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The Gift of Hospitality

Thursday, March 23, 2023

Today we visited a great community, El Lanillal, San Antonio, Cortes for the very first time. We learned that the village has about 25 families and is part of a larger community. There is no electricity and no phone service. The nearest health center is one hour away. We knew that we had to travel over an hour and a half to a remote area, and that we were to set up in a very small schoolhouse. However, we arrived at a home just before the village, at the bottom of a steep sloping road, and the family offered to let us use their house instead. The house was more spacious, with two porches, a large, beautiful yard, and a flushing toilet, the first we have had since we began this week.

Team member David has worked in the pharmacy all week, which leaves little opportunity to interact with the people we serve, but on this day, his pharmacy was sent up right outside the house kitchen. All day David watched and thought about this family. They were giving their house for us to use. People were coming in and out all day long. Our team and our patients completely overtook their house, and the lady of the house had been bringing people water and making coffee. The two of them were the very last two people to be seen. They gave us their house for the day. They were the last to be seen. Served us who came to serve them. David offered two wooden crosses to the man and wife of the house. David still had his necklace that he was wearing, so he gave it to the daughter. Liz gave her cross bracelet to their fifteen year old son.

Linda had a special experience at the end of the day. Her very last patient of the day had significant breathing issues. Our team travels with a generator, and Fernando had brought along two battery packs, so the patient was able to have two nebulizer treatments on site. She has had a nebulizer treatment before but doesn’t own a nebulizer. The nearest health center is an hour away, and they have to walk when they go. The staff decided to leave the nebulizer with her family. She was the daughter of the same family who lent us their house for the day. The family assured us that they can go on a motorcycle to a place that has electricity, and agreed to call to check in with Friends if Barnabas on the girl’s progress. The mother was crying, “Thank you Lidia. Thank you.” We went to El Lanillal expecting to serve 25 families, but by the end of the day had served 50 families!

The team returned to Alfredo house that night after a nearly 12 hour day to a delicious dinner of tacos. Larry led the group in devotions. He told us that this week is difficult, and that it is physically exhausting, but that in many ways this trip is like a spiritual retreat. We are doing His work alongside other believers, having daily devotions and prayer time. When we get home from a week like this, we can crash. He read from Isaiah 40. He pointed out the words “wait for the lord,” instructing us to always be conscious of His presence. God’s presence was all around today, in the gift of hospitality extended to our team, the incredible views during lunch reminding us of God’s beautiful creation, and in the health and wellness work being done here which is literally saving lives. Praise be to God.

~Erin Thackston

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