Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Update on Amy

One of Amy’s leaders called today to tell us they had to take Amy to the doctor this morning. Apparently she had gotten a bit too close to the chechem tree, a tree that affects the skin in a similar way to poison ivy, only much worse. (Of course, I immediately searched “chechem tree” and found this description: “It’s like poison ivy on steroids.” Not good news for this concerned Mommy.) Amy’s leader, Paula, said they’d given Amy a shot of cortisone and she was also taking Benadryl to help ease the itchiness.

We actually got to speak to Amy, which was exactly what this Mom needed. She sounded great; if I could have reached through the phone and yanked her home I would have. I am ready to have them home, and now that she’s got this rash all over her face I really want her home. The feeling of helplessness is beyond painful.

So for today’s botany lesson: the chechem, also known as poisonwood, is a nasty little tree that grows in the Dominican Republic, Cuba, Jamaica, northern Guatemala, Belize, and from the Yucatan to Vera Cruz in Mexico. Its leaves are green and it produces a little brown seed. You can see the black sap seeping through the cracks of the bark in the picture; the sap is what is to be avoided at all cost. However, I’ve also found reports that just standing near the tree can cause a person to react adversely.

There is another tree, the chakaj, also known as the Tourist Tree because its bark turns red and peels. Simply putting the bark from this tree on the skin exposed to the chechem tree can prevent or cure the blisters. You can also make a tea from the bark that will help the blisters. I am hoping beyond hope the full-time missionaries who man the Belize base for TMI know about this tree.

So, that’s the news on Amy. Please pray for her comfort. Paula, her leader, said Amy's attitude was good and her spirits were high; please pray that continues. And pray we all see God at work through this. Needless to say it’s quite the opportunity for my faith to grow. I would like to say, however, that I am not happy to have my faith grow when it means my child is hurting, is a zillion miles away and I can do nothing for her… Pray I can take joy in having my faith stretched.

And now, here’s the update on Amy’s team:

Our Adventures (2007-07-24)
A tropical wave has come through the area. We received some much-needed rain.

We are pleased with the amount of sidewalk the Preteens are getting poured. If they continue at this rate, they will complete all of the sidewalks which we have laid out for them to do.

The team had an opportunity to go sightseeing this week to Lamanai. The weather was perfect and they thoroughly enjoyed the entire experience; boat ride, Mayan ruins, and the Howler monkeys (which were unusually silent that day). The next scheduled sightseeing is for Saturday when they will go snorkeling at Caye Caulker.

On Sunday, they did a presentation at a Mennonite church and were well received. The pastor was very grateful for the team's Gospel message and enthusiasm. He said this was exactly what his church needed to see. During the service, the congregation sang songs in German, English, and Spanish. It was truly a multicultural experience for the team.