First tooth (primer diente)

13 Nov 2019

A number of decades ago, evangelist Birhanu (in southern Ethiopia, in the Omo River Valley) was walking home late from sharing Scripture stories in another village. It was dark, and he didn't like being out late for fear of attacks (animals or enemies). Yet he heard a cry from the bushes. At first he thought it was be a trap or ambush. But he investigated, and found an abandoned, naked girl. He knew immediately why she was there. A tradition passed on for generations stipulated that a child with a first tooth appearing in the top gum was cursed--and must be killed. (The elders of a village would take the child from the mother's arms, and leave it in the wilderness--if not, it was believed that the whole village would be cursed). So this particular night, Birhanu arrived home to his wife and 6 kids (2 of which were girls similarly rescued, but now thriving) with a new child! Birhanu's wife named her "Tuti" which means "precious." Thanks to the Gospel taking root all across the Omo River Valley, such traditions have rapidly lost their force (See Dick McLellan, Warriors of Ethiopia (UK: Lost Coin Books, 2013), 187-190). 


Hace varias décadas, el evangelista Birhanu (en el sur de Etiopía, en el valle del río Omo) caminaba a casa después de compartir historias de las Escrituras en otra aldea. Estaba oscuro y no le gustaba salir tarde por miedo a los ataques (animales o enemigos). Sin embargo, escuchó un grito desde los arbustos. Al principio pensó que era una trampa o emboscada. Pero investigó y encontró a una niña abandonada y desnuda. Él supo de inmediato por qué ella estaba allí. Una tradición transmitida por generaciones estipuló que un niño con un primer diente que aparece en la encía superior fue maldecido y debe ser asesinado. (Los ancianos de un pueblo tomarían al niño de los brazos de la madre y lo dejarían en los arbustos; de lo contrario, se creía que todo el pueblo estaría maldito). Entonces, esta noche en particular, Birhanu llegó a casa a su esposa y 6 hijos (2 de los cuales eran niñas rescatadas de manera similar, pero que ahora prosperaban) con una hija nueva! La esposa de Birhanu la llamó "Tuti", que significa "preciosa". Gracias al crecimiento tremendo del Evangelio en todo el valle del río Omo, tales tradiciones han perdido rápidamente su fuerza (ver Dick McLellan, Warriors of Ethiopia (UK: Lost Coin Books, 2013), 187-190). 




Need for Church History

03 Nov 2019

As Ezra recounted "church history" in Nehemiah 9, so too we need to frequently retell "our" story. 

Last week we celebrated "Reformation Day." Two years I gave a lecture on Martin Luther (for the 500th anniversary). Last year it was on John Calvin. This year it was on "Women of the Reformation." Here is a link to the audio (focusing on Katharina von Bora, Katherine Parr, and Lady Jane Grey):

May we know the stories of those who have gone before us!


Brushing Teeth and Praying?

28 Oct 2019

We believe that praying makes a difference. When we work, we work but when we pray God works! We got together with our students and asked the question “How do we make praying for our university friends a part of our daily life?” We had tried before with only limited success. How we could make praying a daily habit, one that we would never forget?

Brushing teeth

All of us brush our teeth every single day and we never forget. Could we make praying for our friends a new habit by connecting it with an existing habit (brushing teeth)? We started with 3 students and we now have 16 students praying daily. We hope to keep expanding this.

What do we do?

When we start brushing our teeth we smile and give thanks to God for the many things he has blessed us. We then pray for 3 university friends - the same three friends everyday. We pray that:

  1. God will open their heart
  2. God will create opportunities for us to listen to our friends and share how Jesus has impacted our life

We keep each other accountable by posting in a WhatsApp group and each student has another student who reminds them if they forget to brush their teeth.

We look forward to seeing what God will do through prayer.

Fast Foog

21 Oct 2019

I could post a picture of yesterday's baptismal service in a river that would almost make you think it was the Jordan.  But you've seen lots of those photos.  You've not seen a Fast Foog stand.  Unfortunately, it was closed, so I can't tell you what fast foog tastes like.  Probably tastes like chicken.

Cat Therapy

19 Sep 2019

We have a cute kitten named 'Red'.  When I have pediatric patients I let her come out and entertain the patients to help them not be so scared.  Tonight, Red decided that my Quechua woman's braids were the funnest thing ever, so I finally had to throw her out to finish seeing the patient!

No Room in the Inn

12 Sep 2019

Last night we bought a queen-sized bed from some missionaries that are leaving Peru for our guest room.  I set out the single bed it replaced in our front yard so we can sell it. 

We had two guests come to stay with us today.  One of them we've never even met before.  When she arrived we pointed out the bed in the front yard and said, "Our house is full, so here's your bed!"  "It's very nice," she said politely.  "You're joking, right?" she asked with a bit of a worried look on her face.  "Yes!  We're joking!"  "Oh good!" she said, relieved.   Then she wanted a picture!

btw, the bed sold two days later.

Smashed Foot

10 Sep 2019

Saturday, we had a work day at church to complete some of the walls with bricks.  I think I prefer more natural light and open portions, especially since the weather is so comfortable all year round here.  But closing things up will make it a bit quieter I suspect.  A metal riser fell on the foot of one of the 'hermanos' (brothers) who was leading the masonry work.  I was pretty sure it was broken so I took him to a clinic with an x-ray machine.  Yup!  It's broken! Can you find the fracture?  The first person to correctly identify the broken bone wins!  (Wins what?  Notoreity.)

I'm going to cast it tomorrow if a walking boot doesn't seem adequate.

Update:  Marcy Ganow was the first to correctly identify the fracture in the 2nd Metatarsal!

Anti-vaxxers in Peru

02 Sep 2019

"Did you bring Pedro's growth chart?" I asked the parents of the smiley 10-month-old.   "We don't have one.  We're very careful about vaccinations."  Pedro's uncle had warned me that Pedro's mother had some pseudo-religious-energy belief system, so I felt they were just the type of patient that God had called me to Peru to help.  I was starting to get an idea of what he was warning me about.  "Has Pedro gotten any vaccines?"  "No.  We don't want him to get autism or heavy metal poisoning."  I explained that vaccines no longer contain mercury preservatives and that the author of the study linking autism to vaccinations years later admitted to making up his data and that there is no real connection between autism and vaccines beyond the fact that kids under 5 years old get both.  I then went on to point out how my mother had polio and my dad lost his only two sisters in childhood to polio and whooping cough, completely preventable diseases rarely seen today. Lastly, I pointed out that you have to be careful what you read on the internet.  Whatever stance you might have about anything, you can find someone who has a webpage defending that view.  "There are even several web-pages defending that the earth is flat!" I pointed out, expecting affirming nods.  No affirming nods noted.  I hope they were too busy processing what I had said about vaccines to nod their heads about the earth being round. 

Since I can't put patient pictures on my blog, instead we found this parking spot amusing:

They don't let tree planters get in the way of painting in parking stalls.

Theatre Team

21 Jul 2019

This isn't news, since it happened two weeks ago, but the times when we have more interesting things to write about are when we are too busy to blog!

From June 30th until July 7th we had a theatre short-term team from Christ Community Church in Omaha come visit.  You might be asking, "What does a theatre team do?  I've never heard of such a thing."  We hadn't either!  But God made it work out wonderfully.  Monday through Thursday, the team taught workshops on acting, set design, story-telling and choreography, preparing the Peruvians for a showcase in an auditorium on Saturday night.  Everything went without a hitch and the Peruvians seemed very happy with the experience.  Some of the more timid people got to experience going on stage and reciting their lines in front of a crowd for the first time.  We think they learned a lot of skills that will help their ministries in the future.

Of course, a trip to Peru isn't complete without trying the local delicacy:  Guinea pig!

Tomorrow starts the annual eye campaign.  We will treat between 3000 and 4000 patients over the next two weeks.  Lot of cataract surgeries and prescription glasses will be handed out.  Paul is off school, so he will help as a translator.


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