Vada Adkins of Manila presented an informative talk on her recent missionary trip to Peru at the First Baptist Church in Manila on Wednesday evening. Adkins, a retired Spanish teacher, served as a translator. This was Mrs. Adkins second medical missionary trip to Peru. She had three generations of her family working with the missionary team. Her son, Dr. Kevin Adkins, his wife Anne, and sons, Ryan and Reid, of Mountain Home, and her daughter Karla Cherry of Manila volunteered to be a part of the team.
Mrs. Adkins and her son, Dr. Adkins, went as part of a team in 2005 and were anxious to return to see how much the work had progressed in the past year. It was Karla's first trip and she, too, received a blessing helping the people.
"It was like a family reunion for me as 17 out of the 20-person team were members of my family," Mrs. Adkins said.
Mrs. Adkins' cousin, Doyne Robertson, served as a missionary in Peru for eight years and still helps organize missionary trips each year to meet the physical and spiritual needs of the people. Among the team members were another cousin, Naomi Robertson, a nurse practitioner.
"It is rewarding, but it is not a pleasure trip," Mrs. Adkins said. "Everyone works hard and we saw 725 people. Each one of us had about 55 pounds of medicine in our bags to be distributed. We were fortunate and got through customs with no problems."
They took a minimum amount of clothing. They had their clothes washed while there and left the clothes there for the people.
The two ministers on the trip distributed Bibles. Mrs. Adkins' grandsons spent time organizing games with the children.
The team stayed at a 12.5 acre farm Villa Milagro, which means small place of miracles. It has an interesting history and is in partnership with Monte Sion Baptist Church and shares the same vision for reaching the people.
Adkins said Larry Johnson, owner of Villa Milagro, developed the area to help the people. Johnson worked for the Southern Baptist Convention in the agricultural division putting in water wells and helping people produce food. He started working in Peru in 1985. He was seen over 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 land and continued to work with volunteers putting in water wells for the remote villages, building roads and training the people.
Mrs. Adkins said there is no medical care in the remote villages and the medical teams go out and set up medical clinics in different areas each day and the people come. They line up and wait patiently to see the doctors and nurses.
Clinics were set up in Banos del Inca Iglesia Bautista Calvario, Alea San Antonio orphanage, Porcon, El Ingenio, and Monte Sion, on this trip.
Aldea San Antonio orphanage in Cajamarca is home to 47 children from three months to 17 years of age. Through the ministry, milk is furnished daily and the children are transported to Sunday morning church service at Monte Sion each week.
The Beca Ministry is an extension of the orphanage ministry. The young people have to leave the orphanage at age 18 and Villa Milagro assists them in support for education. In 2005 41 young people received support ranging from $20 to $100 a month.
Mrs. Adkins said she was very happy to see the progress made on the school construction since she was there.
"The first floor of the building was started when we were there last year," she said. "We held a clinic in the first floor even though the windows were not in place. Construction on the school is now up to three stories with the first floor completed. The school only went to the fourth grade last year and now is serving students through the fifth grade. There is also $70,000 in a fund for a clinic to be built."
Mrs. Adkins said last year the group she traveled with left $4,000. The money was used to help pay for a woman who needed an operation and to purchase computers for the school.
This year Dr. Adkins saw a man needing back surgery and money was left to pay for the surgery.
"There is a lot of good work being done there," Mrs. Adkins said. "A minister, Raul Chota, had established 27 congregations from January 1999 to December 2002. His missionary work was along the Huallaga River in Northern Peru. The financial aid was lost and he closed his work in September 2004. In late 2004 a group of volunteers from Arkansas was burdened because this ministry was terminated. Returning to the States, the pastor and volunteers challenged their church to provide funds to return Raul to his jungle ministry. Right now, 30 volunteers including Doyne, Naomi, and David are on a 14 day missionary trip by boat visiting these congregations."
Highlights of the ministries work in 2005 included $22,000 in scholarships for 41 youths and orphans education; hosted 14 groups of volunteers who distributed love doing evangelism, construction, medical/dental clinics, vacation Bible school, eye glasses, Bibles and countless other ministries; drilled eight water wells and placed pumping units on each well for villages and schools; constructed 50 miles of roads connecting 11 villages where no roads existed; numerous repair jobs; continued construction on Monte Sion Christian school and computer classroom; added third story walls and roof to Villa Milagro's office/cottage industry complex; and trained 10 women in sewing. Over 4,200 New Testaments and 105 Bibles were distributed. 2,429 people were treated in general medicine and 1,433 dental patients; 1,288 pairs of reading glasses were provided, and 250 children attended vacation Bible school.
Mrs. Adkins said she hopes to return each year if she is able. Her first trip was in January -- summer in Peru.
"This year we went in June and it was their winter," she said. "It was not bad because the temperatures seldom get below 40 degrees. It is a beautiful country. There is a lot of work being done and there is a lot of work to do. If anyone ever has a chance to go, it is a great experience."