Monday, September 26, 2016
Last night we were told that one of the sick missionaries in Ocotal was coming to Managua to go to the hospital. We expected them to be in Managua already and we were to take them to the hospital. But we shortly found out that they were still in Esteli. The Koellikers had driven to Ocotal last night and brought them back to their house in Esteli. We called the Koellikers and agreed to meet midway between Managua and Esteli. So off we went, heading north again. We picked them up at San Miguel and took them to the Emergency Room at Hospital Metropolitano Vivian Pellas. The nurses and doctors are getting to know us pretty well. Our concern is that this missionary, who had been treated for parasites and bacteria in her stomach, had bloody emesis. The doctor thought that the antibiotics she was taking were hard on her stomach and were the cause of her vomiting. The vomiting was irritating her esophagus, which was bleeding from all the vomiting. This is what our LDS doctor in Guatemala felt as well. But to be sure they wanted to do an endoscopy, so the doctor kept her in the hospital for the night. Once in her room, we bid them farewell and went home…. Tired but satisfied that we had done all we could do.
Tuesday, September 27, 2016
Sister Bell and I made a presentation to the leaders of the mission. Once a month, all the zone leaders and sister leaders assemble to be trained. We usually take a little time to talk about health issues. Today, we introduced a little contest. Sister Poncio (and Sister Bell and I) have been very disgusted with the cleanliness of the missionary homes. So we decided to have a contest, giving points for various cleanliness items. We had put together an inspection checklist, so we used that for a scorecard. We showed a short PowerPoint, outlying the rules and rewards. It seems to be well received. At the end, I shared some thoughts that the importance of cleaning the homes, but also to do it regularly. Here is what I said, except in Spanish…..
Let me share with you the secret to winning. Sister Bell and I love to garden. We have a large garden at home and grow corn, tomatoes, beans, peas, strawberries and a variety of other fruits and vegetables. We love harvesting them and eating fresh foods.
However, weeds love our garden space as well and we have to weed the garden regularly. But we have three choices on how to deal with the weeds.
1- We could not do anything. But if we did this the weeds would eventually get so big that they would kill the vegetables that we want to grow and eat. They would eventually destroy our garden.
2- We could also let the weeds grow and when they get big, try to pull them. However, this would require a lot of work and we would need others to help us. It would be very difficult to pull all the roots and invariably we would leave some roots and the weeds tend to grow back rapidly.
3- We could regularly weed the garden when the weeds are small. Doing this, we find that the weeds are easily pulled out, but it takes regular weeding.
We have found that it is much easier to keep a healthy garden where the plants thrive with frequent weeding so the weeds never have the chance to overtake the garden. This principle of taking care of problems when they are small also pertains to repenting. It is much easier to repent when the problem is small than to wait until the problem is big, requiring help from a Bishop to repent of the sin.
This principle also pertains to cleaning your homes. It is much easier to keep a home clean if you do a little every day.
It is not only a good idea; it is an eternal principle. D&C 64:33 States, “… out of small things proceedeth that which is great.” Prayer is an example of this. We have been commanded to “Pray always” (1 Nephi 32:9), in fact prophets have been called to repentance when they have not prayed often (Ether 2:14). Why is that? I believe it is because much easier to maintain a relationship than to build one. Also, our Heavenly Father wants to inspire us daily, not just once in a while, when we get around to pray or repent or clean our apartments. Remember to keep slothfulness and uncleanness far from you” (D&C 90: 18)
Later in the morning, we started getting emails from SLC with concerns about the Endoscopy that was scheduled for today. We didn’t realize that this kind of examine needed to be approved by SLC. We had conversations with SLC, with our doctor in Guatemala and President Poncio. We also got permission from the parents of the missionary. After all the discussion, President Poncio made a decision on what we should do. It was to wait a few days to see if a change in medications would relieve the vomiting.
So Sister Bell and I went to the hospital to try to stop the procedure, which was scheduled for 1pm. This was about 11:30am. We prayed before we went asking for direction on where to go and who to talk to. We were very concerned that it was too late to change the procedure and that changing it might hurt the good relationship we have with the hospital. After the prayer, we both thought that we should start with Doctor Perez, who was the emergency room doctor. But when we got to the hospital and checked in Emergency, we found that she was not working. We were alittle puzzled, because we both felt we should start with her, so we decided to go upstairs to the room. When we walked down the hall toward the sister’s room, we walked past the GI Doctor that was going to do the procedure. We were able to tell her about the concerns of our US doctors and asked if she wouldn’t mind talking with Doctor Lynn in Guatemala. We got him on the phone and she talked with him. Based on this conversation, she postponed the procedure as President Poncio had asked. A little miracle had occurred. She (and we) was in the right place and was flexible enough to make modifications. She was not upset and was more than willing to consider the suggestion of our doctor.
So they began to feed our sister soft foods, hoping that she would not throw them up, but she did, both lunch and dinner. So President Poncio authorized her to have the Endoscopy tomorrow.
Wednesday, September 28, 2016
We spent most of the day in the hospital, waiting to talk to the doctor or for the endoscopy to happen and then for the doctor to tell us what they found. Fortunately, they only found irritation, no other problems. Hurray…
We had an earthquake today centered in Momotombo, north of Managua. It is right next to the Momotombo Volcano. We felt it in the hospital. Two of our missionaries who are stationed in Momotombo, lived in a hotel and the wall collapsed in their room. Fortunately, they were not in the room at the time and were not hurt, but they are now looking for a new place to live.
Lees invited us over for chili and games. I won at golf…. Another miracle.
Thursday, September 29, 2016
Our sick sister was released from the hospital today, but she is still throwing up after eating. Having a bacterial infection and two parasites is having a toll on her. The lesson, don’t drink the water…..
Friday, September 30, 2016
We took our Ocotal sister back to the hospital today because she still could not keep food or liquid down. We spent most of the day in the Emergency Room being taken care of by Doctor Abdala, an LDS doctor. She is really good. Our missionary ended up back in the hospital.
While we were in the Emergency, another Sister came in with severe pain in her lower back. She ended up with a kidney stone. Again Dra. Abdala attended to her needs. We finally took these sisters home about 11:00 pm (they live out of Managua about 20 km) and arrived home about midnight.
The Hospital Metropolitano Vivian Pellas has become our home away from home. We know the guards, nurses, administration and doctors pretty well. Everyone seems to be happy to see us…. Maybe it is just the business we are bringing them…. But maybe it is our spirits we bring to the hospital… I hope it is the latter.
Saturday, October 1, 2016
After taking our tablet to the hospital so that the sisters could watch general conference, we hunkered down in our air conditioned bedroom and watched all three sessions of conference. They were wonderful. However, the best part of the day, was that David, one of our guards, watched all three sessions of conference in Spanish, using my phone. He sat on our front porch (because he had to be close to the gate just in case someone wanted in or out and close to our internet), and was totally absorbed. After each session, we would visit a little and I would explain a few things he didn’t understand. But I was impressed with how much he understood and he liked what he heard. We have seen a real change in him the past couple of weeks. He is getting a testimony of the Gospel. We can see the light grow within him.
I related well to Elder Hollands talk in the Priesthood Session about Home Teaching and then taught the principle of service; to touch lives not just check a box or get credit for completing HT teaching for the month.
Sunday, October 2, 2016
Our sick missionary was able to keep food down last night and this morning. She is beginning to feel better; we are very happy and beginning to feel optimistic.
The sister missionaries from Naragote forgot their phone in our car the other night. So this morning we took it to them, about a 40 km drive.
We have been in our air conditioned room watching conference. We have been very spiritually uplifted. I was particularly touched by President Eyring’s talk in the morning session when he said the Lord is quietly building his kingdom. Then he gave examples of small branches mostly in the eastern United States that have grown into wards and stake. I look at our little groups and branches and wonder if they will ever survive, but then I remember how the church as grown during my lifetime and know the Church will quietly grow in Somoto, Ocotal, Condega, Pueblo Nuevo and Trinidad too. It gives me hope and a desire to continue working hard to help any way we can.