The Georges in Peru

Back in the USA

04 Sep 2021

“My dad’s name is Jim Penner”, I told my fellow travellers on the 11-seater prop plane while flying to the US this week. “Oh!”, said the lady in front of me. “I grew up on the farm next door, and spent many wonderful hours with your aunts playing in your house!” That was a fun connection! Allen found me on the other side of the border without any trouble and we were on our way.

We visited Paul at his new digs at the university at Lincoln and stayed the night at Allen’s sister’s farm nearby. The next day they rallied our help to bring in the bulls which was a fun and new experience. In North Carolina, we met up with Eric and Tina VanPelt who worked with us in Peru for many years. This morning, we ran Mary Beth’s first ’T-Shirt’ race and tried a delicious apple-cider slushy at the Hendersonville Apple Festival.

We posed with one of the many ceramic bears decorating Hendersonville, NC. They are painted by local artists and sold for charity each year.

Opening the Red Sea again

23 Aug 2021

Two weeks ago, we weren't sure we would be able to get into Canada. Now we aren't sure we can get back into the US! Saturday, the US extended the ban on Canadians entering by land until September 21st. Of course, they can still enter the country by air, through an expensive, time-consuming and circuitous route through Toronto and Detroit. It appears some think, that to control COVID, crowding into three different jets with 150 strangers from around the world for several hours is better than driving across the border in a private vehicle with your spouse, but I digress. If only there were a way to fly Mary Beth across the border in a private plane and pick her up on the other side! Today we found someone who has been doing exactly that during COVID, so we will be able to return to help Christ Community Church celebrate their one-hundredth year anniversary. Keep posted for more details!

Here's how you can tell you are in Canada: The pastor uses hockey gear to teach a children's sermon on the Armor of God found in Ephesians 6. Great job, Pastor Barry!

Canada let us in!

10 Aug 2021

Monday marked the first day in over a year that US citizens could cross the Washington-British Columbia border for non-essential-worker reasons.  We had a 90-minute wait at the border crossing where they asked us several questions: "Where do you live?" "Peru."  "Whose car is this?" "Mine." "Where did you buy it?"  "New York."  "Why does it have Nebraska license plates?" "I'm from Nebraska." "Do you own any guns?" (I'm not kidding)  As a good Canadian, the agent was very nice and even mentioned that she had been to Peru right before the pandemic.  Thankfully, we didn't get randomly selected to get an additional COVID test after crossing the border.  

We the drove about 20 minutes to the Tsawwassen Ferry Terminal and ferried to Vancouver Island (after a 4-hour wait) and saw ex-Peru missionaries, Jim and Vegas Dargatz before going to Mary Beth's Aunt Lorna's home in Nanaimo. 

Praise God that we got through and didn't have to rework our schedule again!

 

Unsigned Title

09 Jul 2021

We bought a new (to us) car!  Actually, we've had it for a while.  We bought it the day after Mary Beth's brother's wedding (married June 18th).   Yesterday, we finally arrived at my sister's house near Crete, NE, which will be our US address during our time in the States.  So, this morning we took our papers to the county sheriff's office and county clerk to get our car registered.  "They didn't sign the title," they pointed out.  The papers had actually gone ahead of us and were waiting for us here so we hadn't had a chance to look at them for ourselves.  "You'll have to send the title back to the car dealership in New York and have them sign it." We were planning on traveling west tomorrow, and the thought of FedEx-ing papers back and forth and then getting the plates sent somewhere seemed nightmarish.  "I'll talk to the county lawyer," said the clerk.  Mary Beth started praying out loud, "Lord!  Please let this paperwork go through!"  "Let me call the dealership and see what's up." I pleaded.  The car dealership said that the certificate from the NY Dept. of Motor Vehicles in the envelope was sufficient.  The Saline County clerk wasn't convinced.   Then the clerk called Lincoln and the person on the other end of the line said that they had just had this happen for another car from the exact same dealer in NY and said everything was fine and they could issue a new title.  Phew!  Answered prayer!

Moving, Weddings and More

23 Jun 2021

We have been living in a rental house in Arequipa, Peru for the past 11 years.  Now that the kids are in the US for college and careers, we plan on moving to a coastal town 3 hours away to do church-planting ministry.  We are partnering with a local Baptist church in Arequipa that is providing the pastor for the new plant as well as assistance and support in any way that they can.  

 

On June 14th, we vacated our home and moved to the SIM guesthouse for a few days before heading for the States for Mary Beth’s brother’s wedding and home assignment.  Our goal for the next 8 months is to visit all of our supporters to catch up, introduce our spouses to those they’ve not met and to inform supporters about our plans.  

 

We are hoping to travel o Canada in July, but the border quarantine rules are in flux, so we haven’t made any definite plans yet.

 

Paul arrived in Peru at the beginning of June to say good-bye to friends, finish up some paperwork with the government and help with the move.  The church threw him a surprise birthday party in the park outside our house on his first night back.

We had a garage sale for all the things we didn’t wish to haul to the coast.  It felt like the big bang of garage sales as 3/4 of our things were dispersed around the city within 2 hours of opening time.

We had lots of help to get our remaining possessions moved to a storage room at a mission-owned house. 

We arrived in New Jersey just in time for Mary Beth’s brother’s wedding.

21 kilometers

06 Jun 2021

Today is election day. Yesterday, the streets were packed with panicked shoppers buying up all the rice, eggs and sugar in the city in preparation for possible rioting after the results come out (we hope they may have over-reacted). People are fiercely divided about having Fujimori’s (a former Peruvian president) daughter in office and about having a president with supposed communist ideology. Today however, the city is silent except for voters heading to the polls to fill out their obligatory votes. There is not even any church, since public gatherings are illegal on election day, and church members need to go fulfill their civic duty.

While Peru is focused on elections, we are thinking about packing! Next Friday we plan to have a large garage sale where we’ll (hopefully) sell half our worldly possessions. The rest of our stuff is going into boxes and into storage. The plan is to fly to New Jersey in two weeks for my brother Paul's wedding and then for an 8-month home-assignment. When we return to Peru we'll move 3 hours away to a Peruvian coastal town to do a church plant.

What to do on such a day as today? Running seemed like a good idea! Since November, I (Mary Beth) have been working towards my goal of running a half-marathon distance. It’ll be too hot in New Jersey when we get there and with the traffic down to just voters, today seemed like just the the right day to go for the big run. Allen and I left the house at 6:15 am to run and run and run and run for 2 hours and 43 minutes and 26 seconds. We ran 358 meters up the mountain (there’s nowhere flat to go) to the biggest bridge in Peru and then ran back down. Allen went with me and encouraged me and gave me water, expired packets of runners' GU (very strange stuff, though it does give one energy. I think they should call it 'ice cream topping' which sounds more appealing than ‘goo’) and told me stories to distract me from niggly aches. I did it!  Before surgery, I would have said it was impossible for me to run a half marathon. It feels good to be alive!

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, nonumes voluptatum mel ea, cu case ceteros cum. Novum commodo malorum vix ut. Dolores consequuntur in ius, sale electram dissentiunt quo te. Cu duo omnes invidunt, eos eu mucius fabellas. Stet facilis ius te, quando voluptatibus eos in. Ad vix mundi alterum, integre urbanitas intellegam vix in.

Eum facete intellegat ei, ut mazim melius usu. Has elit simul primis ne, regione minimum id cum. Sea deleniti dissentiet ea. Illud mollis moderatius ut per, at qui ubique populo. Eum ad cibo legimus, vim ei quidam fastidii.

Quo debet vivendo ex. Qui ut admodum senserit partiendo. Id adipiscing disputando eam, sea id magna pertinax concludaturque. Ex ignota epicurei quo, his ex doctus delenit fabellas, erat timeam cotidieque sit in. Vel eu soleat voluptatibus, cum cu exerci mediocritatem. Malis legere at per, has brute putant animal et, in consul utamur usu.

Te has amet modo perfecto, te eum mucius conclusionemque, mel te erat deterruisset. Duo ceteros phaedrum id, ornatus postulant in sea. His at autem inani volutpat. Tollit possit in pri, platonem persecuti ad vix, vel nisl albucius gloriatur no.

Ea duo atqui incorrupte, sed rebum regione suscipit ex, mea ex dicant percipit referrentur. Dicat luptatum constituam vix ut. His vide platonem omittantur id, vel quis vocent an. Ad pro inani zril omnesque. Mollis forensibus sea an, vim habeo adipisci contentiones ad, tale autem graecis ne sit.

Keep your Safety Glasses on!

19 Apr 2021

No, not for COVID!  Keep you safety glasses on if you are using a grinder or other tools that might send particles flying towards your eyes!

Stan, a fellow missionary, was using a grinder and removed his glasses when he stopped to talk to someone.  When he went back to work, he forgot to put his glasses back on and almost immediately got a bit of rock in his eye.  He came to see me the next day, but I couldn't get the speck to budge (maybe I need to get the plank out of my own eye? Sorry. Missionary humor.)  Today we went to Medical Ministries International's clinic to borrow their slit lamp and when I looked at him through the scope the speck was gone!  He said that in the morning he had had some discomfort and then it suddenly felt better.  It must have finally worked its way free at that time.  Praise God!  Much better than for me to try and flick it out with a needle!

 

A little bit of normal

19 Mar 2021

I haven't posted much lately because we've been paralized a bit by the pandemic and the third wave of new cases that popped up after Christmas.  But today, Arequipa's 7-day average for new COVID cases dropped below the 300 new-cases-per-day line, which is the criterion we've been waiting for to see patients and go out to eat at a restaurant!  A new seafood restaurant opened last month about 2.7 km from here (Mary Beth measured the distance on her Garmin since we walked there) so we decided to try it out.  It was great to go out to eat for the first time in months!

In the afternoon, we saw a patient that has been begging to get an ultrasound because she is pregnant and felt that she is bigger than she should be and her husband thought that she must have twins.  Nope.  Just one appropriately-sized fetus, who appears to be waving at us.  It gave me a chance to try out my new ultrasound machine on a pregnant patient.

Pray that we stay safe from COVID and can minister better to those around us in person.

“If the fire is hot enough, anything will burn.”

27 Jan 2021

No, that isn't some theological quote!  That is a quote from a marathoner, who bragged he could eat anything he wanted because he ran so much it would keep any atherosclerotic lesions from building up on his coronaries.  It always seemed a bit misguided, since Jim Fixx, a runner credited with making distance running mainstream after writing his book, The Complete Book of Running died of a heart attack at age 52 (Yikes!  That's a year younger than I!).  But nonetheless, we runners tend to think we are bullet-proof as we go back for another bowl of ice cream after a platter of fries.  

My family is lucky to have low cholesterol.  Since my parents were the only surviving children from their respective families, our family history doesn't have enough numbers to give good statistics, though none of us six kids have had any coronary problems.   So I didn't worry about heart issues.  If anything, I bragged that I was extremely low risk.  So when I started getting sudden attacks of chest tightness while running just over a year ago, I was surprised and concerned.  Pulmonary and cardiac workups didn't reveal anything.  My cardiologist here inflated my ego by telling me he doesn't get many people my age that can do his complete treadmill protocol.  My symptoms became concerning enough (hard runs interrupted by light-headedness and having to stop) that Dr. Porter (thanks again!) recommended that I try to see if I could get a CT coronary angiogram here in Peru.  As it happens, two years ago, a local radiology clinic started offering that study.  So last week, I had it performed.  

You maybe can see here that my coronaries look good, with good flow.  

The arrow points to the problem.  Coronary arteries are supposed to run on the surface of the heart, but one of my coronaries burrows under the heart muscle for about 9 mm.  When my heart squeezes, it blocks the artery.  When it relaxes, the blood flows again.  Actually, when anyone's heart squeezes, it temporarily stops the blood flow into it, but when the heart relaxes the flow resumes.  If the coronary goes under the muscle and the heart is beating really fast, then it can't relax quickly enough to resume blood flow and then it starts telling its owner to 'slow down!'

So now what?  I'm not at any immediate risk as long as I don't race, so I won't do anything drastic at this time.  When we go to North American in July, we will probably have Dr. Porter do a few more tests.  Meanwhile, I'm going to cut back on the ice cream and butter.

First Return to Clinic

14 Jan 2021

Yesterday was our first day of seeing patients at the Dorcas Project since the government-mandated shut down last March!  We saw about 15 mothers and their babies.  The majority still come in having been told that their babies have hip dysplasia, something that normally has an incidence of 1/200 newborns, but here they tell almost everyone that their babies have it to sell them harnesses and other 'services'.  Not surprisingly, none of the babies I saw had hip dysplasia.  

Things were different from our normal clinics:  I had a gown that I could throw away at the end of the clinic.  Gloves make the constant hand washing (which we physicians should do even when there aren't pandemics!) more tolerable on the hands.  Mary Beth took all the notes on the patients from across the room to avoid contact.

Pages

Subscribe to RSS - The Georges in Peru's blog