Though I spent a good portion of my childhood growing up as an MK [Missionary Kid] in Latin America, I distinctly remember sensing a personal call to medical missions during an event that occurred on June 23rd, 2001. While on a trip to Peru, my city of Arequipa was struck by an 8.4 magnitude earthquake that caused massive destruction throughout southern Peru. I volunteered with the Peruvian Red Cross to take relief supplies to a coastal village that had been hit by a tidal wave. As I was walking through piles of rubble on the beach, I climbed into an old hotel and found a mentally disabled man hiding under a sink. I gave him a piece of bread and left. That evening, I wrote in my journal: “Today I felt like I was stinking of money. God, use my life however You want.” That experience broke my heart for the Lord and He used it to confirm my call to medical missions.
When we arrived on the mission field in 2018, my husband and I felt that the Lord was calling us to be a support to the hospital as it was going to administrative changes (my husband now does good deal of hospital administration, in addition to surgery.) Because of that, we are committed to invest long-term in Hospital Misión Tarahumara, and support the spread of the Gospel and growth of the local indigenous church. Willy and I also have a passion for educating national health care providers to serve in their own countries. Education has been a central theme for us on the field and an avenue to minister the Gospel to our national coworkers.
I currently serve as a general pediatrician at Hospital Misión Tarahumara located in the remote Copper Canyon of Chihuahua, Mexico. The hospital provides desperately needed medical services to more than 90,000 Tarahumara people living in 180 communities. The region’s maternal and infant mortality rates are the highest in Mexico. Due to delays in seeking medical care (patients may walk for several days to arrive at our facility), contaminated water, and food scarcity, up to 50% of children die in the first few years of life.
In August of 2018, I arrived as the only pediatrician in the region and established a pediatric malnutrition program with the goal of treating Tarahumara children near their homes instead of needing to transport them to larger cities. In addition to providing pediatric care, I coordinate weekly academic conferences for Mexican physicians and nurses. In 2020, my husband and I plan to implement a lay-person training program where missionaries working in remote communities will be equipped with basic medical skills. We are also expanding our village medical outreaches in 2020 and will be working closely with the indigenous church distributing MP3 players with recorded Bible materials.
- Training Mexican healthcare providers to provide quality medical care and integrate the Gospel message in their practices
- Improving the overall health of Tarahumara children through our nutrition programs and elevating the quality of pediatric medical care at Hospital Misión Tarahumara.
- Supporting the growth of the local indigenous church by teaming up with pastors and missionaries to provide medical care in their communities