Sunday, February 28, 2010

Pepperdine arrives!!

Pepperdine University has arrived safely. Kemmel and Lisa went the airport to welcome them and they will be in Chichicastenango later this afternoon. They will get oriented to the Santo Tomas Hotel and then worship with the Chichi Church of Christ. Recently, they have added a second service in the afternoon due to the growth of the congregation. What a good problem to have.

Pepperdine will participate in clinics during the week. Brian, will return with the group and this is his third year with them. We trust that the group will enjoy their week of service and that they will want to return. We pray for safe travels and that all we do will be for the glory of God.

Friday, February 26, 2010

I have completed my third year!

It was three years ago that I made my move to Guatemala. I can not express how much I have enjoyed the work here. Everyone has been great to work with and I appreciate the hard work of Lisa and Kemmel. A special thanks to South Fork who has made it possible for me to be here.

We had our clinic today in Choacaman IV with 15 patients. It has been a while since I have been in this community so it was nice to return. Gaspar and I traveled alone today so when we arrived, four men came out of the cornfields to help us carry our equipment.

This couple came to the clinic in July or August of 2009. This was the first photo taken when they found out that they were expecting a child.

Here they are today, anxiously awaiting. Mom is doing well without any complications and they should give birth in about a month.

Lisa and Kemmel have gone to The City in preparation to return with the Pepperdine students. There will be eleven in that group and they will be here for about a week.

I have thought a lot today about the conversations that Gaspar and I had with the parents of the babies in clinic yesterday. As we know, everyone has a choice on whether they want to accept the gospel and become a Christian. The seeds were planted and now we continue to pray.

I Corinthians 3:5-5------What, after all, is Apollos? And what is Paul? Only servants, through whom you came to believe---as the Lord has assigned to each his task. I planted the seed, Apollos watered it but God made it grow. So neither he that plants nor who water is anything but only God, who makes things grow. Amen.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

The surgical babies return for a visit

Today, we had 18 medical patients in the clinic. Four of the babies returned for their post-op visit. It was great to see them again and to see how well they all are doing. They were very active and there were no signs of infection.

Gaspar helped me with the consults. I gave each family the photos I had taken of them before the surgery and photos after. Today, they were able to compare and to see how much progress had been made. We talked with each family about how they felt about the clinic, the worship service on Sunday and different things we had talked about during the week.

This is Wilmer. He was as full of personality today as he was in the clinic.

His lip had been repaired when he was much younger so at the coast he had his palate repaired.

Edison has his lip repaired last year at the coast and this time they repaired his palate. While we were praying with them, his mother prayed, "God touch my heart so that I will hear your words and understand." I think that this is a prayer that we all should pray.

Edison is going to be a fine looking man!

This is Anastacia and her parents. They had been sitting a little farther away from each other so when I asked them to move closer, he put his arm on her shoulder. Not a very common action for many Guatemalans.

When Gaspar and I were talking to this family about The Bible, they seemed to be very interested. They said that they will meet me in Chichi in two weeks for worship. I told them I would be out in the street looking for them :)

Amelia and her parents were great today. They did not have any problems and Anestacia was as active as ever.

Amelia was really bruised after surgery but she is looking much better. She is healing well.

The parents just needed more reassurance that everything was fine. There is still a little redness and swelling but in time, their children will look even better. The next round of surgeries are in August so they will return in June to begin that process.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

More adventures....................

Today, Tomas and I went to La Palma to see patients at clinic. Everyone was in different areas today. Lisa worked at home with things she needed to do. Josefina completed different things for her license. Marcos was in The City for education. Kemmel and the promoters were in Clinica Carris working on different projects. Later, I found out that Glenn was in the hospital waiting for surgery and Neva was with him.

I left Chichi at 0715 and picked up Tomas in Quiche. We went to La Palma to see patients and I have always loved that drive. On a clear day you can see over all of the mountains and it is just beautiful. The clinic was small with only two patients.

The first patient was diabetic and has been coming for control of his blood sugars. On his first visit, his blood sugar was over 400 and today he was 138 and feeling much better. We talked more about his diet and he will return in a month to see Josefina again. The next patient was a 19 year old that was pregnant. When we finished, I was not sure if she ran away with excitement or if she was scared to let people know. She told me that she was married 3-4 months ago but could not remember exactly when it was. I think there is more to that story.

When Tomas and I finished, we returned to Lemoa to see if we could help Kemmel and his crew. They were digging for water lines, rebuilding and cleaning the autoclave and who knows what else. That is when I found out that Glenn was in the hospital and had a "date" with Dr. Tom.

Dr. Tom is a surgeon that we use in Chichi for many of our patients. He had admitted Glenn to the hospital and planned a hernia repair for this afternoon. I parked the truck and then started walking to the hospital..........and then I met Neva in the street. She was walking home to have a quick lunch and then take some things back up to the hospital.

I walked with her to the house, ate a quick lunch and we grabbed a tuk-tuk back to the hospital. We had debated walking back but the tuk-tuk won and it was good because shortly after we arrived, a young lady came to wheel Glenn back to the OR. We prayed for a minute and then sat outside to wait.

In times like this, you can only pray and trust.

Psalms 18:1-2............I love you, O Lord, my strength. The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge. He is my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.

In about 90 minutes, we heard Glenn was doing well and then he returned to his bed. Please continue to pray for him as he heals from the surgery and continues to regain his strength.

Tomorrow is another day and more adventures................................

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Tuesday's class in Lemoa

This morning, I was basically rocked out of bed at 0450 with an earthquake that was 5.4 on the scale. One news article said it was an 5.2 but I do know that it was a strong one. About 0915 when we were at the clinic getting ready for our class, another one hit. The news reported this one at 5.7 on the scale. I thought the first one was stronger than the second but I was wrong.

Today we had 22 people in our class today in Lemoa. As you have heard me talk about the
CHE program, the heath care promoters enjoyed the class today as well.

We had a short devotional before we started. This is the first time we had people come from Chutzurob area and they started the morning with some songs. Juan read from The Bible and then shared his thoughts with us.

The class was on how important prevention is. Gaspar and Maury started with acting out a short drama.

Lisa talked with the group about primary and secondary prevention.

Lisa explaining how we were to break into two groups and gather our ideas to share with the class.

Group 2 organizing their thoughts.

After lunch, Maury, Gaspar and Josefina talking together.

When I arrived home this evening it was very windy but the sky was beautiful.

Notice the different shades in the sky but the photos are taken in the same direction.

Even though some things happened today that makes us very nervous and unsure, we need to remember that God is in control. He created this earth, everything on the earth and He still reigns.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Clinic in Xepol

This morning we all drove to Chuchuca and the roads were good. I caught a ride to Santa Cruz with Kemmel and Lisa and we met Jasmin, Marcos, Manuel, Maury, Martina and Juan. We did not have any problems with the travel and all was well :)

We did not have many patients when we arrived so the guys mounted the speaker to the truck and announced through the community. Within 30 minutes the patients started arriving.

I want to introduce you to Catarina Garcia. She is the first young lady in the Church of Christ to be attending middle school and only the second in her community, Xejox. She told me that she really enjoys her classes. The ABC Program is a great opportunity for the children.

Look at those pretty teeth!

Usually Guatemalans are not anxious to smile for the camera but today they were ready!!

This little girl was smiling but she had no teeth to show me :(

This was one of our dissatisfied customers.

We had a total of 22 medical patients and 19 dental patients.
The final dental patient of the day was our Juan. Marcos pulled his wisdom tooth.
On the way home we stopped to get cokes and ice cream. It was our last clinic with Jasmin. She will go to the coast and work with Dr. Walter and David for a week and then return to The States.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Tuesday visitors :)

On Tuesday, Phillips'g group wanted to come to Chichi and visit Clinica Ezell. I met them at Santo Tomas and we drove out to the clinic together.

Here is the photo of everyone in front of the clinic. You probably know everyone but I still want to introduce you. Back row L >R......Jasmin, Kemmel, Lisa, Phillip, Alfred, Margorie, Brenda, Bill and Doyle. Next row is Josefina, me, Marcos, and Maury. Kneeling in the front are Tomas and Manuel. The driver was very nice to take our photo and very patient as he took it about 5 times :)

The group will be heading back to The City today and flying to The States in the morning...........Have a safe flight!!!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Monday at Panajachel

Monday, I went to Panajachel to catch up with Brenda, Doyle, Phillip, his parents and Alfred. They told me about a restaurant that they would be at for dinner. I checked into a hotel that I usually use and then walked to dinner.

The restaurant was Sunset Cafe. I had seen the entrance before but thought it was for a diferent restaurant. Around the table............Doyle, Bill, Majorie, Phillip, Brenda and Alfred. We had a great dinner and then walked around in the street before ending the night.

A view of the lake before the sun set.

A sun set very calm and peaceful.

Tomorrow morning I will return to Chichi and prepare for the rest of the week.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Sunday in Chichi

Sunday morning, Jasmin and I took a shuttle to Chichi. We arrived about 10 am and had plenty of time to do things that we wanted to do before we needed to go to Santa Cruz.

First, we went to Santo Tomas Hotel so Jasmin could see it. It is the hotel that we use for many guests and for the July and November groups that come for clinics.

Jasmin by the fountain in Santo Tomas.

We ate at the buffet and were practically the first ones in line.

After lunch we hit the market. Now, I did not think that Jasmin really wanted to do much shopping but I was wrong! She really tore that market up :)

We left for Santa Cruz in time for the 4pm worship. I introduced her to Josefina's family and then left her in their hands. She will have a good week with them and enjoy their company.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Saturday in Antigua

On Friday morning we all said our good-byes to the patients that remained at Clinica Ezell and to the staff members as we took the bus to Antigua. When we arrived, our room was not ready so they allowed us to store our luggage until the afternoon. We hit the markets, stores and restaurants as we went in different directions.

This is Katy and I by the fountain in Hotel Antigua.

On Saturday morning, the majority returned to The States while some of us remained. Jasmin, is a 3rd year medical resident that will return with me to The Highlands to work with Lisa for a week. Phillip, his parents, Brenda, Doyle and Alfred will remain in Guatemala for another week to see some of the sites.

On Saturday morning we met Elizabeth Bell in the park for a walking tour of Antigua. I had done this in 2006 and have always wanted to do it again. She is very interesting and I thought the group would also enjoy it.

This is the cathedral near the park.

This is Doyle and Brenda as we entered some of the small ruins in Antigua.

I do not know very much about architecture but find it very interesting.

Different sections of the ruins.

We completed the tour in the Santo Domingo Hotel which is a popular place for weddings and special occasions. They are still digging in different parts of the grounds and also have a small museum there. These bones were left as found and only protected.

Another display on site.

Jasmin and I will take a shuttle to Chichi tomorrow morning and the others have their travel plans in place. We pray that everyone has safe travels...................

Friday, February 12, 2010

Marjorie's exercise class

Majorie has been coming down to Guatemala and for many years has been doing the exercise classes for the ladies. She walks them around the room, gives them beads and sometimes carries a tambourine while singing.

On Thursday, she had the longest line she has ever had with 22 ladies. People made room as the line progressed through the recovery room.

The ladies enjoy the walking and the activities in the afternoon.

Margorie continues to keep them in line.

Before they went back to their beds, Margorie wanted everyone to stop in the middle so Ruth could teach them a song. Ruth is a volunteer nurse that has helped us in a few clinics.

Ruth teaching the song and movements to the ladies.........and it was a success!!!

Before returning their beds, the ladies wanted to sing some more songs. Ruth led them in a few and then the ladies wanted to tell the nurses how thankful they are for the clinic and how they appreciate the care they have received. One by one, patients would step into the middle and express their gratitude.

Some shared the difficulties that they have in their daily lives. Others felt alone and hoped their surgery would change their lives. Many expressed their thanksgiving.

This one lady was having a very difficult time with loneliness. Emily returned with the lady to her bed and shared some time with her as she cried.

As I had mentioned before, all of the patients have done well this week and we are so thankful for that. We know that the ladies will need a time of recovery. We pray that they will feel better physically while also having a better understanding of their need of God in their daily lives.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Clinic winding down..................

As Thursday morning approached, all of the serious surgeries were done and the surgeons occupied their time with doing manicures for the patients...........................just kidding :):):)
I was not quite sure about this patient who was trying to warm her hands because if you remember, Montellano is very who knows?????

Food and supplies for the ABC Program were delivered this week. People sort, prepare and deliver it to each of the communities.

This mother walked her baby around all week........walked it, bounced it and then walked it some more. The baby has quite good hands and eventually would grab anything within reach. This time it was money............

........and this time it was a bottle of medicine. I am trusting it was an empty bottle :)

Laura, Katy and Hannah outside of the clinic.................eventually, when they found the right lighting.

Nurses waiting for another patient...........but I think that they were all done for the day.

With all of the surgeries being done for the week, they went from bed to bed to visit with the patients.

There were a total of 45 surgeries down for the week. All of the patients did very well and we are thankful for this. Each will be followed in their local clinic.

Thursday at Clinica Ezell

On Thursday morning Amilia and Anastacia were on their way home. I do not think that the parents wanted to leave the clinic but it was time. We were not pushed for the bed space so they were allowed to stay an extra day. Even though we have talked to them alot about what to expect, I am sure that they are nervous and unsure of the healing process.

Amilia and her parents before they left the clinic.

I talked to the parents a lot about the swelling and discoloration and that it will just take time to heal. I think Amilia is going to be very pretty.

Anastacia's mom started using the stroller when Wilmer left. She does not speak a lot of Spanish but it was obvious that she enjoyed being at the clinic and meeting everyone.

Amilia was the last of our babies done. I am not sure if I had mentioned it but her dad also needs his palate repaired. We talked to him about getting that done but he made it clear that he wanted Amilia taken care of first. Maybe we can get that done for him in August.

The babies will have follow-up visits next Thursday in Lemoa. I am looking forward to seeing their progress.