Sunday, November 29, 2015

Our "Iron-clad" Guarantee

I have been thinking a lot lately about what “product” we are trying to sell at Casa Compasiva.  What is the most important Casa Compasiva focus that is our raison d'être-- our reason to exist?

Is it childbirth education?  Of course that is part of it... we want our clients to be well-educated in order to be well-prepared and make informed decisions. To that end we offer a series of eight mandatory childbirth classes, as well as various and sundry other public classes and workshops.  But that is only part of it... only part of our promise.
What then?  Is it natural birth?  We want our clients to be able to have a natural birth, and whenever possible we prepare them for that event, and help them through it when it arrives.  But what about clients who have already had two or three C-sections, or are diabetic, or have a heart murmur, or have a low-lying placenta, or some other condition signaling a higher-risk birth?   Do we then shoo them out the door saying there is nothing here for them? No, we continue to offer them pre-natal and post-partum services, while also referring them to higher level care...
Well, then, is that it?  Is it pre-natal and post-partum care?  Is that our hallmark, our principal product? But what about the woman who only hears about Casa Compasiva while already in her thirty-eighth week of pregnancy and who then goes into labour and delivers with us at thirty-nine weeks?  Did she just miss out on the quintessential Casa experience because she had no time to attend classes? No.

What is it then?  What is the one “product” that we can guarantee all of our clients will receive—whether wealthy foreigners, middle-class locals, or lower-income indigenous women from the surrounding mountain villages? I figured it out: it is love-- God's love distilled into quality maternity services, flowing through the hearts and hands and words of our midwives and doulas.  It is not a fake cheery smile, or a pithy team slogan, or a one-size-fits-all approach to pregnancy and birth.

No two women experience the same pregnancy, birth, or recovery period.  No two clients will go through exactly the same track of treatment with exactly the same results.  We can't guarantee a natural birth... unexpected complications can arise requiring transport and an eventual Caesarean.  We can't assure that her baby will be healthy.  That is in God's hands, not ours. But we can guarantee that if she is a Casa Compasiva client that she will be treated with respect, that she will be as informed as time allows, and--most especially--that she will have the chance to hear and experience the gentle love of the Lord Jesus as ministered to her by our midwives.

That is our “iron-clad” guarantee.  That is our promise-- not a particular outcome, but a particular exposure. We hope and pray that it will be enough to touch the hearts of the women we serve.  We hope that the exposure will “prime the pump” motivating them to reach out for more of this same Jesus whom they see in our lives and whom they hear about in their classes and appointments.

I need to be up-front with you right now.  Our funds are depleted;  rent for this month had to come from a private source;  I have no money to pay the obligatory Christmas bonuses or even the regular salaries for next week. We have many pre-natal clients and several births scheduled for December. In a season when demands on the midwives' time and energy are at an all-time high, our funds are at an all-time low.  This ministry depends on partial funding from outside sources; we cannot do it alone.

Please remember us in your prayers and in your giving.

We invite your continued participation in the ministry of Casa Compasiva, helping us to guarantee the only “product” that can really “deliver”--- God's love through Jesus Christ!

 Lila Joy

Saturday, October 03, 2015

The Problem We've Always Wanted

  “Good management is the art of making problems so interesting and their solutions so constructive that everyone wants to get to work and deal with them.” Paul Hawken

Since Casa Compasiva opened in January of 2011, we as a staff have made frequent wistful comments about how nice it would be to have too may clients. Like: “How many chairs should we set up for class? What if we don't have enough chairs? Wouldn't that be a great problem to have?!”

Up until recently, that particular problem has never been our experience. On a couple of past occasions we have even prepared and advertised for an entire series of special pre-natal classes only to have nobody show Disheartening, to say the least! For so long we have been praying and brain-storming trying to discover “how to scratch where Oaxaca itches.” How do we find the right combination of education, pre-natal services, group interaction, etc to attract clients to our classes? In the early years we congratulated ourselves if we had three couples come to class, and four was almost unheard of.

But the times, they are a'changin ... lately our problem is one that we have always wanted: a packed-out houseful of pregnant mamas and their partners showing up for class! Sometimes we have sixteen ladies (and family members) in the Oaxaca City class, and up to eight ladies in Mitla!

Thanks to the hard work of our doctor and midwives in developing an excellent childbirth educational series, both Casa Compasiva Oaxaca and Casa Compasiva Mitla are currently experiencing a boom in clients attending the pre-natal classes. Our very real challenge now is how to organize the rooms to make space for everyone, and how to still provide warm, personalized attention to each attendee. Also, the dynamic involved in presenting a winsome gospel message to thirty or thirty-five people is very different than that of presenting to six or eight people!

I am reminded of the wording in Isaiah 54:2-3, where the prophet is prophesying of Jerusalem's restoration: “Enlarge the place of your tent, and let them stretch out the curtains of your dwellings; Do not spare; Lengthen your cords, and strengthen your stakes.”

Growth, expansion, development, progress, boom—all related terms referring to the current situation that we face. Please pray for our Casa Compasiva leadership that we will manage these excellent problems well, making them and their solutions interesting and constructive—and all to the glory of God!  

Lila Quezada

Monday, June 22, 2015

Oh, For a Father's Love

On this Father's Day I would like to ask prayer for a young lady named Katrina (not her real name). Instead of love, she has experienced only hurt, neglect, and betrayal from the men in her life.

She was married, but her husband abandoned her and her little boy when her little boy was tiny. Unable to make ends meet, her mother sent Katrina to the Yucatan to work, while grandma stayed with the little boy. While away, Katrina was raped while waiting for a bus. 

When she realized that she was pregnant, she decided to try to make the man who was “sort of” her boyfriend at the time believe that he was the father and so take responsibility for the baby. But in the end her integrity won the day and she didn't go through with it. Her boyfriend broke up with her when he found out she had been raped, and she came back home to Mitla traumatized and in disgrace. Her mother is also traumatized and guilt-ridden for having sent her young daughter away to work. 

Enter Casa Compasiva. Katrina and her mother and little boy came to our “Pregnancy Fair” outreach at the municipal hall last week. Then again yesterday they came to the Mitla clinic for pre-natal class and her first appointment. Now she wants to have her baby with us at Casa Compasiva, but the thing is that she is due today!!! -- and she has had virtually no pre-natal care except for an ultrasound through the local Health Center. With no lab tests, we have no idea if she is HIV-positive, or anemic, or even what her blood type is.

Plus, she has no money and no dad herself. She and her mum are both lovely people—cheerful, kind, friendly-- but they eke out a living for themselves by sewing and embroidering. They have $600 pesos saved (about $40 U.S.), which is just enough to get her lab work done tomorrow. We are praying that she will NOT go into labour until after the blood-work results are in, so at least until Tuesday. And we are hoping that her health will be good enough for us to be able to accept her as a client without undue risk to our staff. Then she can be spared the additional trauma of harsh treatment at the government hospital. We are committed to helping Katrina--whether with a birth at Casa, or just labour-support until time to go to the hospital, and follow-up post-partum care. We ask you to please pray for healing and salvation for this precious little family. Both Katrina and her mum seem very tender and open to the gospel, and they are getting counseling from a local pastor's wife. 

The other thing is that if she can have her baby at Casa, we will need to provide her with a full birth scholarship. But this comes in the first month since Christmas that we do not even have sufficient funds to pay the rent and staff salaries. God has blessed us with a six-month rest from constant financial pressure (Thank you, Lord!!), but now the reserve funds are gone and we must again ask your prayers for coverage of these needs. I know that you may not be able to give money, but everyone can certainly pray for Katrina and for the other clients at Casa Compasiva. We had five new mamas at our class yesterday!

So that's it for now. Katrina, along with the many other pregnant mamas who do not yet know the Father's love need your prayers. Casa Compasiva needs your prayers.

Thanks so much!


Lila Quezada  

Monday, February 02, 2015

The Circle is Complete


We are excited to announce that January 8th, 2015 marked an historic event in the ministry of Casa Compasiva. That was the day that we inaugurated a new branch of Casa Compasiva in the small town of Mitla, Oaxaca. Mitla is about one hour of bus/taxi travel from the original location in Oaxaca City, so having a clinic here will be a great benefit for many women who have a hard time traveling into the city.

The new clinic is a tribute to the lifetime work of the parents of our beloved Doctora Donaji. Her father was the town doctor here in Mitla for forty years before his death, and her mother was an obstetric nurse-midwife, delivering many of the Mitleño citizens of the last forty years. Their clinic was eventually converted into a home where various missionaries lived over the last few years. Now, with the help of an awesome Canadian work team and the Canadian funds they brought, we have renovated one half of the home, making it once again a functioning clinic, and coming full circle! Faithful local friends here in Mitla have also dedicated much time, energy and money to make this vision a reality. To God be the glory for His amazing plan! 

Our initial plan is to provide prenatal care, childbirth education classes, spiritual support, and post-partum care for our clients in Mitla. At this time we are not advertising that we will attend births here in the Mitla clinic, preferring instead to direct most women to our more extensive facility in Oaxaca City. But we are also being realistic about the possibility of facing surprise situations in which someone might come for a check-up in full-fledged labour with no time to transport (it happens). :) Accordingly, besides the standard equipment for maternal and infant care, we are also planning to gradually equip Casa Compasiva Mitla with the necessary emergency supplies for such an eventuality. 

The inauguration day was a delightful time of honouring Donaji's mother for her decades of work as a midwife, as well as letting the townspeople know about the philosophy, vision, and mission of Casa Compasiva. The new clinic was full to capacity with guests come to celebrate with us and with town dignitaries who helped to dedicate this new location. There is lots of enthusiasm among the new clients now coming for classes and for prenatal care, with promised support from the local municipal government for low-income clients who cannot afford to pay.

We are eager to see this new clinic become fully-equipped and functioning effectively as a center for sharing God's love through Jesus Christ with the indigenous Zapotec people of Mitla. Doctora Donaji will hold office hours on Tuesdays and Thursdays for both general clients and maternity clients. This last Saturday we had our first in the series of eight childbirth education classes, and word is spreading among the townsfolk of Mitla and the nearby villages. Please join us in prayer and with financial support for this new ministry which vastly expands the potential kingdom impact of Casa Compasiva! 

Lila Joy