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Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Naaman visits La Fuente

A few weeks ago, my friend and clinical director, Nathan, received a phone call from the U. S. Consulate in Cusco. An American citizen had been travelling through our area and broken a tooth. As you can imagine, seeking medical care in different country can provoke some level of anxiety. This man was looking for an American dentist in Cusco, and fortunately we had one (me).

Through the Consulate office we were able to talk to this man's assistant in New York, who arranged the appointment. We noticed that his business address at the bottom of the emails was Madison, Ave. Later, via Google, we discovered that our patient was a very successful investment manager of some notoriety. I started getting a little nervous about having such a powerful and successful person as a patient but knew that God had brought him here to see us.

Keep in mind, our clinic is not in the beautiful and historic downtown Cusco. To get to La Fuente (The Source) clinic, you have to drive out about 45 minutes through several dusty suburbs. The further out you drive the more trash and wild dogs you will see in the streets. As I rode with Nathan to the clinic, the morning of the appointment, I wondered if our patient would just keep on driving past our front gate (made of mud/straw adobe). We're not much to look at from the outside, to be sure. 

I felt a little like Elisha from the Old Testament story of Naaman the Syrian. Naaman was a powerful general of the Syrian army. But, Naaman was also afflicted with leprosy. One of Naaman's slaves was a little Hebrew girl, presumably captured and taken off by Naaman in a raid against Israel. This little girl had compassion for her captor and told him that there was a prophet in Israel who could heal him from his leprous condition. Can you imagine? A slave girl from an enemy nation advising you to return to that land in humility, to seek healing from the prophet of a foreign God!  I can't believe Naaman believed her, but he did. I guess he was desperate to be saved from the ravages of an incurable disease. So he left Syria, and traveled to Israel where he met Elisha. Elisha's prescription was for Naaman to wash seven times in the Jordan river.  The Jordan can be a muddy creek at different times in the year, and Naaman was shocked by this directive.  He actually named off two rivers of Syria that are bigger and better than the lowly Jordan. But he obeyed anyway and his leprosy was healed. Perhaps our patient, like Naaman, was somewhat dubious  when he arrived at our clinic door. 

Our appointment was not more than an hour.  The fracture was worse than expected, but we had something to work with.  I bonded the fragment in place as a short term fix, hoping it would last until he returned. I enjoyed our conversation very much.  He is Jewish man, but not religious; born and bred in New York City. I did ask him a few questions about the U.S. economy and market projections (how could I not?).  He asked me about the clinic and its history. At one point, he wanted to know if my religion affected how I voted.  I responded, "I would rather say that my faith affects everything I do, including voting; not that that makes choosing a candidate any easier." He responded that he admired people who had consistent convictions from their faith, although he himself did not have any faith to speak of. Perhaps that may change from his visit, I certainly have prayed for that.

In the end, I thanked him for coming and for our visit.  He wanted to pay us, but I told him that if he were my father, I would hope another dentist would patch him together as a courtesy. He insisted on donating to the clinic, and we were encouraged by the gift he left with us. Later, I told Nathan that I was taking November off, seeing as I had made my quota for the month.... :)

1 comment:

  1. What a great story! Will pray that a seed has been planted. :)