The Easter Bunny made a visit to the Hope House! Most of the kids had never seen an Easter Bunny before.. so today was a treat in many ways!
What felt like the biggest disappointment turned out to be the greatest victory.
We all felt the weight of not being able to get Juan Carlos into a hospital a few weeks ago. And now, 25 days later, we understand there was a much bigger plan.
Juan Carlos passed away early yesterday morning in peace and with his family at his side. He and his family had 25 more days together that they would not have had if there would have been a bed in a hospital the night that Jason and his sons spent six hours searching for oxygen and additional medical help.
We thought we knew what we needed.
We know that patients with COVID are not allowed visitors in most if not all hospitals right now. And we also know that Peru’s hospitals are stretched to their limits. What we thought he needed that night ended up being something so much better–not just for Juan Carlos but for all of our community.
There was a much bigger purpose.
Juan Carlos received care at the Hope House far superior to what he would have received at a hospital. His three adult sons and his wife made sure he was never alone. Jason taught them how to check his vital signs, keep him comfortable and mostly how to make the time count. He had visitors who came to sing songs and pray for him and children who made him cookies. They laughed and cried, shared old memories and made new ones. Most importantly, they were together.
Today we celebrate.
We celebrate Juan Carlos and how much life we shared these last 25 days. Somehow the days seemed more significant knowing how opposite the alternative would have been — lonely, dark days in a hospital bed somewhere in Lima. The days were deep and at times long. We watched Juan Carlos gain complete peace, and we saw how happy he was. Happy to see his wife and children happy. Happy to be a part of a vibrant community, dedicated to helping each other along the way. Happy to be shedding the struggles of this life for something better. In his final days on this earth, Juan Carlos taught us that the end truly is the beginning.
Tomorrow we get to work.
Now that the Hope House has weathered the worst of this COVID outbreak, they are ready for a new beginning. Armed with an incredible bonding experience and COVID antibodies, they want to get to work. Some have found a job, others are starting businesses and there are some pursuing a career for the first time. All have the goal to contribute to the daily operations of the Hope House and even go beyond their own needs so they can help others.
Jason is right in step as he returns to the U.S. and to his work. It has never been about the paycheck for him, and he will continue to work so that 100% of your donations will go to help people who need it the most.
There are exciting things ahead.
I can not wait to tell you about Angel’s pet business. It is a business that is much bigger than simply providing a place for Angel to use his veterinary training. And then there is Milagros, and you will love meeting her. She is 21 years old and makes the BEST fried chicken I have ever tasted (even better than Chick fil A!). She already needs to add a helper to keep up with the nightly sales. There is also a new delivery service of Venezuelan imports that was hatched right in the Hope House and is now a fully operational business that gives two special young couples an opportunity to work together.
I can not wait to tell you more and share opportunities for you to get involved. This is
how we honor Juan Carlos and all the ones who have invested in the vibrant life at the Hope House. Your support this last month has made a huge difference. We appreciate it and we appreciate you.
Thank you for being in it with us —
We just paid $2,000 US dollars for an oxygen concentrator. And yesterday we spent 3,200 soles ($879) for a tank of oxygen in Lima. Together, that total amount is more than the average Peruvian makes in an entire year. Because of your support, we could do what would have been impossible.
Trust me, I was prepared to pay even more after what I witnessed two nights ago. I was glued to my phone as Jason searched for help, anxiously awaiting updates and praying for peace in the middle of a lot of chaos. While most people at the Hope House have weathered this COVID storm pretty well, we have one very sick person, Juan Carlos. He is loved by all, and the kids are especially fond of who they see as their “abuelo.”
Jason and a few faithful friends spent 6 hours trying to find a hospital on Thursday evening. They knew that at age 73, Juan Carlos needed more than they could offer him.
So at 6 pm they went to a nearby hospital. There were 14 other people in line ahead of them waiting for oxygen. Juan Carlos’ oxygen level was at 74. They didn’t have time to wait so they drove to another hospital — and another seven hospitals after that.
They spent six hours driving around Lima to find a hospital that could help — they stopped at two public and seven private hospitals. Each one said the same thing — no beds and no oxygen. From what I saw in pictures and updates, COVID has turned hospitals in Lima into war zones.
There were lines of people everywhere, waiting for some form of care. Families spending their entire life savings to bring their own oxygen tanks to sick relatives waiting on the sidewalks outside, desperate to see a doctor. Even the most elite hospital in the city would not look at Juan Carlos.
Worn out and with nowhere else to go, Jason and the crew returned home around midnight on Thursday night.
Miraculously, Juan Carlos made it through the night even with his oxygen dipping into the 60’s at times. Some were trying to prepare Jason and others for his passing. But Jason was full of hope. Hope is for when you can’t see. Hope is believing that anything is possible. Hope brings life.
We know many have been praying. The prayers are making a difference — we are certain of that. It is the one thing we can rely on.
Yesterday morning a small ground team got on the phone starting around 8 am with one mission: find an oxygen tank. It is another miracle that they actually found one. And then an even bigger miracle happened — an oxygen concentrator arrived at the Hope House tonight.
Getting this machine is a testament to how many people are working together to make sure Juan Carlos can breathe. Oxygen shortages, chaotic hospitals, worn-out doctors and faulty infrastructure were not enough to stop our friend, Dr. Wayne, and his Lima-based organization, Health Bridges International, from getting us what we need for the long-haul. Tonight Juan Carlos’ oxygen level is at 92%. It is ALL a miracle.
This is about more than oxygen. It is about caring for one another. Not giving up. Seeing each other’s problems as our own. Being family and working together. This is the medicine we all need.
So many people do not have what Juan Carlos has.
Community is a gift. Your generosity helps support community at the Hope House in Lima. We could not do this without you. Please keep sharing our story with your friends. We have been humbled and deeply moved by the donations from old and new friends alike. Your help is literally saving a life today.
The last two weeks have felt like a thousand years, and yet like a day. It has been s-t-o-r-m-y, no doubt. But, the people have had everything they need each day. That is what matters most.
Thank you for helping Juan Carlos and so many more. We are so grateful.
You may think this is crazy, but Jason is back in Lima. We made a quick decision to send him down last week not knowing exactly what it would all look like but feeling a purpose in sending him.
A couple days ago we began to understand more of the purpose for Jason being there — one young woman in the building just tested positive for COVID-19. Today about 50% of the Hope House residents have at least one COVID symptom. We have been bracing for this moment through the pandemic and now it is here.
Today I read that there are only 102 ICU beds available in the entire country of Peru right now.
The President has reinstated strict lockdown measures again to try to slow the spread. Experts also are saying that Peru needs roughly 1,250 doctors to adequately care for that many ICU beds. The current number of doctors in Peru — 600. It starts to feel a little like facing a major battle with just a butter knife.
Jason is right smack in the middle of it. And the truth is, I could not be happier!
He has antibodies from his recent COVID sickness and the first dose of vaccine. But more than that, this is what Jason was born to do. This is the man I fell in love with. Someone who used to seek out jobs in emergency rooms and community health clinics. The man who regularly treated snake bites and broken bones as people risked their lives to cross the southern U.S. border in search of something more. And who was affectionately called “Dr. Jason” by many, many patients.
They are taking every precaution they can in Lima. Everyone is staying isolated in their own room. The ones who are well are taking turns preparing meals and delivering food to those who are sick. Bathrooms are being disinfected after each use.
Several times a day I hear from Jason after he has made his “rounds” — going through all five floors to each room to check on his patients. As of right now, their symptoms are all being treated with tylenol, ibuprofen and a ton of reassurance. They do have the best “doctor” I know taking care of them!
By Abbey Puerta
Today, January 29th, 2021, I am 39 weeks pregnant.
I truly thought that Alejandro would be by my side in the hospital room when our son was born. It may have been overly optimistic, but I thought that the USCIS would make my family’s dream come true.
Now we are one week away from our baby’s due date, and I’m in the U.S., but Alejandro is still in Peru. I have spent countless hours on the phone with the USCIS – I have called their office more than 40 times in December and January alone. I have begged and I have pleaded with each agent or Immigration officer who picks up the phone to do everything in their power to help my family. Some immigration officers have attempted to support us, but two of them actually hung up on me. I have made 11 visa expedite requests – all of them have been denied.
Alejandro has gone to the US Embassy in Lima multiple times, sent emails and made phone calls from Peru. We have not seen any forward progress with his visa.
I am starting to understand what MANY families have felt for years – families separated simply because they don’t all have the same paperwork from the U.S. government. It is heart-wrenching not to be able to be together. But like many other families, we are holding onto hope.
Something New loves to see families together. Abbey and Alejandro, the families in the Hope House in Lima, and the thousands of families who have been locked out of the U.S. due to misinformation and a severe departure from the core values of the United States. We are so hopeful for what is ahead.
Thanks to you, more than 70 people have a safe place to stay and food to eat! Join Xavier for a look inside the Hope House, a home that is made possible thanks to you!