March 2023 Trip Recap

Lulu Lopez

The plan for this mission was to take a small team, post Covid-19, into the Dominican Republic. This first team, consisting of 6 people was small but mighty! As is our practice, many activities went on simultaneously: medical clinic, pharmacy, painting projects, and children’s ministry.
The medical clinic was very successful. Dr. Pete Obregon was joined by 2 Dominican doctors for 1.5 days each: Dr. Vanesa and Dr. Mercado. On our last mission trip (October 2019), we met Dr. Vanesa and already had established rapport with her. I usually translate for Dr. Pete and this was our 6th mission trip together.
A mobile clinic was created to serve the community in Cuesta Arena (at the preschool), Los Cocos (in 3 homes), and Villa Liberation (also in 3 homes). In total, 242 people were seen by the 3 doctors over the 4 days. A total of 586 prescriptions were written and filled. Issues many families faced were due to poor water quality. Many concerns included fungus and parasites. Flu-like symptoms and pain in various parts of the body were also what brought the neighbors to the clinic.
Our pharmacy was usually headed by Judy Obregon who had to bow out of the trip due to a last minute health issue. She had trained others well and the preschool teacher, Kendys took the lead. Yosaira, a college student, mother, and wife of our driver, volunteered to help. Their work together was admirable. We ran out of vitamins early on and could have used triple the amount we took. Most of the over-the-counter medicine was donated by our church family and funds raised allowed Dr. Pete to order much0needed prescriptive medication.
After each consultation, a health kit was provided to each family. Our own United Women in Faith donated the supplies and each kit contained soap, wash clothes, toothpaste, and toothbrushes. Over 120 kits were distributed and we ran out by the 3rd day.
The work project requested by Pastora Sairy was to pain the outside of the Cuesta Arena school, with neighborhood help, and paint a house or two in the Los Cocos community. As it turns out, not only was the exterior of the school painted, sons Alex and Tomas Lopez had enough paint, energy, and time to paint the interior of two large teaching spaces. They also made sure that two families in Los Cocos received newly painted homes. One was even a beautiful turquoise.
The children were served in an outdoor mini-vbs, once under a huge mango tree. Gisa Hacker used her excellent Spanish skills and worked with various children. They heard bible stories, sang songs, and made a variety of crafts. The challenge s were quite evident because we never knew how many were coming from the communities. Their grade levels/ages were unknown as well. We could have used a few more volunteers to attend to the dozens and dozens of children that came. Their excitement was heart warming.
The team was augmented by two astronomers who painted an observatory upstairs in Cuesta Arena’s school. They even created teaching tools for the staff to use. One evening, they opened the school and shared their huge telescope so the community could have an awesome experience looking into space.
The mission team…..we knew we were doing the Lords work! Our daily devotions, delivered by Gisa, inspired us and helped us “walk the talk”. Team members displayed characteristics to emulate, learned to “go with the flow”, and cared for each other. The younger ones helped us older folks in and out of the van, took our arm when we traversed uneven surfaces, and we knew they had our backs. I am proud of how each one saw a need and filled it. I am also grateful that each one said “yes” to the call to be a “missionary”. It was my honor indeed, to be the Trip Team Leader for such dedicated, loving and proficient children of God.

My recommendation is that many more teams follow for many years to come.

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