By Dr, Dwain Illman
There are days when we experience some victories and we say, “it is worth it all!” My wife Marilyn told this story:
I teach the techniques of rehydration, explaining the use of salt, sugar and clean water to make the oral rehydration solution (ORS). My translator is Losanna, who also translated for me last year. Losanna remembered how to prepare an ORS. After the 2014 clinics, Losanna went back to her home in Taunggyi. Some time later, her Buddhist neighbor called to Losanna saying, “I’m dying.” She had been suffering with severe vomiting and diarrhea. Losanna prepared the oral rehydration solution and gave it to her neighbor. The next day the neighbor said: “You saved my life.”
My translator, Matthew Bee leads a church in Hlaing Thaya, an industrial part of Yangon. Many people work in the garment industry, but for very low wages. Matthew told me, “These clinics that you do are very helpful for us. The people are suffering and have been for a long time. They have no doctor. This means so much to this place.”
Today we traveled to a new area in Myanmar’s delta, a village called Tun Tay. Although only 13 kilometers from Hlaing Thaya, the drive seemed long. The delta is a huge area of marshes, streams, rivers and rice farms. This area was severely flooded in the 2008 catastrophe of Cyclone Nargis, which also took the lives of more than 100,000 people. But now the area has mostly rebuilt, and it was beautiful to see the brilliant green of the rice fields.
Small Town Adventure
In Tun Tay we passed a large Buddhist temple with a huge central spire plated with gold. The journey to our destination was an adventure in this small town. We turned off the main road, but it is worth mentioning that the main road was extremely rough with a grand prix of turns to avoid the biggest holes.
The side road was about 12 feet wide and our bus 11 feet. Self-serve electrical wires (people just plug into the grid and run a wire) were dangling down across the road and along the side. Our “conductor” was out with his long bamboo pole to lift and push the wires away. Each one carries 220 volts.
Just as we turned down the narrow dirt road to the church we could see a huge Buddha about 50 feet ahead in a temple complex. It stands about 120 feet tall. Some of us walked there late afternoon and also observed a 75 foot reclining Buddha along with many other smaller ones.
We were greeted warmly at the church and by the pastor. Our clinic was in the church building which has lots of fans and big windows. It is a building about 120 feet by 70 feet. This works perfectly for our needs. I got it all organized and we were ready to begin our ministry of patient care.
During our time there we treated 125 patients which is our greatest number this year.
Marilyn dispensed 50 pairs of glasses. Several came to Jesus. This was one of my favorite clinics in a long time. I heard several talk about how enjoyable this day has been. It was busy but not pressured. We had sick patients but none that were critical. We are seeing a lot more hypertension.
The pastors conference at Hope seems to be going well. Dr. Jeff said that the president of Emmaus Bible Institute, Dr. Joshua Leme, wants him to come back and teach for a term. He also would like a team to teach his students Community Health Evangelism. Tom and Jeff really are enjoying the experience and the teaching.
Myanmar Community Development Center!
We are off tomorrow to initiate a first time clinic in the new Myanmar Community Development Center. Its first (and so far only) building is the Health Care Clinic. This time last year the campus was a rice field Through the efforts of the local leaders and Asian Children’s Mission director Joana Jones it is now being developed! Christ’s Church at Mason, OH helped pay for the land. The Bethel Baptist Church of Galesburg, IL provided significant funding for the infrastructure. Both Bethel and FAME provided funding to build the clinic. Amy Mefford, a FAME board member and Bethel missions committee member called me over a year ago and was looking for a large project in missions for her church to support. I suggested the Development Center and put her in contact with Joana. Now it is a growing reality!
Praises for the victories. Prayers for the sick and those with chronic disabilities we continue to see.