Sunday, 29 November -0001 18:42

Returning as a Licensed Pilot

Written by John and Connie Otten
WeÕre back in Cubulco after an extended stay in Canada during August and September. John was able to complete his training for a private pilotÕs license. Since John spent all his time in training we hope to return to Canada for vacation for two weeks at Christmas. Another sister of JohnÕs, Cynthia, plans to be married then also! We were very encouraged during our time in Canada and enjoyed being part of home church life.

In the first two weeks of August Dr. and Mrs. Blaisdell came to perform elective surgery at the hospital. They had a full schedule, operating four or five patients a day.

This month a dentist has come to work in the clinic for two weeks, and for the next two weeks an ophthalmologist will be here to do eye surgeries. All these doctors and dentists have come for several years now, volunteering two weeks of service.

In June we hired several new nursing assistants, graduates from our government-approved nursing program. With an expanded staff, a new public health program has been developed in which some of the nurses go out to nearby schools to teach health and nutrition. At first the staff was hesitant to begin this new venture, but now theyÕre thinking of traveling out to more distant schools in mountain villages where the people are poorer and where they will benefit even more from this education. The government schools are opposed to any evangelism, but we have told them we will teach from a Christian perspective. Perhaps teaching in the schools will be a door into the community. The nurses hope to invite the mothers to these classes too, and perhaps coordinate their village trips with those of the agriculture centre promoters. It is exciting to reach out to the people in their own settings.

In August John accompanied two of our agriculture centre promoters to a far out village, Tuncaj. They had invited us to come and explain our agriculture assistance program. We explained that we work mostly with education and at a slow pace to determine the interest of the people. We donÕt have large assistance programs. At first the villagers were a little disappointed, but after some thought they said they were happy with the emphasis on education. Often loans without education do not really help because they do not know how to evaluate a project to determine if it will be financially profitable, nor how to carry out a project successfully. As a result the farmers often have to work on the coast to pay off the loan. With education they can learn to improve within their means and pass this on to their children. It was agreed to start classes on agriculture, as well as a vegetable garden project. At the close of the visit we had a Bible study with the villagers and they asked many questions about the tract that we distributed, ÒWho is Jesus?Ó (translated by Gary DeSterke into the Achi dialect). The agriculture centre promoters visit the villages about every other week and on each visit they include a Bible study.

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