Wednesday, March 30, 2011
This may be the hardest letter I have ever had to write
and I've always dreaded having to write a letter like
this but it is time to go ahead and share with you our
situation. I have been working in the mission field for
years and God has always provided.
I still believe in my heart I am supposed to continue the work the good Lord has given me to do here in Guatemala and you all know how much we accomplish. Those of you who have read my newsletters over the years, seen the production companies video, or have been here on a mission trip know how dedicated we are to serve the poor.
However there are a lot of things we do on a daily basis (when no teams are here) that we never talk about - we don't want to sound like we need a pat on the back, this is the path we have chosen in life. When a patient is beyond our ability (to care for them) may need emergency surgery, we have to take them to the government hospital. These people do not have the money to pay for fuel in the ambulance or the money to buy food for their family while they are in the hospital. When the hospital is done with them (with little or no compassion) they give the patient a prescription to go buy medicine at a pharmacy (they cannot afford) and send them on their way.
My point is I know these facts, so when I drop
off a patient with their family members, we know if they
have no money they will have no way get home or eat, we
are talking basics like a bus ticket, food, the
prescription they will need to fill. So I use the extra
money we have from teams to help these people. Our goal
is to get them better and my heart knows their own
government cannot or will not provide. I have to believe
that’s what God has put me here for also.
Much of the “over the counter” medicines have been donated to us through Geoff and Sue Schultz who for years have kept us supplied with cold medicines, Tylenol, Tums and other drugs like that. We are also deeply grateful to the teams over the years that have brought vitamins, medicines, and much needed supplies – this has helped us tremendously. But we still need to buy expensive antibiotics, worm medicine, and other prescription meds that has to (most of the time) come out of our own pockets.
We have many times bought formula, IV solutions and even snake anti venom all out of the money we get from teams. I could go on and on, but you get the point - we are spending money for things people need to live or they will die.
The hard part now is the vehicles we use for getting teams to and from the airport are in need of repair. The medical bus is a 1997 Bluebird School Bus designed for carrying school children on paved roads. No longer safe under American Safety Standards so it was converted into a mobile medical unit and has served us well. These vehicles are getting old with lots of hard miles on them, they need repairs desperately.
Over the years I have taken that bus full of
teams with hundreds of pounds of medicines and dental
supplies up and down remote mountain roads that I know
many of you would not take a 4x4 Jeep on. These vehicles
have been beat like you can't believe. I have had to
replace ball joints, suspension parts, alternators,
water pumps - on and on, and the bottom line is it takes
money to buy parts, repair, and keep these vehicles
I know things are not going well financially for many people in the states and some are struggling to pay their mortgage or make their car payment. Many have lost their jobs. Some are just trying to keep their heads above water and put food on the table. So I understand why so many missionaries are leaving the mission fields.
Here is the truth; we had begun loosing support a couple years ago. With teams coming in, it has allowed me to replace worn out tires on the vehicles, put gas in the ambulance or pay for 4x4 repairs. However due to the economy our monthly donations have gone down to $50.00 per month, yes you heard me right - $50.00 a month. With gas over $4.00 a gallon I cannot even fill the gas tank for the pick up truck with no teams.
Now I am not whining I just need to let you all know what is going on. I talked with a trusted friend of mine and he said Bryan the reason you don't have any donations is because you never ask. No one knows you are running on empty. He said you have to let your friends know because we can't read your mind.
Note: I received a lot of e-mail responses from people who saw the video of Jungle Medics. We really do not know if this is going to become a show; there is so much competition for reality TV. We do not have tons of money coming in from that, actually nothing, even if the show gets chosen to run we have been informed our take will be small unless it is picked up for a second season. We cannot count on that. Now if I do become a Star and make millions then you can sell my autograph on e-bay OK? So this is why I am writing this letter to each of you, we are in trouble!
Over the past 12 years I really cannot tell you how many people we have helped, but it has to be in the thousands - each year. I don't how many lives have been changed with us coming to Guatemala and working with the forgotten people who barely survive day by day. But I do know it has changed the lives of both Guatemalans and Americans who have stood by my side (financially or physically) helping these poor people.
When teams come in we have always charged $65.00 per day for all of their transportation, food and lodging, basically everything except their airfare has been inclusive. We use our home for boarding and cooking meals (if we are very careful with our expenses) this gives us a cushion of money left over to buy the things we need to keep the work going - such as repairs, prescriptions, etc.. This year we had 8 teams coming to help us and 3 of them have canceled. This leaves us with 5 teams, this is not enough support needed to help a lot of the people. We fear we will not be able to continue our work with daily emergencies. It would break my heart to have to turn someone away from our door who had no other place to go. I don't think I can do that! Many of them are children.
So Marleni and I had a long talk about this and I am going to do what every missionary hates with a passion and that is to ask for help - more specifically donations. It is that or time to stop the work we are doing, maybe sell everything and try to do something else?
I have never had to ask for monthly donations before so this is not easy and if no one responds we will know it is time to start a new chapter in our lives. But if you can, we sure would appreciate it and would love to continue helping the people here in Guatemala who have no one else.
here I go; I know some can only afford so much a month or
would rather make a single check for a year, we are grateful
for whatever you can give. I hope I never have to ask again,
but I cannot promise you that. If you could afford as little
as $10.00 a month - that could make the difference.
This donation will qualify for a tax deduction if it is made out to: Missionary Companion Ministries.
The check need only have my name “Bryan Buchanan” on the reference space or the sending envelope.
The check can be sent to:
Missionary Companion Ministries
P.O. Box 26237
Fayetteville N.C. 28314
They will take out 5% for admin fees and then send you a letter of thanks and you will receive a receipt for a tax deduction. They will also send you a return envelope to help you remember to send a donation next month if you wish.
The other option if you would rather have your bank pay this for you through an automatic withdraw system and to do this, just tell your bank to send whatever monthly amount you choose to the info listed below:
Missionary Companion Ministries
PO Box 26237
Fayetteville, NC 28314
Jungle Medic account
I am so sorry to even ask you this as I know you all are
going through tough times and maybe it is just time for us
to accept that we just don't have the means to continue
But if you can, then we will do our part and keep seeing patients and helping those who need it desperately.
Thanks for all you have done for us and God Bless
Bryan & Marleni Buchanan