What a week! We have been to Takeo province 3 times this week! We have three health centers that need help with several things. One in particular, needs access to water, another floods during the rainy season, another the septic system is overflowing, and there is liquid surrounding the latrine. All three are at the end of dusty, bumpy roads that wind through the beautiful countryside.
Upon arriving back from that trip on Thursday, we prepared to go again Saturday for a handoff of emergency food at an early morning ceremony. The counselor to the President of the National Assembly arrived and officiated. We rub shoulders with many ranking government officials. We hope the good name of the church is becoming a recognized and trusted image in the minds of those in control of the government.
Saturday afternoon, we traveled again to Takeo to meet with officials of a hospital. Joining us was President Veachit, 1rst counselor in the mission presidency. He was able to arrange a meeting with the Minister of Posts and Communication, as we met with the hospital staff. This minister has responsibilities to the group of hospitals there and as we met, he committed to personally purchase a needed electrical generator for the hospital. That represents about an $18,000 commitment. His commitment and support, will go a long way to help us foster change in the methods of health care in this small corner of Cambodia. Up since 4:30 am, back to the apartment at 8:30 pm. Some weeks, we fit our laundry in at the end of the day. It is exciting to have so much to do….it can also be exhausting!
When we visit the hospitals, the Doctors, usually review procedures, and equipment needs inside. Sister Stone and I review, the latrines, and restroom facilities, the incinerators, and hand wash facilities. Sometimes we are shocked, sometimes we are very pleasantly surprised at what we find. Always there are opportunities to help. We usually only offer help when it is invited by the leadership. Sometimes, they decline our offers to help. We respect that and move to areas of the country where it is desired.
Our trip yesterday truly humbled us as we checked on a restroom that serves the maternity ward. A room of about 6 beds, there were 3 women in labor, and one who had just delivered a beautiful baby girl. Just off the room was an attached restroom. Our hearts cried out to see what they were using. We have another very needy place to return to and serve.
As we drive the long miles, we are listening to Christmas music. The carols lift our hearts, we cherish the thoughts of a little baby born so long ago. His gift to us. His gift to the world. We feel so fortunate to represent Him. Our small sacrifice is nothing, Our discouragement so minor compared to his sacrifice for us. We love our mission, we have days that are so rewarding! We love the people here.
This week, a YouTube video was approved by the missionary department to be used to introduce the health care initiative that the 3 doctors here are involved in. Soon, they will conclude their missions. The area presidency is anxious to let folks know that retired doctors and healthcare workers can apply and serve here. We are anxious to keep the initiatives going. We have included the link to view the video. Please forward the link to those you may know that might be interested in joining us here. This is a pilot program, initiated by Elder Meurs of the Area Presidency. The culture here is amazing. We love it here!
Merry Christmas to all, as you prepare and celebrate His birth. Love your family! We love you all!!
More to come….
Elder and Sister Stone