Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Clinic in Chuguexa

This morning, I made my way to Chichi to pick up Enrique for our clinic today. On the way up to town, I passed Carmen and gave her a ride.  Many of you would know Carmen, since she works in Santo Tomas Hotel.

Enrique and I made our way to get Cesibel,  and then on to Chuguexa. 

We had a good clinic of fifteen patients.  As usual, most were diabetics.  I was please with how well they were controlled. 

After clinic, I went to Lemoa to give money to Maury.  It is the end of the month so she has to make all of her bank deposits and balance everything.  Everyone was eating lunch and having a good time together.

I am so appreciative of the people that I work with.  It is truly a blessing for me.  Yes, life in Guatemala is different but it is good.  No, we may not always have water, electricity or heat.  Maybe the simple comforts of life are over rated!  Yes, the roosters, dogs and cows wake me up at 0430 every morning and then the birds start playing on my tin roof! But, with the normal activity, I know everything is OK and I can catch a few more winks before the alarm goes off.

I am very content.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Day in Lemoa

Today, Lisa reviewed with Cesibel, Cesar and I the classes that we will be doing on sexual education in the communities.  It is a big step, as in the past, as this would have never been welcomed.  The information was requested from some of the congregations and then the material was presented to the health care promoters. They thought the information was valuable and needed.

Lisa, Kemmel and some of the promoters have done the classes in a couple of communities.  Now it is time to move on to some others.  I will keep you posted on the next community that we will be in.

Here is another writing from Daybreak devotional booklet.  It is a collection of writings from different writers from North Carolina.

I Chronicles 4:10
While we do not know a lot about Jabez, we know that he was honorable man and that he prayed.  I think that the majority of Christians would admit that they want a stronger prayer life. We can learn a lot from Jabez. 

Jabez  prayed for four things. He asked that God would bless him, increase his wealth or his territory, that God would continue to be with him, and  that God would keep him from harm or evil. God granted Jabez's requests, as He also answers ours today. Jabez was specific in his prayer.  He did not debate or try to convince God on why his prayer should be granted. His words were simple. He prayed with passion.

Jabez prayed for prosperity in his life.  While many people think that it is not in our best interest to pray for our needs, apparently God approves.  Jabez knew that he needed God in every aspect of his life.  Without God, he knew that he did not have any hope.

True prosperity, is when we focus on eternity.  What drives our requests is important.  Jabez requests were not self-centered, but God centered. 

Jabez wanted to be protected from evil.  Evil lurks at every turn in our life.  When we let our guard down, Satan comes in for the kill.

If our motives are God-centered, we can pray as Jabez. Paul tells us to present our needs before God. (Philipians 4:6)  There is not a list of criteria that our requests need to meet. God is our loving Father and he wants to care, protect and provide for us, as He did for Jabaz......but we need to ask.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Monday in Chichi

Today was a day to catch up.  I walked up to market and bought a few things that I needed, paid my light bill, printed photos of the babies that will have surgery soon and talked to a few people.

A few weeks ago in clinic, we were served a vegetable that I had never tried before. Many people know güisquil is one of my favorite vegetable here in Guatemala.  Well, this vegetable is part of the güisquil tree root.  It is a lot like yucca and you cook it like a potato or a carrot.

So, there ya have it........another wonderful vegetable. 

Tomorrow, we will have a class in Lemoa.  Lisa will be reviewing the sex ed classes that we will be doing in the ABC Commuinities.  It will be a good day!

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Drive to Antigua

This morning, Sandra and I went to Quiche for worship.  We sat with Ruben and enjoyed our time together. 

Afterward, Sandra and I went to visit Magda. I was prepared when she opened the door but she was better than I had seen her in several weeks!  She smiled as I introduced her to Sandra.  She even had energy!

When we finished with our visit, I drove Sandra home and I headed to Antigua to see Joe and Jane.  Jane started Evelyn's Baskets of Love and Life.  Their grand daughter was born with a cleft lip and palate so they have a special interest in helping other babies.

They were going to come to Chichi and bring baskets to us and ASELSI but when the activities in Chichi broke out, it was safer for them to make other plans.  These baskets are gifted to mothers that have babies with these problems. They include specialty bottles and other things that will help with the nutrition of the baby.  Once the baby is about 6 months old and has gained enough weight, the two surgeries can be done. 

Thank you,  Joe and Jane!

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Snow in Guatemala!!

I realize that I have been very cold the last few days but I did not realize that there has been snow here.  This photo was taken in Ixchiguán, San Marcos. This area is farther north, between Quetzaltenango and Huehuetenango. The snow fell yesterday.  It was just a dusting but very significant for Guatemala.

The meaning of the name, "Quetzaltenango", is the place of the quetzal bird.  It is the national bird of Guatemala.  The meaning of the name, "Huehuetenango", is the place of the ancestors.

I am not sure what this lady molded with the snow......if it is a traditional snowman or a quetzal bird........but I am sure that she enjoyed herself!

Friday, January 25, 2013

ABC Clinic in Mactzul V

This morning, ten of us headed to Mactzul V for and ABC Clinic and a regular clinic.  In our group was Lisa, Sandra, Maria, Martina, Maury, Cesibel, Marcos, Manuel, Cesar and me. Tomas was already waiting for us in Mactzul.

We had a busy clinic and everyone had a lot of work to do.

For dental education this year, the dentists and promoters are using a coloring dye to demonstrate how- well or how not- so-well the patients are brushing and flossing their teeth.  If the patient is doing a good job, there should not be a lot of color left.

In this first young lady, her teeth are very white.  She is brushing and flossing good.

Marcos showed me his patient and as you can see, there is quite a difference.

Sandra educating a family during their consults.

Education begins with the parents.  If the parents do not understand the importance of good dental hygiene, then the children will not understand.  Here, Cesar is teaching a mother how to brush so she can properly teach her children.

We eventually had 23 ABC Children, 11 regular patients and 19 dental patients.  It was a good day and we enjoyed our time together.

I was very excited today because many of the children in the ABC Program told me about what they wanted to to do when they finish school.  Usually, about 95% of the children say they want to be a teacher.  This is fine, but there are also other professions that we want them to think about.  Today, I heard of some wanting to be a doctor, business secretary, nurse and an architect. It is good to see children thinking about their future and knowing that they have the ability to achieve it.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Clinic in Chiul

Today, several of us made our way to Chiul.  It is about 2 hours on the other side of Quiche.  It was the first opportunity that I have had to do this clinic.

Let me tell you how cold it was.  Now, I am not complaining but it was way toooooo cold!

This is the place we had clinic.  There were a lot of people outside when we arrived, so I thought we were going to have a BIG clinic. Then, I was saddened to realize that I was wrong.

This is Pedro and he is announcing the clinic for the third time.

I finally end up with two patients, Sandra had fourteen patients and Tomas had four for dental cleaning.  Dental won!

We had safe travels and we are always thankful for that!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Babies for surgery in Febuary

Twice a year, surgical teams come to Montellano to do surgery for children who have cleft lips and palates.  It is a great blessing to the children and to the parents.  I am very fortunate to know people that want to help with this work.  ASELSI has been very kind and has paid for the transportation for the children from Chichi area. Solomen's Porch, in Panajachel, has paid for the transportation for the children in that area.

This is Amarilis.  She first came to us last year but had a very loud heart murmur.  She then went to Guatemala City and they replaced one of her heart valves.  Now, they have cleared her for surgery and she is good to go!  She is growing and doing very well.  Her surgery will be sponsored by Tom and Freda in Morganton, North Carolina.

This Anderson Joel and his parents. His surgery will be sponsored by Danny in Morganton, North Carolina.  Anderson is a patient at the ASELSI clinic, not too far from Lemoa.

This is Angelica and her mom. Her surgery will be sponsored by Janie in Morganton, North Carolina. Angelica is one of the babies that came to us from the Panajachel area.  Noe is now working with Solomen's Porch and will be driving them to Montellano on the 9th of February.

This is Edison.  He has had his lip and palate surgeries but he still has a small hole in his palate, that we hope can be repaired.  Carrie and Travis, from Pilot Mt., North Carolina will sponsor his surgery.  Edison is growing into a fine, young man!

This is Hector Fredy and  Betty.  Betty is now working in Panajachel and has been accompanying the babies on their travels.  Hector's surgery will be sponsored by Nancy from Nashville.  Nancy was with Hector when he had his lip repaired in 2011, and now she will be with him for his second surgery.

This is Marcos Rudy and he is nine months old.  He is a cute little baby and his surgery will be sponsored by Frank and Evelyn, from Morganton, North Carolina. 

This is Osman and his parents.  He and his family are from the Chichicastenango area.  His surgery will be sponsored by the Morganton Church of Christ. 

This is Tomas Perez and his mom.  Last year, he had his lip repaired in the Santa Elena Hospital in Quiche.   His palate surgery will be sponsored  by Kory, who lives in Ft. Worth, Texas.  Tomas and I spent a lot of time talking to his mom about the Bible after the consult.  It was exciting.  She had a lot of questions and interest.

This is Yony Wender and his mom.  Yony has had a difficult road since he was born with microcephaly. Hopefully, we will be able to do his surgery.  Terry, from Ft. Worth will be sponsoring his surgery.

So, now you have met our babies! We all will be traveling to Monetellano on the 9th of February.  The parents know to bring everything that they and their babies will need for 4-5 days.  We will attend worship together on Sunday morning and then the surgeries will begin.  It will be an exciting time for all of us.

While the surgery is a physical blessing for the baby and parents, what may take place over the week may also be a spiritual blessing.  Many patients and families go to Montello without a personal relationship with God or it is possible that they know very little about God.  During this time, we will pray with them and talk about the hope that we have as Christians.

Please pray that the surgical team will arrive safely, that the surgeries will go well and that those who are not Christians will have fertile hearts to the gospel.

More photos and stories will follow that week! 

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Sunday in Chichi

This morning, I made my way to Quiche for worship.  The little lady that always sits in front, was not there again this morning. Her name is Mikaela and she has not been there since I have returned from The States.  I was going to ask someone about her before I left but they made an announcement about her before we closed.

Mikaela is at home and is very sick.  They wanted to take her to the hospital because they think she is dying but she wants to die at home.  Please remember her in your prayers.  This is Lisa, Mikaela and Kemmel at the last conference in Mactzul VI.

The lesson today was on the second coming of Christ. It was a very good lesson.  He talked about how people have always tried to predict when the world will end or when Christ will return but so far........none have been correct.  This is still very fresh in Mayan minds since their calendar ended in December 2012. 

The Bible tells us that no one knows when Christ will return, not even Christ or the angels.......but the promise remains that He will return. There are a lot of questions about this and many people like to get into deep discussions and even arguments about it but I don't think it is important.  God will have Christ return in His time and in His manner.  What DOES matter is, "Will I be ready?"

I have the opportunity to talk to patients about their relationship with God.  I talk with parents about their responsibility as parents, to teach their children about God.  If they wait too long, their children will not be interested.  Children need to be taught at a young age or later, they may not have any interest. 

Maybe we should spend more time in thinking, "If Christ returned today, would I be ready?  What do I want to be doing at the moment of His return?  Would I want the mountains to fall on me as the Bible mentions?"  Just more things for us to think about.............for His return is a promise.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Short Clinic in Lemoa

This morning, I did not receive any calls saying that anything else had happened in Chichi, so I took a tuk-tuk to go and get the truck.  Manuel, Gaspar and I met at Casa del Rey at 0745 and the guard let us in.  Gaspar and Manuel had plans to go and talk with a community about a new clinic and I headed for Lemoa.

On my way to Lemoa, I picked up Maury, Martina, Sandra and her mom, Sandra.  We all talked about what happened yesterday and what we heard might happen today.  The tuk-tuk driver this morning told me there will be more problems this afternoon. Maury told me that she heard the same thing. I told them we would reevaluate clinic when we arrived in Carris.

When we drove up to the clinic, Cesibel was writing names down of the patients.  We had about 12-14 medical patients. Everyone was calm but a little nervous about yesterday.  Most of the patients came from the other side of Quiche. I do not think any were from Chichi.

We decided to see all of those waiting and then close clinic. Maury called the patients who had dental appointment in the afternoon and rescheduled those of a future date.  She said there would be no problem in doing that.  I just want people to be home with their families if more problems start.

We finished at 1200 and loaded the truck.  I drove everyone to Chichi and things were very quiet.  There were no tourists in town and the market was closed. 

Sandra wanted to buy a stove for her new apartment so we walked to a few stores but most of everything was sure did not look like a Thursday. When we were finished, I took them home, locked the truck up and went home. 

The Guatemalan President visited Quiche today to help quiet things down.

It was a very uneventful day and I am so thankful!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Clinic in Xepol and problems in Chichicastenango

Today, Maury, Cesibel and I made our way to Xepol.  They are in the process of building a new church building after a mudslide wiped them out a couple of years ago.  This was the photo that I took in November.

This is the progress that they have made since November. They have done a great job.  It is important to remember that most of the congregations build as they have the money.  Not many are able to take out loans so they build as their contributions allow.

When we were about ready to leave Xepol, Manuel called and told us that there were some problems in Chichicastenango and that we should meet and return together.  We met at Los Encuentros and drove until we found out that the streets of Chichi were blocked.

Gaspar and Manuel were in the Suk, behind Maury and I.  We had dropped of Cesibel near her home.  We were behind some other cars and a bus as we tried to enter Chichi.  A large group of men came running down the road toward us.  They had large sticks and rocks in their hands and many had hoods on. They started yelling at us to turn around.  We were more than happy to do this!  At one point, one guy raised his arm and I thought he was going to throw a rock at us, but he put it down.

We drove down the road a few minutes until we found a safe place to park.  We got out and started hearing that houses had been burned and some cars had been destroyed.  It has to do with the mayor and about 4,000,000 quetzales of projects that have not been done as he claimed.  He has fled to Guatemala City.

It was sad watching everyone get off the buses and vans and having to carry all of their possessions down the road.  There were many women and their loads were heavy.  The children were also having to carry large bundles.  We were hoping that the road would open but they did not.

After about an hour, a few trucks with some of these guys passed us.  They were going farther out of Chichi to cause problems.  It was packed with guys having sticks and rocks.

We were close to a hotel on the outskirt of Chichi, Casa del Rey.  We heard they were closing their gates because of the violence but we hoped to get there before they did.  I called Jennifer, who works with ASELSI, and she was able to contact the hotel.  We were told that we could park the vehicles there for the night and then we would be able to walk into Chichi. I just wanted everyone to get to their homes to be with their family.

When we arrived the gates were closed and they would not open them for us.  I told the guard that the manager expected us and to please call him to verify this. The streets were packed with people and I could tell that it was not safe just to be hanging out. Finally, they opened the gates and allowed us entrance.  We loaded all of the equipment inside the truck and locked the doors.  Helicopters were flying very low over us. At this point, I think we were all nervous about walking into Chichi, not knowing what we would find. We did not really talk a lot.  We were just remained alert and focused on getting home.

We decided to walk Maury to her house first.  On the road entering Chichi, there had been a big fire in the street.  They had burned several things to prevent traffic from entering. On the way to Maury's house, we saw two of the burned houses.  They were black and continued to smoke.  They had thrown many things out of the windows, trying to save tables and mattresses but it was too late.  There here many, many bags in the street from people who had thrown bags of water trying to put out the fire. But again, it had not helped. 

When Maury was in her house, Gaspar and Manuel made sure I arrived home safe.  The streets were packed with cars and people that were not able to do anything.  Everyone was just stuck. Gaspar walked on one side of me and Manuel on the other. When we got near the soccer field, we found a tuk tuk to take me to my house.

I was told that nothing like this has happened since 1999.

These are some photos of the houses. They are from the internet since I left everything in the truck. I did not want to carry my backpack through the streets. This is in an area called 10 de Julio.  I lived one block away from here, when I first moved to Guatemala and was looking for an apartment.   Seven people were arrested and 2 journalists were beaten.

This was another one of the houses.  This house is close to where Maury lives.

Later in the evening, we were told that many people were coming to rescue those that were arrested.  They claimed that if they were not released, they would use bombs.

In situations like this, all you can do is pray.  Emotions are extremely elevated and people feel cheated.  They do not trust the government or authority and so they feel they have no other choice than to take things into their own hands.  Violence is not the answer but they are desperate.  Many innocent people are affected when this type behavior happens.

Please pray that this will be resolved without any more violence. 

We have clinic planned for Lemoa tomorrow so we will see what happens through the night.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Clinic in Xepocol

This morning, several of us headed to Xepocol for clinic.  When we arrived, there were not any patients so we set up clinic and waited.

This is our dentist, Sandra and her mom.

It is always nice to have visitors and especially family come and share with us what we do in clinic.

I remember when the members of the church here, started talking about building a kitchen.  Well, today is the first time that I have seen it and it is ready to use! It has two rooms and is nice.

This is one of the rooms........Sandra, Cesibel, Maury, Sandra, Martina and Cesar.

 Then we realized we had missed Maria, so we needed another photo..........Maria, Sandra, me, Cesibel, Maury, Martina and Cesar.

 Before we started eating, we laughed because of the girls sitting next to Cesar!

Right after lunch, they came to tell me that Gaspar's mom was very sick at home and wanted to know if I would go and see her. I said, "Sure!"

Maria and I drove the family home that provided us lunch and then we drove to the home of Gaspar's mom.  She was on the floor, where they told me she was the most comfortable.  Her son told me that she has not been able to drink anything since yesterday and had vomited through the night.  She had not had a fever, diarrhea, cough or other problems.  She was dehydrated so I started an IV and gave her a liter of fluid.  Her family wanted to take her to the hospital but she would not go.   I called Gaspar and gave him an update.  We plan to talk later this evening.

When we returned to Chichi, we met Manuel and Gaspar at Lemoa. Sandra is in the process of changing apartments so the guys offer to help her move.  They offered to help us with her fridge so we did that right away.

After that trip, Sandra,, her mom and I made two more trips and that was it for the evening.

Gaspar, later called me and told me that his mom was a little bit better.  She was able to drink a little and had not vomited anymore.  He was a little encouraged but aware how very sick she is.

It was a busy day but a good day.  Tomorrow, Maury, Cesibel and I will go to Xepol for clinic.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Catching up.........

Yesterday, I went to Quiche for worship and visited my friend, Magda.  It was a very sad visit.  When I opened the door, she looked so frail and barely smiled.  She has been getting weaker and weaker.  I went to the market and bought some groceries for her.  When I left in the afternoon, she could not walk me to the door. We said our good-byes in the kitchen and I let myself out. 

Today, I was able to start getting caught up on things.  I walked to Chichi, went to the bank, printed some photos and worked on my to-do-list.

When I returned from Chichi, a fire was burning in our neighborhood.  I was only gone one hour and the lot was totally burned.  The Chichi fire truck in front of the lot.

Lots of smoke as they released the water.

One of the firemen, on the left side of the tree.

The flames started going up the tree but they got it under control before it was damaged.

They needed my brother, Mike, and Lisa's brother, Kriss, to help them today.  They are both fire-fighters and could have been used!!

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Good Luck Josue!

Today, Josue and I made our way to Chiqua.  It was my first clinic of 2013.  As usual, we had the clinic in Alica's house.  She continues to open her home to us twice a month to do clinic.  This morning, we found out that she will have another baby!  She and her family were very excited!

It was a small clinic but we made some good connections.  We never want to lose site of what seeds may be planted through the day. Josue began the clinic with praying with the patients. That is my favorite part of the clinic.  The patients can see where our hope and trust lie.

We had a few diabetics and everyone was well controlled.  I expected with the holidays to see some high numbers.  I was pleased. 

This evening, I had dinner with Lisa, Kemmel, Sandra, Sheyla and two of their friends.  It was good to see everyone.  Sandra's friends are dentists and have helped us with the ABC Children this week.

This was Josue, last month in Montellano.  He will leave tomorrow for Guatemala City to start Med School. I have a lot of confidence in him and know he will be a very good physician.  He is very humble and cares for people.

His sister, Aura, is studying to be a dentist.  They will live together in Guatemala City and be a good support for each other!

Friday, January 11, 2013

Back to Chichicastenengo

Well, it was time to return to Guatemala and to Chichicastenango.  The travel back seemed long but eventually, I made it.  When I walked into the house, I felt like Pigpen in Peanuts.  I have been in NC for almost a month and I appreciated my parents house being so clean.  My house here, is one BIG dust bunny! Tomorrow, will be a good day to clean. What is ONE more day????

I talked to Kemmel and Lisa for a minute, and I got the scoop on tomorrow.  Josue and I will go to Chiqua and it will be his last clinic with us before he goes to Guatemala City to study medicine.  I am thankful that I have another day to work with him.