Thursday, July 31, 2008

Day in Winston

Mom and I drove to Hickory and we met Sally. We enjoyed lunch/ breakfast at Cracker Barrel. I highly recommend the blackberry pancakes. Sally had the traditional breakfast and mom had peach pancakes.

Sally and I made our way to Winston, where I used to live. We did a few errands and then met Jim and Mary at you can tell, restaurants are great places for meeting :)

Mary and Jim have always been very supportive of the work in Guatemala and I feel their hearts will always remain there. At one time, they lived in Guatemala in Xela. Jim worked as a pediatrician and Mary is a nurse.

After dinner we went to Bible Study and I saw some good friends. It was a special evening........just too short.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Horseback riding in North Carolina

We had a opportunity to go horseback riding with Angie, my sister-in-law and Paige my niece. It was a pretty day, as you can tell from the blue Carolina sky. This is my mom, getting use to her horse, Fred.

I had no problem getting use to my horse, Jose, and he totally understood my Spanish :):)
This is Paige, Mom, me and Angie after we finished the ride. We had been through the woods, crossed the river twice and even galloped a little.
Mom took this photo near the barn. It was a great day and now we are home to rest a minute before we start another could not be better in Carolina :)

Monday, July 28, 2008

Home Sweet Home

Last night my parents and I just chilled...........but today we hit the road!

This photo is of my dad and I when they came and visited me in Guatemala. We are in front of Clinica Caris after dad hung the bulletin boards and painted the green base of the building
We went to several stores shopping and looking for things that are difficult to buy in Guatemala. My MP3 player had broken and I did not think they would help me but they were great....I am so thankful! I would highly recommend Best Buy.

Afterward, we went to eat ribs and they were great.

We drove back home and are resting for the night. Tomorrow morning mom and I are going horseback riding. I hope to get some good photos of us while we are ON the horses.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Clinic in Choacaman IV

Today we had clinic in Choacaman IV with 6 patients. Even though it was a small clinic it was a very thought provoking one. As I have mentioned in other blogs, even though the number of patients may be small, you pray that something is said or done to help someone and cause them to think about their relationship with God.

Today we saw a patient that we have seen a few times before. His name is Abraham and now he is staying in Enrique's house, where we do clinic. Enrique and his family are very special people.

We began the clinic with prayer and then we walked to the room that Abraham is staying in. He was sitting on the side of the bed as we entered. I recognized him but he has lost several pounds. Later, we found out he has lost 30 pounds in 4 months. His kidneys are not functioning well and he has a lot of fluid in his feet and arms. He was told by a local doctor that he will not live much longer and this may be the case. When I return in 2 weeks, Abraham may not be at Enrique's house.

I asked Enrique if Abraham was a Christian. He said yes, he is a baptized believer. What a relief that is to know. Many of our patients are not Christians and it is our responsibility and opportunity to share the gospel with them. I can not tell you the joy there is when I hear that someone has confessed their belief in Jesus and and has been baptized after we have talked during a clinic.

God has not changed from the beginning of time. His commandments remain the same. He is still a jealous God (Ex. 20:5) and there should be nothing in our life more important than Him. When the people in Acts 2:37 asked what they needed to do to be saved, Peter responded by telling them to repent and to be baptized. Eternal life is only through Jesus since He is the way (John 14:6). We do not have the right to do things differently than we read in the scripture. It is difficult sometimes talking with people but we can only teach The Bible.

Please pray for Abraham as he struggles with his health. Please also remember the team that has been working in Clinica Ezell. They will return tomorrow morning to The States.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Clinic in Lemoa

Today we had clinic in Lemoa and it was a good day. We had 15 medical patients and 12 dental patients.

Irma, a young girl that needs her palate repaired returned today with her lab work. Everything looked very good and there is room for her in the August clinic. She will have the opportunity to have her palate repaired in August. She is a shy girl and did not want her picture taken so I quickly put down the camera but I think in time she will allow me to take her photo.

This little girl was quite the opposite. Her mother was even laughing at how her daughter was smiling for the camera and posing.

We have rain every afternoon and sometimes all night. I wish I could bottle some of it up and send it to areas as North Carolina and other places that are so dry.

I am preparing to go home on Sunday and I am looking forward to visiting with my family, friends and my sponsoring congregation, South Fork Church of Christ. Unfortunately, I will not have the time to visit my parents congregation, Morganton Church of Christ but I will do that in December.

Tomorrow, Juan and I are headed to Choacaman IV. Gaspar has a of celebration for the completion of a project he has been working on. I hope that he enjoys his day. I am sure Juan and I will have a good clinic.

Thanks for checking in..........and I will keep you posted!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Clinic in La Palma

Today we did the clinic in La Palma for Josefina's group. We only had 5 patients and they were the children from the school. Even though we did not have many patients, we always hope that something was said or done to cause people to think about their relationship with God.

Maury was helping Juan with a lesson before we had some patients. This is Juan, Maury and Gaspar in front of the room we use for consultation.

This little boy wanted his photo taken.
Then he finally gave me a smile!
We had a safe day and we had some sun......what more could you ask for?? Life is grand!!

Monday, July 21, 2008

Clinic in Lemoa.......a day of seeds were planted

I wanted to share this photo with you of Gaspar weeding behind the clinic. Gaspar takes a lot of pride in how the clinic looks and he spent part of his day using a weed eater and not a machete :)

We had a great clinic today of 24 patients. There were wonderful opportunities and I hope the seeds that were planted will continue to grow.

As usual, we began our clinic with prayer. We prayed for Sebastian's baby who went to The City today. Later we found out that Kemmel spent much of the day in the hospital with them. It can be very frustrating for people who do not understand how to get around in a big hospital. Many times they are told to wait or sent somewhere and then return to where they originally started. I am glad that Kemmel was there to help them through the day. They will return later for lab work and probably two surgeries for the meningiocele.

We also prayed for the patients this week at the coast for eye surgery. Josefina, Tomas and Manuel are there and we also prayed for their safe return.

We then went out to welcome the patients. Gaspar talked to them and then read from James 5:13-16. Is anyone of you in trouble? He should pray. Is anyone happy? Let him sing songs of praise. Is anyone of you sick? He should call the elders of the church to pray over him an anoint him with oil, in the name of the Lord. And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise him up. If he has sinned, he will be forgiven. Therefore, confess you sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful an effective.
Gaspar talked about prayer and that we would pray with each patient specifically about their illness and needs.

One young girl came that had a cleft lip repaired at an earlier age but her palate was never repaired. Her name is Irma and she has difficulty eating. We will try and get her scheduled for the clinic in August. The family members are not Christians so we talked a little about this. They seemed very open to the things we talked about and then I asked Gaspar to talk to them more. This family is from the area of Chutzurob where we have started new clinics. We will follow up with them and pray that these doors will remain open for teaching.

The lady that came to visit us during our first pap clinic returned. For some reason she was not able to connect with the physician on Friday so she returned to us. We will get her lab work done and hopefully get her scheduled for surgery.

For someone who is not a Christian, a few days at Clinica Ezell can really change your life. When you feel better physically and can tell that people truly care about you, your heart can be opened to God and His Word. The physicians and the nurses are in prayer with the patients before and after surgery. The local Church visits in the evenings for prayer and a time of devotion. They visit each patient at the bedside and share words from The Bible. Please keep these patients in your prayers. I love being at Clinica Ezell and look forward to my next visit in August.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Clinic in Mactzul V

We had a very small clinic today in Mactzul V. Sebastian told us it was because our group from The States was there not too long ago and a wedding was close by. I have learned that if there is a wedding, funeral, party or any other reason not to go to clinic near by, our clinic is small.

We waited and waited hoping for more patients. During this time we drank coffee and talked. Gaspar, Juan and I talked about what we would like to do after Lisa and Kemmel rejoin us, hopes for 2009 and different things that we think are important.

They know my 2 year committment is coming to an end and wanted to know if I will stay. I told them that I hope so, it just depends on a few things. They smiled and said that is what they wanted to hear :)

We talked about different areas that we would like to expand to and areas that we would like to add to our calender on a regular basis. There are so many opportunities and we want to serve in the best way possible.

We finally ate lunch and then had a safe drive back home.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Pap Clinic in Lemoa

We had our first Pap Clinic in Lemoa today. Josefina and I were expecting more than actually came......we only had 7 patients. We will do a little more advertising next month and hopefully we will have more patients.

We had one lady that needs an abdominal hernia, umbilical hernia and also needs a hysterectomy. She told us that she did not have the money to have the surgery. She and her husband helped us start new clinics last year and are very influential in their community. I told her that I would find a way to pay for her surgery if she got the lab work done. When I came home last night, I had an email from Michael, a MET student from a few weeks ago wanting to help someone that needed surgery. I know that this is God working through Michael. Gracias a Dios!

We also had another patient that had some other problems so we sent her to see a GYN physician here. We are praying that her exam goes well with Dr. Heidi.

My internet has not been working so I have been behind.

I had a root canal and that went great. I did not have any pain or discomfort at all in my teeth. Unfortunately, I still have some pain in my tongue so I am not sure what is going on......we will see. I am just glad that Gabapentin is something I can buy here.

Tomorrow we have clinic in Mactzul V.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Part 2 of Montellano Pap Clinic

This is the building across the street where the Church meets.

A small group of the staff met behind the clinic for a quick photo. Lucerito is on the left, with Rosario, Darlene, Cata, Marta and "hermana".

This is Sylvia, a dentist. During our visit, Sylvia and Carlos invited Gaspar and I to eat every meal with them. It was a special treat and they are very good cooks! Thank you again, Sylvia and Carlos. The dental clinic has not been opened very long and it is a very nice facility.
This is Marta and Jessica with a patient. Hayley giving instructions to Erin as they work with a patient. Both of these ladies were with the last medical group and then stayed for a few more weeks. Erin will be here until the plastic surgical clinic in August when her dad, Dr. Dwayne, will join us.
Gaspar and I had a good drive home. He was getting a sore throat and a cold but had started taking some medicine.

We arrived back to Chichi without any problems.................we are looking forward to our pap smear clinic tomorrow in Clinica Carris.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Pap Clinic in Montellano

Gaspar and I headed to Montellano about 0630. We had planned on 0600 but he could not find a truck to bring him to Chichi so I went to pick him up near his house. Our drive was uneventful.

When we arrived to the clinic, we were met by Pedro. He stands guard at the entrance gate and is always happy to do whatever is needed. He is very active in the local Church and he performed the first baptism I saw in Guatemala, in the river behind the clinic. I will never forget that experience.

When we arrived there was a line of women in line waiting to be seen for their pap smears. I worked with Rosario for the first few and then we opened up the third room. We saw 53 patients and finished about 4pm.

This photo is the front of the clinic. Even though the clinic is in the coastal area and very hot at times, I really enjoy being here. It brings back many pleasant memories of how I first learned about Health Talents in June 2005. After just two visits......well, things really changed for me.

This is Carlos in his office. He supervises the activities in the coastal area and in The City.

This is the area that patients are screened in when they first arrive to the clinic.
This is the apartment complex that was finished in January of 2006. I was lucky to be the first person to stay in the apartments for 5 weeks. I worked in two surgical clinics and for the 3 weeks between, I helped clean and went on mobil clinics with Dr. Walter.
Please check the next blog for more photos.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Day in Panajachel.....part 2

This is part two because I wanted to share more photos of the day in Panajachel. Everyone jumped down on the dock for this photo. You can not tell from the photo but I thought they would get wet the dock is so low in the water.

They eventually did get to touch the water. The water was surprisingly warm.
Juana is the only girl in the family but she does not seem to mind. She is a sweetheart. After Katie gave her hair bows and ties, her mom pulled her hair back in clips. Here she is with her youngest brother.

Tomas wanted to get in the action too!! As I mentioned, we were the only ones in the restaurant so it was ours to enjoy!!

Tomas bought his son a plane that some guy was selling. You were suppose to hold it up it the air and the propeller would start spinning and then fly. Well, it looked much easier than it really was........maybe with a little more practice he will master it!

We all walked back to the truck and said our good-byes. Tomas thanked Katie and told her that his family often prays for Teresa and her family. He thanked her for the gifts and coming to meet them. Katie also told Tomas that she would remember them in her prayers and that she was grateful that she could meet them.

What a day! Gracias a Dios!!

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Day in Panajachel with Tomas' Family

Wow......what a day it was! I do not know who was more excited and who enjoyed the day more. When I opened my garage door this morning, Tomas, his wife and seven children were all waiting for me......grinning from ear to ear! We live about 1.5 hours from Lake Atitlan and Panajachel but this would be the first time that the children and Juana, Tomas' wife would see the lake.

The drive was uneventful for most of us. As we were driving through Chichi I heard a child in the back seat coughing. I did not say anything until I heard it again. I asked Tomas if one of the children were sick and he said that one of the boys gets car sick. I looked back and he had brought a small bag and was using it appropriately. I felt so bad for him but he just smiled.....

We parked the car and met Katie and Matt near the lake. Katie's mom, Teresa is the sponsor for Everaldo, one of Tomas' sons. This is the first photo near the lake. Everaldo is the child on the left end, in front.

It was a cloudy day and we did not see the tops of the volcanoes very much but it was still a pretty day.
Katie and Everaldo.........
Teresa sent many gifts through Katie for the family. One gift was this scooter.
Everaldo trys it out...............

Now it is mom's turn! Juana was sitting at the table and then I said, "Come on, mom!" She jerked off her jacket and hopped on the scooter!! As you can tell, we were the only ones in the restaurant and it was great!
More photos in the next blog..........................please continue on!

Friday, July 11, 2008

Choacaman IV and a root canal all in one day!

I met the guys in the park this morning and we headed to Choacaman IV. It rained all day and was very cold. We had 12 medical patients so it was a small clinic. We did see one little boy that may have to have surgery. We will see.

After clinic I drove the guys to Chichi and then I went to unload the truck before I went for my root canal. I arrived at the office a little early and there were 3 people ahead of me so I had about a 2 hour wait. Once I entered the office, it took about 45 minutes. I had a lot of pain today and really dreaded him touching it......but as soon as he tried to make it hurt, it would not. The dentist, Sylvia, also could not create the pain. I think it is a little confusing for him too but we will see what happens. I have another appointment with him next Friday.

I want to introduce you to Sandy. She was with the group last week and she is from Alabama. This was her third year down and she really enjoys her time here. After her first visit, she returned to The States and started taking Spanish classes to she could translate for the physicians. Each time she returns, she brings more people with her. This year she returned with her family and her sister's family. I am looking forward to seeing them again next July!

OK, tomorrow should be an exciting day. Tomas, one of our health care promoters, has a son in the ABC Program. I am going to take him and his family to Lake Atitlan so they can meet the daughter of Everaldo's sponser. Katie and her friend Matt are here in Guatemala and Teresa sponsers Everaldo. I hope I simplified that a little :)

Goodnight :)

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Clinica in Lemoa

Today we had a good clinic in Lemoa with 24 medical patients and 9 dental patients.

As usual, we began our day with prayer. We thanked God for our week with the group from The States and the clinics we had together. Maury asked for prayers for her personal life and strength. Aura asked us to remember her family as they are continuing to struggle with the death of her grandmother. She said that her dad and aunts are especially having a hard time. Gaspar asked us to remember a family that had a house fire and lost many possessions. They are new Christians so they thankful that they now have God in their life but it is very difficult to lose so many things while having four children to care for.

We then went and prayed with our patients. As I have mentioned before, this is my favorite part of the day. To hear the humble prayers being offered......asking for the relief of pain and struggles while acknowledging God as the creator and Jesus our savior.

I am not talented to paint faces as others I just slap a sticker on and call that good enough :):)

After clinic today Juan asked me to go and visit a lady from Paxot II that delivered a baby this morning. The mother is doing well but the baby needs surgery. The parents were to have a consult with a physician this afternoon and let me know what they are going to do. It appears to be spina bifida and I do not think that they can do that surgery in this area. Please keep this family in your prayers and I will keep you updated.

Ok, I am headed to the dental chair tomorrow at 4pm after our clinic in Choacaman IV. I am looking forward to having this root canal and tooth taken care of.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Tuesday in Santa Cruz

After a group leaves there are different types of emotions. It is not unusual to be tired from the work and schedule but it is also sad because you have made some new friends.....and you also look forward to them returning. Needless to say, the internet allows people to stay touch and that is nice.

I wanted to share some more photos from last week. These two children enjoyed being painted in Paxot II by Makayla.

This photo was taken as Connie was asking the ladies what they were cooking in Paxot II. They had begun cooking the rice for our lunch and as you can tell from the size of the pots, there was a large group to feed.
This is another photo of the classroom in Lemoa. The children were able to color, make molds of their hands and also watch a DVD on Christian Character.
OK, high points and low points of the week........the highlight was when Kemmel called and told me that Bob and John were able to connect the dryer in the clinic!! I am so excited. For my first 8 months, I washed my laundry by hand in the pila and then Kemmel was able to put a washer and dryer in the clinic. Now the dryer works and I told Kemmel that I am now spoiled :) Thank you, John and Bill!

OK, the low point was when Sylvia told me I needed an xray of one of my teeth......but where?? Marcos has a friend that works two nights in Chichi so I went to his office for the xray. Now I need a root canal :( I hope to be able to have it done this Friday or Saturday evening.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Clinic in Lemoa.....part two

OK, so we were at the school for education, medical screening, dental care............and who is this masked man?????

Well, Steve's family recognized him.........his wife Lydia and daughters Haley and Somer.
Nathan, Charles and Jennifer take care of one of ours.........Sandy, who was having a little ear problem.
I have mentioned the MET program a few times and this is another returning MET student. This is Jared, who was part of the 2005 MET program, with his wife Jennifer.
It was a great day as several children were screened. The teachers provided lunch for us and we really appreciated it. Rick thanked the school for their hospitality and their kindness. He told them that Health Talents looks forward to serving the school and the community in the future. The director then spoke, translated by Daniel thanking us for helping. He told us that we were welcomed back again and they looked forward to our return.

As with any clinic, the seeds were planted and hopefully fell on fertile soil. We continue to pray that the patients will see the love of Jesus in our actions and words. As we were telling a patient on Saturday, life on this earth can be sometimes very dificult and sad......we as Christians want to share the love and hope that only Christ can provide.

John 14:1---Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, trust also in me.

Clinic in Lemoa........part one

This morning was a little hectic getting started as the bus was loaded with suitcases in preparation for returning to The City after clinic. One group headed to Clinica Caris for their usual clinic, one group headed to Xepocol and we headed to a school in Lemoa.

We saw 80 students in the school today and it was great. We first met with the director and he explained how he had organized the students and activities. Each student had 3 name tags with different colors depending on the activity they should be involved in. This way we could tell if the student should be in the eduational area or being seen by the medical or dental staff.

This photo is of the students watching the DVD that was shown on helping them understand Christian Character.

All of the children were screened with height, weight, temperature and eye exams. These photo are of the eye screening process. Erin, Lydia, Somer, Elsa and Oliva all helped with this.

Nathan and Jennifer check out one of the students.

We were able to refer some children back to Clinica Caris for further care. One girl needs some dental work done but prior to that needs antibiotic treatment, one girl had a corneal abrasion while another will be seen for abnormal heart sounds.

The teachers were great to work with and really kept the flow of students going smooth.
More in the following section........

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Second day of clinic.......Clinic in Chuchipaca

This morning we loaded the bus and headed to Chuchipaca.......and what a day we would be in for! I think for many it was their first exciting bus ride! There were a lot of "oooohhhhhhhsssss" and squeals as we made our way through the hairpin turns on the narrow, muddy, mountainous roads.
Once we got there we began to set up......This was preparation in the dental clinic. Kelsey and Bret from the last MET program were able to join us for a clinic and here they are with Dentist Jessica.
Once we were set up, we went outside to pray with the patients. Many have heard me say this my favorite part of the day. We had Juan from Chuchipaca read some scripture and then Ervin lead us in prayer.......................let the clinic begin!!!
It was a fast paced day. Many people headed down to a community area and painted a school area. I was not able to go and see but I heard from many that it was a very positive experience and the community really appreciated it. They arrived back in time to have lunch with us and then pitched in so we would be able to see all of the patients and be on the road before dark. The translation from K'iche' to Spanish to English takes quite a bit more time......but we were able to provide care for 72 medical patients, 97 dental patients and 10 patients for dental cleaning. This little girl was precious and wanted us to see her coloring.
This little girl was a little more timid but wanted to smile for the camera as her mother encouraged her.

The sad part of the day was when one patient came and told us that she was weak and could not eat. When we went through our usual list of questions, she denied any other problems. Eventually, she told us she was sad.....then we began to hear more of the story. Her husband died 4 months ago and she just delivered her second baby 15 days ago. We talked to her for quite a while because she asked us for medicine that would take away her sadness. We talked to her about how important her relationship with God was at this time and that only He could heal her sadness. We talked about prayer and how difficult life is sometimes........but again that only God could provide the comfort that she needs. I really encouraged her to come back to the next clinic and talk to us some more.................she then wanted us to meet her two children so she brought them back and we talked some more. I pray that she will return to the next clinic and I will keep you posted.