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Lauren Christensen Blog - Archive
Lauren Christensen

During the 2010-2011 school year, Lauren Christensen (class of 2008) posted regular journal entries from her year in Peru. She traveled to various villages along the Amazon jungle/river area to provide medical care and teaching.

Note: the following are extracts from Lauren's blog. If you enjoy what you read, be sure to visit her blog and read the full entries.

April 17, 2011 -Today was a great Sabbath! We went to a church today named La Esperanza or The Hope. This weekend was a weekend to bring your friends to church, so we brought our neighbor Marta with us. Then, after church she joined us for lunch and Cecilia made Lomo Saltado veggie style! It was so good!
  This afternoon, Steph and I went to JA at 4pm (the Spanish version of AY), and played Bible games and enjoyed a good message about the earth not being our permanent home and we have something much better waiting for us. They are such great people; we´ve never left without an invitation for lunch or to come back for JA.
  Tonight we also played social games. Two of the churches in our area got together tonight to play games. For one game, the ladies ran around in the center of the circle and then at a certain point, you tried to find a partner and then did a little jig and then it was the boy's turn to run. It was really funny because half the time Rachel, Steph, and I were without partners because we didn´t understand what we were suppose to be doing!
April 11, 2011 - Well, it’s only 37 days until I begin my journey home and leave Peru for probably longer than I want to. I’ve been asking myself, "What I’m going to do with that time? What haven’t I done all year that I should have done?" 
   I see what Peru and her people have made of me since I arrived in August. I am still very young, but this year I have gained experiences that sometimes take people years to learn. God has taken me on a beautiful journey this year, even during the times that I doubted His ability. I have seen women give birth (a miracle by itself, how the heck do you survive that!), I put my own dog to sleep, I have sisters for the first time, I became sure of my salvation, I helped build a shower and a house, have been surprise at people, and fallen in love with Peru.
   There are probably many more things that have shaped me this year, but I know that I’m definitely not the same as I was in August. Praise God for that! If I give all of my ways to God and let Him direct me, I can go through Hell and still come out smiling and laughing.
   Next week we start clinic again and in 5 weeks I will be home! I can’t wait!

March 27, 2011 - Whew!!! Campaign week is over!!! Out of all of the medical campaigns that we have done this year, this one was probably the hardest for me.
  It seemed like there was an endless amount of work to be done and most definitely not enough people. Jenessa and Wendy did triage for about 300 people per day with the help of a lady from Dr. Matson’s team during the week. We had, at most times, four medical students, and during part of each day Dr. Matson or Dr. Matthews would see patients.
  I was holed up in my dental room seeing anywhere from thirty to forty patients a day, more often thirty. One day while I was doing dental I had a lady come in and ask me to extract all of her teeth except for one. That was twelve teeth in total!!! She was pretty well aged, but I asked her if she was sure and why she wanted them out. She said they hurt her and she didn´t want them anymore. So, I took out eleven teeth, but I couldn´t see anything wrong with the twelfth one so I told her to keep it. lol.
  During the week we also had 3 BIRTHS!!!!!! One on late Saturday night, the other early Sunday morning, and the third was born on Thursday! Wow! That was so much work and we only had one set of sheets and towels for birthing!!! We ended up using some of our own sheets and towels for the second birth since it was so close to the first. I´m convince that the full moon we´ve been having is responsible for this! And I´m pretty sure I won´t be an OB/GYN. Births are cool and all, and seeing the newborn baby with mom is awesome, but it´s not quite my thing.
  All in all this week was amazing. We were swamped with patients, our team was stretched thinner then we thought ever possible, we worked passed sundowm every day for eight days straight, but we survived and had a good time doing it.
February 20, 2011 - We had another birth on Friday night - it was really scary, though! The girl was fifteen and had absolutely no idea what she was doing. Her baby almost suffocated! It was a baby having a baby, literally. We couldn´t get her to push hard enough and Cecilia explained to her the her baby would suffocate to death if she didn´t push. And then, since she was such a small little person, Cecilia had to cut her to make room for the baby, but every time she saw the scissors coming she stopped pushing.
  The baby was in the birth canal for 45 minutes, which is extremely dangerous, and when he popped out, he was completely blue and he definitely had more of an alien head than the first baby. We got the baby to cry pretty strongly, and we finally got him warm, but his extremities were still cold when they left. The umbilical cord was super fragile and tore really close to the skin. We panicked a little because he could have bled to death if we hadn't been able to clamp it. Cecilia had to clamp it pretty close to the skin, so it´s gonna be painful for the baby and his belly button will probably be messed up. She was just too young. She had no idea how to give birth and how important it was to push! She seemed to want to give up every time it started to hurt a little. As a result her baby was very close to having died. I hope everything turns out okay. The dad was 17 or 18. Wowzers.
  On Sabbath we walked to a neighbors house and talked to them a while and they gave us curichi and three baby chicks. Unfortunately, the kitchen door got left open and Pili ate the baby chicks. I feel really bad because they were a gift! We just got them and couldn´t keep them safe for one night. But I guess a dog is a dog...
February 14, 2011 - Happy Valentine’s Day! Not really that spectacular of a day, but here Valentine’s Day is also known as Dia de Amistad, Friendship Day. So, if you don’t have a significant other, celebrate your friendships.
  It’s been raining pretty hard every night here since Saturday night, which results in us not having very many patients because the roads can be almost impassable if you get enough rain. Our home right now has turned itself into a lake, and that makes for very interesting trips to the bathroom which sits at the back of our property. It is a true test of balance and your ability to jump over the raging creeks in the dark. I’ve managed not to fall yet, but the day is coming, I just know it!
  Sometime this week we are supposed to have a birth with a 15 year-old girl who is having her first baby. I’m a little nervous about it because she is so young, but the sonogram she brought us looks really good.

February 14, 2011 - Surgery must be one of the most amazing things to witness, let alone be able to assist in a procedure! I had my first opportunity to assist in a surgery today! There was a little two-year-old girl who came to our clinic that was having problems breathing because of a tumor that was obstructing her airway. Her family did not have the money to pay for this surgery, but it was vitally important because otherwise it would eventually close off her entire airway and she would die. Among the eight of us missionaries, we came up with the $300 dollars that it would cost for the surgery. The surgeon we found is a specialist in the head and neck area, and he agreed to do the surgery at a cheaper price.
   Before the surgery, I was elected to be the surgeon’s assistant, which in and of itself was pretty cool but terrifying at the same time. I was the only person who Celeste recognized and so I had the responsibility of keeping her calm while they tried to find a vein large enough for the IV. After she was asleep they used an instrument to spread her mouth wide and the doctor began the surgery. I didn’t do very much during the surgery, but I did hold the tongue back so that he could see, and I was holding the suction to keep the area as blood free as possible.
   Celeste woke up crying strongly, and she threw up a little bit. When mom was finally allowed to come in, that helped a lot to calm Celeste down, and then after we were released we rushed the family to the clinic to administer medicine for the pain that Celeste would soon feel from the surgery. Life seems so unfair to give a two-year-old a problem so difficult as this. She hasn´t been on this earth for very long and she´s already fighting for her life. We´re praying that everything turns out, and hopefully she doesn´t have to go to Lima because I don´t know where the family would get the money for all of that care.

January 21, 2011- I saw a baby being born this morning!! And I helped with the delivery! I have never even seen a birth on an educational video in science class! The mom and the dad came around 5:30am this morning. We were still sleeping, but they managed to wake us up with a “Doctora, doctora!” and a “oooo!” The mom had been having contractions all night, and when Cecilia had seen her yesterday she told her to come when she was having three contractions within ten minutes.
   We waited a total of about two hours for little Diamela to make her entrance into the world. Rachel and I started getting the Consultorio room ready for the birth and Rachel also attempted to get an IV started in between contractions. Rachel had a little bit of a hard time because the contractions were starting to come faster and harder. I boiled water, haha, just like you read about in the Little House on the Prairie type books.
   (Editor: this is a very long entry - be sure and read full details on Lauren's blog. Lauren ends with this...) It was one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen! I know it hurts a lot, but what a miracle and what an experience. God designed us in a truly marvelous way!

January 14, 2011- I cut my finger yesterday trying to open up a vial to prepare a shot for someone. It slashed right across the knuckle on my middle finger. Hanna had to do dental for me today. She was so awesome! I know she was really nervous, and I talked her through the morning extractions, but she had it down to a science for the afternoon! She did 13 or 14 patients, and on my longest day this week, I think I only did 15. Praise the Lord that she trained with us or there wouldn’t have been dental today!

January 11, 2011- I woke up with my back aching like it usually does after a long day of doing extractions. Today, in total, there were 38 cleanings and 10 extractions. By the end of the week we are all going to just crash! One of the little boys that I met yesterday came back today to give me a little flower and a small vial of perfume. A little bit later, he asked me to be his godmother! At first I didn’t understand the word for godmother, and I told him so, and he went to get someone who would understand him. I felt so honored that he would ask, but it would be impossible since I live in the states and I kind of think that a godmother should have known you for a little longer than one day. I had a second little boy decide that I was going to be his godmother too. Hehe.

January 10, 2011- We started our medical campaign this week at kilometer 6, in a little village called Los Mangos. This campaign is different than other campaigns that we have done in the past. This time we have an evangelistic team that will be going to the houses of the people here talking to them and offering Bible studies. In the evenings we have meetings for the kids and for the adults separately. We didn’t have a great turnout tonight of adults, but there were at least sixty kids. The kids are going to be really fun to do VBS with. We are going to be doing VBS for about three weeks with them, I hope that we don’t run out of activities!

January 3, 2011- After two weeks in the states for Christmas, I arrived back in Pucallpa this morning around 5:15am. It’s now 9:30pm and I haven’t slept since 11am yesterday morning. I’ve had mini-naps in the airport and on the planes, but that’s about it. Coming back is a lot harder than I thought it would be. I’ve really missed family and Jacob a lot, and in a lot of respects going home made it worse. I’m so grateful to have been able to go home, but I don’t think I would advise other SMs to do the same thing; it’s too hard to leave the states again.
   We will start the campaign next week with eight of the original eleven missionaries. Laura was only planning on being here until January and the two boys Caleb and Chris have decided not to come back. We’re going to miss them terribly! This next week will be quite the test of endurance. Praying for God’s strength. Here goes Peru, round 2!

  December 8 - We went to our friend Gady’s house because she invited us to come over for her church’s 4th year anniversary at Ivan Sikic (where we did our first big medical campaign). That afternoon they held a concert with two other churches to celebrate, and during the concert they asked if us Americans would like to sing, too. Well, we did pretty good to come up with six songs on the spot! Then Sunday we returned to help them with a benefit that they were planning for their church. They had soccer games, and each church brought a soccer team that put in 10 soles per team and they also sold lunch to help raise money. It was good to see our friends again; they are always a fun group.
December 1 - Life at km 8 is going pretty good. We’re getting used to the twice-a-day water rationing. Whenever we hear the water running, we run to grab our soap and shampoo so we can have a shower and not just a bucket bath. lol. We’re never quite sure what time the water will be turned on that day.
  During our big campaign we had a malnourished one-year-old come in to the clinic, and he might have died within a few days if they hadn’t brought him in. We saw him this Monday and he looks so much better! They put him on a baby formula and vitamins and some other stuff to help him to grow and so far he’s gained 2 kg. His name is Wilfredo, and he is quickly becoming my favorite patient. He smiled and cooed at us last time he was in to visit.
  In other exciting news, we figured out how to cook steamed broccoli! I’m not really the hugest fan of boiled or fried vegetables, so we got a little creative and took the plastic bags that we use for meds in the pharmacy and filled them with broccoli and a little water. Then, we placed the bags into a pot of boiling water and voila! We had steamed broccoli! Creation of the week. God bless you in the Christmas season!
November 28 - One thing that this year has impressed upon me forever is family. I always have had the best family and have always know that they love me and will always be there for me, but the family I am talking about right now is the one that God has created for me here in Peru...
  • Caleb is always there to lift people up and to thank them for their work
  • Chris always offers a witty little comments that makes everyone laugh, and he also has good spiritual insights anytime he gives worship
  • Jonathan is another one of the funny men and always is betting everyone that they can or can’t eat something be it a turkey foot or a large bowl of sweet potato casserole
  • Anthony is the one who always smiles and teases the chicos right back when they give him a hard time
  • Rachel and Stephanie are the team nurses when anyone of us is having issues; recently they’ve been getting calls late at night to administer meds for upset bowels and stomachs. They are also my companions here at Km 8, and we have a good time together.
  • Cecilia is the newest addition to our group; she’s very helpful in getting bargains when it comes to shopping in the market and she is also a very fun doctor to work with
  • Jenessa is the organizer of the group and all of her many responsibilities
  • Rebecca is the other teacher who always has available time to talk to anyone who needs to talk
  • Laura is always teasing everyone and giving us a hard time
  • Hanna is the person who knows everything about everyone in the group; she also keeps us all together and is very concerned that everyone in our group is happy.
  • Alfonso is the quietest of the chicos, but he loves to laugh
  • Elias is the little brother to everyone, and he hates Monday mornings
  • Erick is also quiet, but when he does talk it’s usually pretty funny and good for a laugh. He is also a very hard worker and a leader for the group
  • Daniel Pua is Elias’ older brother, and very good at building stuff (like the majority of stuff here at Km 8)
  • Daniel Ruiz is well-known for his love of music during worship times, and blasting his computer in the mornings with praise music, in Spanish of course
  • Doctor is most definitely the leader of the group, like the dad of the group, and I respect him very much for all of the work he does here. If a man ever had a full plate, he does
  • Shirley, the doctor’s wife, is like the older sister/mom figure of our group here. She doesn’t mind laughing at us girls when we mess up cooking in the kitchen, or teaching us better, more efficient ways to cook for so many people
  • Hermana Welfa is a grandmotherly figure, and a very stable spiritual example for all of us. Her sermons are very good and personal. She also is great at teaching us how to make empanadas.
This makes up our family here in Peru; I know that I wouldn’t be doing as well as I am here in Peru without having these people as my brothers and sisters.

November 25 - The night before Thanksgiving I called my mom and asked her how to season a turkey and how long to cook it and all that cuz I was really worried about messing up the Thanksgiving Day Turkey!
   Rach and I ended up going to Pucallpa in the morning to buy one. I assumed that it would be like every other meat you purchase here, freshly killed that morning, but surprisingly the lady who sells the turkeys sells them frozen. Who knew you could buy a frozen turkey in Peru? I got worried because I didn’t think there would be any way to get it done before dinner that night.
   So I seasoned it and took it to Campo to be cooked by a lady because our oven needs help in the consistency department. I carved it for dinner and everybody thought it was the best thing ever! I was happy that it turned out. We also had sweet potato casserole, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, apple pie, and pumpkin pie, cranberry sauce, gravy gluten for the vegetarians, and stuffing. We got a lot of the stuff in a box that Jenessa’s mom sent here, otherwise I don’t think it would have turned out as nicely! 

November 23 - Today was my 21st birthday. I've been anxiously awaiting it all week because I got two packages from my family for my birthday that I had to wait to open. I love surprises, but I’m horrible at waiting for them! So, the first thing I did when I woke up was to open the packages! My parents sent me a “party box” that had noise-makers, a party balloon tablecloth, napkins that said “Happy 21st”, and matching plates, and also cupcake mix with Hershey’s flavored frosting!!! That was the best frosting I have ever had.
   [That evening] Rachel came and got me and blindfolded me for the walk to the other house. While were walking Daniel came up behind me as I was walking and blew one of the horns in my ear. Scared me to death! I had no idea he was there!
   The girls had gone full out on the meal, but while we were eating the boys kept singing "Quieremos comer la torta, quieremos comer la torta" to the tune of "For He’s a Jolly Good Fellow". Meaning "We want to eat cake". 
November 18 - We have officially moved to Km 8 for the rest of this mission year. We brought all of our stuff on Tuesday and immediately started a clinic after we unloaded everything. Of course, that meant we had to kill at least one more of the spiders that we killed during construction that just happen to be the size of my hand. So, the spider killings in total add up to five (again, all the size of my hand), not counting all of the little ones. Lol. They seem to have moved out of our house for the most part because we’ve disturbed their home.
   Something interesting happened yesterday; a lady came in for a tooth extraction yesterday, but she had some sort of panic disorder. We knew she was nervous, but we didn’t know it was that bad! Caleb had anesthetized her and was in the process of extracting her tooth when she started to shake uncontrollably, like she was shivering really bad. Caleb didn’t realize it at first, but when I looked over at her, I knew something wasn’t right, I thought she was having a panic attack. We called Dr. Cecilia and it turns out that the lady WAS having an attack. The doctor got her to focus again and to calm down. She pinched her and applied pressure with a pen to her figure to get the lady to snap out it. After she calmed down, Caleb was able to extract the tooth just fine.
   After clinic we had to go to someone’s home because a lady had a high fever and couldn’t walk. I was curious to see what the average Peruvian home looked like, and I wanted to know what was wrong with this lady. Their home was just one room, with three children and the parents, it was very cramped. They had their kitchen and their laundry hung up in the same room. It made me think of the little one-room houses that you read about when Americans had a big push towards the west, like Little House on the Prairie.
   Also, I heard Christmas music for the first time today. It made me miss home a lot and at the same time seemed out of place here because it is So Hot! And at home, it’s pretty cold by the time Christmas season rolls around. I can’t wait for Christmas!

November 11 - This week has been a lot of fun! We started building on to our new home at km 8... On Tuesday, poor Rachel was sick from a bad mango, so just Steph and I went to help the boys. They were building the frames for the rooms and they gave Steph and me the job of cutting the wood planks for the walls. Using a hand saw, we cut over 90 pieces of wood! My arms were a little sore at the end of the day, but it felt so good to just work hard and accomplish something! By the end of the day we had completed the front walls for two of the rooms and a door, and the boys had finished clearing the tall grass and such from the property.
   For lunch that day we tried something new, it was called “Lomo”, which consists of tomatoes, onions, carne de res, and potatoes and served with rice. It was amazing! The soup we had to go along with the meal was interesting; we found out later after we were almost done eating it that the meat in the soup was horse meat. Haha. The things you eat in Peru… I tasted it, and I didn’t like it, so I didn’t eat the rest of it. I think the reason the horse meat tasted funky is because it has a lot more fat on it then other meats. Lol.
   On Wednesday, Rachel was feeling better so we all went to the km 8 property...We helped Lucho finish the shower and Rachel helped Daniel finish the third front wall. After lunch, we had a lot more work because they bought more wood and nails; we constructed four more doors and the two walls that go in between the three rooms. It was fun because the boys actually let us nail the boards into the frame for the wall and for the doors. The wood here is so much harder than wood at home! I don’t know what kind of tree it comes from, but even the locals sometimes have a hard time with it. Let’s just say it always took me a while to get a nail to go in straight...

November 7 -  As of right now, the km 8 property doesn't have a bathroom, shower, or a stove, and we will be hauling our water every day because it doesn't have running water either! This should be a new adventure! :) Hopefully in the next two weeks the manual labor team will make it out there to build us a bathroom and add some more rooms to make it better for a clinic.

October 28 - I taught my first English classes this week!!! It was a lot more fun than I expected it to be. My class [is] ages 13 and younger. On the first day of class, I was very worried about boring the kids, to be honest. The beginning of class was a little slow, but after I taught them a few songs and a few games the class started to go very well! In the first class I taught the students colors, basic greetings, the ABC’s, and some parts of the body in English. Their favorite song was the body song, “Head and shoulders, knees and toes, knees and toes. Head and shoulders, knees and toes, knees and toes…” The first class had about 20 kids in it, but when I returned on Wednesday I had 36 kids. All my kids ran to hug me and ask what games we were playing today and if we could do the body song again; they really wanted class to be longer. I really, really hate lesson planning, but the actual teaching part is a lot more fun than I gave it credit for. The doctor’s wife was explaining to me that to pay for an English class is very expensive here, so when free English classes are offered, people jump at the opportunity to learn something new. I pray that God helps my Spanish so that I can teach them better!
October 26 - Well, this week has been pretty slow, but we’ve kept busy cooking meals and keeping the houses clean. The rainy season has now begun here in our part of Peru. That’s a lot of fun. Lol. The first big storm gave our kitchen a good drench because the rain came in through the windows, so the second time we nailed an old plastic table cloth to the windows to prevent water from coming in. 

October 15 This week, hmmm, a word to describe it? Okay, maybe three words, recovery, change, and slow. Because of the robbery on Friday we are making a lot of rule changes here at the base. As of right now, I don’t really have a defined job because the mobile team that I was part of is being reevaluated for safety. There are three girls on the mobile team so we need to figure out what would be the safest way to do our jobs. A few other changes such as curfew have been adjusted as well and more lights are going to be installed at the base. 
   So to keep myself busy this week, I’ve been helping to do a lot of cooking and cleaning. The first two days this week we had to reorganize our dental boxes and re-sterilize all of our instruments, but the rest of the days we’ve cleaned the houses really well and prepared for our visitors that we are going to have next week. It’s really exciting that they’re coming because they are bringing boxes of stuff to replace the stuff that the girls had stolen last week!
   In my cooking adventures this week, I learned how to make locro. It is a fairly popular Peruvian dish that is chockfull of vegetables. It’s made from sapallo, which is a yellow pumpkin/squash, and then after it’s broken down into a puree with sautéed garlic and onions, you add potatoes, carrots, peas, and celery. After those are cooked you add a little bit of milk and about a cup and a half of crumbled cheese and then pour it over rice. It’s soo amazing! It’s a very good dish. 
October 8 - Friday by far was the most eventful day. We started to travel back to Pucallpa after breakfast that we cooked over a fire that morning and we were about 3 or 4 hours away when one of our boats got robbed! Apparently, when we were passing one little port on the river, there were two guys that saw our boats and started to scope them out. About half an hour down the river our two boats were separated. My boat was a ways ahead of the other one and we had pulled over to a little island. While we were waiting, we saw this very fast boat speed by after slowing down close to our boat. Immediately our driver knew what had happened and started heading back towards our other boat. We found out that the boat had been robbed at gunpoint! They took everyone’s valuables off the boat and took three huge backpacks belonging to the girls. One girl’s passport was stolen, all of their cameras and all of their money. The men asked where the other boat was and if there were soldiers on it, and our doctor wouldn´t answer them. They finally forced him to and he said that it was far away and had angels guarding it. They laughed at the angels part, but then the driver of that boat said that we were armed. We think that they found us in the second boat, but saw the five guys on the boat and assumed it was guarded. We are so grateful that God protected the lives of everyone on the boat even though things were taken. They are things that can be replaced. Right now everyone that was on the boat is working with the police here in Pucallpa and working on insurance and getting a new passport. Please pray that the process goes smoothly! Everyone is safe and processing everything that has happened. Thank you for your prayers! [Editor's note: several of the students who were robbed attend Union College. Read more about it here.]

October 5 - Well, we just ended a very exciting week. We went up river this last week to do some clinics in various town along the river. The clinics all went fairly well, and we helped a lot of people. Tuesday we began our adventure up river starting from the Peru Projects launch in Pucallpa on two small boats. In reality, they were more like canoes just twice as wide…The first night we spent on the river was very scary for me. First of all, I don’t have a tent, so that meant that I had to sleep outside, which isn’t so bad except Peru has some unusually large bugs. Fortunately, I brought a mosquito net so I set that up between two tents and laid my sleeping bag on the sand. We had just gone to bed and I was lying there looking at an incredibly clear sky with millions of beautiful stars when I heard this hissing sound. and felt something moving under my sleeping bag! I took my fist and smashed whatever it was through my sleeping bag. Then I thought, “okay, good, I got it.” Not five minutes later, I here that hissing sound again! I turned on a flashlight and starting peering around my little mosquito net tent and right next to where I was laying was this humongous beetle! It was about two inches long and it made hissing sounds! I grabbed my shoe and tried to smash it, but it's exoskeleton was so hard that it didn’t work. I rolled it onto my other shoes and it took me three tries before I killed it in between the two shoes. I had a very hard time getting back to sleep after that...

October 3  - Well, it has finally rained. Wednesday started the first night of four nights of fires. We’re so tired! Friday night we had two fires and one on Saturday night as well. We just get one put out, and an hour or two later we see or hear of another one. Last night’s was the worst. It was the closest fire to our houses; it started at two in the afternoon and finally was put out at ten that night. We were at the church near the clinic in Pucallpa when it started; fortunately there were people here to fight the fire, but they definitely needed the ten of us who were in Pucallpa. Unfortunately we didn’t know about it until we got back at around 6:00, but even with the extra hands it still took us four hours to put it out. They told us later that it only took a few minutes for the fire to wrap around the backside of the houses and into the cow pasture. At one point the fire actually circled around the people fighting it and they had to fight their way out of it. We have a huge tank attached to a tractor that we fill up when a fire starts and we grab all the buckets we can get our hands on to carry water to the fire. We also stomp out a lot and use shovels to put some of the fire out. We’re exhausted after four days of this! A lot of the time we didn’t get to bed until one or two in the morning. We’re so glad that God sent the rain. Tonight, I’ll be packing my bags because tomorrow we head up the river! That should be quite the adventure! I’ll keep you posted - God bless
September 29 - The clinic we’re doing right now, the dental team is on their own. The dentist left for the States yesterday. So far we have been doing pretty well. Yesterday I pulled a canine, but I broke the crown and had to dig the root out of the gums. It was a lot easier than I thought it would be. Some situations get a little tough, but by the grace of God we manage to get every tooth out that needs to come out. It’s amazing that here in Peru, getting your teeth pulled out is just a part of life. By the time you’re 12, it’s pretty normal to have one or two of your permanent already pulled. We pull, so far, about 15 to 25 patients’ teeth in a day. Some of them want up to five teeth pulled at once! Beside pulling teeth, today I learned how to give someone a shot in the butt, and how to scrape an infected burn wound so that it can heal. Today, we had to close the clinic early because there was a fire at the house.

September 19 - I pulled my first teeth this week! At first it was really scary, because I was afraid of hurting people, but as the week went on I got more confident at it. We had a clinic everyday this week and there were six surgeries. The doctor is so amazing...he does so many things and he sees up to 200 patients in one day! I had a little girl ask me for a Bible this week and fortunately I had brought a little Spanish Bible with me, so I gave it to her. We're starting a week of prayer this week at my church and I'm preaching on Thursday. Please pray for me - I'm not a sure that I can be a preacher!

September 13 - Yesterday [morning] at about 3am the electricity was out until about midnight last night. We don't use electricity a lot so that wasn´t an issue, but we do need electricity so that we can pump water to drink and to cook with. For about half of the day yesterday we were without water. We made the best of it and actually had a lot of fun! When night came, we lit candles and us girls sat around the table and told stories about friends or things we used to do as kids and we read books we each had brought.

September 11 - The most interesting adventures we've had of yet (besides the kitchen cockroaches and giving each other anesthesia), usually involve the bathroom or the shower. We have a huge frog that usually dwells in either place, he looks like he weighs four or five pounds. Also in the bathroom lives a bat. Each time we use the bathroom we have to stomp around to make sure the bat is not going to fly up at us! This morning, early, I was headed to the bathroom and had a double whammy! To start off, I didn't grab my glasses in my half-asleep state so I was pretty much blind. When I got to the bathroom, I could tell there was something on the floor, but had no clue what it was. I got closer and it was that frog! So, I put a bucket on top of him and tried to move him but he wouldn't budge. I put the sack of sawdust on top of the bucket so that he wouldn't jump on me as I was going about my business. As I was preparing to escape from the monster frog, a black object swooped in and flew into the hole below! Safe to say as soon as my blurry vision figured out what THAT was, I started screaming! It was not an experience that you want at 4 or 5 in the morning, especially without your glasses... I quickly got the bag and bucket off the frog and slowly backed out of the bathroom hoping that the frog who was staring me down wouldn't jump. I RAN back to the house. God has definately been working on my character and gives me strength and comfort daily!

September 3 (MAA exclusive) - My first impression... Peru is such a beautiful place! The people here are very friendly, too. The hardest part about being over here is not having consistent communications with family and friends. Sunday, I start dental training; Tuesday we practice anesthia on each other (eek!), and on Wednesday we will practice pulling teeth on a pig. It should be so much fun! This week I have been mostly preparing for my classes and getting to know my fellow missionaries. I love getting to know everyone and my Spanish is improving daily!

August 31 - I'm in Peru! The flight down here from KC all the way to Pucallpa was about 10 or 11 hours with a layover in Atlanta and Lima. I miss home so much! My brother sent me a Bible verse today that really helped me out (Psalms 112:7,8). It helped because when Dr. Mathews (our supervisor), went over the duties and his expectations of us, they were extremely high. I doubted whether or not I could perform the necessary tasks to succeed here as a student missionary. I was scared. But this verse was perfect because it reminded me that my heart is secure in the Lord and there is no need to fear for anything. :) God is good.

August 28 - My name is Lauren Christensen. I graduated from Midland in 2008 and I am 20 years old. On August 29th I leave for Peru to begin a nine-month journey as a Student Missionary. I will be 4 km from a town called Campo Verde, working on a dental team pulling teeth and when I am not doing that I will be teaching English, Music, and Art as a Community Ambassador in different villages along the river. I would appreciate your prayers, thank you! God Bless!