International Ministries

A baby is being born...

October 14, 2009 Journal
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…in the mountains of the rural community of El Roblar, a two-hour walk from the health clinic.

       “Ayudame. Help me,” Don Santos calls out to Arrelis, the health promoter of El Roblar, his voice nearly drowned by the clamor of rain against her tin roof.

       It is 3 a.m., but Arrelis is prepared. As part of her ministry, she instructs women to get prenatal care, and she also makes home visits to give pregnancy advice and guidance. When she hears Don Santos, she rapidly grabs her emergency birth kit, and begins to follow him up and down hills in the rainy darkness. They arrive half an hour later, where Maria Santos has been in labor and suffering for over a day in their one-room shack.

    The AMOS Health and Hope ministry, is in the rural areas of Central Nicaragua. These mountains and plains are full of light and love, but also full of people suffering from severe poverty and completely preventable and treatable illnesses. In the midst of this difficult situation in Nicaragua are women like Arrelis, who said “no” to the suffering of their people, and volunteered to be health promoters for their communities. The health promoters are selected by their own communities; we train the promoters to provide basic curative health care services, prevent common illnesses, promote healthy lifestyles – and most importantly – to serve their communities with love.

      Arrelis recently received training in the management of pregnancy and childbirth from our AMOS team (we are able to have a training program thanks to the contributions of many individuals and churches who support AMOS), and because of her new skills, she rapidly assesses that Maria and her baby do not have much time.

   “Tranquila,” she says, helping Don Santos gather Maria’s things. “It’s okay, Maria…we need to get to the health center, but I will come with you."

     The two-hour hike down the narrow mountain footpaths is treacherous under any conditions. When women are in labor in these difficult circumstances, they can die in childbirth, and their newborn babies are even more vulnerable. Training and skills in how to manage childbirth and newborns is the difference between life and death. If the baby has any kind of difficulty at birth, such as a tight umblical cord around his neck, birth in a clinic can be critical to the baby’s survival.

     Helping Don Santos carry Maria in a makeshift hammock down the mountain, Arrelis encourages and supports Maria through her labor. When they arrive at the clinic two hours later, the baby is born with a tight umbilical cord around his neck. The doctor at the clinic shows Arrelis how to remove the cord so that the baby is born safely, and all is well with the mother and infant!

     Everyday, thousands of newborns around the world die of completely preventable illnesses and birth accidents. Yet everyday, there are also people like Arrelis, women and men from poor rural communities who have been trained to serve their communities to improve health and help save lives.

     Because of your contributions to Targeted Giving for missionary support and the World Mission Offering, we are able to stay on the field to help train, supervise and support health promoters like Arrelis in their community work to help serve others in their communities.

     Because of your prayers, we have the strength to carry on even when times are difficult.

     And because of your love, we are inspired to continue to serve in a ministry that aspires to reach the most vulnerable people in rural communities in the name of Christ to contribute toward health and hope for all.

      So we thank you again for your support. Because of you, we can all together reach out to a health promoter in a rural community, and that health promoter can save a life, or comfort a person who is suffering, or help a healthy baby to be born!

     In the worlds of the health promoters and the rural communities we serve, “Se los agradecemos de todo corazon…thank you from the bottom of our hearts.”

     In community,

     Drs. Laura and David Parajon

     IM Medical Missionaries