International Ministries

Open the Eyes of Your Heart

July 7, 2004 Journal

Pastor Alejandro of the First Baptist Church was driving home from Cabo San Lucas on Friday June 25 when he began to have pains in his lower abdomen.He managed to drive the 2-½ hours home to La Paz despite the increasing pain.Upon reaching home, his wife drove him to the Social Security Hospital to be admitted.The doctors quickly determined that he had appendicitis.However, they couldn't perform the operation to remove it until a bed became available.Alejandro waited for the next 10 hours.In the meantime his appendix burst and his situation because critical.But finally, he did receive the operation.He remained in the hospital for 3 days and then was released.He is slowly recuperating at home.

Another friend of mine told me that she'd had a similar experience at this hospital.She drove a friend and her son to the hospital.The women were 99% sure that the boy was having acute appendicitis.They arrived at the hospital about 11pm.They couldn't find anyone around.No doctors.No nurses.Finally, they stumbled across a security guard who promised to try and locate medical personnel on their behalf.He never came back.Seeing her son suffering, and at her wits ends, the mother made a decision.She stood in the middle of the lobby and began screaming at the top of her lungs.Within 15 seconds, several doctors and nurses came running down the hall.Her son received treatment and his life was saved.

The Social Security Hospital welcomes those who are poor.Not everyone who walks through its door is the poorest of the poor, but they are without medical insurance.In fact, for the average Mexican person, medical insurance is practically non-existent.If you desire or even desperately need specialized care that the Social Security Hospital does not offer, you have to find the money first.You can't bill your insurance company or whip out a credit card.I knew a woman who needed an MRI and her family worked, borrowed, and begged money for two weeks to come up with the necessary money.These tests are a fraction of the cost compared to the United States (This MRI was about $300), but the expense is astronomical to a family that might only earn $25-50 a week.

Most of the hospitals also require that you go and purchase everything you need for an operation.The nurse will hand a family member a list of items required and this person will go to the pharmacy to purchase the medications, gauze, needles, etc.You also might have to supply the sheets and pillows, or at least an extra set, if you want the bedding to be changed during your stay.Family members also supplement the meals.Of course, while shocking to us, this is normal for most people around the world.

We share these stories not to make you feel guilty about what you have and what others lack, but instead to make you aware.Sometimes we can't appreciate what God has blessed us with until we understand the circumstances of others somewhere else.Also, when we glimpse another's life, when we know another way to pray for that person, our compassion and our pursuit of God's justice expands.Our heart is stretched just a bit more.

Pray for Pastor Alejandro's continued recovery.Thank God for his life and ministry.And as a result of hearing his story, may God open the eyes of your heart.