The towns of Sona and Zapotillo in western Panama were the focus of the annual vision/medical/dental effort led by Dr. Russ Burcham, Denver opthalmologist, during February 12-17. The hospital in Sona hosted the vision surgery team, providing excellent operating facilities and support services.
A clinic facility in nearby Zapotillo was provided for a general medical and dental clinic, where Dr. Duke Jennings, pathologist from Jonesboro, Ark,. and Dr. Paul Horiuchi, dentist from Denver. treated more than 900 patients. They were aided by David Ashley, medical student from Birmingham and several nurses.
From Dr Russ Bircham: Although we arrived several hours late, hundreds of people were still waiting for us. Their applause of gratitude lasted for a full five minutes. It brought tears to our eyes to see these sweet, patient people wating for help
The eye team screened over 2.000 people and performed 215 eye surgeries (pterygium and cataract). The cataracts were some of the “blackest” that I have ever seen which means that the people had been blind for several years. These people have nowhere to turn for help because they are so poor, and are destined to sit helplessly at homne while their families care for them.Twenty Panamanian Christians helped in the effort to teach the gospel to people whe were waiting in lines and to some who lived in the area. We want everyone to know about God’s desire to have a relationshio with them through Jesus Christ. A “preaching service” was held every evening and there were baptisms in the nearby river, resulting in the formation of two new congregations. Many people have agreed to have Bible studies in ther homes over the next few weeks!
(Excerpt from the Panama Missions Newsletter. April 2011)