Retired Spanish teacher returns from a mission trip to Peru

Thursday, April 14, 2005
Vada Adkins and son, Dr. Kevin Adkins, at Lima, Peru. (photo provided)

Vada Adkins of Manila joined 20 other volunteers on a medical missionary trip to Peru that was organized by her cousin, Doyne Robertson, pastor of the First Baptist Church in Melbourne. Robertson served as a missionary in Peru for eight years and heads a missionary trip every other year returning with volunteers to continue the work of meeting the needs of the people spiritually as well as physically.

Adkins, a retired Spanish teacher, served as a translator. Among those making the trip were her son, Dr. Kevin Adkins of Mountain Home; her cousin Naomi Robertson, a nurse practitioner; a dentist; four nurses; a pharmacist, two translators (Adkins and Doyne Robertson); a minister from Mountain Home; and other volunteers.

(Doyne's parents, Homer and Marie Robertson, are from Manila and served the New Providence Church for several years.)

Ms. Adkins taught Spanish for 27 years retiring from Manila High School in 1992. When she decided to join the group of volunteers, she signed up for a refresher course in Spanish. She monitored a college Spanish class for a semester before making the trip.

The Peru missionary trip is something she wanted to do for many years and she was not disappointed. She said it was a great experience for her and she is looking forward to going again.

"It was a fun trip, but it was not a pleasure trip," Adkins said. "Everyone worked hard trying to help as many people as we could. The team saw about 500 people in five days. Getting to the villages around Cajamarca, Peru, was not easy as the roads were one lane and the villages in remote places."

The group traveled by bus and got an early start each morning.

The host church for the mission trip was Villa Milagro Monte Sion Baptist Church.

Adkins said their group was one of 12 volunteer groups scheduled to work in the area this year.

Villa Milagro (translated to mean Small Place of Miracles) has an interesting history. It is a partnership with the Monte Sion Baptist Church and shares the same vision for reaching the people.

Adkins said that Larry Johnson, owner of Villa Milagro, a 12.5 acre farm, was developed to help the people of the area Johnson worked for the Southern Baptist Convention in the agricultural division putting in water wells and helping the people to produce food. He started working in Peru in 1985. He has seen 60 churches started in the villages where the wells were installed. In 1996 the International Board decided to discontinue the agriculture/building type work but continued with the evangelistic work.

Johnson retired and bought the 12-1/2 acres of land. In 1996 the Living water International in Houston picked up the work and started financing water well projects and continued until last year. The group gave Johnson the equipment and he is doing the work on his own with volunteer crews that come to help. In addition to the medical teams, carpenter teams, construction groups, road builders, and other volunteers come to Villa Milagro to share their talents.

"The work that is done in the area depends on the volunteers," Adkins said. "The people are very humble and happy to welcome the volunteers."

Being a retired educator, Adkins was especially interested in the schools. A school was started behind the Monte Sion Baptist Church and is now up to four grades.

"It was started several years ago by volunteers and a crew was scheduled to arrive the Saturday we left to complete the school building project," Adkins said. "Our clinic was held in the partially competed school. There were no partitions."

There is one teacher and she is paid about $75 a month for her services.

Adkins said she is looking forward to seeing the improvements in the school building when she returns.

The medical team held clinics in different villages including Polloquito, Tumbaden and Jocos.

Polloquito is a small village in the district of Encanada about two hours from Cajamarca. Josefina, a lady who worked with Johnson's wife, Joy, years ago, began a work in the school with the parents. She now has 25 children ages 3 through five and about 90 students in the primary. The mothers come with the children to school because they have to walk a great distance. They stay throughout the day, cook their meals, and return home with the children. This village has no medical attention and no medicine. The team visited Polloquito the second day of work.

Jocos is in the district of Matara located about two hours from Cajamarca. It is located in a round valley that supports marvelous vegetation. El Mesias Baptist Church has a mission church located in Jocos. A building was recently constructed for worship.

Tumbaden is 58 km from Cajamarca. It has a population of about 30 families with outlying villages close by for approximately 500 families. Two mission projects were recently completed there, a road connecting them to other towns and an irrigation canal for their crops. They do not have electricity. Johnson and volunteers took on the difficult task of building a road. It took four years to complete.

On one occasion during the week long trip to Peru, the non-medical members of the team remained behind and took inventory of the medicine and supplies. This gave them the opportunity to visit an orphanage. The Beca and orphan ministry. The Aldea Infantil San Antonio is a state run orphanage located in Cajamarca.

Adkins found this a very interesting visit.

"We took gifts to the orphanage," Adkins said. "The Beca Ministry is an extension of the work being done. The facility cares for 50 plus children ranging in ages from three months to 17 years."

The Villa Milagro farm provides milk daily for the children living at the orphanage and picks up the children each week to attend church services.

The young people have to leave the orphanage at the age of 18. In some cases the Villa Milagro supports young people in helping to find work or in furthering their education at the University. Some live at Villa Milagro.

Adkins pointed out that a lot of the medical problems included in the area included young mothers with shoulder and back aches. They carry their babies on their backs and they work very hard she said

"There was one young girl that had warts on her face all around her mouth," Adkins said. "Kevin was able to deaden the area and remove the warts. The little girl was really brave."

The group left $4,000 to help replace computers that were stolen from the church. Ms. Adkins the area has a lot of problems with theft.

"We left the money to help with computers or with any project the church needed," she said.

After they returned home, she found out that part of the money was used to help pay for a woman's surgery. The woman was one of the people that the medical team treated.

"Kevin had diagnosed her with tumors," Adkins said. "The work that is being done there is really wonderful."

The Villa Milagro farm has a sewing center. Adkins purchased one of the beautiful Alpaca wood coats made at the center. The commercial sewing projects provide employment for abandoned mothers, widows and orphan girls. It also has ceramic shops, wood working, a saw mill, an art shop, a fish pond, vegetable production and a rabbit industry. Eventually the ladies that sew and the wood craft folks hope to have a US market for the products.

"Because rabbits reproduce so fast, it was decided that rabbits could be a good resource for the villages," Adkins said. "They trained people from villages on the care of rabbits and then gave them six female and one male to take back to the villages as a commodity."

Ms. Adkins said the group attended church at Monte Sion Baptist Church. She and her cousin sang "Victory in Jesus" in Spanish.

The mission work depends on volunteers and donations. Villa Milagro's ministry is holistic with the ultimate goal of sharing the good news to all that will listen. Adkins said her son was talking to a doctor friend of his about the number of people he saw with cataracts.

"His friend told him if he would go to Africa with him on a medical mission trip, he would go to Peru the next year," Adkins said. "He said he could take the equipment to remove the cataracts."

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