Saturday, December 31, 2011

Fast three weeks................

Where did that three weeks go and in such a hurry? It seems as if I just left Guatemala for a few weeks home to visit my family and friends........and now I am back.

As always, I neglected the blog. I only took one photo the whole time I was in North Carolina and here it is. This is Christmas Eve and my parents were watching some ball game. Well, dad was watching and mom went to say hello.

While I was there we celebrated my dad's birthday, I spent time with friends, had a few doctor's appointments and also met with the mission committee from my sponsoring congregation, The South Fork Church of Christ. It was a busy time but I accomplished everything I needed to do.

We took dad out a few times to celebrate his birthday. My doctor's appointments and exams went well and I am very thankful for that. South Fork will continue to sponsor me and are looking for others who might also be interested in helping. If you are, please let me know and I will send you the contact information.

And yes, my parents did spoil me when I was with them :)

It is now time to get back to work. We have a lot of different events scheduled this year and it will be a busy year. We will have our clinics and will continue with the previous classes but will also have some new ones. Spring break teams will soon visit and then later we will have the MET Program.

We pray that our work will bring our patients and their families closer to Christ. While many people do not think of their relationship to Christ. While many may think of it, they may not act on it. Others may be confused and not sure what to do. I want our teaching to be only that of the Bible for it remains forever.

Peter thought it was important that the Christians in the New Testament times remembered this as he quotes from Isaiah 40-6-8.

I Peter 1:23-25----For you have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God. For, "All men are like grass and all their glory is like the flowers of the field; the grass withers and the flowers fall but the word of the Lord stands forever.

Let us continue to persevere with only His teaching.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Clinic in Lemoa

Today we had clinic in Lemoa. We had a busy clinic with 22 medical patients and 4 patients for dental cleanings.

When we arrived there was activity in the clinic area. We are in the early stages of building on to the clinic. Today, the guys were digging and adding water to make the adobes for the addition. The guys were playing in the mud that was up to their knees.

After they formed the adobe bricks, they placed them in the sun to dry.

On the other side of the clinic, guys were making some adjustments to prevent pooling of water that we have during the heavy rains.

A father brought in his child that had stepped on a nail 6 months ago. He states there was no infection after the incident but that it has not healed well. They will go for an xray to see if there is a foreign body inside the foot. If there is something there, they will return to see Lisa in another week.

After clinic we counted more vitamins to be distributed to the ABC Clinics. Then we met for awhile to discuss the 2012 calander. The new year will be here shortly and it will be an exciting one!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Clinic in Chutzurob

Today, Juan, Gaspar and I went to Chutzurob. We had a good clinic with 17 patients. Most of the patients had problems with colds and upper respiratory problems.

This little guys was the excitement of the clinic today. When I pulled out the camera, he got real serious on us.

Sebastian tried to get him loosen up again but it didn't work.

Please remember Sebastian in your prayers. His son was in an auto accident in Guatemala City and has some broken bones. Sebastian would appreciate your prayers.

This young lady always comes and talks as I start to pack up. I take her photos and she enjoys them. She always laughs and then wants another one taken.

We will be back in Chutzurob on January 10th. That sounds like a long way away but I know the time will pass quickly.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Happy December!

I apologize since it has been so long since I have blogged. Things have been moving right along and we are already in December!

This morning I went to Santa Cruz for worship. There were many people there and we had a good lesson. He talked about how soon this year will come to a close and then we will begin 2012. He talked about goals and plans that we need to make so that we will accomplish things. If we do not set goals or have dreams, there is little chance that we will do or be any different in the year to come.

Many people make New Year's resolutions and do not keep them. If resolutions are only made once a year, they usually do fail. Maybe our focus and goals should be made more frequently. I think this way they have a better chance of success.

Of all goals that could be set, what is better than to focus our life on Christ? The Bible is full of examples of people who wandered away, lost faith or lost their first love. Without a strong relationship with God, what else matters in life? As we know, this life is temporary.

We know how the Israelites constantly shifted in their faithfulness to God. We are warned in Revelations about people losing their first love. Even today, we need to listen to these warnings. They are as relevent as the day they were written.

Satan will take any foothold on us he can get. We need to stay active and alert to prevent him from getting an advantage. If we do not, he will strengthen his grip and weaken our relationship with God.

We have been planing our education for 2012 and I think it is exciting. Lisa has been working on prenatal classes and some sex education classes that she was asked to prepare. We will continue with the diabetes class and will also be offering a gastritis class.

So, there are a lot of good things going on. Please continue to pray for the work here. The ABC program is continuing to grow and remains active. The children are doing well and now are enjoying their vacation before classes start again.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Happy Birthday, Mom!!

Well, I guess you can tell it is my mom's birthday! I hope that it is a great day for her as dad has the opportunity to spoil her. I will be home in a couple of weeks and be able to do my share.

I love you mom and dad and I will see you soon!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Clinic and trip to Montellano

We had our clinic in Lemoa today. We had about 14 patients so it was not a real busy clinic.

Kemmel was kind and ordered us pizza from Domino's in Quiche. It was very good.

After we cleaned up everything, we started our drive to Montellano, to our Clinica Ezell. It will be our Thanksgiving dinner with the group down there and the time that we share together before the end of the year.

When we arrived, everyone was working and preparing for the dinner. Carlos asked Lisa to give a little background of Thanksgiving so she shared that with us before we ate.

Table clothes were placed for dinner and flower arrangements had been made.

Everyone listening to Carlos as he explained dinner tonight and the meeting time for the morning.

Preparing to pray before we ate.

We get together with the coastal group only once during the year. There is also Alex, Violeta and Carolina that work in Guatemala City. Tonight there are about 40-45 of us together.

I am very thankful to be working with Health Talents. The leaders are always concerned with how we can reach more people, not only physically but spiritually. There are so many opportunities to help people. Many people have great needs. We have the daily clinics, monthly surgical groups, the ABC Program, health outreach into the communities, educational programs and also Bible seminars through the year. God has blessed Health Talents and the organization has been in Guatemala about 30 years.

A wonderful dinner was prepared for us. We enjoyed a meal with turkey, ham and all of the trimmings. The ladies, as always, worked very hard for us.

When we finished dinner, we had the evening to participate in different activities. Some of us just chatted while others went out to play soccer.

I have a special prayer request. Nydia, who works as a dental assistant has been having a lot of pain for the last year in her head and neck area. Her exams have been negative but she continues with the pain. I am going to talk to the neurologist in Quiche about seeing her so please remember her in your prayers. Chronic pain can be very difficult to deal with but not knowing the cause can be even more difficult. Thank you for remembering her.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Return to Santa Cruz and Chichi

We started preparing to leave early this morning. Erv was kind enough to set up the stove for our last cup of coffee before we hit the road.

The cloud coverage was thick this morning.

This is "tent city" where most of the guys slept. They had set up ten tents. The ladies slept down near the kitchen.

The people who owned land around us wanted to sell their goods to us. We walked down the road to find some oranges. They washed and bagged them for us. These trees are full of oranges. They sold 4 oranges for 13 cents.

Some children walking down the road in front of the clinic.

Getting in the last photos before we left.

Children playing with the balls that are being left for them.

This is the home from across the street where we had clinic.

Then we began our return. It was a great day for a long drive. Erv, Sally and I left first since we knew we would need to make the trip slowly.

This is the first river that we crossed.

Then we began the climb up.......

The day and weather could not have been any better.

We stopped for dinner when we arrived in Sacapulas.

My first experience in Zona Reyna could not have been any better. I really appreciate being asked to join the group. I hope that I will be able to go again next year.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Monday in Zona Reyna

The morning was beautiful. We got up about 0530 and made a trip to another part of the river. The cloud coverage was beautiful and felt so fresh.

We have been told that this typical for this area. It is not dry as other parts of Guatemala are but is alwasys lush and green.

We climbed up the road and then hiked back down to the river bed. This was the first site we had of it.

Some people had never seen a river this big. It was interesting to hear their thoughts. Some of the guys took turns throwing stones, trying to reach the other side. I think that Erv was the closest.

People talking about their experiences this weekend. It has been a fantastic trip, so far.

This canoest made it up stream and then ferried across the river. When he reached the other side, he tied his canoe to a tree and climbed to the top of the road.

These were two of the translators that we used. The gentleman in the blue striped shirt lives 4 hours away.

Erv and some children wait outside as we are almost ready to finish clinic for the day.

One lady came today with a skin issue. I listened to her problem, waiting for her to tell me about the problem that her child had. When she never did, I finally said, "So, please tell me how long your child's foot haas been like this." The poor child's foot and ankle were infected and draining terribly. The mother seemed to have very little interest in her child. The translator could also see this and began talking to her about the seriousness of this illness. How very sad but no matter where you are, you see situations as this. It reminded me of the family at we saw a few days ago in Choacaman IV.

Erv and Sally with a family that they know from the previous clinic here. How good it is to see people return that are doing well.

Since this is the coastal area it is hot. Since there is no running water in the area, there are no showers. Through the day I kept remembering how good that river felt yesterday. It was so cool and refreshing.

We finished clinic about 4:30 pm. From the count of medicine that we used, Sally thinks we saw 200 adults and 150 children during the two days. I think that is great. I hope that what we have done has been a blessing to the community. There is so much need here.

When we finished, I could not wait to see if we were going to go to the river. Some of the guys were down the road playing soccer. Sure! Let's pass by there, say our hellos and then make our way to the river!!

Erv and Sally were ahead of me as we walked. Erv, as you can tell by his shirt, has been trying to fix the shock for our ride home tomorrow.

We met some friendly girls from the community who also had been to the river to collect water.

ahhhhhhhh, the river was as refreshing as I remembered it!! Simply amazing after a HOT day.

When we climbed back up to the road, the rainbow was waiting for us.

We walked back to the tents and spent time together until dinner. The community was very kind and prepared a soup dinner for us. It was chicken soup with tortillas.

We will leave in the morning and begin winding our way back to Quiche. We pray for safe travels without any problems.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Sunday in Zona Reyna

Last night we had some rain.  Since the living conditions here as so basic, there is no water source within the community.  When the rain started, we collected it off the roof of the building.  Sally and Erv brought a water filter with them so we had clean water this morning.

The sky was very pretty this morning and it was cool.  We had breakfast and then started clinic.

Erv hooked up things to the battery of the truck so we had lights and could charge our phones.  Even though I could not make a phone call, I use the alarm on my phone. He even connected a hot plate to the battery so we could have coffee in the morning.

This is the tent that was our home for three nights. The building in the background is the place that we set up clinic.

The children wanted to see their photo.  I think this a universal enjoyment of children.  Sally is showing the children their photo.

This is the main road of this community.  The houses are simple with dirt floors and thatched roofs.

It was a busy clinic and that is the way I like it.  We needed to use translators since the languages here are Q'eqchi' and Mam. We had one translator that was great.  You can tell when someone has worked in this capacity and enjoys helping others. About noon, Erv mentioned that it was time for a break and that sounded good to us.  We were in need of a Coke!!

We stopped around 1 pm when they told us it was lunch time.  We finished seeing all of the patients about 5:30 pm.......................................and it was hot!  We decided that we needed to head to the river to bath and it was so refreshing!  Our group walking to the river.

We could hear the laughing before we could see the others.  The guys went downstream and the ladies went upstream.  The water was cool and it felt good! 

 We all went back to the tents feeling much better.

After dinner we sat outside and listened to the singing. 

We are not sure how many patients we saw but it was over 75 patients.  Most of them  came with stomach problems which is not unusual for a community that does not have regular clinics.  Many people do not boil their water or if they do, it is not long enough.  Many children have worms with distended abdomens.  We saw several families that have scabies.  Many children are underweight for their age.  Most of the children and women do not wear shoes. One child in the community does not wear clothes.  We were told that usually the children do not wear clothes because it is so hot but since we are in the community, the children are clothed. 

As we were sitting outside and enjoying the cool weather, Erv came up to us and was excited since he had received a signal on his phone!! If he held his phone up in the air, inside the tent, near the tent pole, he had two bars!  He let me call home but since he could not move the phone, I had to yell up to the phone.  My parents appreciated hearing from us and knowing we were doing well. 

Right before we went to bed, it started raining again and we able to refill the filter.  What a great day it was!