Tue, 27 May 2008 02:28:10 -0400
It has been along time since I rode a fast moving ride at a Theme Park. BUT,
I do remember them well!! They start off with a jerk, and then slowly climb
a steep incline. You reach the peak of the incline and then your body is
departed from your hip pockets!! While on the twist and turns and jerking
here and there (not lasting but a few minutes) you are on a blinding
run-away car just trying to hang on. Then before you know it, it's all over.
There is a lot of similarity with Theme Park rides and our trips to Latin
America. You grab a flight and you are jerked off the grown and slowly climb
to a very high altitude. Your flight seems like a long slow ride until you
finally reach the peak, and your final destination. What happens next
remains a BLUR!! You turn around and several days have passed and then
before you know it, it's time to get off and go home.
Every trip I make, I always think to myself as I leave, it won't be anytime
before I will be driving back home with 3 weeks behind me.
I arrived here in Lima this past Saturday night about 11:22:35 pm (more or
less). When I arrive at Rodolfo's home and greeted everyone and talked for a
few minutes, I lugged my bags up to the 3rd floor where my standard room
awaited me. I have learned over the years that if I am to stay at a place
for a week, I need to do my best to organize my "stuff" immediately upon
arrival or before you know it several days have passed and I'm still digging
through my bags. It took me until 2:30 am to get the job done this trip.
The first Sunday in Peru is always rush rush. We leave Rodolfo's house about
9:00 am and don't return until about 10:00 pm. In that time frame we
normally go to 3 services and preach at each one with lunch and supper
jammed in between. That was the program this time as well. We had to make a
short stop to pick up a young man from Valdosta, GA who grew up at Forrest
Park. Austin Pyler is here in Lima doing a Spanish course at one of the
Our first stop this morning after getting Austin is the San Juan de
Miraflores congregation. Rodolfo started this congregation back in 1992 just
shortly after returning from school in Panama. The church has grown from
about 20 members to well over 150 since I have been coming down in 1995. I
know a lot of the members and have taught and baptized a number of them over
the years. It is ALWAYS GREAT to meet with them and get greeted with joy and
With us this morning is Donnie Bates from Hugo, OK. Here is here to teach at
the Preacher school from the Bear Valley Institute of Biblical studies in
Denver, CO. Donnie was asked to do the morning class and I was asked to
preach. At the conclusion of services this morning, there was one baptism.
Teresa Barru, the sister of one of our preachers, Carlos Barru, decided to
put Christ on in baptism. I had the privilege of baptizing her into Christ.
I am enclosing a picture of her.
After a late lunch, we left for our second stop. One of many things that I
love about my brother in Christ, Rodolfo Espinoza, is that he is constantly
evangelizing and starting new congregations here in Lima. Today is the
second Sunday for a Bible study at the school facilities of our Preacher
Training School (Bible School of the Americas - Peru). This is located in
the Jesus Maria, a barrio of Lima. There were about 20+ students in this
class which included Rodolfo, Eliana, and Rodolfo's sister and her husband.
Along with them were 2 students from BSAM-Peru who live at the school
building. The other attendees of the Bible study were those who need to be
taught the gospel.
I was asked to lead the class on an appropriate topic. I chose to teach on
how to identify the Church of the Bible today.
We finally got started about 4:30 and had great interaction with everyone's
Our study finally ended about 6:00 pm (largely due to a late start and
waiting on some who finally came late). Our third stop was supposed to be at
a third congregation, Los Olivos, but we could not make in time to worship
with them, so we went to supper about 7:00 pm.
Before going home we stopped at a local mall to get a cheap cell phone for
After all things being done, I finally got into bed shortly before midnight.
I am writing this Monday night, and already it is 1:09 am. I had wanted to
include TODAYS activities, but I'll have to leave that for tomorrow, or I
won't get any sleep tonight.
KEEP US IN YOUR PRAYERS.
Sat, 15 Mar 2008 09:40:40 -0400
I write this to you on the morning of departure having concluded our
Evangelistic/Medical Campaign of 2008 in Tonacatepeque, El Salvador. There
is much that can be said about the last two days, but let me give a few
A TEARFUL BAPTISM
A young lady had a study with one of our evangelistic teams. According to
the team, she was very serious about wanting to be baptized. When she came
to the compound where we were doing the baptism, she appeared to be very
happy about obeying Christ in baptism. As Victor took her confession, she
began to weep. As she came out of the water, tears of joy flowed down her
cheeks. Later on that night, she participated in our New Converts Class.
David Shannon informed me later that she truly was interested and had
displayed an eagerness to be in the class. I have posted the picture of her
We shut down the clinic at noon on Thursday and began to pack up in
preparations to leave Tonacatepeque. The Mayor had notified us that he
wanted to have us all meet in the Community hall next to his office. When we
arrived at 4:00 pm, he and his staff thanked us for coming and working here.
Then he proceeded to put a pin of El Salvador on everyone's shirt that was
on the team. It was a beautiful moment. We then presented him with the
"chair", an act that started many years ago. It is a folding chair that has
been signed by the entire team to the person who helped us the most.
VISIT TO MAYOR'S HOME
Later on Thursday, the mayor wanted me to visit his house. His house is not
far from the clinic site. It is by no means a "fancy" house, but you could
tell that he and his wife take pride in where they live. I spent time with
him, his wife, and their youngest daughter. His oldest daughter is a university
student who helped us on the first day by translating. They presented me
with a gift of appreciation.
This day is our traditional shopping and touring day. We had 3 groups to do
different things. One group took a tour to the road of flowers. They stopped
at a coffee plantation where they visited a coffee packing plant. Everyone
on the trip really enjoyed the trip.
The second group was the "shopping group". They visited a local mall and an
artesian area where tourist trinkets could be purchased.
The final group stayed at the hotel and rested.
We had our final banquet later on that evening. We were blessed to have the
Mayor and family with us. He presented us with a flag of El Salvador and
thanked us again for coming. While there, the mayor introduced us to the
second man in the government below the president, Renee Figarroa. He is the
president's closest advisor, and the Minister of Homeland Security. He
expressed his gratitude for our coming and encouraged us to come again to
help his people.
We had a total of 11 baptisms on this trip. We are excited about this new
congregation. I would ask you to remember the new work in your prayers.
Fri, 14 Mar 2008 11:58:09 -0400
There is a lot to report tonight, so let's get started.
Until today, there had only been 2 baptisms, and one of the two was from the
Alta Vista Congregation where Victor Bonilla preaches. This new sister will
live and worship in Alta Vista and not Tonacapeque. The other convert is a
diabetic lady who is confined to a wheeled chair. Every soul is precious,
and we rejoice in that. We were concerned about those above facts, so in our
devo this morning, we prayed that God would providentially lead us to honest
and open souls who would respond to the saving Gospel of Jesus Christ. I
can tell you that the Lord answered our prayers by providing 7 precious
souls to be baptized. We rejoice in this great blessing, and will continue
to pray that God will continue give us more precious souls that will obey
His will and be baptized.
ALCALDE (MAYOR) OF TONACAPEQUE
Ediberto Erroa was elected Mayor to Tonaca in 2006. His term will be short,
but we pray that he will be re-elected next March.
He came to the clinic for a visit today (he has made a visit almost every day
this week). He wanted to know when the clinic would be over. We have decided
to run the clinic until 1:00 pm tomorrow. It will take us 2 to 3 hours to
clean up. We will then go to the Community Center where we have been holding
our night time meetings for a presentation by the Alcalde and his staff.
Tonight he suddenly appeared at our house where the kitchen is located while
we were eating our supper. He brought pupusa and a chocolate drink.
AT DEATH'S DOOR
Franco is about 25 years of age. When one of our teams found him they
started teaching him. Franco has lost kidney function and is having to do
self dialysis through a peritoneal port in his stomach. He is about 25 years
old and is literally at death's door with no kidney function. We had one of our
medical staff to tape him up good, and then took him to where it was being
filled. Marco was baptized without incident. He won't be able to last very
long if he doesn't get some kidney function going, and SOON!
That's about all for now. Keep us in your prayers.
Fri, 14 Mar 2008 11:59:36 -0400
Today was "hump" day or "wall" day, or whatever. There is not much to it
except I try to watch to make sure someone is not having a bad day. If there
is going to be someone who is prone to any difficulties then it is usually
on this day. The work we are doing is not easy in that we have LONG hours
and a little short on sleep. You can run on adrenalin for a few days, but
then your "hip pockets" start to drag and you can crash. All in all we did
well. I did note that several were dragging, but seemed to be ok otherwise.
We have a registration station where our clinic begins. It is here that
people get their paperwork started, and health aids are passed out and they
see a nurse to determine why they have come to the clinic. It is a
multi-station operation, so we have to have people to move them between
stations and finally out to see the docs. One of our workers from the
Mayor's office is a young lady that is very sharp and I am told that she is
not only a RN, but a nurse anesthetist. When I found out, I quizzed her as
to why was she working in the Mayor's office instead at a hospital. It seems
that she had been working in a big hospital in San Salvador, but returning
home each evening. There seem to be surrounding smaller towns where a lot of
people live that are out of the major "hustle and bustle" of the capital
city. In some of the small towns there are some bands of thieves who are
too lazy to work, and since there are few police they make demands on those
honest people who do to give them money. She told me that a group where she
was living threatened her, but she ignored it. Later she said she was
assaulted. She went that day and renounced her job and left for
Tonacatepeque where it was quiet and safe. I asked her if there were any
surrounding places that have these types of hoodlums that might cause us any
problems. She assured me that there weren't. They don't mess with towns that
have a good police force. I can tell you that there is always two or three
policemen around wherever we go. We have two permanent guys who do nothing
by stay at our rented house where our cooks work and our Latin brethren are
staying. We take very good care of these guys. We have NO sense of danger
here, although I constantly stress awareness and prohibit any walking
anywhere in the dark or going outside our hotels at night. As my mama always
said, "a stitch in time saves nine" or "better to be safe than sorry".
FACES IN THE LINE
One of the things I like to do each day is to go outside the compound and
greet the people. The line outside is about a block long. Today, they were
lined up when we got there at 6:45 am. When I go out the gate, I start
shaking hands and talking to each one in line as much as possible, paying
special attention to the children and the elderly. My purpose is to let them
know that we will try to do our best to help them and will get everyone in
as soon as possible. It is hot out there, and there is not much shade.
Yesterday, I found about 4 or 5 people where were over 80 years old, and as
you recall one who was 94. The line was longer today than yesterday. I took
some pictures of the kids in the line and have posted these "faces" on my
web page. Check them out at:
There is a playground near the front gate. In that playground is an
apparatus for the kids to crawl over with a fort like affair as the center
piece. From that fort tower, I can see inside the compound and also the line
outside. While I was standing there looking around, one of the Mayor's
office workers who has been assigned as our liaison for whatever our needs
are. She walked up the ramp to where I was at and after some brief
chit-chat, she asked me "Who was the founder of our church?" That opened the
door to begin a study with her. We talked for about 1 hour before lunch
about what she and her family were. She is Catholic in name only, not
remembering when she was at her church last. She had 4 kids in their teen
years who are take classes to prepare them to take their first communion.
Her husband is (was) Jehovah Witnesses. I determined that she did not feel
like she would go to heaven if she died now. Our conversation broke up for
the lunch time.
After lunch, she came by again and I asked if she would like to STUDY some
from the Bible. She said she would. We studied from about 2:30 to 5:00. She
seems interested and accepted what was taught, but at last she just said she
wanted to "think" about it. I encouraged her to be baptized but I did not
try to obligate her. She has agreed to study tomorrow. Please keep her in
That's about it for today. Keep us in your prayers.
Tue, 11 Mar 2008 01:40:22 -0400
Today was our second day working and I have several stories to tell. So let
me get right to it.
A MODERN DAY DORCUS
One of our team members is Annie Massey from Franklin, KY. This is her first
trip. What's special about here is that last year she sent 20 to 30 hand
made dresses by the hands of one of our docs on last year's team. The dresses
were an instant hit as you can imagine. This year the doc could not came
again, so he told her "I guess you'll just have to TAKE them yourself." That
is just what she did, only she brought over 100 dresses and pants for
children. Today she gave away about 25 of them to some of the children she
is teaching in the children's class. Tonight she came over to me and pointed
out a little girl in a red dress with large white polka-dots and said "that's
one of mine." At first I thought she meant that the little girl had been one of
her students in class today. I later found out that she was talking about
the dress the little girl had on. I can tell you Annie will never be the
same. Be sure and check out my pictures at:
http://groups.msn.com/PanamaJacksplace/elsalvador2008.msnw. You will find a
picture of a proud Annie with the little girl and her pretty polka-dotted
MY 94 YEAR OLD GRANDMOTHER
This afternoon, Buddy Pickler and I went out side to check out the line. It
was long on a very hot day. I felt compassion on those poor folks who were
standing in the hot afternoon sunshine. I like to talk to people when they
are in line. I try to give them a genuine greeting about coming to our
clinic and that we plan to help them with their health. I like to shake
their hand and joke a little with them, especially the children and the
older folks. For the little kids I like to ask them to tell me their name
and how old they are while all the time shaking their hand real hard and
fast. With the older folks, I call them my little grandmother or grandfather
and tell them how happy I am to see such "young" folks in our lines. I also
try to find out how old they are.
Well this afternoon the line was almost a block long, and at the very end
was a little old lady that was standing there with a walker.
I asked her how old she was, and she told me 94 years old. After getting
back into the compound, I sent 2 native nurses out to the line to get all
the 80+ year old folks out there, and of course my little 94 year old
"abuela" was among them. When they weighed her, I kneeled down beside her for
a photo, and told her I wanted to have a picture with my "girl friend". Her
toothless face just lit up and was so bright and happy.
Sometime just before noon, I was asked by Anna Maria Bonilla to take some
time to talk with a sister of one of the sisters of Alta Vista. She pointed
out the girl, so we went over to talk to her. Anna Maria said that she has
been coming and showed some interest in getting to know the Bible more. A
few minutes later I saw Jonathan Winchester and asked him if he had time for
a study. He eagerly agreed, so I took him to introduce him to the girl. They
got together with her, and asked Ana Maria to come and help with.
Right in the middle of lunch, Jonathan announced that she was ready to be
baptized. After finding some baptismal clothes, we took her and Enrique
baptized her in the smaller of the two swimming pool. We were VERY HAPPY that
God gave the increase.
"SHE AIN'T HEAVY"
One of our evangelism teams came in with a little lady in a wheel chair to
be baptized. They were looking for someone to help her be baptized given her
lack of the ability to walk and stand. Derek Shrull was with us 2 years ago
and had lifted a crippled man from his wheeled chair to the van after his
baptism. That thought stuck out in my mind as we tried to figure out how to
baptize her. We asked Derek over to do the honors. He climbed into the pool
and took the little lady and submerged her under the water. I got a video
clip. I'll try to upload it so all can see it.
FOR THE LACK OF $10
One of our nurses who is with us for the first time came around the building
where Buddy and I were chatting about some difficulty that had cropped up.
She was looking very much
disturbed about something. Buddy asked if she needed to talk to some one,
but she waived him off. We later found out that she had helped a doc just a
few minutes earlier with a lady who had a large cyst on one of her breasts. The doc,
who is an Oncologist, said it didn't look cancerous but that she needed to
have a Sonogram done. Well the lady said that she did not have the $10 to
pay for the Sonogram, our nurse graciouslly gave the lady $10 for the exam.
It broke this sweet lady's heart to know that with all the opulence we have and all
our material things in the world, that $10 was keeping a lady from getting
the help she needed. Our nurse will never be the same.
I hope these stories inspired you. The GOSPEL is "FOR ALL".
Please check out my web page for the latest pictures:
Keep us in your prayers.
Mon, 10 Mar 2008 01:09:12 -0400
Here it is, day one on the campaign. Everyone went to bed early, at least at
the hotel where I was staying (Olinda). It was kind of quiet when I came
down about 9:30 to see if anyone was in need of anything. I only saw one
person, and I asked where everyone was. I was told that they had all gone to
bed. So I did the same. They were sure tired, since a lot of them were up
since 3:00 am or earlier. Actually, some of them said they didn't get to sleep
the night before.
Our leave time from the hotel is 6:30 am, so that means that if you don't
get up at 5:00, you won't be able to get a shower, dress, and have breakfast
in time to make the bus (that's taking into account there are at least one
or more roommates to try and accommodate with one bathroom).
I set my alarm for 4:45 am. I don't know what caused it, but I woke up at 3:15
am. I went back to sleep trying to get a little more before the alarm went
off. Jonathan, my roommate had his alarm set to go off somewhere about 5:15.
What he didn't take into account is that his cell phone alarm practiced the
"spring forward" to daylight savings time. So, it went off at 4:15 since El
Salvador doesn't observe Daylight Savings Time. Again, I decided to try and
get a little more sleep until my alarm went off. I nodded off some, and woke
up again, this time about 4:40. I decided to go ahead and get up. I took my
cell phone with me so I could cancel it when it went off. While I shaving, I
waited for my alarm to go off. It never did. It turned out that I had place
my alarm settings so that it did not ring on "weekends". It's a good thing
that I didn't roll over one more time to wait for the alarm to go off. I
might have been late. So between my alarm and Jonathan's we both had
We had a lot of team luggage and medicine to haul out to the clinic area.
After filling up the pick-up, we decided to put as many as possible on the
one van we have and use the seats in the back of the bus to put the 47
pieces of the team luggage we have.
I left early with the cooks around 6:00. It took us a solid 45 minutes to
get to the job site. When we arrived, the security was not sure what was
happening. Our clinic area, (which is a sports complex with 2 swimming pools
(uh, baptismal pools) 2 soccer fields, 1 basketball court, and lots of
It took a little while to get things open, but when we did, the "Sunday"
soccer people started showing up. I had to communicate with the Mayor who
had assured us that we would have the facility exclusively this week. That
After our morning devo, it was "to the work." We had to get the clinic up and
running, and that took several hours. We got 5 docs from the health
department along with some auxiliary personnel. We also managed to get 3 or
4 translators from the community. Two were the daughter and nephew of the
Lunch got to us ok and on time. By that time we had things fairly well in
order. We did have to swap our eyeglasses area with a doctor's room. Other
than that, things went fairly smoothly.
The Mayor has been everywhere. He came early enough to be of great help. We
had to have some registration forms, plus get the "community room" ready
for the evening services.
The rest of the day went uneventful. We didn't see the numbers I would like
to see, but it was a starting point.
We closed the clinic early so we could have some time to get the evening
I learned during services that we have three sick people. One is our head
cook, another is a translator. We need to get them all well.
Well, our late arriver made it in. Buck and I both went to get him this
evening. He was glad to be here.
Well that's about I can say and keep my eyes open. Therefore I'll just send
this blog and hope it helps to get to know our labor for the Lord.
Keep us in your prayers.
Mon, 10 Mar 2008 01:09:12 -0400
Well here it is, the end of the day with our mission ready to begin
tomorrow. We have everyone here except 1 person. The major snow storm caused
a lot of delays. It looked for a while like we would not get everyone here
due to that storm. Two of the three flights were over 1 hour late in
arriving. One of our campaigners is stuck in his hometown of Lexington, KY
after his flight was canceled.
Today began with us taking a little extra time resting. After sleeping in
for an extra 15 minutes, we began to get things finalized for the team
arrival at the airport.
I spent some of the morning working on my notes for the team meeting
About 10:30 am we left for the airport. The first order of business was to
gain entrance to the Customs area. It was a little tricky, but Jonathan and
I both got badges that gave us the access we desired.
The first aircraft had only one of our team members in it. The other person
was the one from Lexington.
We didn't get to the hotels until nearly 5:00 pm. That only gave us 1 1/2
hours before we had our meal and team meeting.
Both hotels are going the second mile to accommodate us. The Plaza Antigua
cooked a meal for us tonight -- while it was ok, it wasn't anything to write
home about (then why am I even mentioning it?!?!?)
We got everyone back to their hotel and a chance to get some shut eye.
Fri, 7 Mar 2008 00:21:41 -0500
My computer can be a GREAT help, but the last two days I know it can be a
real headache as well. I am still in the process of trying to find out why I
can't get on the Web. It is strange (and I finally figured it out late this
afternoon) that I can get my e-mail, chat on MSN Instant Messenger, but I
can't open a web page on the internet. It's been frustrating and has put me
behind in my blogs. That's why you are getting one for the past two days. (I
sure hope this works.)
Yesterday, we got 4 workers in for the advance party team. They were Ronnie
Travis, Wendy Graham, Buck Buchanan, and Steve Kirby. We also got some of
our medicines that we have purchased.
Part of yesterday we also scouted out some places where our team can have
its final team meeting. We visited a restaurant and had a good meal. I'm not
sure that this place will suffice for our needs. Anyhow we will keep
Today was a full day. Bill Staggs got to work with a couple of guys to start
labeling the medicine. We also got more of our medicine in as well.
I went with the cooking team to begin to purchase the supplies needed for
the campaign. We loaded up at Price Smart, a local "Sam's Club" here in
Central America. We hauled that to Tonacatepique (Tonaca for short) and
stored them in our rented house. I got my first look at the house we rented.
It is very ample for our needs.
While we were in Tonaca we paid a visit to the clinic site. They are working
on getting things ready for us to arrive this weekend. Fliers have been
passed out to every house. We found one under the door of our rented house.
We also paid a visit to the Mayor of Tonaca. He is a very up-beat guy. He
was glad to see us. He is getting the final things together for us and our
visit. He has been MOST helpful.
Afterwards, we went for lunch (3:00 pm!!) We have learned that Wal-Mart is
literally here in El Salvador. Wal-Mart owns Despensa de Don Juan, a chain
of grocery stores as well as Hiper Paiz. The employees wear name badges on
lanyards that have Wal-Mart on them. Also, I spotted various boxes that were
labeled "Wal-Mart - El Salvador".
We ended up our evening by scouting out another place for our team to meet.
Its not easy finding a restaurant with a room the size we need to seat 60+
people. When we do find one, we need to have a place most of the team will
like. I can assure you that we have had MUCH discussion on this issue. Well,
we at least have a good supper tonight.
That's about it for tonight. If you are getting this blog for the first
time, and want to see the other ones, please check at www.panamajack.org
Keep us in your prayers.
Tue, 4 Mar 2008 23:58:18 -0500
Here is the latest of what is taking place with us in El Salvador.
First, after taking our breakfast (eggs, fruit, bread, refried beans
and OJ/coffee) we prepared for the day. I took a quick trip to find
an extension cord for my "office" area in my room. While doing that,
Bill and Jonathan worked on the medicine lists in preparation of
providing it to the doctors when they come.
At about 11:00, we went to Hotel Plaza Antigua. We took a tour of the
hotel. This hotel is less than 1 year old, and you can tell it. (I
also learned that Hotel Olinda is only 2 years old having been
renovated from a former 2 story residence.) The owner has taken two
"homes" and added to it and made the rooms necessary to have a very
nice hotel. It is not very far from Hotel Olinda. We did get to see
what will be served for breakfast. They actually prepared 3 plates of
food and set them out for us to see. We took pictures of them. (They
are posted on my Panama Jack page -- the web link is listed below.)
We met Hector Lopez, who is the manager of Hotel Plaza Antigua. We
have made arrangements with him to have our Saturday night supper
there and our initial team meeting.
I have taken some pictures of the hotel, and I will try to put them
on the web page. Go to this web link: http://groups.msn.com/PanamaJacksplace/elsalvador2008.msnw
After Hotel Plaza Antigua, we went to lunch at Cebollines, the
Mexican restaurant were we had our team meetings last year. The food
was GREAT as it was last year, and the manager and his staff
remembered us and treated us kindly. Jonathan got a chance to sample
the BIG glass full of Pepsi cola. NO, he did get it all down!!
We made a stop at Price Smart (this is the warehouse store like a
Sam's Club or a Costco). We purchased some initial things like bottled
water for our rooms, some hand towels and wash clothes, and a couple
of other things. We will buy most of our food at this place.
In the afternoon, we got the price quotations from the 3
pharmaceutical companies. We selected our items to purchase, and gave
them back our order. Hopefully we should get most of if not all of
the medicines tomorrow.
This evening we attended mid-week services at Alta Vista. Jonathan
was asked to speak. The normal activity is a Bible class that Enrique
teaches over 2 Corinthians.
Well that is all for now. Tomorrow we have 3 other team members coming in
to help with the food purchase. These "advance party team members"
are GREATLY needed. Things are going very good at this time.
Please continue to keep us in your prayers.
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Mon, 10 Dec 2007 06:39:03 -0500
The trip to Ica was a "whirl-wind" trip. It is a four hour drive
at best, but it took a little longer for us to get there since we
traveled at night on Thursday night. Julio, my driver, is fond of
saying about himself that he is a "pajaro de su isla" -- which
means that he is a "songbird of his island". What he meant by that
was he knows his town and can navigate it with ease. Well, our trip
to Ica was proving that he had left his "island". That was
especially true driving at night. I was glad that he did not push
himself if he did not feel comfortable. One other thing I forgot to
mention about the Thursday trip was that while we were eating we felt
a very distinct tremor. It happened at 8:42, and I learned on Friday
morning from Paulino that the tremor was 5.1 in Lima, but only 4.0 in
Ica. It seems that he and perhaps all of Ica keep tract of such
things (I wonder why?).
We got started a little after 9:00 am this morning. Since we were
going to go through downtown, I had Julio go by Sol de Ica Hotel.
This is the hotel in downtown where we have always stayed. It still
hasn't reopened. I had met a worker at Las Dunas Hotel that was a
former employee of Sol de Ica, and she told me that they have not
received licenses to reopen. When I got there, the owner saw me
outside taking pictures, and motioned me to come in. I went in and
visited briefly. It seems that the only workers he has now are
construction workers. I asked him why he wasn't opened, and he told
me that it was because the government said that all buildings
downtown could not be over 5 stories high. His hotel has a 6th floor,
so he is tearing the 6th floor off so he can reopen. I asked him
when, and he said in a few days. I told him that's what he said last
September when I was here. He went into his song and dance that this
was for sure. He said, "Don't worry Gringo, it will be ready". I
asked him since he was having to do so much work would he raise his
prices or could I get the same rate as 2007. I never did get a
straight answer from him. I guess I got my answer!
At 10:00, we met Paulino and Ruben at the church building. Inside,
the cook squad was cooking for noon meal. They are still feeding
about 40 people (down from 150) and will probably cease this very
shortly. All around thing seemed to be getting back to normal (normal
wasn't all that good) but you could still see the scars from the
earthquake everywhere, it's just that a lot of the rubble has been
moved from the streets now.
I had them take me first to the lot where the new church building was
to be built. It is basically cleaned off and ready for construction.
He tells me that it will take about 2 months to build. That will be
pushing it for us to use in June since in Latin America you DOUBLE
all estimates and hope that make that schedule.
After we went to the lot, we checked out several members' houses.
While we were traveling I asked about ALL of the members that were
damaged as to the progress of rebuilding their house. I took out my
list and went through it with him. It seems that the members want to
wait until they see what the government is going to give them. If
their help is like the food kitchen and clothing help was the people
won't get much. It seems that the word is out that they are going to
get more than I believe will come about. Whatever, we stand ready to
supply the materials for a 10X10 room when they are ready to
I did go by Yolanda Rojas' house since her story touched me the
most. Her little provisional hut that was on the street had been
moved off the street and is not hard fast against her damaged house.
The only person home was a relative. He said Yolanda was at work that
starts at 5:00 am each morning.
I finished my visit with Paulino going over details of administrating
the relief project and things we need to keep everyone posted.
By the time we finished it was 12:30 pm. We are looking at a 4 hour
ride to Lima and I MUST be there by 5:00 pm since I and another
brother from the States, Terry Frizzell, are the two speakers at a
youth conference. Given the fact that my driver, Julio, is a "pajaro
de su isla", I not sure that I will get there in time. He assured me
that since it will be day light he can get there much quicker. So we
grabbed a couple bottles of water, some crackers and cookies (lunch)
and off we went.
Surprisingly enough the "parajo de su isla" got us there by 4:30.
Five o'clock came and went, and close to 5:45 pm the youth
conference began. I was a little concerned at first since my topic
was the "Christian Engagement". I was to tell the teens the
boundaries of being engaged to be married. The first group of kids
that got there were PRE-TEENS! Finally enough of TEENS came that I
only had to modify my message a little.
Terry went first. I told him that we were to go from 5:00 to 7:00. By
the time he got up to speak, it was 6:00, so he did 30 minutes, and I
started about 6:30. Now for those who know me I just want to tell you
that at 7:07 the teens were having their after conference snacks!!!
AND THAT WAS WITH USING A TRANSLATOR!
Terry, Rodolfo and I then went for supper and home. It's been a long
day, and I am glad to get into my bed, even if it is 11:00 pm.
I have some photos to go with this. Also, my son has put all my blogs
of this trip on my web page at www.panamajack.org You can send
others there to get all the latest of this trip.
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