Friday, June 16, 2017

Interns and Xrays

Our interns survived language school and have now joined us in Canilla!!  

We are so excited to have them here!  The rains have been really consistent for the past couple weeks so they had the privilege of hiking it to clinic in Chiminisijuan last Tuesday.

We are excited to get to know them better as they settle into life here for the next couple months!  

If you read our latest newsletter, you know that we have been blessed with some help for our xray room and equipment.  If you want to subscribe to our monthly newsletter, go here!

A radiologist from the States teaching how to develop the film.


An xray on an actual patient!!

Because of the cost of the developing chemicals, Don is really praying that we could switch to a digital system.  It would help facilitate a remote consultation as well as save money in the long run!  Regardless it is such a blessing to have this capability in our facility.  

One amazing step at a time as the Lord leads us forward!!

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Estamos aprendiendo

We spent the weekend after week#1 of language school in Canilla so Don could work in the clinics, I could get some things done, and we could see our kids!  On Sunday, Caleb and Hannah drove us back to Antigua to start our second week of school.  It was a little funny that once they dropped us off, the truck seemed to go faster.  Must have been the extra weight?? 

We were right back at it on Monday morning at 8 am.  We skipped the afternoon excursion because it was the same as the previous Monday and we were tired!!!

But Tuesday our afternoon excursion found us back on a chicken bus.  We were headed to a village called San Juan de Obisbo,  There we went to a 'wine' tasting and an artisan chocolate shop.

This painting was on the wall at the wine maker's shop.  It is the story of the miracle at the wedding in Cana where Jesus turned water into wine.  In this case, it was wine made of 'Nisperos' (loquats) instead of grapes.  This was the only kind of 'wine' that we tasted.  It tasted more of what I imagined moonshine tastes like! ;) He had lots of varieties to try but we were more interested in talking to him about his trees and if Don could grow a Nispero tree in Canilla!!

And then off to the chocolate shop.  These guys are grinding the cacao seeds into a fine powder and then pressing it into a bowl to be formed, cut and weighed.

Here is some of the powder drying.

They are cutting, weighing and forming the chocolate into disks.  It is then sold to be made into hot chocolate or mole.

On Thursday afternoon, we learned to make chuchitos from these sweet ladies! 

They were super yummy!

We also walked up to the famous Antigua cross!  I think it was about 1000 steps to get up there!! ;)

We stopped to sit, rest and pray before we headed back to town.

Some pictures that Don took as we walked through town.

It was pretty hazy and cloudy for most of our time in Antigua but occasionally we could see a volcano peeking out from the grayness.

Each day during class we took a 'pausa' to go to the bathrooms and get a snack.  These were available everyday for Q3 (about 50 cents).  Very yummy!

On Friday, the kids drove to Antigua to pick us up so we could head to Guatemala City. We were excited to go to the new Guardians of the Galaxy movie on Friday night!  And then Caleb flew out on Saturday for 3 weeks in the States.  We are very excited for his time there and are praying for the Lord to be speaking to his heart. 

We are praying that at least some of what we learned during our time at language school sticks!  The learning is not done by a long shot but hopefully we made some progress! 

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Thursday, April 27, 2017

Week One of Our "Getaway"

We decided to take a two-week getaway!  The beach?  Nope.  A romantic villa somewhere?  Nope.  A secluded cabin in the woods?  Nope.  

Spanish School!!

It is a pretty place.  This is the 'garden' where we study for 4 hours every morning!

We also do another couple hours of Spanish each afternoon under the guise of a fun 'excursion'!!  Here are some pictures from our tour of Antigua.

Catedral La Merced

Many years ago, an earthquake caused much damage to the many churches in Antigua.  Many of the walls are still standing but the roofs had fallen.  This one is slowly being restored.

The tour led us to the local market.

Not part of the tour but interesting nonetheless!

Excursion on Day 2 was to a macadamia farm.  We walked to the bus terminal and jumped on Esmeralda, the chicken bus that took us about 20 minutes outside of Antigua to the farm. 

When we were close to our destination, the guide told us to 'get ready'!  The chicken buses barely slow down so we had to move quickly!  We didn't realize that we were on a 'tight' schedule until we had to 'catch' the same chicken bus back to Antigua after our tour.  Again, we had to move quickly! 

The machine used to take off the hull of the nuts.

The sorter.

Today we learned how to cook platanos con mole.  A Guatemalan dessert that is traditionally made for birthdays and other special occasions.  

Think 'bananas' in spicy chocolate sauce.

Tomorrow we will head home for the weekend.  We are excited to see our kids for a couple days as well as jump back into life in Canilla.  We will return for Week 2 of our 'getaway' on Sunday.  We may need a REAL vacation after this!!  ;)

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Not Quite NAPA

This last week Lori and I made a 'City run'.  These trips are a mix of errands, buying supplies, and time together.  With all the trouble we had with the transmission in the Suburban the last year or so, the air conditioning not working was put on the back burner.  So on this trip, I decided to stop by a mechanic to have a look.  As I made the required U-turn, I felt a 'pop'.  Pulling into the shop, I could tell that the power steering and brakes were not right. 

Suffice it to say that I made several trips back and forth from the hotel to the garage and our return trip was delayed.  Here are a couple of views from a crosswalk in Guatemala city on my way to the garage.

Pedro's shop is the second one over.  The one with the red car.

Once we found out what part was bad (power booster) it was time to go shopping!  The next morning, Pedro had me meet him at the shop.  From there he drove to area near the main bus terminal where there are tons of used auto parts stores.  We went to several. 

Here are a couple of pics from where we ended up.

It was 'almost' the right part.  The guy at the shop 
switched the mounting plate for us.  Pedro is supervising. 

The shaft was just a bit too long.  Once we got back to his garage, Pedro had one of the neighboring shops shorten the shaft.  Isn't that a beautiful weld?

Unfortunately, it didn't hold.  I was helping put things back together.  As I was laying down with my hands up under the dash I dropped a small clip.  After a prolonged time of looking for the clip, I bumped the newly fixed part and snap.  Back to square one!  Pedro, his son Kevin and his son-in-law (who works at another garage) all stayed way past closing time to use the old shaft in the new booster.  Power steering is still bad but the brakes work!  Back we drove to Canilla!

It was frustrating to have yet another part break on our suburban.  It was frustrating to be stuck in the city and miss clinic.  It was frustrating to not have my old 90th St. O'Reilly's right there with the right part in stock.  It was frustrating to have my plans, my schedule disrupted.  But once the cloud of frustration of the moment passes, I rejoice ...

I am overwhelmed with thankfulness.  Thankful that the car didn't break until I was right next to the garage.  Thankful that the weld gave way before we were half way back up the mountain!  Thankful for resources that we can pay for the repair.  Thankful for Pedro and his family working so hard after it was time to leave for the day.  Thankful that the air conditioning is fixed!  Thankful for extra time with Lori!  Thankful for the opportunity to serve here in Guatemala.  Thankful that God is not done working on my patience, my faith, in Him.  Thankful that He goes with us, that we are not on our own.

Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; 
for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.  
1 Thes. 5:18

As a side note, we plan to communicate more with a newsletter in the future.  Our plan is to keep the blog focused on more of our 'daily life'.  The newsletter will contain more information on the ministry we do here, prayer requests, etc.  Our first step is to create a list of subscribers.  If you are interested in receiving our newsletter in the future, please subscribe above (you may have to view the full web version to see the link).  Thank you!

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Faithfulness in the Remembering

Don and I ran to town this morning.  We were out of rice and oatmeal for the nutrition program and needed it for when we go to the Widows' Project tomorrow.  We also stopped for our usual Sabbath 'fried chicken from town' lunch.  I stayed in the 4runner while Don ran into the chicken place.  As I am watching the people on the street, it dawns on me that this is now our 'normal'.  Don gets back in the car and I ask him when that happened.  When did all of this become our 'normal'?  He doesn't have an answer but feels it too.

We are at the beginning of the third year of our 3-year commitment.  As we start thinking/talking/discussing/praying about what that means, I am reminded of the devotion that I shared at the Widows' project last month (yes, it has been a while since we have posted a blog entry - sorry!).  

I read them the story of Zacharias and Elizabeth, the parents of John the baptist.  It is a simple children's version (my reading level in Spanish!) but it tells of how Zacharias was told by the angel in the temple that Elizabeth was going to have a baby.  Zacharias had doubts.  He didn't trust this messenger of God. 

Everyone seemed to be really listening as I encouraged them to cry out to the Lord for help when they have doubts.  God is faithful in the midst of our doubts and He hears us when we call for help.

As I am praying about the devotion for our time with the widows tomorrow, I am wondering if these devotions are more for me than them.  What a great reminder to myself to cry out to the Lord in the midst of my doubts and lack of trust!  

We are doing a study on the Song of Songs with our women's Bible study.  It is has been such an amazing discovery of the deeper meaning of the book.  

We will be glad and rejoice in you.
We will remember your love more than wine. 
Song of Songs 1:4b

In this poetic book, the reference to 'wine' is really pointing at the distractions of this world.  This verse is really saying that we will remember the Lord's love (faithfulness, favor, blessings, protection, provision etc.) more than we will be distracted by the empty promises of this world.  

There is amazing power to grow our faith when we remember His faithfulness.

We just had an amazing college team here from Abilene Christian University.  They were such a great group of young people.  Caleb talks about them a little bit in his latest blog entry.  

 They worked really hard - counting pills, painting, cleaning up garbage, etc. etc.

They joined us in the prayer room and 
we watched as the Lord touched their hearts.

They had great attitudes and LOVED everything!  Our 'normal' routine with teams is to have a few of us share our stories of how we got here.  As we tell of the Lord's faithfulness and the surety of knowing He called us here, we are remembering His love.  We are remembering that His love is better than anything the world can offer.  I hope the teams enjoy the stories but again, I wonder who is really benefiting from the remembering?!

It is so good to remind ourselves of how we personally got to this 'new' normal but also how He so provided for this huge project that Adonai (the ministry that we serve with) has stepped into.  For those of you that haven't been here for a while (or haven't seen photos for a while), take a quick peek
(photo credit - Anne Crane, ACU team):

It is really amazing if you stop and remember the journey that brought this vision to reality.  The only way to tell the story is to focus on the faithfulness of God!  

As we transition from construction to operations, we have our moments of wondering where in the world the money is going to come from to fund this huge place on a daily basis.  And then we remember . . . 

We wonder how we could possibly house all of the people that it will take to fully staff this hospital.  And then we remember . . .

Don and I have our moments of wondering where the support will come from if we feel that the Lord is calling us here longer than our original 3-year commitment.  And then we remember . . .

This is His work and He will be faithful to walk with us.  Our job is to listen for His voice, to be obedient and to remember . . .

I will remember the works of the Lord; 
Surely I will remember Your wonders of old. 
Psalm 77:11

Now I need to go prepare the devotion for our time with the widows tomorrow.  Maybe it will focus on remembering . . .