Monday, February 1, 2010

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Columbus Medical Mission Team Traveling to Nicaragua

Columbus Medical Mission Team Traveling to Nicaragua

By Shelly Burke, Editor

Nila Novotny, MD and her husband John spent time in May, 2009, doing construction and maintenance in the city dump, “La Chereka,” in Minagua, Nicaragua. The Novotnys had “a great experience” and will return to Nicaragua in February, this time on a medical mission trip.

About 12 couples and individuals, mostly from the Columbus area, will work in a hospital in Puerto Cabezas, Nicaragua. They will be working in the only hospital on the Atlantic Coast of Nicaragua, where there is also an established mission with a church, school, and orphanage. (go to to see a video of the hospital and more information about the trip, as well as updates during the trip).

Some members of the team have been on mission trips before, and to some it’s a new experience. Tamra Boettcher, Nurse Practitioner, was asked to join the team after another team member could not go on the trip. She is looking forward to the challenge of “doing something outside of my comfort zone,” although she admits she is “not looking forward to the cold showers” while she is there. Boettcher is thankful for the support of her family, the doctor she works with, and the team members who have been great to work with even though she joined the team “late in the game.”

Each member of the team will be taking two totes filled with supplies—gloves, syringes, medicine, etc.,--and gifts for local people, patients, nurses, doctors, and girls who were rescued from the city dump and live at the mission.

Dr. Novotny says, ”We plan to leave almost everything behind, except the instruments we have borrowed from our hospital.” The team has held several fundraisers to obtain funds for medications and other supplies, and various groups have donated supplies and gifts. Donations of money will be used to purchase gasoline, IV fluids, and oxygen when they get there. (See information at the end of this article if you’d like to donate.) The total estimated cost of the trip is about $30,000.

During their trip (they’ll spend six days in Puerto Cabezas, two days traveling, and one day at church), the team, which consists of a combination of medical professionals and spouses, will do surgery (Novotny is an Ear, Nose, and Throat specialist; an anesthesiologist, several nurses, and a Nurse Practitioner are also on the team), teach CPR, and do repairs in the hospital and other buildings.

Dr. Novotny anticipates treating between 50 and 100 patients during the time they are in Puerto Cabezas. There is no running water at the hospital; the team will be allowed to use 55 gallons of water daily. Electricity is unreliable and team members will have headlamps to use when necessary.

Patients have been preselected and Dr. Novotny will be performing tonsillectomies and repairing cleft lips and palates and broken ear drums. She reflects; ”These people live in desperate poverty and cannot afford to travel to Managua where the care they need is provided. They have no access to care for ear, nose, or throat problems. I’m looking forward to helping those who would have to go without care were it not for the mission hospital.”
Although the group will be will be working 10-12 hrs. every day, in less-than-optimal conditions, Dr. Novotny is excited to ”operate all day every day without all the government regulations and paperwork that we have to deal with here.”

They will also share their faith—Tamra Boettcher says, “I hope to spread the word of Jesus to those I come into contact with.” John Novotny, who will be helping with logistics and administrative tasks, remarked, ”Although our goal is to help others less fortunate than ourselves, it can’t but help one’s own spiritual growth to be involved with a project of this nature.”
The team is working with Forward Edge International, an agency which has missions all over the world. They will leave for Puerto Cabezas, Nicaragua, Feb. 18th and return Feb. 27th.

Team members include:Nila Novotny, MD, Ear, Nose and Throat specialist
John Novotny, logistics and maintenance
Pete Diedrichsen, MD, Ophthalmologist
Dean Athey, Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist
Carolyn Athey, retired nurse
Tamra Boettcher, Nurse Practitioner
Jody Dreifurst, Registered Nurse
Janet Loseke, Registered Nurse
Melissa Shemek, Registered Nurse
Katrina Spies, Registered Nurse
Sue Tillinghast, Licensed Practical Nurse
Karl Tillinghast, repairs and maintenance

If you would like to make a donation to the Clumbus Medical Mission Team, please send it to:
Columbus Medical Mission Team
ATTN: John Novotny
4508 38th St.
Columbus, NE 68601

The Nebraska Family Times wishes the Columbus Medical Mission Team God’s blessings throughout their trip!
(A report on the trip will be printed in the May issue of the Nebraska Family Times)

Editor's Letter, February

Happy February!

Here is the February Editor’s Letter from the NFT.

Editor’s Letter—Feb. 2010

I hope your year is off to a great start!

How do we comprehend a tragedy like the earthquake in Haiti? The news of the earthquake was sad, but seemed very far away—until I read on Facebook that two of my cousins were requesting prayers for another cousin, who was in Haiti with her husband on a mission trip. That news hit very close to home as a network of relatives and friends prayed for Joy and Joel’s safety. Thankfully, in a matter of hours we heard that they were safe. Despite the destruction they were able to communicate via the Internet.

As they waited for a way out of the country, they and their medical team (they are both Physician Assistants) worked at a hospital or makeshift clinic at a soccer stadium. They finally returned to the United States on Tuesday. We thank God that they are safe, and continue to pray for the country of Haiti and the people providing relief. The article “Live with Haiti in Your Heart,” in this issue of the paper, gives further insight to the lessons of Haiti and how we can help.

As always, the high point of our month was our trip to the National Western Stock Show in Denver, CO. Morgan’s heifer, Sadie, was named Reserve Grand Champion Prospect Breeding Heifer, and Cody was named Champion Senior Showman. We enjoyed spending time with friends of ours who show cattle and sheep, and enjoyed the warm and sunny weather in Denver.

I hope you enjoy this issue of the Nebraska Family Times! As always, I pray that I’ve selected and written articles that will “inspire, encourage, and motivate you” on your Christian walk.

Since we celebrate Valentine’s Day in February, I’ve printed several articles about marriage, taken from my book Home is Where the Mom Is. I am blessed to have a wonderful husband and we work to make our marriage a good one and hope you celebrate your love on Valentine’s Day and throughout the month.

I’m not a sports fan, but enjoyed reading about Tim Tebow, a quarterback who is open about his faith and will appear in a pro-life commercial that will air during the Super Bowl. I hope you will enjoy the article also (even if you aren’t a sports fan either).

Please let me know how I’m doing! I like to hear what articles and features you enjoy, and what you’d like to see in the paper. Thank you for your comments, suggestions, and encouragement.

May God bless you and your family this month!