Health Talents International


Clinica Ezell, Coastal and Highland Works

HTI's ministry has been working in what is known as the 'coastal area' of Western Guatemala since 1990. We support a network of clinics in the Suchitepequez Department in villages with such picturesque names as Flores Costa Cuca, San Basilio, Palmira, and San Andres Villaseca. The majority of people in this area are of Mayan descent and have very little access to health care. The care provided by dentist, Dr. Silvia Albizures de Baltodano and Dr. Heidy Alonzo, physicians Dr. Walter Sierra, Dr. Nehemias Lopez and Dr. Patricia Poz is holistic in nature and they make every effort to meet the wide range of patient needs, including physical, mental, social and spiritual. During the course of their daily clinics, they also identify patients in need of surgery. Oscar Mejia and Obdulio Chavez work with our community development program focusing on agriculture, air, sanitation and water projects.

Clinica Ezell serves as our point of operation for all of our surgical teams. The dormitory houses all the visiting teams, and the surgical clinics are conducted here. The clinic is also used for health promoter training and community development classes.

Chichicastenango Work

Dr. Lisa and Kemmel Dunham joined HTI's medical evangelism team in 2005 and moved to Chichicastenango in January of 2006 to replicate the work being done on the coast. Following the same pattern of going to remote villages to partner with churches and communities, they too, treat patients medically and are on the lookout for patients who need surgery.

In addition, they are spearheading the VHE program: Volunteer Health Evangelists. This is an important aspect of HTI's overall ministry because it comprises the educational component of our work. Church leaders in participating villages have selected volunteers from among their membership to serve as 'community educators/health promoters.' These volunteers receive no pay for their participation, being motivated only by their desire to improve the health of their communities. Over a several month period, they have been studying various elements of the curriculum including physical examination of a patient, good hygiene practices, spiritual topics and a host of other immediately applicable topics that they can now share with members of their communities.

As part of our education programs, nurse Sheri Kretzschmar and Dr. Lisa Dunham have developed an excellent education curriculum on nutrition and diabetes care that is reaping great benefits and marking a generational shift in eating habits.

Dr. Lisa and Kemmel Dunham have had several wonderful Central American physicians and dentists work alongside them. Currently the medical doctor working with them is Dr. Sara Castellanos of El salvador. United States native Sheri Kretzschmar, RN has attended patients and spent many hours providing valuable education in the area since 2007. Dr. Sandra Aldana is the dentist who currently works alongside the MD's in this region of Guatemala. These doctors, dentists and nurses form two mobile medical and dental teams which provide care to patients each week in the highland area.

Under the direction of Kemmel, our Director of Highland Operations, Health Talents has been blessed to partner with more than a dozen churches of Christ and witnessed several of them double in size. Through these partnerships, we see one-three new churches planted each year.

Charles E. and Lois Bates Scholarship Program

The purpose of this scholarship fund is to encourage Christian men and women in Central America to become qualified as licensed health care providers, e.g., doctors, nurses, dentists, technicians, etc. The fund will pay the costs of a university education and living expenses in their home country for qualified students in Central America. Upon graduation, they will serve with Health Talents, one year for each year of scholarship, to meet the health care needs of their fellow countrymen.

The average annual cost for a student is approximately $4,000. This covers the cost of tuition at a public university, books and miscellaneous education expenses, and food and lodging if the student doesn't live at home.

HTI currently has six Bates scholarships. One Bates scholar named Noe Chan completed his first year of physical therapy training and for the first time, we have a student pursuing a degree in psychology. The summary for healthcare disciplines is: Three in dental school, two in medical school, two in nursing school, one in physical therapy and one in psychology.

Drs. Nehemias Yes and Nidian Patricia Poz have both graduated from the Bates program and are now full time employees of HTI seeing as many as 120 patients each week.

Nidian Patricia de Levia

Nehemias Lopez Yes

We have two Charles E. and Lois Bates scholars in dental school, Aura has completed her formal classroom education and will finish her year of government service in 2014 and Manuela Tambriz will finish her fifth year in 2014.

Aura Marina Alvarez Osario

Manuela Tambriz

Sherman Scholarship Program

The Sherman Scholarship was named in honor of the many years of dedicated service by Magda and Steve Sherman to the people of Guatemala. It is designed to provide opportunities for former ABC students and others in the church in Guatemala to attain a higher education. The Sherman Scholarship is different from the Bates program in that students do not have to major in medically-oriented topics. By supporting children in their educational pursuits, we hope to help them break the cycle of poverty that has enslaved so many Christians and results in poverty-stricken churches. Twenty students have been awarded Sherman Scholarships for 2014.

Our Sherman scholars now number more than a dozen each year and their studies cover a wide range with current students studying agriculture, communications,computer technology, mechanics and teaching.

Lester Aguirre (Computer Technology)

Alex Yacon (Mechanics)

Elsa Chinol (Teaching)

Bennie-McDonnel-Strawther Nursing Scholarships

A scholarship program for nursing students has been endowed in honor of the Bennie, McDonnel and Strawther families. One recent graduate from this program, Marta Velasquez joined HTI full time in 2013 as a Nurse Health Promoter. There are currently two students supported by this scholarship.

Marta Valesquez

ABC Program

HTI sponsors an adopt-a-child program that aids poverty-stricken families of the Church of Christ in Guatemala. Sponsors in the U.S. provide $30/month per child to provide food, clothing, and school supplies. Sponsors receive a photo and biographical sketch of the child they commit to sponsor. The children write letters to their sponsors periodically throughout the year, and sponsors can write or visit their child in Guatemala if they desire.

There are over 770 children from twenty-eight congregations currently enrolled in this program. Again, the beauty of the program is that it focuses on the 'whole' child by providing food and clothing plus activities to encourage individual growth in multiple areas--spiritually, educationally, and socially.

If you would like to sponsor a child, contact Barbara Barnes at

MET Program

A vital aspect of Health Talents is the MET (Medical Evangelism Training) program. This specialized six-week program provides short term on-site mission experience and instruction for Christians considering medical missions.

In May each year pre-med, pre-dentistry, nursing, missions and other medically or mission oriented students receive classroom instruction in language and culture, health skills, and missiology. They also receive hands-on field training, working side by side with full time medical evangelists as they carry out appropriate activities. Students help with such things as immunization campaigns, community development projects, and primary care mobile clinics in remote Mayan villages. The primary aim of this program is to encourage students to consider medical evangelism as a valid avenue of service for their lives, either as a full time participant or as an active supporter.

Health Talents has sent students to Guatemala, Honduras, and the Dominican Republic for this program. Typically, depending on the number of sites available in a given year, 10-12 students are selected nationwide. Preference will be given to those university students who are juniors and seniors and members of the Church of Christ.

Our 2014 dates are May 14-June 28 and our 2015 dates will be May 16-June 27.

MET Application Form

Short Term Mobile Medical/Dental Clinics

HTI sponsors 3 U.S. staffed short-term mobile medical/dental clinics each year, 2 to Guatemala and 1 to Managua, Nicaragua. The teams vary in size from 25-40, including physicians, dentists, nurses, pharmacists, optometrists, dental hygienists, and related health personnel. Spanish speakers are especially welcome! They visit Mayan and ladino communities that are often located in remote areas to provide primary health care and dental services. Trip fee is $650 plus the cost of your plane ticket.(Effective 1/1/2012) for Guatemala and $700 for Nicaragua, with a $200 deposit required at the time of reservation. We will contact you upon receipt of your application to see if you'd like us to go ahead and purchase your plane ticket at that time. We often find better deals if we make purchases right away. Should we do so, you will need to promptly send in payment to cover the entire cost of your flight. The trip fee balance is due thirty days from your scheduled departure.

We are now expanding our work into the La Palma, Chalatenango region of El Salvador. In July 2012 we had our first successful mobile medical mission to this region. We follow this successful trip with a second team in December of 2012 and plans to take teams 2-3 times each year. The cost of this trip is $650 and the team size will range from 6-12 team members. Primary care practitioners, translators and nurses are needed for these trips.

Interested in participating? Fill out our trip reservation form.

* A typical plane ticket from our most common departure points will range from $500-1,000 with most in the $800 range.

Surgical Clinic Trips

HTI developed and operates the first Church of Christ surgical facility in the western hemisphere. In February of 2002 we dedicated a brand new modern facility called Clinica Ezell. It consists of three surgical suites, a 50-bed ward, clinic exam rooms, pharmacy, lab, and X-ray room. The dental clinic at Ezell hosts five dental chairs and x-ray capability. Adjacent to the surgical center are dormitory and efficiency apartments that house 55 visiting team members, a large commercial kitchen and dining area.

Ten surgical teams travel to Guatemala each year to perform cataract surgery, hernia repair, hysterectomies, and cleft palate repair on the rural Mayan and ladino population living in the area. The cost of participating in a surgical clinic is $650 plus the cost of your plane ticket for Guatemala, with a deposit required at the time of reservation. We will contact you upon receipt of your application to see if you'd like us to go ahead and purchase your plane ticket at that time. We often find better deals if we make purchases right away. Should we do so, you will need to promptly send in payment to cover the entire cost of your flight. The trip fee balance is due thirty days from your scheduled departure.

Surgical Team Orientation

Team Role Descriptions

Typical Surgery Team

Interested in participating? Fill out our trip reservation form.

* A typical plane ticket from our most common departure points will range from $500-1,000 with most in the $800 range.

Leadership Evangelism Training

As a key component to our ministry and a compliment to the work of our Director of Evangelism, Baldemar Ruiz, we host semi-annual, week-long evangelism training sessions. We invite Spanish or Quiche speaking Latin American Church of Christ leaders and evangelists to our facility in Montellano, Guatemala, or to the Paxot Segundo, Guatemala to come on a Monday evening and receive three days of intense Bible study before returning home on Friday and putting into practice all they have learned. We provide meals, lodging, training and resource material, speakers, and a structure for sharing and learning.

Over the course of several years, our attendees are given thorough instruction in 'How to Study the Bible,' complete with resource material and go through in-depth studies of the gospels, epistles and Old Testament.

In 2004 we instituted a similar session for ladies of the church and in 2005 expanded this program to the Quiche speaking population in the highlands of Guatemala.

This project is funded through special gifts by individuals and congregations at an annual cost of approximately $20,000. An endowment has been created for these seminars and gifts may be earmarked for this training.

Past instructors include, Jerry Hill, Dan Coker, Pat Hile, Saturnino Gonzalez, Aparicio Ponce Aju, Javier Leon, Bill Richardson, Luis Rosas, Linda Henry, Lera Hobbes, Anita Hamilton and Jessica Rosas.