Welcome to our journey. We're so glad to have you!

As we prepare for, and soon embark on our journey, this blog will not only be a window into our travels and experiences, but also a way for us to share with our supporters in the good works along the way. So many people have helped make this trip possible and for that we are grateful! We hope you'll stay tuned to see what and who your support impacts. We also ask that you will continue to pray for us and the people we will serve while we're in Nicaragua.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Home Sweet Home.

I'm happy to report that our team is home, safely and soundly, after a long day of travel. Although we were all excited to return to our homes, beds, clean clothes (especially clothing that does not include scrubs;), and friends and families, the journey home is always bitter sweet. Friendships have been made, not just with our teammates, but with our new Nicaraguan brothers and sisters and those goodbyes are never easy. Thankfully with technology, we will be able to stay connected to the few that have Facebook, but final hugs and our one last "gracias, Dios le Bendiga" to the church members still stings a bit. What the Lord provided and allowed us to experience while in Leon was nothing short of amazing, and we are all better for it.

As a final recap, we were able to see and treat 300 patients in 3.5 days of clinic. Of those 300, 50 accepted Christ for the first time and others rededicated their lives back to him!!! Over 1,000 prescriptions were filled, along with most of the 300 also receiving glasses and one hearing aid. Treating their earthly ailments was such a blessing, but allowing 50 patients the opportunity to hear that this hard life they've been dealt is not permanent, and that the Lord loves them and has greater plans for them, is something that time will not take away when their prescriptions run out and we've all gone home. And THAT new hope for them is what it's all about in the end.

Thank you, one last time, for your prayers, support, and comments! Your notes from home bridged the gaps that you sometimes feel, and often times boosted our energy levels after a long day at clinic. It's been a pleasure to share the stories with you and we hope you'll join us in continuing to pray for the people we met, treated, and fell in love with over the last 8 days. Lives have been changed, ours included, and we couldn't have done it without the grace of God and your love and support.

Adios Nicaragua. We will miss you, but I have a sinking suspicion that quite a few of us will be back next year;)
Muchas gracias and Dios le Bendiga!!!


Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Clinic Day 3!!!

Hi Family and Friends! Wow, what a day. We saw at least 100 patients today and went to an amazing church service this evening. After all the excitement, everyone is quite tired and snuggling into bed for our last day of clinic tomorrow. It has been amazing to see the faces of my team members, patients, and church members light up all week...God is working amazing miracles here! I wanted to send a quick note to inform everyone that we will not be able to blog after tonight. We will be going to clinic in the morning and then heading to Managua, where we don't have internet access. I can already tell that everyone is excited for our fun day on friday where we will Zipline through trees, shop at the market, and shop for coffee! I am sure there will be many more stories to tell when we return on Saturday night! Thanks for all of the comments and support, they make our day! Miss you all and see you again soon!

All the Best ~ Rachel

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

An Amazing Tuesday!!!

Hola Friends and Family!!!
Today was exceptional! Yesterday was our day to iron out all the wrinkles and today clinic flowed smoothly! Everyone was assigned a station and those who were not as busy helped others who were swamped! (PA students have a thing for being flexible! ;) ) I was stationed in triage today. This is where the patients get their vitals taken and then we take a brief history to get an idea of what is going on before they are taken back to see the providers. I love to hear their stories about their families and what they do for a living. The Nicaraguans are so appreciative for the care that they are recieving. It's the simple things in life such as a smile and a handshake that light up their face. Although the language is sometimes a communication barrier, I have learned to communicate in so many other ways. Somehow, they seem to understand my crazy hand expressions and southern-accent broken spanish! In the beginning of the day I was asking Aileen "how do you say this, how do you say that" and kept a little list of commonly used phrases. Before the trip I bought a medical spanish pocketcard for $7 ( a tiny little card, but it turned out to be the best $7 i have ever spent!) By the end of the day Kelly and I could work as a team to form sentences and take a history! The kids here in Nicaragua are precious. They're so happy and giggly!
We look forward to what tomorrow brings! It will be another big day in the clinic!


P.S. To all the worried moms, the girls who drank the unpurified water are just fine! They took some pepto and never had any symptoms! :)

Awesome patient day!

Hello friends, family, relatives, and strangers.

Today was our second day of patient clinics in Leon with our Seacoast Team. The day began hot, but promising with all the smiling, excited faces walking into clinic. As soon as our morning prayer was over, we were assigned our respective positions and we dispersed to our stations. At this point, beaming with confidence, our team took on the morning patient load. This morning proved to be a particularly fun and interesting morning for everyone with many people in new positions. I was assigned to be in clinic (helping to see patients) with Caroline S. and Leah G. Early on, Caroline say the patients by herself to get us familiar with the interview and be ready to begin our own questioning. The patients were ALL very receptive and welcoming to us (students) as well as the rest of our team. They were even willing when we wanted to take an extra listen to a heart or crackling lung sound. It all proved very inspiring that these people trust us, traveling from so far and having no information about us, and that they could put their faith with us in this way. Truly it is a gift to be able to see these people, learn from their conditions, and reflect on their situations.

There were two very intricate patients that stuck out in my mind today. The first was a middle-aged woman, who was severely concerned that she had diabetes. Our triage team provided us with some historical information that was pointing, almost definitely, to a diagnosis of diabetes. Her signs and symptoms created this notion in us, as well as the patient. We decided to do a diagnostic urine lab, and once the results came back we were all relieved. Instead of having diabetes, this woman had a minor infection which created symptoms that mimicked some of the signs of diabetes. We discussed the results with the patient and she almost instantly broke down crying. The tears were not because she was sad, but because she was so incredibly relieved that she did not have diabetes. Her concern was that she could not pay for the treatment of diabetes and we gave her the blessing of relieving that burden. She even was able to obtain the treatment for her infection free of charge. This was a great blessing for all of us who experienced it.

The next, and most moving experience, was with an elderly male patient in the afternoon clinic. This man came into our consultation room with the assistance of his daughter. He was very hard of hearing and also had very poor vision. During the interview with the patient, we discussed many issues he was experiencing and tried to prioritize these. I took the initiative to ask just how bad our patient’s hearing was – as his vision was rapidly declining and likely could not be changed with our intervention. The daughter explained that it was very poor (as the patient sat quietly, in apparent silence, only partially being able to hear our discussion) and that he wished it was better. In the back of my mind, I remembered coming across a hearing aid kit the day before in the glasses kit during my shift assisting patients with new glasses. I quickly pardoned myself and dug through the suitcase which held the glasses, finding the aforementioned kid containing several hearing aids. I tried to put a few together and was quickly discouraged, as they were very old and some even had rusted battery compartments and could not work. I then found an individual hearing aid kit, in a small pouch with replacement batteries inside. The only problem was it was the kind which you place inside your ear, i.e. it must fit perfect or else it will not work. Well, I quickly returned to the consultation room, praying that this would work! With high hopes, I opened the case, placed a new battery in, cranked the volume all the way up and began to put the aid in the patient’s ear. Immediately I realized this was an absolutely perfect fit for the patient, and that it fit into his ear snugly like a puzzle piece. It was as if the hearing aid were specifically designed for him. Within a minute or two, with the volume adjusted, the patient began hearing significantly better and you could see his face light up. He began talking more because he could hear that we were talking about him, and he wanted his input! What a miracle…

I will never forget this patient and hope that in sharing my story, my team members will be inspired to reach deeply into their hearts to help every patient as much as possible. I truly believe it was meant to be that I discovered those hearing aids by accident the day before and that there happened to be one that PERFECTLY fit the patient. Thank God for all of these things, it truly has been a great day.

Matt E.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Clinic Day 1

A warm hello to parents, friends and family,

What a great day we had! We spent a full day at the clinic in Leon, 7:30am to 5:30pm. We saw a total of 74 patients, and led 14 to Christ. Yay God! It was quite hot, but we were graced with a rain shower mid-afternoon that cooled us off. We were divided into groups that each saw patients within their procession through the clinic. First the patients stopped at a secretary, then had their vital signs taken, followed by patient history, they saw the PA's, and then waited for their precriptions. The Nicaraguan's are extremely patient people! Addionally, some of the team helped occupy the children that are just as restless as American children. Balloons and bubbles go a long way!

The clinic is held in a neighborhood Church on a dirt road about 5 miles from our beautiful hotel! We are staying in air-conditioned rooms of 2, 3, or 4 people. The rooms surround an open-air veranda with a kitchen and porch on the lower level. The hotel is decorated with lots of rocking chairs and greenery. Muchas bonita!

We have all had a chance to practice our Spanish, and the Nicaraguans are eager to pick up some English. It has been really neat to see the way that they live and the many similarities that exist amongst our cultures.

We have an absolutely fantastic Nicaraguan cook that is staying with us at the Hotel. She cooked a delicious fish, rice, and fried plantain dish tonight. Every meal is accompanied with a fresh juice made from the local fruits.

We love hearing all of your comments, please keep them coming! At this point we are all still happy and healthy, although three accidently drank some unpurified water today. Ahh! Please pray that their stomachs will handle whatever was in that water!

We love you and will update again tomorrow!
Allison and Brittany

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Bienvenidos a Nica!

Today was our first full day in Nicaragua. Since we were all tired from getting up at 3am yesterday, we went to bed around 7 last night at our hotel in Managua and all got a full 12 hours of sleep. We were feeling very rested this morning and ready for the day. It's the beginning of rainy season here so we slept to the pouring rain on the tin roof all night long. To some it was very soothing, but I think it kept some of the others up all night. We had worship and devotional time this morning on the patio, which was a great way to start the day. Nicaragua seems to have an abundance of rocking chairs (at least where we've been) so we've been taking full advantage of them so far. We also had a brief orientation this morning led by Christ for the City staff (who have been so lovely and so welcoming!) We learned a little about Nicaraguan culture, politics, religion and family life and about how to "take the high road" when it comes to interacting with the Nicaraguan people this week in clinic and in our travels. After orientation, we were on the road to Leon, where we will be staying all week and holding clinic. We ran into our first obstacle on the road to Leon with a flat tire on the bus. Ariel, our bus driver, is a champ and changed our tire in about 5 minutes flat. We're thinking of recommending him to work for Nascar. We got to the church/clinic where we'll be working, met and prayed with the church staff and volunteers we'll be working with this week, and set up the pharmacy. Now we're at our hotel and about to eat a delicious meal prepared by Jo Lydia.

Tomorrow is our first day of clinic and we're all very excited and looking forward to the day. Please be praying for our team members, church volunteers and patients we'll be interacting with.

Much love from Nica,
Aileen and Caroline G.

Schedule for today, for our medical team

Sunday, Aug 22
07:30 Breakfast and devotionals
09:00 Orientation (training on Nicaragua culture, clinic operation, and more)
11:30 Load Suitcases and all medical supplies on the bus
12:00 Lunch at Baptist House in Managua
01:00 Leave for León city (2-4 hour drive)
03:00 Meet w/ church in León & set up pharmacy for clinic tomorrow
05:00 Arrive Sn. Juan Hotel
06:30 Dinner, then meeting time
07:30 Free time/Bedtime - prepare to get up at 5am for a long day tomorrow!

All safely in country -

[Michael Overcash reporting here: no Internet now in Nica]
The team all made it safely (thank you all for the prayers) Travel went very smoothly. They toured Managua yesterday & ate at tip top (Nicaraguan fast food). Word is that Everyone is happy to be there. Stay tuned for more posts later.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Mock Clinic Complete...It's Go Time!

This past Sunday marked our mock clinic and last team meeting, which in turn means the stomach butterflies have officially begun! When we signed up for this trip, it seemed like forever before we'd leave, and now it's only 3 days away! With meetings starting months ago and a practice clinic under our belts, I think we're the most prepared that we can be.

Now the fun begins:
-Serving the beautiful people of Leon, Nicaragua
-Bringing free health care to those who truly need it
-Growing as a team, making new friends, and creating bonds that will last a lifetime
-Meeting our Nicaraguan team members who have been preparing for our arrival
-Experiencing a totally different culture
-Being stretched daily
-Releasing control of our usual schedules to go exactly where the Lord leads, when He leads.
-Eating pinto gallo til we can turn into beans and rice ourselves
-Leaving our cell phones, laptops, facebooks, and TVs behind (or at least turned off)

Is it Saturday yet??!!

Friday, August 6, 2010

Heading to Leon, Nicaragua

A week or so ago we received word that we'll be spending our time and holding our clinic in in Leon, Nicaragua. It's always exciting when we find out exactly where we'll serve in the country, plus it's nice to be able to answer the reoccuring question of "where will you be going in Nicaragua?" with an answer other than the usual "we're not sure".

Thanks to Wikitravel, here's what little we know about Leon thus far:
Situated in western Nicaragua, Leon is the second most important city after Managua. Blessed with graceful old architecture and a fascinating history, Leon has played a pivotal role in the country's history many times over. Modern day Leon may not be as important as it once was, but it serves as home to the National University which has proved to be a constant injection of life to the city.

Leon, here we come!

Monday, August 2, 2010

Meet Our Team

1. Rachel Sammis (Leader)
2. Steven Johnson (Co-leader)
3. Allison Ayers
4. Amanda Danielson
5. Brittany Meyers
6. Kelly Gleffe
7. Leah Gumucio
8. Matthew Ewald
10. Stephanie Knott
11. Joan Hagan
12. Aileen Kucsera
13. Rose Doyle
14. Caroline Snow
15. Caroline Garrison
16. Jonathan Flanary
17. Grace Hall
18. Kara Cochran

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Less Than 1 Month to Go!

With less than one month until we depart for Nicaragua, our goal with this blog is to reach 100 followers! As a follower, we hope you'll not only follow our journey but also commit to praying for our travels and those that we will meet next month.

Thanks in advance for your "blog" support!