The small Central American country of El Salvador remains a land of stark contrast. This is a land of gently rolling valleys and dark ominous volcanoes. It is a land whose economy has been devastated due to a twelve-year civil war which ended in 1992. Both of these factors contributed to the economic aftermath of the magnitude 7.6 earthquake which devastated the region in 2001.
In the weeks following the 2001 earthquake, the Mt. Juliet Church of Christ sent a disaster relief team to the small town of San Agustin, El Salvador, which was one of the hardest hit areas from the quake. On March 19-26, 2005, the church sent a medical mission group back to this same town, and found the earthquake still affects the region today.
The biggest obstacle that the team faced this year was the water situation. Eventually a water tanker truck was brought in to provide an adequate supply of water for the group.
The medical mission group setup a free clinic at a local school. The locals, many of whom rarely see doctors, were very appreciative of the free clinic. Working with local doctors, a total of 1,858 patients were seen and 6,229 prescriptions were filled. One of the team’s pharmacists, Dan Johnson, reported that the typical aliments included ear infections and worms. Worms in the patient’s digestive tract are a frequent problem due to the poor sanitary living conditions.
Johnson remembers a particular patient who had a blood pressure of 220 mmHg. Johnson also reported that the toughest part of the trip from the pharmacy’s perspective was when medication ran low. David Shannon, minister for the Mt. Juliet church, remarked that “the most popular doctor was one our team hasn’t offered in past years. The optometrist saw 948 patients while prescribing 718 pairs of glasses! The people loved being able to see!”
Mt. Juliet Church of Christ has been sending a team to Latin America annually for several years. The church is sending another mission team back to El Salvador in July for an evangelistic campaign. If you would like to know more about the mission effort, please contact the church at 758-2274 or visit the church’s website at www.mtjuliet.org
Reprinted from the Mt. Juliet Chronicle, April 27, 2005, page 5.