the hill we dashed all the while assessing our part for the job at hand. On our way up the hill we discovered the water hole. That was where we were to load our buckets for the fight.

The water hole was filled with rancid water, vegetable parts, dirty children’s under ware and a lot of other stuff that I could not identify. Needless to say, it was not potable water by any means. While one of our volunteers stayed at the water hole to refill buckets, the others of us carried the heavy buckets up the hill, then with as much energy as we could muster, threw the water as high up on the roof as was possible.

It was a simple house fire started by a lady cooking over an open flame. Her flame was too close to the thin dry wood. Up in flames it erupted. The thatched roof was an inferno that threatened the entire row of thirty or so houses if it was not stopped.

So out of nowhere, the “gringos” came with about 6 buckets, tripling the amount of buckets that were being used to extinguish the fire. We came not only with buckets, but with an enthusiasm and spirit of service like nobody had seen. We were going to get this fire out!

About 10 minutes into the activity, the fire had moved to the higher section of the roof. We could not reach this part by throwing our buckets from ground level. Our assault moved indoors so we could reach the higher parts. In the rafter stood a young man, who I believed lived there, throwing bucket after bucket onto the flaming ceiling. I was the last guy in the line before the water was thrown. The inside of the house was like a Nazarene youth event water fight. It was being

thrown in from every angle. It did not matter, the fire needed suppression and it needed it fast. While I involuntarily and accidentally became a target of these buckets of nasty water, I continued to supply the guy in the rafters with buckets. It was no more than just a few more minutes and the flames were washed away.

None of us signed up for this, but I will tell you that God has a plan for everything. Here we were just wrapping up a medical clinic where we had just treated almost 200 patients. It was no mistake that we were ready and willing to help with this fire with our buckets and able bodies. God got some glory out of this for sure! We put the fire out, nobody got hurt, only one house was damaged, and the neighbors will forever tell the story of the “gringos” that saved the entire neighborhood from burning up. God was with us that day!