IN MEMORIAL FOR DR. KEVIN LAKE

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rsz_drlakeDr. Kevin Lake and Pastor Carlos Montoya

Saturday was a big day for us. Dave Rose (President of Healing Hearts Across Borders), Cathy and I were heading to TJ to the Men’s shelter at La Roca. Marilyn, Dave’s wife, would have joined us but she was very sick. Despite being so sick she still went to TJ on Friday to pull all of the medications I had requested. Without that effort there would have been no trip on Saturday.

This trip was a long time in the planning. Dr Kevin Lake, founder of HHAB over 15 years ago, had dreamed of expanding the caring of HHAB to include a monthly visit to La Roca shelter. He was the inspiration and the driving force. Carlos, the founder of La Roca, had actually built us a clinic room right in the shelter. All was ready.

As we gathered we learned that Dr Lake had died that day. His health had been failing for a few months but we never expected he wouldn’t recover. This is a hard blow for HHAB and La Roca Ministries. A powerful guiding force is gone from us. The sadness was great and weighed heavily upon us. We continued the mission that day because this was Dr Lake’s dream. We continued to honor his memory and commitment.

The clinic room at La Roca is beautiful and very professional. We spent an hour organizing the room and our medications. Then we opened for business. I was the only medical provider which would limit how many people we could see. Cathy and Dave did registration and acted as pharmacists counting out the medications, bagging and labeling them to give out. Cathy also got to be nurse doing blood pressures and blood sugars. In 4 ½ hours we saw 33 patients.

One memorable patient was named Carmen. She was 56 but looked much older. Life had been hard on Carmen. I was very pleased to learn that La Roca opened a small woman’s shelter at the site, holding 10 women for now. Carmen had been rescued from a hospital where she would probably have been put out on the street.

Carmen was swollen all over. It was easy to see she had CHF (congestive heart failure). The swelling comes because the heart is weakened and fluid backs up in the body. In addition, her blood sugar was so high our meter wouldn’t register it. I was told that Carmen was actually much less swollen than 2 weeks before when they rescued her. This was a testament to the good care she was receiving at La Roca.

Diabetes is such a problem in TJ. We saw another man named Cesar who looked like he was ill. He had run out of his insulin 4 days earlier. His blood sugar also would not register on our meter. He was showing the classic signs of excessive thirst and excessive urination. This comes from the body spilling so much sugar out in the urine which pulls water out of the body. He was at risk of developing a life threatening condition called Diabetic Ketoacidosis which can cause coma and death.

All I could do was turn to Carlos and lay the problem on his head. He carries so much already. The clinic is a wonderful thing but it also uncovers the hidden health needs that are so prevalent. Managing diabetes is expensive. He will try to find how we can get insulin. Please keep this wonderful man and his wife Rossy in your prayers. He started with nothing but God took his faith and built up this marvelous ministry called La Roca from nothing and made it into something very powerful in the lives of so many.

La Roca is a special place. We can provide some comfort in medical care but La Roca gives people a home. It restores their dignity and lets them know they are valued and loved. It provides a safe haven in the middle of a dangerous place when you have to live on the streets. One of the best rewards of pursuing volunteer work with HHAB and La Roca is the quality of the people you have the rsz_drlake4opportunity to work with.

So, our hearts go out to the family of Dr Lake. He will be terribly missed. His efforts have helped thousands and thousands of the poor and offered hope where there was none. He has gone to his reward. Well done good and faithful servant.

The work goes on. We return to La Roca April 5th to start again. May God’s grace fall on us and the work. May He sustain us. May we be faithful to Dr Lake’s legacy.

Phil

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