Philippines 2016 Update

Greetings from the VIM team in Tay Tay, Philippines!

Today we set up clinic in the church in Upper Javier, a barrio “not far” from our base at Maryhill retreat. After driving as far as we could through dense city traffic, we loaded supplies and team onto tuk-tuks, and rode another couple of miles over “streets” little wider than our sidewalks. When the street ran out, we then hiked another half-mile into the barrio to the church. There were many helpful volunteers of the church who helped with registration, directing traffic and crowd control. The dental team, all Filipinos, was joined by several students from the dental school in Manila. Two of them, Lind and Yves, split duty as my translators today; they were very good at it, and I will miss them tomorrow.

We saw a lot of children again today, but also many more older adults. There were several ladies with hypertension, something I did not see at all yesterday. There were also several patients with nodular goiters, requiring referral for ultrasound and biopsy. Our total patient count for the day was 215, plus about 50 dental patients.

Tomorrow we will visit a fishing village on an island in Marina del Bay, a lake “not too far” from Tay Tay. A boat ride will be part of our transportation. Please continue to pray for our team as we travel, make new friendships, and spread the gospel of our Lord in the Philippines.

Update: You can find more information and news about our VIM team in the Philippines at the official blog here.


More violence in Reynosa

Fourteen people were killed in Reynosa, Mexico yesterday, bringing the total for the state of Tamaulipas to 64 for the month. Battles between suspected drug cartel gunmen and federal forces left 2 federal officers and 2 bystanders dead, along with 10 gunmen.

Reynosa is a border city across the Rio Grande from McAllen, TX.

Reynosa is a special place to me–I got my start in medical missions there, making 6 trips with LA VIM teams from the Natchitoches United Methodist Church beginning in 2002. There is a lot of poverty there, but the people were very open and friendly. It is painful to see photos of violence in streets that I recognize.

There are no easy answers to problems in northern Mexico. There will be drug trafficking across the border as long as there is a market for the product in the United States, and cities like Reynosa pay the price.