Delivery at the Drive-in
Standing in the middle of the Amazon jungle, the stars like jewels in the sky, shone down on our small mission team. We set up movie night for the group of villagers that resembled and old drive-in theater (minus the cars). A large sheet nailed onto a wooden beam on the community center’s rooftop flapped in the breeze. Plastic chairs sat in wobbly rows crowded with moms with their nursing babies and squirming children. The teens and dads peered in at the back trying to act disinterested. I noticed a very pregnant woman standing at the edge of the crowd, so I hurried to get her a chair. She declined sitting in the chair because she said she was in labor and would rather stand. After asking one of our nurses to give the woman a brief exam, we discovered the woman was indeed in labor.
We quickly went into our American “fix-it” mode and told the woman she needed to come to our boat because we had state of the art medical equipment and a surgical room, two doctors and three nurses who could give her all the comforts and security for a safe and easy delivery. Very calmly she replied that she would come to the boat but first she wanted to watch the two-hour film about Jesus. I will never forget the impact of that moment. Had I ever wanted Jesus that badly? I thought about the two times I was in labor and I couldn’t fathom wanting to stand up for two hours for anything! This was a moment I realized that even on a mission trip we sometimes forget that the most important thing is Jesus. I am definitely one American who often times puts comfort and security above what is most important. Lesson learned.
This very pregnant and patient lady taught the team another lesson. After the Jesus movie was over, she came with her midwife to the boat. The boat was teeming with excitement and activity preparing for a baby to be born. The doctors and nurses laid her on the bed and began helping her with labor exercises. They tried every American medical technique they knew to help her birth her baby, but after two hours of pushing, the woman calmly climbed off the bed, squatted on the floor and delivered the baby girl straight into the arms of the doctor who had quickly grabbed a black trash bag off the counter and rushed to catch the baby.
Did we ever ask the woman, who was the mother of four children already, or her midwife, how we could assist her? Did we even think there might be an easier way than our American way of doing things? Like I said, the lady was very patient, and she was extremely grateful for the doctors and nurses who tried so hard to help. She even named the baby girl Linda Michelle, after Michael, the doctor and the Linda Esperança, our boat.