The Georges in Peru

Don't call us, we'll call you!

13 Jul 2024

I've had a hernia since September of 2023.  We've gone to Arequipa twice before to get it operated on but the surgeon didn't have the needed equipment.  We changed surgeons and finally, after our third trip to Arequipa, I finally got it fixed.  Yay! Please pray for an uneventful recovery.

The day after surgery, I was doing my devotions and the passage for the day was 2 Chronicles 21.  Back then, even if you were king, having a hernia could mean dying a horrible death:

2 Chronicles 21:18-19 After all this, the Lord afflicted Jehoram with an incurable disease of the bowels.  In the course of time, at the end of the second year, his bowels came out because of the disease, and he died in great pain. 

I'm happy to be living now and not 2800 years ago in Israel! 

I was bemused by the location of the nurse call button!  It is impossible to access as a post-op hernia patient without getting out of bed.  I needed the nurse once and called her on my cell phone.  It's a new hospital.  Still working out the kinks.

Special Connections

25 May 2024

The obvious highlight of our trip to North America was spending time with the family celebrating Sarah’s graduation, it was a huge blessing to all be in one place for the 2nd time this year!  We even got to see Zach’s parents who came out from Niger for the occasion.  

 

Another highlight for me was spending some time in Manitoba.  We haven’t been back in 2 years and I was missing it tremendously so it was good to get that bug out of my system.  

 

One thing I was really looking forward to about the trip to Canada was seeing my new nephew Jed, so I was sad to find out a few weeks before we left that my brother and his wife were going to be on a missions trip with their church to Brazil that week.  

 

I’ve been learning from 2nd Corinthians lately about God’s comfort and was super blessed to experience it in real life when our paths ‘just so happened’ to meet on our ways back home.  Our planes landed in Miami within minutes of each other and Allen and I were able to deke out of International Departures for a few minutes to say 'Hi' before flying on to Lima.  Words cannot express the joy, not only from seeing Jed, but from the confirmation of God’s care and thoughtfulness for our hearts' desires.

 

 

 

Dr. Davis!

06 May 2024

Friday, we attended Sarah's graduation from medical school in Chicago!  She will be doing a residency in Emergency Medicine in Chicago starting next month.  Zach is postponing graduation, doing research in pyschiatry, with the plan to start residency in psychiatry next year.  

She got to help take care of her first emergency patient on Sunday morning!  Sarah, Ben, Mia and I (Allen) went out for a chilly, breezy (it is the Windy City after all!) run on the waterfront before church.  On the way home, we saw a man slump forward in his wheelchair on the sidewalk.  We stopped and approached him, "Sir!  Are you okay?"  He didn't respond more than an agonized breath.  We flagged down a police car which stopped.  "Do you have Narcan®?" Sarah asked.  "No, we're coming back from a parade."  "I need to start carrying Narcan," Sarah remarked.  A policeman looked in the man's pocket and pulled out a little ziplock bag with a cut off straw in it.  "What's that?" I asked naively.  "They snort heroin out of these little baggies."  The man's breathing was really slow, depressed by the heroin, just taking 2 or 3 per minute.  Fortunately,  after about 5 minutes, a policeman with Narcan arrived and gave the man a squirt in the nostril.  "This will amaze you," I told Ben who was watching the whole event.  Narcan (Naloxone) is a drug that blocks the receptors that opiods like heroin activate.  If you block the receptor, the drugs lose their effect.  In 30 seconds the man suddenly came to life, moving around and agitated, and most importantly, breathing! 

Later, on our way to Ben's house near Taylorville, IL, we stopped to buy some gas and the gas station had a box of Narcan nasal spray, freely provided by the Illinois government for anyone who wanted it.  We each took one.  

A successful EBdV!!

18 Feb 2024

What is EBdV you may ask?  It is 'Escuela Bíblica de Vacaciones' or 'Vacation Bible School' in English!  Last Tuesday through Friday, from 3 to 6 pm each afternoon, we put on a program based on the Old West with a sheriff, outlaws, horse-shoes and branding.  My prayer before the event was that we wouldn't have too many or too few kids participate and God answered those prayers, as we had 10-20 kids each day!  It was exhausting doing all the decorating, learning lines for sketches and organizing games, crafts, choreography and Bible studies.  By the end, even the most sullen, uninterested kids were jumping up and down excitedly!  It's a good thing Mary Beth and I have a good marriage, as preparing such a thing in one's church (which is also our house) was a stressful event!

Why do we have to learn these scientific names?

09 Oct 2023

When I was in 9th grade, we learned about birds in Mr. Brogie's science class.  We also had to learn the scientific names of the common birds in Nebraska.  "Why do we have to learn scientific names?" I asked.  John Chace, a year older and wiser than me, responded, "Well, if you are speaking to someone from a foreign country and you say, 'Barn owl,' he won't understand you, but if you use the scientific name, 'Tyto alba,' he will.  I definitely felt that that was a contrived response and John was probably repeating what he had been told when he asked a similar question back when he was an impressionable 9th grader.  Really? Is reaching an impasse with someone over a bird's name ever going to happen?  Hardly.

Fast forward 42 years, I am at the local bird sanctuary in Peru and we meet up with Michael, the ranger at a bird lookout.  "See anything interesting?"  "Los willets han vuelto (the Willets are back)," I tell Michael.  Blank stare from Michael. I wished I had known its scientific name!  I described it a bit and he taught me its Spanish name 'Playero de ala blanca' and said 'Tringa semipalmata'.  He clearly knew the value of scientific names!  Then he asked if we had seen any Tyto albas.  That was a scientific name I remembered!  A barn owl!  "Yes, we have!" I said, proudly showing him a picture Mary Beth took of one a month ago.  He was duly impressed and even gave us his phone number asking us to let him know if we saw another one!

This is My Nose!

13 Jul 2023

"This is my head!" continued Anthony pointing to his 'cabeza' as he taught parts of the body to his small group.  Anthony Reimer is a pastor from Mary Beth's church in Blumenort, Manitoba.  He and his wonderful wife, Susan, came to visit us last week.  They played an integral part in the English Camp we hosted, teaching students numbers, parts of the body, how to buy things at Walmart, and how to eat a meal together in North America, among other things.  We had 13 students, and one of them has come to three church events since the workshop and two others are baking cookies with Mary Beth as I write this.  

The Reimers were a great encouragement, great helpers and a joy to host!

I think she'll come to church!

25 Jun 2023

"How is she going to get here?  It's 4 km from her house." Mary Beth reasoned. 

"I think she'll come.  She has her ways to getting around." 

"She doesn't even have a watch!" 

"Maybe she can look at a cell phone or watch the sun.  She's smart.  She's found ways to make things work.  She'll figure something out!" I said confidently as we drove home from her place Thursday morning.  We had gone with Pastor Elvis and his wife Rosita to Ana's house (not her real name) to help her with her well.  It had somehow filled with sand and she had to carry water from a nearby creek (see last post), though it didn't look like her well had gotten flooded as we had understood before.

"What do you know about wells?"  I asked Elvis, hoping he had more experience than I had.  

When we arrived with shovels and buckets, we realized the shovels were useless.  But if one of us crawled down into the well, maybe he could pass buckets of sand up to the other.  Ascertaining that the well walls weren't a cave-in risk and after Elvis' own admittance that he wasn't skinny enough, I volunteered to go down.  I crawled into the bottom of the well (it was about 2-3 meters from the surface to the water level) which was so narrow I could barely bend my knees enough to scoop out a bucket of wet sand and pass it up to Elvis.  After a few minutes of such manouvers, I was standing in water.  I continued digging until I couldn't reach any further down and we drew filthy water from the bottom until it was less filthy and we couldn't get much more out.  Rosita went with Ana to get some forage for her sheep while we dug out her well.  After they returned and the job was done, Ana exclaimed, "Thank you so much!  God really does exist!"  

"He sure does!  Come visit our church Sunday!"

"I'll be there.  What day is today?"

Ana was at the church door at 10 am sharp!  She reports the water comes out clean and tasty now.

Well, Deep Subject

19 Jun 2023

A week ago, Allen and I were passing through the La Punta plaza on our way home after a nice run and we noticed an elderly Quechua lady smashing bottles and putting them into a bag.  Though she was obviously suffering from poverty, my attention was drawn to her two extremely happy dogs.  Many poor people in Peru use recycling to cover basic living needs.  I immediately thought of our small collection of plastic bottles at home and managed to convince her we were safe enough to accompany home (we only lived a block away) to pick them up.  One of our neighbours encouraged us in this, saying the lady could really use the help and that she lived on the beach.  The lady herself was smiley and cheerful despite her many rotted out and missing teeth and difficult life, especially when Allen addressed her in Quechua!  She explained that life had been difficult for her since husband passed away and told us she’d maybe come to church on Sunday.

 

Mondays are our day off and often-times we like to go on a little picnic to the beach to relax.  Today we ran into her again, bringing a whole flock of sheep home and she showed us where she lived!  Later Allen noticed her carrying two 5 gallon pails to a nearby canal to collect water and he went to help her out.  She was super thankful.  Apparently while we were in the States a number of massive waves hit the coast by La Punta and flooded out her house.  Now her well no longer works.  We are hoping maybe Allen and Elvis can help her get it flowing again sometime this week and maybe Rosita can have a good chat with her in their shared native tongue.

 

I'm not Dead yet!

08 Jun 2023

Every year I try to file my taxes electronically and every year I get the message, "We cannot accept your return because the primary tax filer is deceased in our records."  In May, while we were in the States recovering from our surgeries at the Mayo Clinic I called the IRS to get Mary Beth's name changed in their system.  I added, "I know you probably can't do anything about it, but I've been deceased in your system since my first wife died 7 years ago and would like to get that fixed!"  The person on the other end of the line decided I had thrown down the gauntlet and took it on as a challenge.  Egging him on, I added, "I've heard it takes an act of congress to solve such issues, and I even called my congressman in Nebraska, but they evidently felt they had better things to spend their time on."  This guys likes a challenge.  "This is going to take a while, but I'm going to get it fixed," he said confidently. 

A few days ago, my sister Carolyn got a letter from the IRS in the mail:

I wasn't convinced until I resubmitted my taxes for 2020 (the IRS happily took my money years ago, but didn't bother to file my forms) and the IRS said it was accepted!  After years of waiting on hold on the phone with the IRS and the Social Security Administration I'm no longer dead!  Hopefully, it is God's will that I keep it that way for a while!

Mary Beth has been Disbarred in Arizona!

13 May 2023

After a 4-hour delay to Mary Beth's surgery start time, they were able to get her bars out without problems (only a 45-minute surgery) and she is back 'home' in San Tan Valley.  STV is a suburb of Phoenix and one of Mia's college roommate's great aunt and uncle are Brad and Denise Morris who are loaning us their Arizona home while Mary Beth recovers.  Thanks Brad and Denise!

Mary Beth is not in much pain, and getting by with a naproxen tablet every 8 hours or so.   She is supposed to go for four walks per day, so we're glad there is a walking trail behind the house.  

I am personally thrilled they let us take home her old bars and everyone who sees them finds them fascinating!  One of the bars was broken when they tried to straighten it a bit to remove it.  

Thanks for praying for us!

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