Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Update 5

Special music during church.
Baby Indil on the weigh scale (read story below).
Becca and some of the local girls. They are always asking for their picture to be taken.
Fellow missionaries using the guava tree to get cellphone service.
Becca, Badi, and Naklin making stars.
Jon teaching Wini how to play guitar.
It's pineapple season! 
Jon recovering from malaria hanging out with some guys.
Becca and her new tukew (machete)
Becca on the medical mission trip in the lowlands explaining how to take the medicines.
Becca and the kitties (Gebi and Milo)

Manungang Mapun Ginsan Dimiyu (Good Afternoon to all of you)!
It has been a while since we have been able to update our blog, so we have quite a bit to talk about. We’ll try to start where we left off from our last update.
After Christmas and New Years, things have slowed down a little in the clinic. We are still seeing patients, but instead of the average of about 20/day during the holidays, we are now seeing maybe 10/day. This has enabled us to travel to villages more often and visit with the natives.
A few weeks into January we were excited to receive all the medical supplies we had shipped from America prior to leaving for the Philippines. The clinic is now outfitted with a defibrillator, O2 saturation monitor, suction machine, vascular doppler, and miniature crash cart! Not that these items will be used frequently, but for life-saving situations these supplies will be, well, life-saving.  
We want to report to everyone on the baby mentioned several updates ago whose mom died shortly after birth. The baby girl, Indil, is doing much better after the caretaker (aunt) has been feeding her milk formula from the clinic. She is steadily gaining weight, and it is a joy to see her every week. It is awesome to see such simple treatment save a life!
Another baby girl, named Nathalyn, was in a similar circumstance. She was born last week to parents who were only fourteen years old. The parents were going to just leave the baby somewhere in the jungle to die because they didn’t want it. So, one of the missionaries working in the lowlands, a Filipino woman, has decided to adopt it! Unfortunately, shortly after birth the baby developed sepsis from an infected umbilical cord, so she is now receiving antibiotics at our clinic and looking better each day! It has been fun taking care of so many babies. We’ve certainly never been exposed to such a great number of pediatric patients.
About three weeks ago we had a busy spurt of four inpatients simultaneously. One of the patients was flown in via helicopter from deep in the jungle. She had developed sepsis from falling and landing on a stick. Two other inpatients were an older married couple. They both had malaria pretty bad, and the wife’s sickness was complicated with dysentery and pneumonia. Those three patients recovered in about a week with IV antibiotics and malarial drugs. The fourth patient was being treated for severe malaria and febrile seizures from a temperature of 107°F! That patient also improved after a couple days of treatment.
A couple more medical stories, then we’ll move on to something more interesting for those of you not keen on medical stuff. A guy came to the clinic this week with a deep cut to the foot from a machete. This gave Jon the opportunity to practice his suturing skills again. He enjoys the procedural side of things. He also got to do a finger block and nail removal on a kid whose finger got smashed with an axe. A month ago, Jon went and checked on a patient about a 1.5-hr hike away. We had received reports that he wanted to come to the clinic but couldn’t walk because of his sickness. Once at the village, Jon found the man to have a massively enlarged spleen (extending down to his umbilicus) and an enlarged liver. He was given malarial meds, vitamins, and iron. Now, after a month, the patient’s spleen has reduced in size a little, and he is able to walk around. Unfortunately, there isn’t really anything else to be done except live somewhere where there isn’t malaria.
Jon became a patient a couple weeks ago when he got malaria for the second time. His description of malaria is that it isn’t as uncomfortable or miserable as a severe cold, but it is much more draining. For about five days he laid around and wasn’t able to do much more than go to the bathroom. The disease and anti-malarial drugs makes one feel heavy and dizzy. The locals call it ‘liglinug’ (dizzy) and ‘ulu’ (sick head). During all his down time with malaria, Jon wrote a song, read a couple books, and designed a hut.
Last week, Becca went to the lowlands along with Joha and Leonda to do some medical mission work. Over four days they treated about 600 people with dental and medical problems! It was very busy, but they were able to help a lot of people. Becca recalls prepping a lot of medications and sweating a couple liters. Her favorite part of being in the lowlands was being able to go to the market. She enjoyed watching so many people and seeing a variety of foods. The overwhelming smell of fish and whole roasted pigs weren’t enough to keep her around the market for very long though. After market, they headed back to the mountains.
The whole island has received an unusually high amount of rain this year. There has been extensive flooding in the lowlands and mountains, damaging much of the precious rice crop. Fortunately, the mission farm in the lowlands was not affected as severely as some areas which lost the entire crop. The high amounts of rain (which usually end in Dec/Jan) make the mountainous trails quite slippery. It would be difficult for us to get around without cleats. Amazingly the locals have no problems walking barefoot in the mud. When we missionaries wear our crocs or flip-flocs, going down a hill becomes like a skiing chute. Several times we have fallen victim to the muddy trails, slipping and being of good amusement to the natives.
The student missionaries were in charge of ‘Week of Prayer’ for the school this year. Becca told her first story/object lesson in Palawano, and Jon gave his first ‘mini’ sermon in Palawano. It was a rewarding week concluding with a well-received call for people who want Bible studies. Most all of the students came forward! Please continue to keep these people in your prayers so that this generation of youth will be spiritually strong.
Becca had a great experience two weeks ago with Badi and Naklin (two school girls) making stars (see pic). The locals take a specific type of plant similar to palm leaves and weave it into beautiful stars. Becca really enjoyed learning how to make them. She says it was more challenging than it looks. It takes the natives about a half hour to make one. They then sell it for usually five pesos. The average wage for adults around here is about ten pesos per hour (about 25 cents/hr). Amazingly, most of the natives have everything they need on those meager wages.
Do you remember the story about the kitten named Gebi in our last update? It’s hard to believe, but Jon is now buddies with the little kitty. Also, Gebi has a little brother named Milo who hangs out around our village too. It’s fun to watch them play with each other. They like to chase the chickens and even the dogs! They have become very valuable to us because they kill the rats that make our hut their home. As the locals call it, they are ‘mependay banar’ (very skilled).   
The end of January/beginning of February found us contemplating and praying about where to go to medical school. Through God’s incredible blessings, Jon was accepted to UT Memphis, ETSU Quillen, and Loma Linda medical schools. After a week of prayer and discussion we decided to attend ETSU in Johnson City, TN. We have a lot of peace with this decision and are extremely excited about going to school there. We continue to seek God daily for His guidance and blessings, and thank Him for His incredible goodness to us!
We are having a great experience here and are so thankful God has brought us to Kemantian. We miss everyone dearly and look forward to reuniting with loved-ones again soon. We thank everyone for your love, prayers, and support. Until next time,
Jon & Becca