Friday, July 18, 2014

The Days Just Keep Getting Better!

Today we went back to Communidad Bendiciones for another medical/dental/eye clinic.  They knew we were coming so the line was already backed up.  We saw as many as we could until the thunderstorm/hailstorm blew in at about 3:15 in the afternoon.  It's hard to keep working when your cover is a tarpaulin with a lot of holes in it.  By the time the storm ended it was too late to continue and we headed back home.  Those few who weren't seen certainly understood.

In the evening we visited family homes for dinner.  Kathy, Steve, Chris, and Grace had the hardest time because of the language barrier but the other three groups had a tremendous time commiserating and eating.  This one-on-one relationship building has become a cornerstone of the week's activities and one that we wish to continue in the future.

Tomorrow is a big day and a hard day.  Pray for us as we serve the poorest in the city - the homeless, the destitute, and the prostitutes.  If this year is like any in the past, we will be the ones leaving with the most blessings.

Can hardly believe we'll be home in two days!
They're All Too Cute!!

Kathy Working With An Audience
Elder Family Eating Dinner at a Church Family Home

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Magnificent Beauty of God's Earth and People

Today was a day for the team to be blessed by and to appreciate the magnificent beauty of God's Earth during the first part of the day, and by his people during the second part of the day.  We used the first part to rest and rejuvenate after two intense and rewarding work days.  We were fortunate to travel on a truly spectacular, sunny day to the ancient Mayan city of Iximche.  Roughly translated, this city means Corn Woods, or the city of people who make corn.  We traveled roughly northwest from our current location in Santa Rosa, and the city is located approximately 91 kilometers from Guatemala City.  We determined that it is even higher above sea level than Denver, Colorado, and the cooler weather offered an amazing day to us.  We walked through and observed the ruins of a city that is thought to have been built and founded by the Mayan people around 1478 BC.  A tour taught us that the Mayans worshipped multiple deities, with particular importance attached to the Sun, Moon, and wind.  Their buildings and walkways used steps that are very narrow and not at all wide.  When walking up or down them, it is not possible to fit all of your foot on each step because they are so narrow.  We were told that this was not due to their smaller physical stature, but due to their belief and desire that in order to never turn their back on the Sun, these steps forced each person to walk up or down sideways.  We spent a relaxing time hiking through their old temples, palaces, and altars.  On our return trip to Santa Rosa, we stopped to enjoy a traditional Guatemalan meal as a group while enjoying a spectacular view of the mountains at a roadside restaurant.  We enjoyed several styles of beef, chicken, tortillas, black beans, potatoes, guacamole, and fresh vegetables.  The memorable garnishment was a green, spicy sauce that many in the group want to bottle and bring home with us to add to any food item.

The second part of the day was spent celebrating with the local scouts at their awards dinner.  We wanted to acknowledge and celebrate all of the kids' accomplishments from the Pinewood Derby that we organized and ran for them this past Saturday afternoon.  Trophies were brought and presented to the three kids from each of the age groups who had the fastest race times with their cars.  Scouts are placed in either the Tigers, Bears, and or Wolves based on their age.  Two trophies were also awarded to kids from each of these age groups for the best design of their cars.  The looks on their faces when they were recognized and came to the stage to accept their trophies was a sight that no member of the team shall ever forget.  The children's' faces reflected such pride and happiness in their achievements, and just such pure joy that they could not help but make your heart feel so full and warm with the love of the Holy Spirit.  We were all very proud and gratified to be sharing this experience with our Brothers and Sisters in Christ.  I thought back to the information from our trip to the Mayan ruins earlier in the day.  Just as the Mayans never turned their back on the Sun, so shall we strive to never turn our backs to God or his desire that we love and serve our fellow Brothers and Sisters wherever and whenever we find them.

We look forward to serving the Lord's will again tomorrow,  and are thankful for the chance to do so.  Thank you to all of our loved ones and other supporters that we know are praying for us and our work here this week.  God bless you all.   Good night from Guatemala.

A Visit to the Mayan Ruins at Iximche
Cub Scout Blue and Gold Dinner
All the Teens at Iximche

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

What A Day!

Wow, what a day.  We loaded up two pickups, two vans and a small trailer and headed to Comunidad La Bendicion.  Upon arrival we set up the pharmacy and eye clinic inside the 25 ft. X 25 ft. church.  We then set up triage, the dental clinic and the medical clinic outside under the tree, kind of (see photo).  Triage saw and directed roughly 150 people today; 25 in the dental clinic, 51 in the optical clinic (new record), 75 at the medical clinic.  Pharmacy filled around 100 prescriptions.  Not only did we get to serve their medical, dental and optical needs but we were able to pray with them on the way out.  A few prayed us out.  What a true blessing to give and actually to receive.  We will be headed back on Thursday.   We are truly blessed.
Main Street

Soccer is Big

Curt Leading an Abuela Home

Outdoor Clinic Setting

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Our First Medical/Dental/Eye Clinic

Today was our first medical/dental/eye clinic and it was a good warm-up.  I think we worked out all of the kinks so that the rest of the week, in tougher locations, will go smoother.  Kathy Remick saw 25 dental patients and Julie Poteet consulted on 40 eye cases - both full loads.

This year we were blessed with a temporary donation of an autorefractor.  This device performs a diagnosis on eyesight by a technician thus allowing Julie more time to spend in consultation after receiving a report.  This allows her to go much faster and see more people.

We also called today "Rich" Day.  We are doubly blessed to have Rich Chapman with us.  He lived some of his formidable years growing up in Guatemala and is so glad to be back.  He's a gentle giant and the children love him.  He also led our nightly devotion.

One of our pictures is of the Volcano named "Agua" sticking up through the clouds.  The other picture is of a young girl having a tough time.  She broke her leg and is on crutches.  However, today she found our eye doctor and she was able to diagnose her vision problems.  Here she is with her new glasses and a big smile!

Tomorrow we will be visiting a community with the nickname 'Bendiciones' (means 'Blessings').  It's not on any maps and isn't officially a town.  It's more or less a place where people without homes set up camp.  The blessings will be all ours.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Sundays in Guatemala

Sundays in Guatemala are always the most special of days and today was no exception. The highlight is undoubtedly the worship service in the wonderful temple that Hearts for the Children built in the village of Embaulada. The kinship that our team feels with our Guatemala brothers and sisters as we pray, sing, dance, and listen to a sermon is overwhelming. Doing all of this In the Monte de Sion Iglesia is extra special. With the assistance of Children's Director Kyle Moore we also always have a wonderful skit and children's activity prepared for the children's portion of worship. The acting talents were led by Josi Elder, Grace Florence, Olivia Trankina, and Sally Lorimer. All of our youth participated with the kids in their colorful craft activity. After the service was another highlight - the ribbon cutting to the new playground. The Due West Children's VBS donations from last year led to the completion of a wonderful playground constructed by the men of the Monte de Sion church. Notice the vivid colors that are so typical of Guatemalan culture.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

What a Glorious Day!

We spent the day in Embaulada, the village (now almost a town) we have worked with all these years. The boys and Dale Hajost and Steve Mulaik ran a pinewood derby in the afternoon for the church cub scout pack which was a huge success. As amazed as the cub scouts were in the computers and such we used to run the race, we marveled more at how well behaved they were! God is working his magic in their lives.
While the pinewood derby roared on we also ran an eye clinic in the nearby church. Julie Poteet, Shelby Allen, Beth Elder, and Curtis Grayer gave the gift of seeing up close to dozens who we checked with our our newly loaned autorefractor. This device will let us evaluate so many more people; it truly is a blessing to have it with us.
In the spirit of the World Cup, following the eye clinic and PWD, our kids played football (THE OTHER FOOTBALL) with the local kids in the street of the village square. Needless to say playing in the rain and in the street was a whole new experience. The little village kids took much glee in swiftly passing around us and then jumping into a nearby puddle splashing water all over you. No one kept score but we all had to take showers when we returned so we think the little kids won, but this is why we come. We want them to know that they are winners in OUR eyes and CHRIST's.
The highlight of the day has to go to Beth who organized and ran a mini Zoomba class at the community center. We danced, exercised and laughed to Beth's instructions. The kids young and old had a blast. The best part was watching Pastor Tom and Dale Hajost get their "groove on" showing us that God wants us and rewards us when we get out of our comfort zone to bring Christian fellowship and love to others in innovative ways. Thanks Beth!
PineWood Derby Set Up
PineWood Derby Winner

Thursday, May 22, 2014

2014 Team and Trip Dates

21 missionaries from Due West United Methodist Church are again going to Guatemala in 2014 in support of Hearts for the Children Ministry. We will be leaving on July 11th and returning on July 19th. Please pray for us as we plan, prepare, fast, and then travel to this lovely spot on the globe.

Many blessings,