Mobile Medical and Dental Trip
July 21-26, 2005
|Participants: Drs. Allen White, Craig Wilson, Mark Young; Dentists, Dale Entrekin, Robert Simmons; Pharmacists, Larry Owens; Nurses, Suzanne Bjork, Roni Johnson, Sheri Kretzschmar, Lauren Owens, Marion Rowe; Physical Therapist, Christy Hensley; Dental Hygienist, Brooke Powell, Amber Owens; Dental Assistant, Nate Hill; Nursing Assistant, Jennifer Garza; Medical Students, Michelle Gourley; Dental Students, Nathan Owens; Pre-Med Student, Scott Long, Josh Ramos; Translators, Virginia Ramos, Sandy Sims, Mitchell Young, Charles Campbell; Chaplain, Scotty Harris; Non-Medical Personnel, Debbie Bearden, Meredith Bearden, Leah Bjork, Sue Burns, Kadie Faulkner, Kenneth Giles, Jr., Bethany Harris, Jimmie Harper, Julie Ann Harper, Susan Harper, Johnnie Hobbie, Michael Johnson, John Land, Nancy Land, Bobby Lee, Lisa Miller, Rachel Miller, Sam Miller, Chelsie Orndoff, Guy Renfro, James Rowe, Meredith Stickler, Diana White, Jonathon York, Russell York, Michelle Young and Rick Harper.
The size of this group alone made it our most ambition effort in recent memory. Fifty-two from the US, twelve from our staff in Guatemala and five Guatemalan volunteers held eight clinics in the communities of Chichicastenango, Chocoaman, La Hacienda, Mactzul Quinto, Mactzul Sexto, Patzite, Paxot Segundo and Paxot Tercero.
We departed Guatemala City at 5:15 AM on Friday morning and arrived at the Hotel Santo Tomas in Chichicastenango shortly after 8:00 and divided into three teams. Two buses, one van and five pickups were used to transport people and supplies to our various destinations over the next hour and the Mactzul Sexto group had a short hike before cresting a hill to scores of waiting patients eager to witness the love of Christ from the hands of his servants.
We knew in advance that Saturday would be an eventful and powerful day as La Hacienda was one of three communities scheduled for a clinic. During the planning for this trip, Carlos Baltodano and Rick Harper visited each community in late June. During those visits, they learned that the community of La Hacienda had been going hungry due to a drought. Sixteen Guatemalan churches in the area had a special collection with congregational gifts ranging from $7-$70 so they could purchase food for their brethren and neighbors in La Hacienda. Through the generosity of the Roanoke Church of Christ, Health Talents matched those gifts and delivered food one week prior to the teams’ arrival. With that knowledge going in, our US team was overwhelmed to learn that families in this community had prepared a meal for them at the end of the day. Humble, generous, precious and pure are the Quiche Maya!
Of course, the community of Choacoman was not to be outdone as the words of one child continue to ring in our ears and hearts. Mitchell Young shared the words of this child during our devotional Saturday night. “You people are from God.” We hope to live up to those words and all that they imply!
Sunday was a day of worship, relaxation and market frenzy. We showed Mel Gibson’s. The Passion that afternoon following worship service and by the time the market closed for the day, viewers were lined up outside and across the street to watch.
Monday was our last day of clinic and we only went to two locations. This was our first ever clinic in Paxot Tercero and we were almost overwhelmed. Fortunately, the team in Paxot Segundo had a light crowd and we were able to shuttle one dentist, two physicians and a pharmacist over to help. We suspended clinics shortly after lunch and loaded up for the four hour drive to Guatemala City. It turned out to be almost six hours in traffic.
God blessed us with a great week of service, the privilege of caring for more than six hundred patients, opportunities to teach the children about mercy and compassion using the story of Jonah, significant quantities of donated medicine and enough memories to last a lifetime.