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Monday, October 15, 2012

No Superheros in Peru

I have often wondered (and perhaps you have too) about those people who leave behind all that is familiar to serve the Lord in a foreign country. I have always suspected that when crossing the border to the new country, that somehow they mysteriously get an extra boost of spiritual adrenaline and passion for the Lord which results in a new intimacy and direct line to God making them somehow superior to those who stayed at home.

Well that does not happen, and believe me, we are not "above" anyone in any way.

I secretly hoped that upon arrival in Peru there would no longer be a battle of self to sit and be still before the Lord. That the dishes, the emails, the internet surfing...the time that could be spent soaking up the peace, love and joy of being in the Lord's presence would no longer pull me away from Him. This is one of those things that seems the most insane to me. How is it that I do truly believe that joy and peace and love...true life...is found somewhere else than with my Savior? Will a clean kitchen (or whatever that keeps me from the quiet) really bring true joy? Can the toys that are thrown across the room, in a pattern that would make any hurricane envious, really steal my peace?

We all struggle to know what is the source of a full life. And it is only found one place. Gazing at the glory of God, his holiness, his majesty and confessing my weakness and how far I am from that level of perfection. Then realizing that I do need the perfect life of Jesus to stand in my place, accepting that He gave His life for ME, and knowing that His forgiveness and love for me is greater than I could EVER imagine. Why would I want to clean the dishes when I can find true peace, joy, and perfect love at the feet of Jesus?

For more recent pics see https://www.facebook.com/BridgemansInPeru/photos_stream

Monday, October 1, 2012

Four weeks in...


La Fuente Clinic

     I've been working two days a week at Clinica La Fuente, a medical ministry to the poor in and around Cusco.  The clinic offers pediatric medicine, women's health, psychology, and dentistry. I work with a wonderful Peruvian Dentist named Saulo.  He had a very successful career as a private practice dentist until God called him to leave his practice to serve Him full-time. We are training Paula to serve as our dental assistant.  She has a great attitude and is a quick learner. The dental clinic has only been open since the first of August, but our books are full.


    My favorite patient so far was an orphan boy name Markos. Markos had severe physical difficulty coming into the clinic and I helped carry him to the chair. Initially we thought he was partially blind and deaf, but we were surprised that he could hear us. He even asked the name of everyone in the clinic. I was able to clean his teeth, and thankfully, he only had one small cavity. Markos kept reaching up and touching my hands in what I felt was an appreciative way.  Every time I asked how he was doing, he would say he was doing okay. Our medical director, Nathan Wilson, dropped by and took the picture below while I was working. He thinks Markos may have some slight form of Cerebral Palsy. I couldn't help but wonder what Markos can understand, and I can't wait for him to return.


New Friends

     We have been invited to join a Thursday night English class. Students from the local medical school come for a snack, to learn English medical terminology, and have opportunities to converse with English speakers. We had a fun time and look forward to getting to know the students better.  I have already seen some of them at La Fuente, and we hope that many will come to work alongside us there.
     Lastly I should mention Tom and Adela.  One Sunday after church we were eating outside at a restaurant when a brief shower drove us to take cover under an awning.  Tom and Adela took cover with us and with the help of Amelia we introduced ourselves. They had recently opened their own restaurant in the downtown area of Cusco.  When I told him I was a dentist, he told me he was looking for a dentist, so I invited him to visit us at La Fuente.  I told him, "We'll come find your restaurant" and he responded, "I'll find you first." Well, a week went by and no Tom.
     The following Friday, Michelle and I went into the center city to eat a nice meal.  Though we tried and tried, we could not find the restaurant we were looking for.  However, I noticed we were very near Tom and Adela's, so we decided to eat there instead. The food was wonderful, and they were glad to see us again. I reminded Tom that I found him first and invited him to the clinic again. Hopefully he will be able to come. 
    Our other days are filled with Spanish lessons, meeting with our teammates, and the mundane activities of daily life.  Life is much slower here, and we set our expectations on getting one task done per day.  Thank you for your prayers and emails.  We miss all our friends and family terribly, but we are glad to be working with such a great team.