Day 1

Posted on: 03/31/2019

Author: Charla Blackwell

Morning singing and devotional Edgar - Guatemalan English teacher Samantha - 8 years old

Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is assurance of things hoped for, a conviction of things not seen.

Our day started before sunrise. We met for our daily devotional and a few songs of praise.

Several people on the team tried to explain what I was about to witness when we drove into the hospital. There was no way they could possibly prepare me for what I was about to experience. After a tour of the hospital rooms and grounds, we joined the patients and their families outside to pray as a united group. Donald Moon (team pastor) began to pray. While he was praying, the patients and their families lifted their own prayers out loud. Not speaking the language, I can only imagine they were praying for the skill of the doctors and staff and giving thanks for what is to come. I was completely blown away and brought to tears.

After the prayer, the team went straight to work. Operating rooms started getting stocked with the supplies needed, the wheelchair clinic started building wheelchairs and fitting patients, doctors and nurses started seeing patients and determining their needs. Everyone waited patiently for their turn.

I met Edgar, an English teacher born in Guatemala, but educated in the U.S. Edgar now lives in Guatemala and teaches English to all ages. Interestingly, he was here today to be treated for a hernia.

In the wheelchair clinic, I met Samantha. She is 8 years old and in the first grade. Samantha has cerebral palsy and is unable to walk. Her mother has to stay with her at school to carry her everywhere she goes. The schools provide little assistance for special needs. Samantha was fitted for a wheelchair and given a walker for the future, when she will hopefully gain strength in her little crippled legs. Samantha can now interact with her friends in the classroom and have a more normal life. She smiled the whole time and loved having her picture taken.

The last patient of the day, probably in his 80's, told the staff in the wheelchair clinic that he had not slept in several days because he was so excited to come and get a wheelchair and become mobile. Upon seeing his wheelchair, he launched himself into it! He had not been able to get around for many years because of severe arthritis. The staff had to slow him down because, in his excitement, they were afraid he was going to hurt himself. He couldn't wait to get started!

At the end of the day, the feeling of both the staff and the patients and their families was hope, gratitude, and excitement for tomorrow!