You Never Let Go, Through the Calm and Through the Storm.

I have been experiencing God’s faithfulness through the calm and the storm (physical and emotional) these past couple of weeks. It has been a time of testing and refining my faith, and a time of learning to depend on my community here in Guatemala as well as depending on God above all, for everything.

Sonia

Everyday in the clinic we seek to encounter God as we serve our patients. But one day in the past couple of weeks, we had an unexpectedly powerful experience in recommitting our lives to God in a very raw, humble way. One of our patients, Sonia, was telling us about how she was suffering from a lot of emotional pain because of gossip and judgment from people within her church. Sonia already knows the Lord, but was struggling in her faith and not wanting to go to church because of the pain it was causing her. We prayed that God would remove the vengeance, bitterness, anger, and sadness within her and give her peace and forgiveness towards the people who were causing her to suffer. She totally broke down and we shared a very powerful moment with her, all three of us crying and just holding her. Dra. Sara turned on some worship music and we all sang together, through tears: “No hay nadie como tu” (There is no one like you) All three of us committing ourselves anew to God. Some verses we shared with Sonia are:

Hebrews 4:14-16

Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has ascended into heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.

Psalm 37

Psalm 34

Isaiah 54

Dra. Sara writes down the verses that we share with our patients on a prescription page, so that they can re-read the verses we share with them when they get home. If they do not have a Bible, we give them one too. When Dra. Sara gave her the prescription sheet with her verses on it, Sonia said “wait you forgot this verse that you read to me.” She just wanted to make sure she had that one to reference too when she got home. It is so encouraging to see that she really does have the desire to know God more and wants to take advantage of the help that Dra. Sara was giving her.

I saw Sonia on the streets in Magdalena a couple days later and I smiled and waved at her. It was so good to see her happy and smiling back.

These are pictures from the Christian women’s conference that I mentioned in my last post, with Gloriana and Danilo Montero! What a great time for us to be spiritually renewed.

NICU

I have been blessed with the opportunity to accompany Dra. Sara on her shifts in the NICU September 23rd and 29th. I really have enjoyed learning from her and getting incredible hands on experience. I had a very interesting experience one night in the ER when we assisted a pediatric resident. She had a six month old baby who had pneumonia and the mom (16 years old) had given him aspirin. First of all, babies should never have aspirin, and second of all, she gave him 10x the dosage for his weight! So the poor guy was breathing extremely rapidly and his body was freaking out. We needed to intubate him to control his respiration. It took us 2 hours to intubate him! He was extremely fidgety and we could not put him to sleep. The anesthetic medicines that the hospital has are so cheap and the concentrations are incorrect. So it is very difficult to give the correct dosage. Of course we did not want to give him too high of a dose, so we kept giving him a little more until we were at twice the dose he needs. (the meds are really poorly made) He was still extremely fidgety and very difficult to intubate. I was trying to hold him down and keep the oximeter on his foot to measure his blood oxygen level. Once he was intubated, he needed to be manually ventilated because the hospital only has one working ventilator machine and it was already being used in the NICU. As the doctors were working on fixing the baby’s IV and orogastric tube and getting the oximeter securely fastened, I was in charge of ventilating the baby! And the oximeter was not on because we only had one working outlet and it was being used for the aspirator, so I had no idea what his blood oxygen level was! I was just squeezing the bag to pump air into his body at the same rate as I had seen Dra. Sara do it before. If the baby did not receive the appropriate amount of oxygen, he could have brain damage and end up like Bryan and Luis. (The two boys we do physical therapy with, who had brain damage as babies) Wow! Praise the Lord, everything went well, and we left the baby in a stable condition. Dra. Sara said I did a great job because once we got the oximeter plugged in and working, it said his blood oxygen level was 94%. He survived the night, being manually ventilated by a nurse all night long, but in the morning he had an extremely high pulse. We knew he was still fighting against the ventilation. The poor mom was so distressed. I felt so sorry for her. She is so young and made a silly mistake that caused so much harm to her baby. But he was fine. I saw him again when I came back six days later. He was taken off ventilation and was resting happily. And mom was a lot happier too.

The little aborted girl is still there and doing great!

Education

Obviously there is a great need for health education so that people don’t make silly mistakes like this. As a teacher, this has been something that Dra. Sara is passionate about and I am very encouraged by some progress we have made in the past couple of weeks. After we have weighed and measured all the kids in the preschool in Magdalena in order to find out how many kids are undernourished, we have begun to give nutrition classes to the moms (and a few dads) on Tuesdays and Thursdays. From all of the data intake that we did with the help of our North American students in the community’s schools this summer, we found that 20% of the kids in the escuelita are malnourished. This includes both the under weight and overweight. A common misconception in the community is that bigger is better. So they are filling up their kids with a bunch of junk food that has absolutely no nutrition and then their kids are getting sick often because their bodies are not able to fight off infection. They are also more likely to develop further problems down the road such as hypertension and diabetes. It was very eye-opening to me to see that the majority of the parents in our classes know very little or nothing about vitamins and minerals. Yes, when they come to the clinic, they always ask us for vitamins to give to their children, but they have no concept of what the vitamin pills are made up of. They don’t realize that healthy foods, like fruits and vegetables, have the same vitamins that our vitamin pills have and that taking vitamins can not replace the intake of vitamins naturally. We try to only use vitamins as a supplement when a child is very underweight. So we talked with these parents about how to help these children as well. Guatemala is rich in a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables that are very cheap, so good nutrition is a realistic goal for all families.

Our students weighing and measuring kids in the escuelita this summer

Students

Our semester students from Seattle Pacific University began working in Magdalenathis week. I do not have any students in my site, but I have enjoyed interacting with students again. I sort of got out of the practice of having students around. So I am having to adjust my schedule a bit. But I always enjoy having students here because I remember what it was like to be a student myself. They are having a life-changing experience and I pray that they can take what they learn here and apply it to their daily lives in the US. And I pray that they will continue to explore their calling in God to serve him in extraordinary ways.

Rain

It has been raining non-stop for a couple of days because of a tropical storm and hurricane that are passing through Mexico. The rain is causing a lot of destruction to villages with poorly built houses. I am safe, but there are a lot of people in Guatemala who are being affected by the rains. So please keep them in your prayers.

Ruins in Antigua

By the way, I love living in my new apartment in Antigua. Being able to open the windows to prevent mold has been a huge improvement! With all this rain, it is important to have good ventilation, and I can feel the difference in my lungs! And Abbey has an official date to come move in with me! Novemeber 15th! Thank you for praying for her funds to come in. God is faithful!

Peace

Please also keep Dra. Sara and her family in your prayers as her dad passed away this week. I had the pleasure of meeting Arturo when I visited Dra. Sara’s house when we traveled to Jutiapa and when we had our medical conference in the city. He lived a long, blessed life full of love for his wife, children and above all God. I always love to hear Dra. Sara tell stories of her dad when she was caring for him in his old age. We will always carry her “viejito” in our hearts. Please lift up Olga, Luisa, Dra Sara and the rest of the family in prayer.

Dra. Sara when I took a weekend trip with her to Jutiapa, which I also mentioned in my last blog.

Even though I walk through the valley
Of the shadow of death
Your perfect love is casting out fear

And even when I’m caught in the middle
Of the storms of this life
I won’t turn back, I know You are near

And I will fear no evil
For my God is with me
And if my God is with me
Whom then shall I fear?
Whom then shall I fear?

Oh no, You never let go
Through the calm and through the storm
Oh no, You never let go
In every high and every low
Oh no, You never let go
Lord, You never let go of me

You Never Let Go -Matt Redman

Advertisements

1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Crystal
    Oct 23, 2011 @ 21:12:00

    It’s always so exciting for me to hear about all of your experiences in Guatemala. You are truly blessed in so many ways! Love, Crystal

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: