HEALTH TALENTS INTERNATIONAL
Eye Surgery Trip
July 30-August 6, 2005

Participants: Drs. Lee Coleman, Larry Patterson, Rugel Sowell; Physicians Assistant, Melinda Robbins; Eye Surgery Assistants, Amy Coleman, Kellie Patton, Beth Williams; Chaplain, Steve Watson; Medical Students, Liz Glass, Mary Ellen Groshart, Seth Moseley; Translators, Karen Anzueto, Rob Smith; Non-Medical Personnel, John Coleman, Monica Green, Jake Isaac, Sandy Isaac, Ben Watson and Rick Harper.

All flights and baggage arrived on time. Three medical students, Liz, Mary Ellen and Seth met us at the airport after attending language school in Antigua along with Karen Anzueto who would serve as a translator. Karen is a native Guatemalan attending Harding University on a Walton Scholarship and volunteered her services while home on summer break

We departed Guatemala City at 6:00 AM on Sunday morning and arrived in Montellano in time for breakfast, and two hours of set up time before joining the Montellano church family for worship service. Following services, the patients were screened and scheduled for surgery with eight on the docket for that afternoon. Things were rocking along with little difficulty until the autoclaves began to fade one by one. Each of our autoclaves is named for individuals and may bear some resemblance to their temperament. You can be the judge, but by Monday only Marie was working.

Steve Watson challenged us during the devotional period on Sunday night to be open to and watching for the surgery God would perform on each of us. It was an appropriate request and analogy to work being done that week and it was apparent to those of us who looked inward that God was indeed performing a bit of heart surgery throughout the week.

Eugene, Jurdean and Bruno bit the dust until Kemmel Dunham and John Coleman came to the rescue and resurrected Eugene, known for the time being as the Phoenix. John Coleman has a degree in electrical engineering from Vanderbilt and skills akin to the famous, Alfred Anderson, when it comes to repair and ingenuity. Their hard work and the skills of our surgeons and assisting staff allowed us to complete fourteen procedures on Monday, while two teams traveled out for mobile clinics. Dr. Rugel Sowell, an HTI veteran, and Melinda Robbins, PA, saw ABC children for their bi-annual check at Clinica Ezell on Monday and seen more than sixty children by two o’clock.

Beginning Tuesday we completed one less procedure each day throughout the week. Thirteen cases on Tuesday, twelve on Wednesday and eleven on Thursday for a one week total and unofficial Clinica Ezell record of fifty-eight eye surgeries in one week! Our hats go off to Drs. Coleman, Patterson and their able assistants.

Other memories were made during the week as the result of delivering ABC supplies. Food supplies are delivered every two months and it was time to visit fourteen communities in and around Montellano. Different team members assisted Violeta Campos and Alex Gonzales with delivery on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday and none of them will ever be the same.

Jake and Sandy Isaac met Pascuala, a young lady they’ve been sponsoring for ten years when the traveled to Xejeyup. Those who witnessed the exchange of gifts between Pascuala and the Isaac’s will not soon forget the tears of joy. I suspect that Jake and Sandy will be back soon!

On Wednesday, Dr. Lisa Dunham completed clinic in La Ceiba and took her contingency to a Mayan temple not far away. Ben Watson would want me to make sure you know this wasn’t temple “ruins,” but instead an active Mayan temple still used for pagan worship and sacrifice. The group actually watched the ceremony, complete with grain sacrifice, incense and incantations. Afterwards, Amy Coleman said the ceremony simply drove home the great need these people have to hear of Jesus Christ.

Whether it was eye surgery, mobile medical clinics or delivering food to needy children enrolled in our ABC Program, God was with us every step and it should be no surprise. He performed his surgery on each of us as we went about teaching and healing as his Son did. No wonder the Son is called the Great Physician.