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Medical Mission: Slovenia

On Tuesday, Bette and I are leaving for our 5th medical mission trip with Calvary Chapel, but this journey still holds a first for us – we have never been to Slovenia. The Republic of Slovenia is a small country located in central Europe with a population of just over 2 million. As a modern nation with all of the Western conveniences, Slovenia will be a far cry from the slums of India we usually visit on these missions (where sewage runs in the middle of the street and people sometimes go their whole life without ever seeing a doctor). So why then, I hear you asking, do they need to be the recipient of medical missions?

The answer is socialized medicine. Slovenia has it, and access to doctors is difficult. Medical appointments must be made months in advance. For example, if you are an expectant mother in Slovenia, you not only must book your delivery date months ahead of time, you also must go so far as to reserve your parking spot in the hospital lot. Once you get your chance with your obstetrician, you will be pressured into having a C-sections so that the doctor can quickly move on to their next appointment. And if the mother happens to go into labor outside of her appointment time? Well, she may as well stay home. No emergency room will take her.

For this reason, the focus of our trip is starting a childbirth education program. Bette will be teaching a core group of women about CBE, who will in turn go on to educate other women. The goal is for the CBE program to be taught in communities, churches, & crisis pregnancy centers throughout the country to aid women who must deliver at home or who wish for a natural birth over a C-section. They will also build a teen pregnancy prevention program to be taught in high schools.

Meanwhile, I’ll be doing what I do best – seeing people whose ability to function has been compromised by illness or injury and helping them get back to a pain-free lifestyle (in Slovenia, access to physical therapists, as well as specialists of all kinds, is also rationed). However, some members of Kalvarija (the Calvary Chapel in Slovenia) have started an American-style football team, so I’ll be helping to coach that as well…which might end up making more work for me on the physical therapy-side of things. Hmmm…

As always, Bette & I appreciate your thoughts and prayers during this time, and if you’d like to support this or any other Calvary Chapel mission, please visit http://www.chapelmissions.org/how-you-can-help. See you in three weeks! Keep moving, my friends!

– Alan

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