Full speed to a full stop

The past six weeks have been interesting to say the least. I'm sure most of you could say the same about 2020.

While our help wasn't needed much with school being out, we waited for our friend Charlene Barnes to return from her long stay in the States. We partnered with her to do medical "clinics" at schools and other places last year.

I use the term clinic loosely because we mainly distribute vitamins and cough drops plus give advice or in the rare case refer someone to a doctor. I mostly do some simple translation (my Spanish is improving) and offering prayers, the thing we think of last but should do first.

Since Charlene arrived (on Super Bowl Sunday) we have decided to move out of our house and into her condo with her. This cut some costs for both of us and gives me someone to bicker with like a sibling.

After a week or two of adjustments, our work load increased. We met another nurse and her husband, Donna and Peter Pittman, who run clinics in Palin, about 13 miles away, and do other things through their mission Impacting One Life at a Time. To say meeting them and their family has been a blessing would be a gross understatement. Charlene and Donna have the same vision for their mission work, so I expect to work alongside this wonderful couple quite often in the future.

We also met another missionary, Eric Rivera, who runs Hope for the Nations, who distributes food to remote villages. We went up the mountain to Hamburgo, a former plantation where people still live. Most are from one family and they live humbly with no electricity and not much connection to the rest of the world. The people there were as warm and inviting as anyone we've met before. Getting there was difficult but exhilarating and I will write more about it in the future.

About two weeks ago we heard of a mission team made up of medical personnel had canceled their trip because of the novel coronavirus. We, along with another nurse, Kathy Anderson Smith, went up a different mountain to serve a community with a doctor and dentist (the line for the dentist was long).

I have written about doing door-to-door medical "clinics" with Kathy in the past. We also did one with a new friend Alex, who is a pastor in Mixco, which is just outside Guatemala City. We plan to do a full-service clinic with a doctor or maybe two in April.

We ended up doing six clinics over seven days with some of the people above and anticipated more this week with teams coming from the States. That was all canceled because of the pandemic so we are basically quarantined in our apartment. Yes, we decided to stay here and serve as whatever capacity we can.

I plan to take advantage of some of this time to go into deeper details about the things we did and the people we met. But the shock of going full speed to not doing anything sure did take the wind out of my sails momentarily. Our work here in Guatemala, however, is nowhere near done.

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