Saturday, September 27, 2008

Another wonderful clinic in Chutzurob!!

I want to share some of the excitement and joy that we had today in Chutzurob. I met Gaspar, Juan in Chichi and then we headed to clinic. On our way we gave a ride to one of the men from Chuchipaca that we know.

The idea of heavy rains and mud was in the back of our minds through the drive. We had decided that if we could not make it all the way to the church building, we would park farther up the road and carry everything down. Getting stuck is one of my main fears. It is not like there are tow-truck services in a phone book :):):)

One thing I wanted to mention is the way they make reference to the place they meet for worship. In The States we may call it, "the church" or "the church building". Here it is referred to as, la casa de oraciĆ³n, the house of prayer.

We decided we could make it all the way down but I told the guys if we saw sight of rain, we may want to move the truck right away. The road had become like black ice......the black mud had been packed down very hard, there was no traction.....it was easy to slip and slide on it.

There is always great participation from The Church in Chutzurob! There were 3 men and 3 women there to help us! We had 23 patients and things could not have gone any more smoother. They had already decided who would help me with translation and who would pray with the patients after consult.

This lady brought her baby of 5 months with a rash. Her little body was covered but she enjoyed playing and smiling.

After 9 patients, the guys came and told me that we would be getting rain soon and maybe we should move the truck. I got the truck turned around with no problem but then could not get traction on the packed areas. They tossed some sand down in front of the tires and then I had no problems making it up the hill.

These are some of the children from the area.


One lady had very high blood pressure today. We started her on some medicine and she will visit us in Chuchipaca next week so we can check her blood pressure again. One lady had been having seizures but since starting her medicine has not had any.

There was a good variety of patients today. Some with regular church homes and some without. This is a great opportunity for The Church to teach and strengthen their community. When people are sick and do not know where to go, Christians can extend an arm of love to those who are in need. It is exactly what Christ and the disciples did in the New Testament. Please continue to pray for Chutzurob and their community.

We had a good drive home. At first we were all excited, talking about the clinic and what a good day it was. I stopped and got us some Cokes and bread for our lunch. As the truck got warm and we had some good music on, I think everyone began to get a little sleepy. I dropped the guys off and will see them on Tuesday.........



Friday, September 26, 2008

Rains and mudslides continue

I have not had any internet in my area for two days because of the rains. Today there was some sun and the internet service began working again.

Today we were suppose to have clinic in Xejox but were told the roads were not safe. There was not sufficient time to schedule another clinic so we decided to use the day to clean the clinic and prepare our things for the upcoming week. Manuel and I also needed some dental work done so we provided Marcos with two more patients :)

It is not very often that all of us get to spend the day together so I decided we would have some breakfast together this morning. When I got home yesterday afternoon, I thought I could make it to the market and back before the rains started........wrong!! I bought a large pineapple, papaya, bananas and bread. As I was running home, the papaya went sailing down the gutter in the rain..........I recovered it and it was ok.

I have always clean, fresh smelling, ironed clothes.......I have just never appreciated washing machines like I do now. When I wash my laundry, I love to watch the soap and the clothes spin around and around the mud and whatever else wash away.........and they smell so fresh and clean. I brought back lavender fabric softener with me and I love it. Yes, I still do iron!

I gave an update on Tomasa a few days ago. She is the little girl with the retinoblastoma that we visited last month. The video clip below was taken the day we visited her family and Lisa is teaching her brother how to thumb wrestle. It was a fun day and they really seemed to enjoy our time together.

video

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Cold Clinic in Las Trampas

As I was headed to Chichi, I received a call from Juan saying that there was another mudslide and that he was going to be about 20 minutes late. The roads seem to be more dangerous this year than they were last year. As Gaspar and I waited for Juan we were talking and then we saw a bus of clinic people leave the hotel parking lot. Gaspar said he had heard on the radio that a group from The States with dentists would be in Las Trampas today..........so, we knew what this meant :(

Juan arrived safe and then we took off for Las Trampas. When we arrived it was cold and lonely.......no patients were waiting for us :( We stayed and talked to two men from The Church for about 2.5 hours and we had 3 patients. I told the guys....."Three is better than zero, right??" hmmmmmm.............

We had to find some entertainment for ourselves. The guys were playing with their phones and radios so I pulled my camera out. I told Gaspar that he needed to jump up and preach for us!
When he was finished, I told Juan he needed to jump up and lead some singing.......
The guys will want more patients in the future just so they will not have to work at entertaining me!!

Tomorrow we have clinic in Lemoa and I am hoping for many, many patients.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Update on Tomasa

I wanted to give an update on Tomasa. Kemmel, Lisa, Gaspar and Juan and I visited her and her family in August.

Please visit www.Kemmelandlisa.blogspot.com on April 26 and see the photos before treatment and after 1-2 months of treatment of Tomasa.

This is a remarkable story of a young girl with recurring retinoblastoma. She received treatment and then needed to have her eye removed. Today, she looks fantastic and is very happy with her family. Again, this was the hand of God at work, answering many prayers in her behalf.

This is Tomasa with her dad, Pedro, in front of their house.

This is Tomasa with her mom and dad, Pedro and Micaela.......and the total family. Sorry, I do not remember the cat's name.
God does answer prayer! I am sure this family had many days of tears, uncertainty and sleepless nights. They traveled to Guatemala City for treatment and surgery. Health Talents was able to help them some financially and we are thankful for that........but we must remember the real power of healing remains in our Lord.

Exam day for the promoters

****Before I begin the blog about today, I want to ask for special prayers for a lady named Paula. She recently found out she was pregnant when she had a consult with Josefina. She took vitamins and then miscarried. She is now feeling that she lost the baby because of the consult and because she took the vitamins. This is a very dificult time for them and also for the leaders of the community that help with the clinics. Please pray that that all will come to have a better understanding and that Paula and her husband will find the comfort and peace that they need at this time. ****

Today it rained and rained and rained.......of course, we are in Guatemala! Gaspar heard that it is suppose to rain for 24 hours straight.

Before the class started, we had a few minutes of singing and a short lesson by one of the guys from Mactuzul II. When the singing began, the rain seemed to lessen. The roster had 24 names on it so there was good attendance. Josefina prepared taught a short lesson and then they took the exam.

Gaspar was smart........he took his exam in the car where it was warmer!
This is Tomas, Mauri and Juan concentrating on their exam.
During their exam, I called different students trying to organize the interview schedule for the first of October. I am hoping that many students will return my call call tonight.

Lunch was wonderful! It was hot, chicken soup, tortillas and hot tea.

We heard from different people today about how some of the roads are not passable because of mudslides. We will just have to wait and see what happens with some of our clinics.

Tomorrow we head to Las Trampas. We hope to have some patients there. I will be sure to dress extra warmer because it is always cold there!

Today when everyone was singing, the rain seemed to lessen. Sometimes, I wonder what heaven will be like with so many people singing. How beautiful it will be! When groups come and visit, I hear songs from different parts of The States. Not every area sing the same songs and I am reminded of songs from OK that we did not sing in NC or in MI. It is something that we can look forward to............with NO rain!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

We had some sunshine!!

As soon as I stepped out of the house today, I felt something different.....it was sunshine, it was warm and it was wonderful!!

I met Gaspar and Juan in Chichi and then we headed to Chuchipaca. We ran across one small mudslide but we made it through without much of a problem. Today we had 13 patients and it was a good clinic. Juan, from Chuchipaca helped me with translation. Sometimes I can follow the idea of the conversation and then other times, I am lost.

When clinic was over, I heard some children outside playing. They were climbing the trees and ready to pose for the camera.

As we were getting ready to pack up, one lady came bringing her 8 month old child with a fever and a terrible cough. The child had been sick for 3 days so I was glad we were there when they arrived.

I guess tree climbing is a universal sport.



When I first moved here, Josefina took Gaspar and I to a Chinese Restaurant. I found it again last week and it was great. I thought about going there again for dinner tonight but when I arrived home, it was raining hard again and the best thing was to get the truck parked and stay in for the evening. I enjoyed a salad, some bread and of course a diet coke.

All is well........I am still waiting for two patients to call me saying that they want to attend worship with me tomorrow.......there is still time for them to call.

Goodnight and have a great weekend!

Friday, September 19, 2008

Rain, Rain, Rain = Mud, Mud, Mud

It rains almost every day this time of year and sometimes it rains ALL day. Today was an all day rain. Sometimes it will be 2-3 days before you see substantial sun.

This morning as Gaspar and I were waiting in the park, he told me that the owner of the field near our clinic in Choacaman IV told Enrique that we could not drive to the corn field. Usually we drive through a wooded area, cross a field, park there and then walk the remainder of the way through corn fields to a house. Hmmmm, I thought we for sure would sink in the mud to our KNEES but said, "ok, no problem!"

When Juan arrived, we drove to Choacaman and as we made our way though the wooded area, the truck ALMOST SUNK TO IT's KNEES!!! :) It is was the closest to being stuck I have ever been and did not enjoy it. The guys like it when we fish-tail a little but when the truck popped out of 4-wheel they did not snicker.......Gracias a Dios we made it and then we had the fun of walking the rest of the way.

These children live in the home where we have clinic and are always ready for a quick photo.
This guy strutted and strutted for us all day! He better be careful and keep a low profile........I heard some discussion on being used for a meal :)
As we were getting ready to leave, Enrique told me he would teach me how to to drive back to the main road through the mud. He is a joker so I just laughed him off and moved on to another topic. He and his son wanted a ride to Santa Cruz so we all piled in the truck.

As we went through the first mud holes he did not say anything..........as we went through the next set, he asked how many years I have been driving! I told him too many and I was old!! He told me that I did a good job and did not need any teaching. I thanked him and told him that I always need God when I am driving.........so true, especially here in Guatemala.

We had a good clinic of 13 patients. If you have seen the blogs about the Mayan Priest, Diego, he returned again today and was in good health. His blood sugar was in normal range and he felt good. Enrique was in the room when we were finishing the consult so I asked Enrique to pray and give thanks that Diego was feeling better and that is blood sugar was normal.

Tomorrow we head to Chuchipaca and I am confident it will be a good day.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Our patients need prayer

As always, we begin out clinic with prayer with our group first. We prayed for our patients, for our travels, for future surgical clinics and today we prayed for the people who were affected by Hurricane Ike. We prayed for their safety, health and spiritual strength. We then went out and prayed with all of the patients before the clinic began.

Right away I recognized two patients and I was glad to see them. I do not want them to be sick and have to return but it is good to know they will return if they need something.

The first little boy was Carlos. We saw him the first time on May 15 and he was having a difficult time breathing. His dad took him to the hospital and he was hospitalized a month before going home. Today he had a little fever and was not feeling good.

Tomasa also returned. She was the patient that had the 12 pound tumor removed in April. She is still feeling much better but had a skin rash today. I encouraged her to call me again when she wants to attend worship and we will go to Chichi where they speak more K'iche'.

Today was a new patient, Carolina and her photo is below. I explained that I live in North Carolina and she like that.

Here is Carolina with her grandmother and her mother.
One patient returned today, Josefa, that will have surgery in October down in Clinica Ezell. It will be nice to be down there when she is there having a hysterectomy done. It allows us to talk with the patients and get to know them on different levels.
We had one lady come today that is very nervous and hurts all of the time. Her name is Bertini. The more Gaspar and I talked with her we found out that her family is having a lot of problems and she is sure her husband is having affairs. She has two young children and this makes the situation even more difficult. We explained that more than ever, she needs Jesus in her life. She is Costumbre so she does not attend worship or read the Bible at all. I hope she will also call and attend worship with us on Sunday. I told her that her two young children would like the Bible class offered in Chichi for children.
Please pray for Tomasa, Bertini, Josefa and the other patients we saw today.


Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Another day of adventure........

Today we had a pap clinic for the ladies in the community at Clinica Caris.

We heard of a gentleman that lived near the clinic that has been losing his eye sight. Josefina and I drove to a school where we were told his family member would meet us. She told us that the house was not far at all and we could walk but the word, "far" can mean different things to different people :) We decided to take the truck and I was glad.

It was an interesting drive on a very narrow road, very close to a cliff on my side. We reached an open area and were told we needed to walk the rest of the way.........I was fine with walking but not fine with the dogs that were jumping on the truck. We thought the dogs belonged to the family member and if she got out of the truck, the dogs would calm down......but she was in the back seat and did not know how to open the door. Josefina finally got her out and I was still not excited about this adventure because the dogs were not calming down.

We hiked up to a house and met some black lambs that were beautiful and a pen of rabbits. I wanted photos but was too nervous because of the dogs.....there was another pack waiting for us.

We went in and met the gentleman and he has double cataracts and has been loosing his eye sight for 3 months. He is only 65 years old. He seems to be in good health other than his eyes so we will try and get him in the eye clinic in November.

I really enjoy going to homes of people that can not make it to the clinic. The children in the house were very friendly.....as Josefina began to pray for the patient and family, everyone kneeled. It was a very humbling experience.

We headed back to the truck.............and the other pack of dogs were waiting for us. I got Josefina in on her side and then used my backpack as a little protection as I got in.

We found a place to turn around and made it back to Santa Cruz.

Isaiah read in K'iche'

I wanted to follow-up with Lisa's blog on February 5th entitled, "Pray for the Priest." If you have a chance, please read the blog at www.kemmelandlisa.blogspot.com.

At the time of the consult with this gentleman, I did not realize he was a priest. I found that out later. During the conversation I knew that he was saying that for right now he did not want a part of Christianity because of the actions he sees in Christians. I may view his reasoning as excuses but to him, the hypocrisy he sees validates his views.

Lisa explained to him that The Church is a body of sinners who realize that they need the blood of Christ for continual cleansing. It is only through baptism that we can receive the blood and mercy that can make us whole again. Without mercy and love, we have no hope.

No one is perfect and others see our daily actions. It is just a reminder to Christians to attempt to live a life as Christ would live so we do not bring shame or cause others to turn away. As I said, no one is perfect but it is a reminder. I hope that Diego will change his mind and accept Christ. It is sad to think he would risk his soul because of actions he sees in others. We are continuing to pray for him.

When Lisa, Gaspar, Juan and I were in Choacaman IV, we made a video of Juan and Gaspar. The video was prepared for a special service at East Side Church of Christ in Colorado Springs. Juan started with a greeting to The Church and then Gaspar said he would be reading from Isaiah 58:8-10.

video

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Team Update

Just a quick update of the team that remains in Antigua, Guatemala due to Hurricane Ike. I mentioned them a few days ago when they thought they may have to stay in Antigua a few extra days. Some were able to return home but a few will need to remain until Tuesday. Please pray that when they return home and will find their families and friends well.

One lady that lives here in Guatemala and has helped us several times with translating was robbed at gun point when she returned home. She did not have many things with her but it was still a scary experience and I am sure she would also appreciate our prayers. This is another reminder that we need to continually pray for each other.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Curb-side Coca-Cola ???

Diet Coca-Cola anyone???

One my way home from clinic today, two interesting things happened.

First, we had a good clinic in Mactzul V. We had 10 patients, which were more than we had anticipated with the celebrating going on here in Guatemala. Between patients Gaspar, Juan, two brothers from the Church and I practiced K'iche' from a book that I took. I learned a few new words and they helped me with my pronunciation.

As always, I stopped on my way home for a Coke. It is always fun to guess which store will have one since all do not have it. I stopped at a place that has it from time-to-time. I parked the truck, hopped out and ran behind the truck. As I looked up, the store owner was meeting me on the curb with my cold, diet coke and a BIG smile!! Service could not be better! I thanked him, hopped back in the truck and saluted him with my Coke before driving away!

As I approached my house, I met a little lady that lives next door to me. She is always barefoot, is barely 4 feet tall, probably does not weigh more than 80 pounds and was carrying firewood on her back. I stopped to see if she would let me give her a ride since there was room in the truck for her wood.

She said it was ok and I lifted the cargo of wood off of her back and let me tell you, it was not light!! With a little struggle, I managed to lift it up. It was tied very neatly and had to weigh at least 40 pounds. As I was lifting it into the back of the truck, she was trying to get in the front seat.........I could tell, this was something she was not use to doing.

We arrived at our houses and I lifted the wood out of the the truck, still amazed she could carry it on her back. I am not a weight-lifter but feel I can carry a decent load. As I placed it by the road, I realized she was not out of the truck yet.......then I thought (yes, I am slow sometimes) she is not sure how to open the door of the truck. I opened it and helped her out.

Both of us were in each other's world for a few minutes......me carrying wood and her riding in a truck. Yes, it was an interesting day..........

Friday, September 12, 2008

Back to clinics and back to blogging

I wanted to share this little girl with you. She was in our clinic on Thursday in Lemoa and she was as sweet as she could be. After her mother had a consult, we played around the clinic until it was time for her family to leave.

I was not able to blog earlier this week because my computer did not feel well, again :( Kemmel sent some information on how to make it well and Guy, the Guro fixed it for me......thanks again Guy! I thought I had pushed some wrong buttons but apparently that was not the problem so hopefully I am back to blog again!

Today we had clinic in Paxot II with Marcos and Aury. There were 6 medical patients and 13 dental patients. The celebration for the 15th, which is their Independence Day has already started so I do not expect many patients until after the celebrations have come to a close.

Please pray for the surgical team that will have to remain in Antigua for 3 more nights due to Hurricane Ike.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Clinic in Choacaman IV

Today Lisa, Gaspar, Juan and I headed to Choacaman IV without any problems. It was a small clinic today and that is a disappointment but some good contacts were made and we had some good discussions.

Lisa's and Kemmel's sponsering congregation, Eastside Church of Christ is doing a special service on Sunday so they want to send in a video of Gaspar reading part of Isaiah in K'iche'. I will send that clip tomorrow of Juan sending a greeting in K'iche' and then Gaspar reading.

These are photos of the guys warming up for the camera. Juan wanted people to be sure to see his HTI logo.

Juan and Gaspar are still entertaining us.......Gaspar says, "Saqarik. " Notice the subtle nudge of Gaspar before Juan says, "Good morning!" They bust out laughing and I really enjoy their sense of humors.
video

Tomorrow we head for Chuchipaca and I will also share more of our clinic today.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Clinic in Lemoa

Today we had clinic in Lemoa at Clinica Caris. We had 35 patients with 10 of those returning for their pap results. It was encouraging because none of the results were significantly negative. Lisa consulted with all of those ladies, had a young man with a tonsil abscess and another with a venous stasis ulcer on his lower leg.

Today we had one lady that will be worked up for a hysterectomy and also a little guy that will be worked up for a hernia. So if all goes well, we will have at least two patients in the October clinic in Montellano.

One young lady has been coming to the clinic for three months because she is a diabetic. I have been changing her medicines but more importantly discussing changes in her diet. When she first started having her blood sugar checked it was 330 but today it was 119. It was obvious that she felt much better and will return in a month to have her blood sugar checked again.

Of course every mother thinks her baby is the cutest.......but this baby won the "cute award" for the day. She was precious!

Gaspar told me today that the mudslide from yesterday has been removed and I know the people who live in that area are happy with that.

Thanks for reading and checking in. I appreciate your comments and will keep you posted.......

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

How do you spell mudslide in Spanish??

Marcos, Aura and I headed for Chichi and as we passed through, we were motioned by many people to turn around that we would not be able to pass. As we got closer we realized there had been a mudslide........which is derrumbe in Spanish. It rained very hard all night and as the land becomes softer, I think we will see more of these in the area.

This photo is of the mudslide. As the people tried to pass, the would sink to their knees in the mud. The mud totally covered the width of the road and blocked all traffic.

This photo gives the view of where the slide started and as it went off the right side of the road.
Gaspar was trying to reach us from the other side......he is in the blue jacket with the yellow shirt. He is looking up at a road and trying to decide if he can climb to the road and cross over to us........which he did, without getting any mud on himself!
When we had everyone in the truck, we headed to Mactzul VI. We had a good clinic with 15 medical patients and 21 dental patients. These little boys wanted their photo taken.
This little boy is Hector and he became my shadow and helper. In the afternoon, he had a tooth pulled and had a small gauge placed in front. Gaspar forgot that he had some dental work done.....so when I would get Hector to smile a little, Gaspar thought he had a piece of gum in his mouth :) It was funny!
Tomorrow we head to Clinic Carris to follow-up with the patients from our pap clinic. Lisa has told me that results are good so we are very thankful.

Update on surgical babies

Before my computer was fixed the babies returned for their one week visit after surgery. I am happy to say that the babies are doing great and are eating well.

This was Baby Edison before his surgery.....
And this is one week later........
This is Baby Diego before his surgery.....

This is one week after surgery and in time, he will not have the dry areas that are present now.

These babies will need to return two or three times more for other surgical procedures. At this time their parents are very thankful and I will keep you posted on their progress.
Irma and Lousia are also doing well.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Let the Blogging Begin!!

I had mentioned earlier that someone was trying to fix my computer.....well, it lasted one day and then it died again. Thanks to Kemmel, I am alive again!! I appreciate the comments and emails from people who have missed reading the blog. I enjoy blogging in the evenings and it gives me an opportunity to share what is going on...........

First, it is great to have Lisa and Kemmel back with us!

Today we were in Pacaja Xesic and we had a good clinic. There were 15 medical patients, 9 dental patients and 10 patients for dental cleaning. It seemed to be warmer than usual in Xesic but the warmth did not bother this poinsettia tree.

As usual it is raining this evening. I wish I could bottle it and send it to areas in The States that need rain.

We will leave Santa Cruz at 0730 in the morning and head to Mactzul VI. Hopefully we will have several patients for both medical and dental consults.

Thanks for reading again and being patient with the computer. I will be posting some photos of the children one week after their cleft lips were repaired.