Monthly Archives

October 2009

Medical Clinic Final Day

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Thursday, October 15 was the final day of the clinic in Panabaj. We started the day with breakfast. I managed to swallow a few eggs, but wasn’t able to get the strength to go out. The plan was to head to the Good Shepherd Church to see the new school, then go back to the clinic to finish up.

That’s exactly what was done. The school is a ministry that was started by Pastor Diego with the help of Orphan Outreach. Orphan Outreach helped raise the money needed to convert sunday school rooms to classrooms. They also help raising money for scholarships for the kids who attend the school. Right now the school is grades k through 4. They want to add 5th and 6th grades soon.

Following the visit at the school, the team returned to the Baptist Camp to finish up the clinic. Thursday morning saw a bus from Cero de Oro, a village where people are so poor they’re giving up their children because they can’t afford to keep them.  One child from the village was brought to the clinic where a child was brain damaged during two days of child birth. One of our team members, Kristy Simpson, is a physical therapist at a rehabilitation hospital in Grand Rapids. She was able to help the family with some therapy.

By the afternoon, the Orphan Outreach team was able to treat and share the Gospel with almost 1,000people. We also we able to spend hours of time with the neighborhood kids playing soccer, sharing Bible stories, giving them tooth brushes and tooth paste and providing a way for the Good Shepherd Church to be even more relevant in their community.

Sickness hits Guatemala team – Day 3

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Sickness hit the Guatemala team. It started with Judy on Sunday. Tuesday night it hit me. I was working on the MNN update around 10:00pm and I started getting the chills.  I was sitting with John Balyo at WCSG and I couldn’t stop shivering. Then, the call of nature called LOUDLY. I ran to my cabin to prevent a mess. And, that was it!

I spent all of Wednesday and most of Thursday in my room flat on my back, sleeping and running back and forth to the bathroom.  I wish I could tell you it was something I ate, but it wasn’t.

The team carried on without me (shows how much they needed me LOL). They were able to see even more people on Wednesday. The day started like all the others, sun shine, a line outside the Baptist Camp compound and a willing medical and gospel team willing to welcome each one.

Rosa was one little girl that grabbed the attention of Judy Hop. She was a little girl with ‘weepy’ eyes, matted hair, a small looking head. She looked about four years old. She came to the clinic without her parents. She was in need of medical care, but because she wasn’t with her parents, we could give her any treatment. The team took here back to get checked out. She didn’t want to. She fought it. But, finally she allowed the doctors to take a look at her. During that time she said, through translators, that she was known as ‘the town retard’ and that nobody liked her. The team told her that we had medicine that could help her eyes and her stomach ache, but we needed her parents to come to learn how to treat her. She left, but never returned. We can only pray that the love we showed Rosa will speak volumes to her. She did hear the Gospel. Pray God uses this in her life.

Others got sick during the day. Despite the sickness God is still working in the hearts of the team.

Orphan Outreach medical clinic day 2

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We woke up to a hazy beautiful morning in Panabaj, Guatemala. We traveled the five minutes to the Baptist Camp where we’re holding the medical clinic. There were even MORE people waiting to be treated this morning. Yesterday we ran low on pain medication and vitamins for children. However, our team was able to purchase pain medication here and they also were able to break adult vitamins in two.

We saw more unique cases today. Dr. Sandy VanDeWeert discovered a five year old boy with a significant heart ailment. It was a heart mummer that she was concerned about. Dr. Brenda Zook also had to purform a minor surgery to remove what appeared to be a skin cancer on an 80 year old man. (see my video on  I actually got to assist Dr. Zook on this surgery. Don’t be concerned, the only thing I did was open the scalpel, take the video and clean up afterward. But, I wanted to do more.

Today, John Baylo and I spent more time being security guards. After school let out, many of the kids decided that the camp compound was a great place to ‘hang-out.’ And, it IS. But, not when you’re trying to have a medical clinic. But, Orphan Outreach is all about kids so our team rallied. We played games — soccer, jump rope, bubbles, tug-o-war, tag, chase the kid out of the clinic, and other games for overly rambunctious children. We also had tickle fights and paint the fingernails for the girls.

The highlight of the day, however, was to hear that they young boy who had a defective heart was able to hear the Gospel clearly. We also heard that many patients prayed with the team of interpreters, and a few even committed to attending church at Pastor Diego’s church.

Today we heard that SOME of the medicine we brought into Guatemala will be released. We’re not sure how much, or at what time. But, we’re praying all of it will make its way to us.  Keep praying that meds will arrive and that God will continue to use our team to be salt and light to a community who is suffering from anxiety and more from the mud slide four years ago and the economic downturn.

You can see video of our trip at

Guatemala Medical Team Day 1

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Pastor Diego, Good Shepherd Church PastorSunday, was a day to relax a little. We held our own church service. We sang a number of songs and I shared about the difference between being a slave and a servant. It was a great time of reflection for us all. We also were able to travel to the site of the landslide four years ago this week where hundreds of people were killed. Many are still buried here where Pastor Diego is seen here. He’s the pastor of the Good Shepherd’s Church in Santiago.

On Monday, we opened the clinic at a Baptist Camp. We’ll be holding clinics here all week while our supplies last.  This is a great facility for this. The court yard here, was perfect for playing games with the kids. Pastor Diego told us that they had advertised all last week on the local radio station. We don’t know how many people will be able to be treated, but we’re hoping we’ll be able to treat as many as possible.

Amy Seal and Judy HoppJudy Hopp was the first person people saw when they walked into the clinic. She would give them a number and would wait in the waiting area where their triage would be done.  This is where most of the waiting would be done. Many of these people would come as family units. We also had a few police officers visit the clinic. We thought perhaps they were looking for bribes, but they only wanted a check-up.

Their vital signs would be taken in two staging areas. They would take temperature, blood pressure, pulse, the nurses would listen to their lungs  and through interpreters tell the nurses about their ailments. This was difficult because we needed two translations — from English to Spanish, then from Spanish to the local Mayan dialect. Then it would have to be translated in the other direction — Mayan to Spanish, then Spanish to English.

From there, they would go to another waiting area where they would learn how to brush their teeth properly, Little girl at the clinic on Mondaywash their hands and given everything they needed to do the same. Again, there were two translations that had to occur in some cases. But, it was amazing how many people sat and listened. It was like they were hearing how to do it for the first time.

At the end of the day, we were able to treat nearly 240 people today. More importantly, hundreds more people heard the Gospel. Many children came to the clinic without their parents. We couldn’t treat them, but we could treat their souls and we did. Pray that God will move in their hearts.

Jenna Balgoyan holds little girl after being treated at the clinic.Woman listens to instructions on how to wash hands and brush teeth.

Tracy Rogers takes vital signs at the clinic

We made it to Santiago

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Got up this morning at 3:30 am so I could catch a plane to Houston, TX and then on my way to Guatemala. Everything went as planned — until the airport.  I parked in the long term parking, but there was only one shuttle bus working — so, I rode around for 20 minutes picking people up before I was dropped off at the terminal. But, since I’m one of the leaders — it wasn’t good to be late. We all made it, though.

However, all went south when we got to Guatemala.  As you know, we have a team of doctors and nurse with us to do a medical mission in Santiago. However, the customs officers had other ideas. They found all of the drugs we had to treat the sick, and took them. They told us we needed to have an import/export license in order to get the drugs into the country. The group we’re traveling with has never had this happen to them before. So, we’re wondering what’s going to happen. We’re told we can get one — but it’ll take three business days. That means we won’t get the drugs until Wednesday at the earliest. Please pray that God will change the hearts of the customs agents to allow the meds to get through so we can help the people.

A few of us had to stay at the airport to figure out the prescription issue, so we left the airport after the main group. We left the airport and traveled a number of hours by bus to Santiago. It was a wet drive. Very cloudy.  We arrived a little before 7:00pm. We ate dinner. What was on the menu?  Yep — chicken. You’ll find that will be the most common food we eat here. All kinds of chicken — chicken salad, fried chicken, baked chicken, boiled chicken, chicken soup — and fries. Tonight’s dinner was GREAT!

Well, not much else to report. So, I will call it a night.  I will post pictures and video tomorrow if we have a good internet connection.

Pray for us. We feel like we’re following God’s will, but we also feel forces that don’t want us here.


Going To Guatemala

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Well, it’s almost here. Our second Mission Network News/Orphan Outreach trip to Guatemala. We are traveling to the Santiago area of the MNN's Greg Yoder with a Gautemalan orphan in where a few years ago a mudslide destroyed villages. Many people in the area are still living in make-shift housing. Food is scarce. And, medical treatment is expensive and not available for most. Utter poverty is rampant.

The Mission Network News/Orphan outreach team of 22 is traveling there October 10-17 to provide medical care, love and most importantly the Gospel to those who have lost hope.

Orphan Outreach is an organization that is totally dedicated to glorifying the Lord in reaching out to the orphans He loves throughout the world. They provide early intervention, education, spiritual development and improve the lives of those children living in substandard situations. 

Many in this area include children. We discovered the need in this area last year. We traveled there to hold vacation Bible school programs in schools and orphanages across the country.

I’ll be providing information about our outreach, which will be a challenge. We’ll be landing in Guatemala City on Saturday and immediately getting on a bus and traveling four to six hours to Santiago to a city called Panabaj. We’ll be working with Pastor Diego at the Good Shepherd Church. He has a thriving ministry and just started a Christian school last January.

While the church is in Panabaj, we’ll be traveling from there to surrounding villages where the needs are so great.

Be praying for us. We all feel like the evil one doesn’t want us to go. Pray for our health, safety on the roads and that God would go before us and prepare the hearts of those we’ll be serving.