Getting Comfortable

I have been living in Guatemala for exactly one month today! I can’t believe it! Time has been going so fast, but at the same time I feel like I’ve been here my whole life. More and more each day I see how perfect God’s timing and provision are. I was able to raise my funds in a very short time and arrive in Guatemala just in time to take over the health care site as our former clinic leader has unfortunately needed to change roles due to health reasons. God has allowed me to come to Guatemala at just the right time even when fundraising was such a daunting task for me. I know it is only by His provision and His plan that I was able to arrive neither a day too early nor a day too late. I am continuing to pray for other friends of mine who are currently in the process of fundraising to head to the mission field. I know God’s timing and plan for them is perfect too.

Our Students International president and some members of the board came down to Guatemala to visit and discuss with the staff some recent changes concerning finances within the ministry. It was so great to see them and spend time with them. The last time I saw them was when I was in training at the office in California as I was preparing to join full time staff. It was great to have them come here and see me on the field: what was only a dream for me in January! These are such amazing people and I am so blessed to be working with them!

Clouds coming up the mountains to bring in a very foggy night.

Patients in the Clinic:

A lot of the cases we see in the clinic are bacterial infections (such as urinary tract infections), gastritis, flu, and parasites. The doctor also focuses a lot on the nutrition of the kids and tracking their growth because we see a lot of chronic under nourishment. Some unique cases we’ve seen in the past couple of weeks include:

– A woman with five kids, whose husband has left her, brought in her 1 YEAR OLD daughter who only weighed 12.5 POUNDS! This is an extreme case of malnourishment.

– A 23 year old boy with an irregular heart beat: phantom third beat. We suspect this is due to drug use. He denied drug use, but the doctor said he was most likely using drugs because he couldn’t hide his bloodshot eyes.

– Young girl with hepatitis A. The poor thing will not be able to go to school for at least a month.

– An 84 year old woman who could barely move, weighing only 60 pounds. -so cute!

Dra. Sara examining a patient in the clinic. The students get to do hands-on examination with the patients as well!

New and Exciting Possible Ministries of the Clinic:

– We have made a couple of visits to the house of a woman who has recently become a Christian through the ministry of the doctor before I arrived. Her name is Doña Luz. She lives by herself with one of her daughters and she is currently looking for a job. She makes homemade antiseptics and shampoos to sell. Her 11 year old daughter  María de los Ángeles asked me if I could help her learn English. She is very enthusiastic and I am excited to develop this friendship with this family. We have visited with the doctor and with our students a couple of times. The doctor has been really great at encouraging her to read her Bible and to pray for strength as she is battling significant health problems. Luz always has questions about things she has recently read in the Bible and is very eager to learn more and grow in her faith. Our students have had the opportunity to share scriptures to encourage Luz and her family and share their personal stories of how God has brought them through hard times in their lives as well.

– Dra. Sara and I made a trip to an orphanage close by to investigate the possibility of bringing students there to work in the future. Our clinic is only open Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. On Tuesdays and Thursdays we participate in other ministries such as the convalescent home in Antigua (asilo) and the National Hospital in Chimaltenango. I would love for the students to have an opportunity to work at an orphanage in the future as well. However the orphanage we visited this past week already had a pediatrician and did not have a real need for us. We will continue to look for an area where we are genuinely needed.

– These past two weeks, our students have been working hard with helping to start up our vitamin project. The health care site and the SI social work ministry site have been teaming up to weigh and measure the kids in different schools to research the effectiveness of the vitamins in combating malnutrition in the kids. The amazing thing about this project is that not only the sponsored kids are receiving the vitamins, but all of the kids in the three schools. I would estimate this to be about 400-500 kids.

Helping students interact with patients at the asilo and observing hysterectomies at the National Hospital. (those are my students in scrubs!)

Personal Life and Ministry:

– I have enjoyed becoming more acculturated into life in Magdalena. I have really enjoyed helping Mirna in the kitchen and running errands with her to the tiendas in town to buy vegetables, tortillas, etc. And I have enjoyed meeting more people in the town along the way. I have really enjoyed building my relationship with Mirna. She is the neighbor girl (24 years old) whom Carlos and Telma pretty much raised, along with her brother, because they had a very bad home life. They have even provided her with an income as she cleans and cooks for Carlos and Telma. It is amazing to see how much she has been blessed by Carlos and Telma because if they had not taken her and Luis into their family, she would have probably dropped out of school and gotten stuck in a low wage job for the rest of her life. But she is currently studying on Sundays to become an accountant. She is also my running partner. She is excited to have me as her “coach” because she has never been taught how to take care of her body or properly train and not injure herself. We will be running the Magdalena 12 K together on July 10th along with the rest of our team! We have been able to talk about a lot of things together and get to know one another better. The other day when I was telling her what my plans for the evening were, she asked me what a testimony is. She had heard this word many times as students have heard staff testimonies on many outreaches. I was happy to be able to share with her what it means to have God in your life and to share with others about how He is active in our lives even today, helping us through hard times.

– One evening when I got home, Telma told me of a lady who had stopped her in the street (knowing that Telma is involved with Students International) and desperately asked her if there is anything we could do to help her family. Doña Felipa has a special needs grandson who is no longer able to attend public school because of his condition. I was able to visit her and her family and meet her grandson, Rudy. Apparently he has some sort of anatomical problem with his mouth that prevents him from being able to speak properly, but it also seems to me that he has further mental problems, possibly downs syndrome. I am going to do whatever I can to help Rudy, but if he is not attending school he can not be sponsored. So we are going to have to get him diagnosed and enrolled in a special school before he might possibly be sponsored. The family can not afford any of this, which is why they are asking for our help. Rudy is sweet and they said he loves to learn, but he just does not have the opportunity right now. I have already called the Centro Neurologico in Sumpango to see if we can get him diagnosed.

Ingredients for Recado de Pepián: sweet pepper, garlic, “chile de paz,” “chile guaque,” tomato, onion, “mil tomate,” herbs: cilantro, tomillo, spices: laurel, pepitoria, “ajun holin?”… the finished meal is a soup with potatoes and chicken. Mirna is such a helpful teacher, and a lot of fun in the kitchen!


1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. (Aunt) Carol
    Jun 12, 2011 @ 03:57:55

    Britney, it is so great that you have settled i and are getting your needs met as well as being able to help so many.


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