Saturday, August 31, 2013

Wordless Weekend: Guatemala

Putting God first in everything that we do at the San Raymundo Clinic. 

Remember Abuelo Teodoro? (look back @ my last blog)

Always an exciting day when a baby is born! Welcome Baby Jereme! 

How many people does it take to put on a cast? 
Sweet Nina.

Beautiful Antigua. One of my favorite places on earth. 
Beautiful textiles of Chichicastengo. 
Sarstun Clinic, on the NE coast, border of Guatemala & Belize.. aka Jungle.  

Caught taking a picture of Deb Bell (founder of Refuge Int'l) on the boat trip to Sarstun. 

Sarstun OR: Julie rocked being a OR nurse for the week! 

Patrona helping me translate Spanish into another dialect during a spinal.
Three meals a day of black beans, eggs, fruit, and tortillas. 
Left Sarstun in the middle of a rain storm, but survived the week in the jungle! 
Disclaimer: I realized it really couldn't be wordless or you might not know what you're looking at so I added captions! What a joy it was to work with so many people from all different backgrounds as we came together for a common purpose. I am grateful for another opportunity to go and help those in need of healing they could not receive elsewhere. Thank you all for your prayers and support as I went literally to "ends of the earth" in Guatemala!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Blessing from God

As I sat down in the recovery room for the first time (at least it felt like it) to rest my tired feet,  Teodoro, one of the patients was getting up from the stretcher. One of the nurses, Tessa, was helping him make a lap around the recovery room following his gallbladder surgery earlier that day. I had met him in the pre-op room and as his nurse escorted him into the chilly operating room for his surgery. Teodoro was a frail older man, in his 70s, that suffered with gallstones for a long time and most likely other health conditions that come with age. He was short, with a rounded back, and a head and mustache of gray hair- your typical Guatemalan abuelo (grandpa). We all fell in love with Teodoro because of his smile that never left his face despite communication barriers (our Spanglish versus his Guatemalan dialect Spanish). Teodoro went home the day after surgery, most likely a rough ride on the road through San Raymundo, still with a smile on his face. A few days passed and news traveled quickly, that Abuelo Teodoro was back at the clinic, very ill. Thankfully, we had amazing doctors and nurses that worked together to take care of Teodoro. As we packed up the clinic on Friday, he was transferred to a local hospital for more observation. The group of volunteers spent the weekend in Antigua and we all talked about Teodoro wondering how he was doing. So when I arrived back in San Raymundo on Monday morning, my priority was to find out how our beloved patient was doing. With a few phone calls, Edy, our translator, told us Teodoro recovered fully from his surgery and went home on Sunday. I think back to the day in recovery as Teodoro was resting on the side of his bed, he smiled and scanned the room with his hand and told us with the help of a translator that we were all "blessings from God".

Today, three of us were working on inventory at the clinic and I thought of all the amazing people that I had the pleasure to work with last week. Nurse practitioners students & teachers from Case Western, pre-med students from Oklahoma and Florida, and quite possibly a quarter of the population from Dalhart, Texas. Medical volunteers brought their friends and family members to share in the missionary experience. Thankful for those that cleaned instruments and made sure our patients had their lab work done. There were surgeons fixing clubfeet and hernias, volunteers passing out toys to children, others painting or counting pills- each person was a blessing from God.

Friday, August 2, 2013


Its almost midnight and I have a 6am flight out so no deep thought blog will happen tonight. However, one of most devoted blog "fans" out there encouraged me to keep writing- so Patti this is for you. I wish I could do more than just write a blog for Brian and Patti Grams. They played a huge part in who I am today. Brian was my youth pastor back in the days of Mid-Cities Bible Church and Patti was one of my spiritual mentors through the teenage years and on to college. They both taught me what it meant to be first a servant and then using that to build God's kingdom. I was bitten by the "mission bug" at 15-years old on my first mission trip to Juarez, Mexico. Tonight as we gathered with friends, we wondered if those houses that we built in three days were still standing. I was always amazed that a group of teenagers could mix by HAND a cement foundation sturdy enough for a house, but we did each time. The other foundation that was formed down in the desert of Mexico, was a faith foundation for many of us. My foundation of missions was formed as we not only built the house for a family in need, we did Vacation Bible school with the neighborhood children. We shared with them how Jesus loved them and that He died on the cross for their sins. That's the foundation I have never forgotten each mission field I visited from Mexico, to West Africa, and now on to Guatemala. Jesus is the most sturdy foundation any of us can ever have in this world.

Thursday, August 1, 2013


Not a day goes by without Africa coming to mind. Social network is partly to blame (or thank), depending on what that picture or comment about Africa stirs up in me. Most of the time, its homesickness for the beautiful continent. Its also endless joy when I am reminded about the people I have met and the places I have visited on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean. As the M/V Africa Mercy sails to the next outreach, Mercy Shippers world-wide are sharing their thoughts of each country visited by the ship. Over past the four and half years (should I round up or down to make easier?) I have had the amazing opportunity to travel the shoreline of West Africa visiting Benin, Togo, Sierra Leone and Guinea. Each place I saw God work in tremendous ways through what we did on the ship and eventually I would share them on this blog. Thank you for all who read so faithfully and encouraged me to continue to write even if sometimes I had no words. I definitely have favorite entries that I wrote in minutes compared to those drafts that painstakingly lasted through the night. There are days that I am homesick for Africa and I cherish those memories quietly in my heart. Other times, I can talk your ear off about my wild adventures. Just because I love sharing how God changed not only my life, but countless others.
So tonight I was supposed to be either A) Studying for the GRE (errr, grad school) or B) Packing for my Guatemala trip that I leave for on Saturday (more on that later). Instead, the procrastinator in me read through past entries to share a few with you. It will do my heart good to remember...

Mawulolo... broke my heart, but God is great.
Oh I can't ever forget about Afi and seeing her again.
One from my VVF ladies in their own words.
Remember when God did the impossible in Georgette's life?
And just one more. At the end of the outreach we had countless pink sheets of those people we couldn't help and we asked for prayer for them. Little did we know that the ship would return two years later to Togo where those prayers were answered.

I had planned on doing every outreach, but I think Togo will be sufficient reading for tonight. Looking into the past and seeing how God moved reminds me that He's still working in the present wherever I may be thinking of Africa.


The views expressed here are solely mine and are not the opinion of AWC/Mercy Ships.