Health Talents International
Chichicastenango Medical Evangelism Clinic
November 5-10, 2008

Team Participants: Doctors: Mike Herndon, Ralph Neal, Jr., Barry Mitchell, David Weed: Dentists: James Haller, Robert Lamb: Pharmacist: Debbie Gale: Nurses: Cheryl Bode, Greg Holder, Jala Verner: Chaplain: Pancho Hobbes: Dental Assistants: Barbara Haller, Donna Lamb: Non Medical: John Gale, John Land, Gary and Linda Tabor, Jack and Winona Skaggs: Translator/Team Leader: Julie Wheetley

The trip got off to a great start when everyone arrived on time with their luggage. Our Guatemalan staff were at the airport to meet the team shortly after our arrival and there were many hugs exchanged before we loaded into the pickup trucks and headed towards Chichicastenango.

Along the road we stopped for a Pollo Campero break to let the team members feed their hunger Guatemalan style before the rest of the long trip. The team reached Chichi in the early evening on Wednesday and headed straight to dinner. The Hotel Santo Tomas staff was there to greet everyone and see us to our rooms and tables. We enjoyed a nice fish dinner before meeting in the “upper room” to share in some devotional time and orientation. Pancho Hobbes, the chaplain for the week, read scripture and sang a couple of songs to wrap up the first night.

Early Thursday morning we came down to the restaurant and had our beans and eggs to get our day started. After that we split into two groups and headed out to villages called Xepocol and Chutzurob. Both groups had big clinic days and were tired and happy when they arrived back at the hotel. The Xepocol team saw ___ patients and the Chutzurob team saw ___patients.

After dinner the team met for devotional time once again. Julie started off by sharing about the Health Talents ABC and scholarship programs. Pancho proceeded with the devotional and surprised everyone when he led us in a TRI LINGUAL devotional time! That’s right, English, Spanish AND Quiché! Pancho involved all of the staff and volunteers in their own language by asking for translations of scripture, thoughts about the scripture and God’s message for His people. Pancho did an excellent job all week long as he led his tri-lingual devotional times. That was an experience that we will never forget.

On Friday the group divided once again into two teams and set out for Paxot II and La Estancia. The teams were busy once again and put in a full day’s work. The team in Paxot II had a couple of special cases they saw as well. Drs. Lisa Dunham, David Weed and Ralph Neal made a house call to a very sick lady and decided that she needed to go to the hospital immediately. The brothers from the church in Paxot II helped take care of the arrangements and made sure that the lady was able to make it to the hospital. She was admitted to the hospital in Quiche and had emergency surgery for appendicitis. The church members and Dr. Lisa have followed up with this lady and say that she is doing well and is grateful that God put us in her village right when she needed us. She gives all the glory to God for the fact that she is alive today.

After the long day of work the team dined and devoted together. Julie shared more about Health Talents and the leadership conferences and the community involvement/education that HTI is a part of. Team members said good night and rested before the next busy day.

On Saturday the groups went to Chuchipaca and Mactzul 5. Throughout the week the villagers provided meals for the teams. They were more than generous and we ate things like fried chicken and rice or beef and vegetable soup. In other words, we ate well! After this last day of work we took a toll of all the patients for both dental and medical that had been seen during the three days of clinic. All in all there were around 828 patients! Some were referred for surgical care in Montellano, others were given medicine or vitamins but ALL of them were prayed for once, twice or three times. God was present as the team worked and the volunteers from the villages, the Guatemalan staff, and the North American volunteers were all blessed by their shared time together.

The group from Montellano had to leave early on Sunday morning in order to make it to church there so goodbyes were said after the devotional on Sat. Carlos and Silvia did promise to join the group again for dinner later Sun. night. Debby and John Gale were staying behind in Chichi for a few days before heading to language school in Antigua so we also said good bye to them.

Sunday was a very special day. The team met together in the upper room again and it seemed very appropriate to share in communion together with brothers and sisters from varying back grounds but all united through Christ. Pancho lead us through some time of worship, teaching and reflection on the week, in all three languages. After our church service was over everyone split off and headed for the market of Chichicastenango. Sunday is market day there and the streets were jam packed with both native and foreign shoppers. Most of the team wound up at Casa San Juan for their lunch buffet. After lunch everyone met back together at the hotel parking lot. Once we were all situated we headed out for Guatemala City. The construction made the travel slow between Chichi and Guate but we arrived at the Biltmore Hotel without any trouble. Once the luggage was put into rooms and everyone given a little time to relax we met together again and set out for La Estancia.

Everyone enjoyed the typical Guatemalan steak house! Carlos and Silvia did come and brought Carlos’ mother and sister along with them. Alex and his wife and child also joined the group and brought along the coffee that group members had purchased. We enjoyed the nice dinner and headed back to the hotel for bed. Each team member got an assigned shuttle time for their morning flight and more goodbyes were said as we wrapped up the trip.

Monday morning bright and early most of the team trickled into the airport and headed for the good old U S of A. The trip was a success. God was praised, people were cared for and His name was exalted, it’s hard to expect much more than that!