This has been an interesting week in the Misión Chile Rancagua. Of course they all are but I am about to explain why I said it this time. We just feel like we have new adventures every week so until we start repeating we will keep reporting.
I would like to explain the missionary health system since that is what we dealt with this week. We realized a sister missionary needed to return home to her town in Argentina a few months early due to some health issues. We also decided she shouldn’t go home alone in case she needed help during the trip so I volunteered to accompany her. Sending someone home requires President Warne getting approval from the doctor who is assigned to supervise health care in the ten missions here in Chile. Also, permission for me to accompany her required approval from a General Authority of the church in the Missionary Department in Salt Lake City. Everybody is very supportive of our mission needs. We left on Wednesday morning, reached her home in the afternoon without mishap and I returned late on Thursday tired but glad everything went fairly well.
Here on the ground, so to speak, we have a nurse assigned specifically to our mission. She does a wonderful job of taking calls from sick missionaries, accompanying others to doctor appointments, and helping missionaries realize maybe they can go out and work even if they have a headache or a cold. We have a weekly coordinating meeting so that we can keep track of the various ailments reported each week. A computer log is also used to keep detailed records of each call. Our rule is that if a missionary needs to stay in from work he must get approval from the mission nurse or me.
Two types of health care are available here: one is free or low cost, at a government hospital. The other type is private, more expensive, and better quality, called clinica plus the company’s name. We also have pharmacies which require prescriptions so that part of the system is familiar to us from the United States. Another sister has been diagnosed with a serious illness and it was amazing to see how fast the decisions have been made for the best way to help her. If outside consultation is necessary there is an excellent network of doctors that the church uses in Salt Lake City who can read lab reports and review everything going on here electronically.
Missionaries receive health care for issues ranging from ingrown toenails to much more serious health problems but we are confident that with the mission nurse, the doctor in Santiago and the resources here and in the United States we can keep 279 missionaries healthy, happy and working every day. While there always is something going on with this many missionaries we are grateful for the good health that they enjoy and see the Lord`s hand in protecting them every day.
Two other events this week are worth noting. First, it was Sister Warne´s birthday and the missionaries sang and gave her cards. We also had a breakfast where we celebrated her birthday and also recognized that one assistant is going home and one of the office secretaries is going back out into the field. One picture is of some of the cards (many were handmade), the second is of the breakfast and the other is of us and the assistant who is going home at the Santiago Temple on Saturday.
Have a wonderful week.