Today, we celebrated Sandra's birthday in Mactzul V. It was fun to catch her off-guard. Julie and Cesar carried the cake in and we started singing!
This is Cesar, Sandra, Maria and two of the guys from the congregation that helped with the clinic today.
Before diving into the cake......This is Mike and Julie who are working with us for a few weeks.
When Mike asked Sandra how old she was, she and Cesar busted out laughing. She finally confessed about 10 minutes later :)
For those who have tried Guatemalan bakery cake........well, there is no
need to remind you of what it is like. But, this was the best bakery
cake I have had so far. We polished it off and then enjoyed looking at
each other's blue teeth. The problem was that Cecy and I were headed to Mactzul VI to do a class.......we needed special dental care :)
A group photo before we left.
Maria, Sandra, Cesar, Cecy, me Julie and Mike.
When Cecy and I arrived to class, it started raining.........and it rained.......and it rained. We had a very dificult time doing the class due to the noise from the tin roof. Yes, we had a microphone but it was not sufficient. From time-to-time, we would just look at each other and have this helpless smile. Now we will see how many ladies are interested in having a pap/ivaa clinic in this community.
We were invited back next month and that is always a good sign!
Yesterday, Manuel was out making the purchases for the ABC Children. This morning, the supplies arrived in Lemoa for distribution into the ABC communities.
The coordinators of the ABC program work very hard to make sure that things are done correctly. This is Manuel who made all of the purchases. Cesar called all of the coordinators to let them know what they needed to do.
While others were making the distributions, I went to Chichicastenango to do a clinic with Enrique, Sandra and Brenda. ALL of the children presented very well and ALL of the children were above their expected weight. Hands were clean, nails were trimmed, hair was combed and everyone was shiny. Sandra was pleased from the dental aspect.
While we were downstairs, the distribution was going on upstairs. Families were receiving beans, milk, rice, dental products..........things that can really make a difference in health.
For those of you who have met Maury, this is her mother on the right. She is very active in the congregation with children's classes and ladies classes.
And the work continues.
OK, here is Emanuel. He is waving to Jim and Barbara from Texas. They sponsor Emanuel and for this reason, he is able to study in school and have the opportunity to do many things!
Today, we had activities in four different areas. Mike and Julie went with Manuel to Xepocol. Sarah and Andrea went to Saquilla. I went to Chijtinit with Sandra and our group. Gaspar had a class in San Jorge.
We saw all of the ABC children in Chijtinit plus one lady that we were happy to help.
When we finished with the clinics, I met up with Gaspar at my house. He was so excited that his class went well. There were two brothers in that congregation who had left the church. Today, they returned, asked for forgiveness and were reconciled. When Gaspar was telling me the the story, he got so excited!! He said, "Sheri, this is my work! This is what I want to do!"
The following photo is of Gaspar when he was studying the Bible with Manuel. He had been a patient in our clinic for quite a long time. Manuel was baptized and then later died. We were so thankful that he had been granted enough time on this earth to realize that he needed the blood of Christ for his salvation.
Today, Mike, Julie and I headed to Chuchipaca for clinic. We met Cecy there and we already had a few patients waiting.
It felt like an eye clinic and that is good. We were able to help several ladies with reading glasses, which will also help them with their sewing and embroidery work. This was one of our content patients. We did not have a mirror so when I took the photo, they could see if they liked the glasses or not. Of course, we took the little white tag off before they left :)
I was also pleased with one of our diabetic patients, Antonio. He is a severe diabetic and one of the rare ones, that uses insulin. He has very dense cataracts and has been wanting to have surgery. For the last several clinics, he has been controlled so we now have him scheduled for surgery in November. I look forward to the day that his vision is much better.
It was a great clinic with about 17 patients. Cecy is always fun to work with and keeps me on my toes.
Now, it is time to relax for a little during the weekend. A few weeks ago, Kemmel downloaded a few seasons of Blue Blood. I am watching the first season and have really enjoyed it. Thank you, Kemmel!
A few weeks ago, I traveled to Montellano to visit the group that was there and to also visit Marlene.
Carlos preached the sermon from Psalms 42 and the anguish that David felt. Many people do not think it is correct to admit distress and have a good heart-to-heart with God. That it is not good to admit depression or face their fears. This is far from the truth.
David mourned and cried. He felt struggles and pain as we do today. David penned those emotions. He remembered when things were good, when he rejoiced and praised God.
He questioned his feelings. He questioned God's presence. It is OK.............but we can not let that be our last thought.
We must remember that God is our refuge. He allows our pain and our struggles and because of this, if we are faithful, God will remain our hope and our salvation. He pulls us closer to Him, if we allow.
It was a great lesson, Carlos. Thank you.
I have mentioned my shepherd friend that lives near by. Today, when I went walking, she had two new babies with her. This lamb is less than 2 days old.
Back in May of 2008, Juan, Gaspar and I drove to Chutzurob to meet with Sebastian. This is the photo that I took that day..........and a lot has happened since then.
Juan, Gaspar and Sebastian in front of where the church meets.
Shortly after this meeting, we started having monthly clinics here. The clinic has always done well and several members of the congregation help us each month. We now have a dentist with us each month, offering fillings, extractions and denal cleaning.
Today, Cecy and I went out to do a class on Papanicolaou and IVAA for the ladies. There were around 22-24 ladies and a lot of questions! I was very surprised and pleased. They said that they will be talking about having regular monthly classes. We will see what happens.
One of the young ladies had a lot of questions. I do not remember seeing her before in clinic. On the way home, I asked Cecy about her. Her name is Wendy and she has recently been baptized. Her parents were costumbre, believing and praying to many gods. How exciting that she was part of the class today and had so many questions for us. I really look forward to returning to Churtzurob.
I think it is a good reminder for us. Our parents teach us the best that they can but there are some things that we need to study for ourselves. What if Wendy had never questioned her salvation? I have a friend that says, "My parents believed this, so I will die believing the same." For me, this is very sad. For our souls sake, we need to study the Bible and know what is expected of us.
One day, I will give an account for what I have done, not for what my parents have done.
On April 6, 2013, I met Manuel in Chicua. He was one of our first patients at Alicia's house. He was a severe diabetic who wanted to hear more about the Bible.
The next week, Gaspar walked and walked trying to find where Manuel lived. We did not have good directions and he lived in a very wooded area. As we know, there are not street signs and numbers around here. They studied the Bible together and Manuel decided that he wanted to become a Christian. Kemmel, Gaspar and I were there that day and it was a day of rejoicing.
Manuel then offered to let us use as a small hospital in the area for clinic. We met with the people in the community and they agreed a clinic was needed although it never grew. This is the last photo that I have of Manuel, in front of the hospital.
Gaspar just called to let me know that Manuel died yesterday. We do not have any details. Gaspar will go and visit with the family and the church tomorrow.
Please pray for his family and they grieve their loss. While there is sadness on earth, there is rejoicing in heaven and we can be sure that will remain for eternity.
Well, Guatemala is wet again. It has been raining off and on for several days and it looks like we will have a few more days of it.
This morning, Andrea called and asked me to come and have lunch at the clinic. Today, is her birthday and her family wants to bring lunch to us. What a nice surprise!!
Andrea, Mario and Sara as we are preparing to eat.
It is good to have Martina back with us, after completing her maternity leave. Martina with Maury and Maria.
I usually do not take photos of my meal but I was so impressed with Andrea's family. They not only brought in all of the food............but also all of the plates, glasses and utensils!
This is Andrea and her family.
We quickly organized ourselves for a photo.
After lunch, everyone went back to work and I helped with the dishes. Her mom said she would just take things home dirty........but there was no way I wanted that to happen. We had a fun time as we washed everything before packing it up. She remembers when I first moved to Quiche and could not speak much Spanish. She mentioned that the church in Quiche may be interested in some classes so we will see what happens.
Happy Birthday, Andrea! And many thanks to your family for a wonderful lunch!
Over the last two days, we have talked to 16 students about their future. Some have very interesting stories.
This Alicia and she lives in Mactzul. She is attending high school and if I remember correctly, she will be the first young lady in her community to graduate from high school!! What an accomplishement and honor for her and her family! This Alicia with Cynthia, Harriette and Alex.
I know..........I should not brag on my children but I can not help it. This is Sandra and she getting ready to graduate and start teaching.
This is Cecy and she is one of our promoters. She is in the process of finishing her entrance exams and will study nursing. I know she would appreciate your prayers as these exams are a struggle!
This is another one of my students. His name is Esteban and he is pretty much a straight A student. You go, Esteban! I think he also wants to study nursing.
We saw either 14 or 16 students over the two days. I wish I had takena photo of Josue. Maybe I can get Cynthia to forward her photo to me. Josue was with us for about a year and then went to Guatemala City to study medicine.
Tomorrow morning Harriette, Cynthia and Alex will travel to Antigua. It has been an enjoyable time working with them and sitting in on the interviews. All of these students have great potential and we pray that they will use their talent for the Glory of God.
This afternoon, a group arrived to start interviews of students who are applying for scholorships. It is such a great opportunity that students have! It opens doors that may never have been opened without the help and support of Health Talents.
If you are interested in knowing more about these scholorships, please let me know. Many people like to help with a one-time donation. It may be some money that you might never miss but the future that you give to someone, they will never forget!
This is Cynthia, as we prepare for dinner. Harritte and Alex are also here and we will start the interviews in the morning.
I wanted to share photos from a church in India. There were several baptisms on this day and it is always interesting to understand the culture. Whether it is in a baptistry in the USA, rushing river of Guatemala or a calm stream with the bathing cows in India...............this is the way to Christ.
Romans 6:4------Therefore, through baptism we are buried with him into his death so that, just as the Messiah was raised from the dead by the Father's glory, we too may live an entirely new life.
Through baptism, we have the acesss to Christ's blood which cleans and saves us. Without the access of that blood, do we have hope? Is baptism something that you have thought about? Does the Bible mention any other way in which salvation takes place? These are questions that we need to ask ourselves.
I found out late last night that the new mother in Chuchipaca did take her baby to the hospital in Solola. They directly sent her to the hospital in Guatemala City. I hope they will be able to help this baby.
Jane and Mickey arrived in Chichi yesterday afternoon. Jane comes down every year and brings more baskets for the babies who have cleft-lips and palates. Her organization is called Evelyn's Basket of Love and Life and they do a lot of work here in Guatemala.
This morning we had breakfast and then went out to Lemoa. I found out that the mother from Pocojil did take her young son to the eye univeristy in Solola but she did not get a consult that day. She does have an appointment to go back. More on that situation is on the Sept. 26th blog.
We then went to ASELSI, another clinic that Jane helps. She had not seen ASELSI since it was finished and this is Mickey's first time here.
Jane and Mickey will continue on to Xela this afternoon. I hope to see them again in December. May you have safe travels!!
This morning, left early to make it in time for worship in Montellano. I wanted to see a group that is there and visit with Marlene and her family. I called her last week and invited her to come and visit with us.
When I left my house, this was the Coke that I had opened. I did not know until last week why there were names on the Coke bottles. When we had a group of people down, they told me what it was about. So, according to them, I need to share this bottle with a friend.
Usually during this week at the coast, our friends from Sacramento, CA visit. Today, is Cynthia's birthday so they sang and brought cookies for her. This is Cynthia, her mom, Olga and I in the dining hall at Clinica Ezell.
Cynthia and Harriette will spend a couple of nights in Montellano and then make their way to Chichicastenango. They always interview students for different scholorships programs and it is a very busy week for them. When they finish, they will travel to Antigua to meet up with the rest of the group before their flight home.
Manuel, Cecy and I had clinic today in Chuchipaca. It was a smaller clinic than normal since there was a large clinic there last week.
We have an epileptic patient that usually comes to see us. She is in a physically abusive marriage and her mother-in-law was one of her main support people but last week, she died. She is really
struggling and her husband is drinking again. Some people just have a very difficult life.
We saw a new mother today with a baby that is 13 days old. The baby has a large fontanel buldge. For whatever reason, they had not taken the baby to a hospital as advised. As I was writting out a form for her to take, I offered to drive her but she told me that she wanted to wait until Monday or Wednesday. I just sighed and gave her a stern look...............I had done everything I could do. :(
After clinic, we went to visit a man who fell about 18 months ago when he was living in the United States. I visited him last year with Susan and he continues to struggle with chronic pain. He lives where it is very difficult to get to the road and his family has dicouraged people from visiting him. Again, another very sad situation.
As we left the clinic, I had mentioned that I wanted an apple.......well, about 1/2 a mile down the road was a truck full of apples and some kids sitting on the crates. I yelled, "Hey, will you toss me an apple?" Well, they started tossing them 2 and 3 at a time into our truck! I offered to pay for them but they were from the church and told me no. I shared with Manuel and offered some to Cecy but she told me that she had trees full of them so I needed to keep these.
Among those that they had thrown, were these three that had grown together. I had never seen anything like it before but I had a set of triplets!
It is the weekend! It will be full of activities and it will be good!
I am Sheri Kretzschmar and I am serving in Guatemala with Health Talents International. I am a nurse from Winston-Salem, NC and currently live in Chichicastenango. We are working with the local Churches of Christ as we conduct mobile medical clinics in the surrounding communities. It is our prayer that we will share the love of God and demonstrate the compassion of Jesus.