Season 1, episode 12 of “Man vs. Wild” features adventurer Bear Grylls as he fights for survival in Mexico’s Copper Canyon. After sky diving down, Bear scales the vast, arid cliffs of the Sierra Tarahumara. He then descends into a cave with a self-made torch, braves his bat phobia and nourishes himself with scorpions and fresh larvae.
The harsh terrain depicted in this episode is not made-for-TV drama. It is the landscape where the Tarahumara are born and die without running water, electricity, or access to quality medical care. Navigating the rocky cliffs and dirt roads to reach remote communities presents a logistical challenge for aid workers. Government medical vehicles may struggle to bring in food and supplies for the sick and starving. In tiny villages like Santa Rita, unchecked diarrhea in a malnourished infant can lead to dehydration and death in a matter of days.
In 2020, Jessee’s aunt and uncle Carrie and Grey Brothers (also missionaries with Christian Health Service Corps) launched a mobile medical clinic using an SUV outfitted as an off-road ambulance. The vehicle is rugged enough to travel on the rocky dirt roads and access communities where medical needs are greatest. Having been equipped with solar panels, a portable ultrasound, pharmacy, exam tents and a 15-gallon water tank, patients can be examined in virtually any setting. Satellite-linked transmitters enable communication to notify the main hospital of emergencies.
The staff of Hospital Misión Tarahumara is excited to be expanding the clinic this year to reach more needy communities. We have been busy making arrangements for the Mexican physicians to take the mobile clinic out to villages. Our team is incredibly grateful to Carrie and Grey for their dedicated work which God is multiplying to reach even more people in the Copper Canyon.
What “Man vs. Wild” fails to describe is the unimaginable suffering our Tarahumara neighbors endure on a daily basis. Imagine watching your child’s life slip away with no way to access medical care. Alexis (name changed for privacy) was a Tarahumara boy in a remote village who developed severe malnutrition and pneumonia. His parents were desperate for help. Hospital Misión Tarahumara workers found him and transported him back to our facility. When he first arrived, he was nearly unconscious and could no longer breathe effectively on his own. After spending 3 months in the ICU including suffering a stroke and cardiac arrest, Alexis miraculously survived. When Jessee saw him in follow-up, he was thriving and his mother was moved to tears with joy. This is just one example of a life saved by reaching people in remote communities with medical care. We are so grateful to the individuals who partner with us to reach children like these.
In the book of Luke, Jesus shares a parable about sheep to show the heart of God toward those who are lost. In the story, the shepherd leaves the 99 in the open field to go after one lost sheep. It is a humbling reminder that God is not just interested in us but also in rescuing those who do not know Him. We serve a God who is constantly on mission to seek out and save the one lost sheep. What is remarkable is that God has chosen you and I to join Him in this work. Joining God on mission has little to do with our qualifications but rather with our willingness to say “yes” and leave our comfort zones to follow Him.
Pray With Us!
Would you pray specifically for community health work in the Copper Canyon? Thank you!
- Pray that there would be transformation in the area of healthcare and that the Tarahumara would come to know the redeeming work of Christ.
- Pray for resources: We are always in need of food supplies to distribute, medications, gas to fuel vehicles and MP3 players with the Gospel message in Tarahumara to share with families.
- Pray for our team: For protection, wisdom and endurance for our doctors, nurses, translators, community health educators and evangelism workers who take part in these outreaches.
- Pray for growth: That God would continue to open doors for relationships with leaders in villages and for favor with government officials as we engage new communities.
Let us know how we can be praying for you and your family!
Willy, Jessee, Lucy, Caroline, and baby sister