Monday, July 1, 2019

Packed Week in Nashville

This week, I will have my skates on!  I have been invited to Nashville and will be staying with Pat.  I am looking forward to our time together.

The first two days, I spent at Healing Hands International, packing duffel bags to be sent down to Guatemala.  I was very appreciative of Linda, Mary, Alice and Julie who came to help me.  We packed the eleven bags in two days. 

On Wednesday, I went to David Lipscomb with Pat.  Alice and Julie met us there and helped us set up the booth for Summer Celebration. Alice, Pat, me, Oliver and Julie.

 This is where we had the HTI luncheon.  Before the festivities started..........

The line continued to grow and tables filled.

People starting to eat and then Carlos offered prayer before we began the program.


Not the best photo but the only one I have.  Elaine, the president resenting to Julie.  Marie, the vice-president introduced Julie before the presentation was made.  Alice, board member, presenting a huipil to Julie.

I am hoping that others took better photos than what I have.

I think the final count was 139 for lunch and the presentation.

Alfred led the slosing prayer.

Carlos, me, Sylvia and Julie before we finished the day.

It was a very exciting week for me.  I saw many people that have been down on HTI trips.
In addition to those above are Harriett, Kassi, Sarah, Alfred, Linda, Jane, Jeff, Nancy, Steve, Mary, Erik.......and I am sure others.

Thank you to everyone for your support of Health Talents International in Guatemala.

Friday, June 14, 2019

We Shall Do This Again!

This will be the last post from my house in Chichicastenango.  It has been a little over twelve years since I found several homes for all my belongings and moved to Guatemala.  I have countless, wonderful memories. I never have regretted moving here.

I will be returning to lead teams and to help out whenever I can.  I will just be in the states a little more and also in Montellano a few more times a year. I will be visiting places that want to hear more about Health Talents and recruiting staff for the surgical clinics.

It is impossible to reflect on everything that I have leaned and how I have changed. Kemmel, Lisa and those that we work with have made significant impacts on my life.  Thank you!  I never say it enough.

When you think of those that influence your life, sometimes it is not those that you would think.  Someones, it is not someone that you see often.  Below is one lady that I think of often and when I think of her, I think of humility. An attribute that is of value and one that is worthy pursuing. Humility should impact our actions.  It is not a weakness but it is a strength. Our worship should be filled with humility. Our relationship with family and friends should reflect humilty.  Christ was covered in with blood, perspiration, pain and humilty as he walked to the cross.

 I never want to forget these twelve years and the experiences that we have had together.

So, this will be my last blog as I pack up the house.  Tonight, we will have a dinner together and I look forward to it and I also dread it. I knew this day would come.

Kemmel will swing by and pick me up in the morning. He told me, ¨There is no bus for this trip to Antigua.¨  Lisa will need to stay back for clinic with the MET Interns but they have a raincheck for NiFu-NiFa and I look forward to that!

So, wanting to end on a positive note, I will return in October and, "We Shall Do This Again!"



Monday, June 10, 2019

Proverbs Finished!!

Today, I finished the Proverb class in Chuchipaca with the ladies.  It was a good day.

I started having coffee with Jule and then met one of my ABC Children, Roxana and her mom in Chichi.  She is the daughter of Manuel and Juana and it is fun when we tease about sharing Roxana.

Below are some of the photos that I have used for my my classes the last twelve years that I have been in Guatemala.  All three of them came up today so it was a good way to end this phase.

I like to use this photo when I talk about wisdom in James.  I also used it for the Proverbs class on wisdom.  I encourage the ladies to ask God for wisdom.  Our relationship with God, in many ways is like our physical relationship with our parents.  Parents like to give their children things that are good for them, especially when children ask.

I use this photo a lot when we talk about being content, friendships and having joy.  Everyone should have a mentor and someone that encourages them. This photo just makes me smile!

Proverbs 31:28-----Her children arise and call her blessed.  Something that all mothers dream of---love and respect from their children. 

I closed the class by asking the ladies to continue in their studies. Before two years ago, the ladies in Chuchipaca did not meet on a regular basis. Now they have a service every Monday afternoon. How encouraging is this!

I was excited today when Kemmel and Lisa asked me to do the Ladies Seminar this fall in Paxot II and Montellano. It will be here before we know it and I am looking forward to it.

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Time For the Babies!

The last few weeks have been busy but they have been good ones.  I would like an extra couple of hours in the day but I have not yet learned how to make that happen.

Monday, the babies came to see us in Lemoa.  In the future, I will not be in Guatemala as much as I am now.  I have been spending time with Brenda and showing her how we evaluate babies, so she will be able to do this in the future. She will do an excellent job and I have a lot of confidence in her and also in Ana.  We have the best team that we could ever have. I know that they will do well and the ministry will continue. 

We had eight babies come to see us today.

First, we had Eliezar Geraldo and here he was when we was close to a year old.  He has had his lip and palate repaired since this photo and was sponsored by Danny.

Look at Eliezar now at five years old!  He will be going down to Montellano for a consult to see if we can help him with a small hole that remains in the palate.

Second, was Carlos Enrique when he was about seven months old.  He also has had his lip and palate repair and he was sponsored by Danny.

Now, Carlos is six years old and is doing great!  He also has a small hole in the palate and we will see if this can be repaired.

This is Jose Luis, when he was about six months old.  Don and Jessie sponsored his surgeries.

Now, Jose is six years old and doing fantastic.  He says that he really enjoys school and has two girlfriends!

Jaime Lizando was about seven months when we first met him. His surgeries were sponsored by Danny.

Now, Jaime is full of energy at six years old and is ready for the world!  He is doing great and will not need anymore surgery. His mom brought him today just to say hi and to let us know how well he is doing.

Randy came to us for the first time when he was about a year old.  His surgeries were sponsored by Terry and he has done real well.

Randy now is five years old and will return to Montellano to have a small hole in the palate repaired. His mom said that he is also doing very well in school.

We were excited to see Dilon again.  His parents brought him to us when he was about six months old.  His surgery was sponsored by a very special girl, Ava.  Ava sponsored Dilon's surgery by making and selling bracelets.  Her actions, taught a lesson that has several applications.

Dilon went to Montellano in February, but he had developed a fever so his surgery had to be postponed. We were very sad but knew it was the best for him.  Now he is one year and nine months old and will have his palate repaired.

This little girl is Debora, when she was four months old. She needed to wait until she got a little older and her mother said that she would return. 

She came back today and now is nine months old.  She is old enough to have her lip repaired but still needs to gain a few pounds. Her mom said that she is often sick so I think that it is better for Debora to wait until February 2020 for her surgery.  She will be a little stronger and Carol will sponsor her surgery. 

The last child of the day was Yoshuar and he is four years old.  His grandmother brought him to see us.  He had his lip surgery in Antigua when he was only a few months old.  He now will have his palate surgery and the Lenoir Church of Christ will sponsor his surgery.

Yoshuar, also has a sister who was born with a cleft lip and palate.  She was in school today but the grandmother said that she will bring her to the clinic next Monday to see Brenda.

That is the lineup for August and we will see what happens.  The parents will return to the clinic with the lab work and Brenda will finish the process.  Please pray for the team that will travel to Montellano, for the patients and for those who have sponsored the surgeries.  Sometimes the process is not easy but it is worth it.  As you can see,the results are life-changing for the child and the family.



Thursday, May 23, 2019

Back in the Swing and Cleaning

Being back in Guatemala this week has been very interesting. I have been cleaning and going through things. Trashing things that are no longer needed and deciding what needs to be kept.

I found some notes from June of 2005.  This was my first trip to Guatemala and I was to spend time with Dr. Jim and Mary Rackely and meet Dr. Lisa and Kemmel Dunham.  It was the beginning of the MET Program and I would stay a week at Clinic Ezell in Montellano.

Things did not go quite as planned.  Dr. Rackley became very ill, with Whooping Cough, and needed to return to the states.  I received a call asking if I would still consider flying to Guatemala and of course, my answer was yes.

Carlos picked me up at the airport and we drove to Montellano. I spent the evening and Sunday getting to know Lisa and Kemmel.  They had recently moved down to begin a ministry in Chichicastenango. They had met a few years ago, when Lisa was a medical student and Kemmel translated. They eventually married and now they were back to serve with Health Talents International.

I did not speak any Spanish so Lisa began making me lists of words to study.  These are what I found in the journals that I kept during my first year coming down.  At this time, I had no intention of returning. Worshipping with the Montellano Church of Christ was a wonderful experience and I continue to enjoy being there.

For the next four days, we would pack up the trucks, travel to different communities and hold medical clinics. We may be located in a home or in a church building.  We tied lines up and hung sheets for privacy.  I was working with students, teaching them how to do blood pressures, taking temperatures and checking pulses. When we finished getting the patients ready for their consult, I would sit with Lisa and observe.

After each consult, Lisa would pray with each patient.  That is when I decided that there was something about this that I really liked.  Seeing this changed my view of caring for patients. Yes, we say that we care for patients holistically, including physical and spiritual but praying with patients was something totally foreign.

Lisa has been teaching me since that first day.................and she continues to.  We saw fourty-six patients today in Lemoa and she always has time for my questions.  Thank you Lisa!

While Lisa and the rest of us see patients, Kemmel keeps us rolling.  Without him, our vehicles would not be maintained and we would not have sufficient medicine.  It takes a lot of work and planning to keep our clinics organized in several different communities.  It is a team effort and I have been honored to be part of it for twelve years now.

Monday, May 20, 2019

Back in Guatemala and MET Cranking Up!

After a couple of weeks in NC, it was time to get back to Guatemala.

My Mom and Dad before I left Morganton. 

Sally came to Morganton and drove me to Charlotte for the night. Thank you, Sally!

I had a couple of nights in Antigua and then went to meet this years MET Students.  We will have ten students with us for about six weeks. They will have one week in language school in Xela and then attend an orientation in Paxot II with Lisa and Kemmel.

We spent Saturday night in Tecpan, which was about half of the drive to Xela.  Their flight had been delayed so it was good that this had been the plan.  We enjoyed dinner at the hotel and then a good night of sleep.

On Sunday morning, we had breakfast and a time of worship together.  It will be exciting to see what happens during these six weeks for this group of students.  I encouraged them to stay open-minded, experience new things and to be very active in all of the opportunites that lie ahead. They will have a chance to experience the culture in Chichicastenango and also the culture in Montellano, while living with different Guatemalan families.

This was our last photo at the language school before I left them.  I gave them enough information to fly for the upcoming week.  They will come up to Chichi on Friday afternoon.  Enjoy your studies and see you soon!!


Sunday, May 5, 2019

Summary of Surgical Clinic

The week in Montellano went like a whirlwind but it was a great week.  We stayed very busy with a smaller group than usual.  It was nice to have those who have been with us before and also some new blood.  The whole GYN team were new and they were awesome to work with!  Please return!

This is Craig and I have know him for several years.  He has been coming to Guatemala with his family for many years since they are part of the congregation that support Kemmel and Lisa. They have always been very good to me and included me when they are here.  Craig brought morning and evening devotional thoughts to us and was even able to spend some time in the operating room.

Bob, joined us for the first time and he was our "Mr. Fixit"  One of his projects was to get the speaker system off the floor. He did a great job and I will think of him often when I am in Montellano.

We had several people helping to count medicine and package it to prepare for the medical mobile clinics.  Here my mom is joined by Mary and Kristi. All have been with us before and hope to see them again in the future.

On Thursday, several people took off for the chocolate farm and some of us stayed back to care for the few patients that were left.  The guy to the far right is Bryan. He is the grandson of the family that I rent from and he served as a translator. He did a great job and I hope that he will be able to join us again.

This was the less professional photo! Kristi!!    ha ha ha

This is the group that went out to the chocolate farm.  There is a Ceiba tree on the farm, which is the national tree of Guatemala.  Many grow over 230 feet in height and you can see how large the base of the tree can become.

Carol with one of her patients as she is ready to be discharged.

Mom in front of Montellano. This was her second trip here.

This is Ashlea, walking one of her patients back to the operating room.

These two, Dr. Randall and Dra. Lumby, were a blessing to us.  They were our anesthesiologists for the week.

This was our last few hours before we handed care over to the Guatemalan staff.  Henry, Ashlea and Debra were planning the care of the patients. 🤩🤩🤩🤩  That is it, Care Plans!!!

Our last photo before taking off for Antigua!

When we hit Antigua, everyone went in different directions.  Some of us went for a quick lunch and others went shopping.  There was an exhibit of bears in the central park.

Carol found a tipico dress for an upcoming event.

Mom and I flew back to Greensboro, NC and Dad picked us up at the airport.  Mom found this wire person very interesting.  I wanted her to crawl under the tape and sit on his lap but she was would not. Imagine that!?!?

I have not spent much time in the Greensboro airport but there are some interesting things!

I will have about two weeks at my parents and then I will return to Guatemala. I look forward to the time here and then it will be time to get back to work.