In May 2003, I had the privilege of traveling to Camiri, a small town south of Santa Cruz (one hour by small plane or 10 hours by bus) in the South American country of Bolivia. I was to meet up with a group of 57 college-aged men and women from my church who had already arrived in Bolivia.
The day I arrived in Santa Cruz, it had been raining for several days – this was supposed to be their “dry season.” As a result, the four-passenger plane to Camiri was not allowed to depart. Although it continued to rain the following day, we took off before they could deny us clearance and flew along the front of the mountain range until we reached a river. We followed it upstream between mountain peaks until we saw the grass landing strip in Camiri.
After rendezvousing with the group of interns at the church where we were staying, I found out that a majority of the group would be leaving a day early in order to travel to several small villages where I was supposed to go.
The following day, I set up shop at the church and adjusted 22 locals. No one had ever heard about chiropractic, so there were a lot of giggles from the local Indian women during the adjustments. We were wearing tee shirts during the day, but the local men and women would dress in many layers of clothing. Most had at least three layers of clothing, many up to 4 or 5! Needless to say, I didn’t get bare skin in the thoracics, but the low back and neck were skin-on-skin. A Bolivian medical doctor had accompanied the group as an interpreter, and after watching me treat those twenty-two locals, he asked me to examine his sprained ankle as well as his neck and back, all of which I adjusted a few times.
One of the patients I treated was brought in by her husband. He later returned and asked me to go with him to his mother’s house to treat her because she did not get out very much due to severe arthritis. In the taxi, he asked me through the interpreter, if I would tell his mom about Jesus while adjusting her, and of course, I said I would.
When we arrived, the man found me a steel table on which to adjust his mom. I adjusted her after getting her case history and doing the normal Gonstead evaluation. Throughout this process, I was waiting for the right time to talk to her about the Lord as I had promised, but the smooth transition that I had been looking for never came so I just went for it. I told her that her son loved her very much and wanted her to know Jesus so that, for the rest of her life, she could know Him and would be forever with him. She responded in the affirmative when I asked her to pray with me, so when I led her in the prayer of salvation, she cried … we cried. I adjusted her, and we headed back to the church to do some more street ministry with the missionary group from my Colorado Springs church.
I know I had helped those twenty-two people that I adjusted at the church, but I am sure that the real reason I was on that trip was for that man’s mom, who had repeatedly turned down previous offers to accept the Lord as her Saviour.
My first trip to a Third World country was pretty exciting AND eye-opening. Poverty is widespread. Water is piped in but is not drinkable (at least by us). A sewer system is present, but because the pipes are so narrow, used paper products have to be put in the trash instead of flushed down the drain. Life expectancy is only in the forty year age range, which I’m sure would be improved simply by having a safe, dependable water supply and a better sewer system. BUT, that’s why we go to these places – they need help in many areas of life, and we can provide some of that.
All the locals we met were very loving and appreciative, as were the U.S. missionaries who arranged the trip. If you would like to help them in any way, please contact me at email@example.com subject line: “Bolivia.”