Health Talents International
November 2-8 Mobile Medical Mission
Chichicastenango, Guatemala

Trip Participants: MD’s: Andrew and Mary McCormick, Ralph Neal, Gary Lawrence; DDS’s: Jim Haller, Robert Lamb; PA’s: Halston Hendley, Amanda Bodine, Ashton Lafferty; RN’s: Cheryl McClanahan, Vicki Ratts, Katie Ritter, Sam Strange; Dental Hygeinist’s: Andrea Greer, Kristy Yarnell; Dental Assistants: Barbara Haller, Donna Lamb, Gary Tabor; Caregivers: Debra Blesener, Mike Duncan, Lisa Hendley, Ashley Jennings, Katelyn Jennings, Lisa Jennings, John Land, Brandon, Debra, Dustin and Kraig Lucas, David and Linda Morton, Todd Ratts, Wanda Smith, Julie Stanley, Linda Tabor, John and Landon Wilguess; Chaplain: Scott Young; Translators: Margaret Pitman, Ben Hobbes, Carolina Hunt, Abby Stanley, JoLee Thayer, Ted Wheetley; Team Leader: Julie Wheetley

This was the largest team we have had on a November mobile team in several years but thankfully all team members and supplies made it to Guatemala on time and without any complications in customs. We hit the road for Chichi shortly after everyone arrived in Guatemala City. We took our usual pit stop/ bathroom break about half way to Chichicastenango. Everyone was in a great mood, happy to be together with old friends and excited to get to meet new ones.

The group arrived in Chichi quickly for which we were grateful. The roads in Guatemala can be terrible or a breeze, you never know what you will encounter! Upon arrival we unloaded and moved into our rooms at Hotel Santo Tomas then set out to explore Chichi before dinner time. Dinner was at 6:30 followed by our devotional time. At devotional we went around and introduced ourselves and sang a couple songs before giving Scott the floor. Scott shared some thoughts with us to help us get a great kick off to our trip. Having a chaplain on the mission trips always benefits the group drastically. We were all tired from a long day of travel so we said goodnight and headed to our rooms to prepare for our first day of clinic.

Thursday morning we woke up and divided the team into three groups. Group one headed out for Chutzurob, group two stayed in Chichi and held clinic at the local church building and group three set out for Clinica Caris. We weren’t sure how team one and team three would be able to reach their clinics because of some demonstrations happening in protest of changing public bus regulations and then on top that one of the presidential candidates came to the Chichi area for a visit. Several roads were rumored to be closed off by mid morning. Thankfully the group headed to Chutzurob headed out early enough that they beat the road blocks and returned late enough that the blocks were already over. The group headed to Caris was not so fortunate however. The usual twenty minute drive to Caris from Chichi turned into an hour and a half excursion on less than smooth roads all to no end. Dr. Lisa was able to make it to Caris on foot but by the time she arrived there were no patients so the group turned around and made their way back to Chichi before they got blocked out by the protests. We were sad that this group couldn’t attend patients but as Lisa and Kemmel often say “GWA (Guatemala wins again!)”

The group in Chutzurob saw 18 medical patients and 25 dental patients as well as many children for the VBS program. Abby Stanley did a great job translating and running the VBS while the Jennings girls helped out by acting out the skit about the Fruit of the Spirit. The Colorado crowd helped out by writing a skit related to the Fruit of the Spirit for the VBS. The skit was a big hit and we hope to use it again in other communities! Linda Tabor and some of her friends from Texas also helped out the VBS by organizing and sorting alphabet beads into words for the craft. The kids LOVED getting packets of beads and words like amor, paz, bondad (love, peace, kindness) etc. with which to make bracelets.

In Chichi the team had a rather busy day. There were lots of kids for the VBS program and once the program started it seemed like kids kept coming out of the wood work! Julie translated while the Lucas family helped with the skit and craft time. The kids loved having the gringos play with them and help them color, string beads and play together. It was also special to see the Lucas family all serving and loving on kids together. All together there were 32 medical and 28 dental patients. Dr. Neal had the special treat of having not only Carolina but also his granddaughter Margaret to translate for him. Margaret did a great job translating and was a sweet addition to the team.

Thursday night we shared a meal together at the hotel and then headed to the upper room for devotional time. Scott is the worship minister at Memorial Road Church of Christ in Edmond, OK so it was no surprise that we spent the whole devotional singing songs of praise and worship to our King. The group could have sung for hours but the hour grew late and “missionary midnight” was approaching so we wrapped up the song session and said goodnight to many team members. Others stayed behind to continue singing and then playing cards for a while before heading to bed. This group had several serious Nertz players and the card game almost turned into a tournament each night!

Friday the group went to Paxot II, Saquilla and Chuchuca. The team in Paxot saw 39 medical patients and no dental but had lots of fun playing with the children from the area. There were lots of helpers from the congregation assisting the VBS. Holding a VBS during a clinic day is so much easier when the congregation is there to help and keep things orderly.

The Saquilla clinic went extremely well, especially considering that this was the first clinic in this village. There is no church of Christ in Saquilla but the community opened up the multipurpose building adjacent to the Catholic church for our use. There were 45 medical and 56 dental patients all together. The day went very well despite the rainy weather. We hope to continue building our relationship with this town and with the Lord’s blessing see the birth of a new congregation as a result of these clinics! The time in Saquilla was also extra special for the Lamb and Morton families. Each of these couples were able to see their ABC children and their families. Robert and Linda were especially touched when their ABC family shared with them that they were in prayer for him last year when they heard about his heart surgery. The knowledge that people were praying for him from thousands of miles away was touching and so very encouraging. The bond that is shared between a sponsor and their ABC family is a bond of love and something of great beauty.

The Chuchuca group was also busy with 38 medical and 14 dental patients. The most exciting thing that took place in Chuchuca was in the dental area. Dr. Marcos Lux and Dr. Jessica Romano from Nicaragua were able to do restorative dental work for ABC children. HTI recently received a donation allowing us to purchase equipment to do fillings out in the field. Chuchuca is quite a ways from Clinica Caris so instead of bringing all the ABC children to Caris we were able to take the team to their town and provide dental care there! We are so grateful for the gift which provided this equipment and for the hard work done by Drs. Marcos and Jessica in Chuchuca! Because this was an ABC clinic the team had plenty of opportunity to play with the kids and enjoy time with the ABC families.

Saturday morning we regrouped and headed out to three new towns, Chuchipaca, Mactzul V and Xejox. Chuchipaca was the largest clinic for the day with 37 medical and 55 dental patients. In Mactzul V things were a little slower with a total of 14 medical patients and no dental. Xejox had 39 medical and 14 dental. All three teams had successful days and were appreciative for good weather after a couple days of rain. The dental teams once again worked their magic. Dr. Haller with his assistants Barbara and Gary Tabor worked like clockwork. Dr. Lamb was assisted by Donna and the newly trained Julie Stanley as well as Mr. John Land. Everyone pitched in and worked so well together delivering a wonderful week full of blessings.

Sunday morning we shared a time of worship and communion together. Everyone was given a chance to share and talk about what had touched their hearts throughout the week. This time of sharing was lovely and a great bonding moment for the team. After our communion and worship time we headed out to the market in Chichi. That afternoon we said goodbye to Chichi and headed to Guatemala City. Once again God gave us safe travels and we arrived in Guatemala City at Hotel Barcelo without any trouble. We were joined that evening at dinner by Alex and Diana Gonzalez and their children and by Carlos, Silva and Dante Baltodano. The team was so excited to see such beloved friends. We shared a lovely dinner at the hotel and said our goodbyes as we were all departing at different times the following day.

Thanks be to God our Father for another blessed trip!

Written by Julie