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Helping hands

Every now and then in my life what I was doing felt as if God had His Hand on me.


When I was a writer, I called it "The Flow" or what was coming out of me seemed to be a torrent from heaven. More times than not, it felt like I was squeezing an unripe lime.


I remember writing one scene in a play I wrote where I was driving home, dropped my daughter off, went to Wal-Mart to buy pen and paper (yes, I wrote with pen and paper), came home, and sat down at the island and wrote as fast as I could. Usually I would lose the train of thought before I got home -- the first time -- but the idea was so strong I kept it in the front of my mind that whole time.


Kathy and Yojana treat a student.

On Thursday, Tabitha and I joined Charlene Barnes and Kathy Smith, two of our missionary friends who happen to be nurses, along with Yojana our translator, for a mobile medical clinic at a school here in Guatemala. I really don't know anything about the medical profession, but I have respect for that field.


Normally at these schools we go to on a regular basis, I wander around, listen to the Bible lesson being taught and awkwardly interact with the children and teachers. However, on Thursday, I was uncharacteristically focused. Tabitha and I were with Kathy and I. After one patient, I knew what little things needed to be done to be helpful. Kathy said we were so efficient. It was the first time since we've moved here that I felt competent. I've been faking it to a certain extent to that point.


I could tell you some of the cases we dealt with (HIPAA can stay in the U.S.) but I really don't remember any specifics. Probably because I was basking in my newfound glow of competency. But most of the problems were simple: sore throat with a cough, stomach ache, and sore back and joints. What surprised me is how the people here lack the simple medicines we take for granted in the States. The do not have the money to go down to the pharmacy to grab simple fever reducers or pink bismuth.


Charlene, Yohana and Esther help a teacher and two students.

I do remember one case. A girl had a huge, hard cyst on her wrist. This was too much for us to really handle, so we are working on getting her to the city's clinic to get it removed. And the last patient we saw was a teacher who asked about her sister-in-law who the doctors thought might have cancer but no follow-up biopsy was performed. That was about a year ago. We are also working on getting her treatment this week.


The teacher herself asked we had anything for stress. Working as a teacher is tough but when you add in her children, husband and her working toward a master's degree, her life is overflowing with stress. We really didn't have much for her, but we did have something that works: prayer. I pray that she picks up on our advice of prayer more, relying on our good, good Father to lead her the way she needs to go. "Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows." James 1:17 (NIV)



This is the second week of the clinic and it's in its infancy so we are taking baby steps. Phase One is data collection (height and weight of students along with their birth dates) but the word has gotten out we are doing this, so we are seeing real need, not just height and weight. Our success will continue, I firmly believe this, but if you feel the need help financially look at the donate section of our website.


Also, I didn't take any photos this week, so I am allocating others for my use this week.

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