Day 3 in San Augustin Acasaguastlan

Posted on: 02/26/2020

Author: Mary Griffin

First, Day 2 in Review: 

  • 554 patients seen in clinic
    • 200 in general medicine
    • 85 in pediatrics
    • 47 in gynecology
    • 53 in dental with 90 teeth extractions
    • 61 in VIA/Cryo with 4 cryotherapies
    • 36 wheelchairs provided
    • 23 ultrasounds 
    • 72 referrals
    • 105 lab tests 

This morning's devotion was led by Drs. Phebe Chen and Mark Ward. We learned about the Golden Circle concept, coined by Simon Sinek, which is comprised of three layers: an outer shell of WHAT we do, a middle layer of HOW we do it, and most importantly a cortex of WHY we do it. The Golden Circle concept challenges us to self-reflect and think about the WHY, which is oftentimes difficult to do. Phebe and Mark have always volunteered in their local community, but felt an eagerness to step out and serve others in a different way. Phebe and Mark have friends in Houston who planted the seeds about serving through Faith In Practice. However, as a radiologist, she felt that it would be difficult to use her skills to serve others internationally where ultrasound machines and other technology that we rely on in the United States may not be available. As an immigrant herself, she identified her "why" as wanting to help others who have been through similar experiences, overcoming obstacles. She took the leap and went on her first Faith In Practice mission trip last year and was pleased to find out that she could provide ultrasounds for those in need. Mark is a problem-solver. The root of the word doctor comes from the Latin word docere, "to teach." Mark's "why" is the ability to bring both of these passions together to serve others, particularly in Guatemala. Like Phebe, this is his second mission trip through Faith In Practice and he looks forward to returning again. Follow this link to watch Simon Sinek's TED talk on "How Great Leaders Inspire Action" -

Today, for Ash Wednesday, rather than receiving an ash cross on our foreheads, all of us on Village Team Delk received an outpouring of blessings from the kind-hearted, grateful, and loving people of San Augustin Acasaguastlan. Ash Wednesday is a day remembering that “we are from dust and to dust we shall return,” and that resonates well today as our team soaks up these precious moments we have serving the people of Guatemala. We are humbled to be a small part of how Faith In Practice is showing each one of them they are important and worthy of good care. 

Today was our first day of clinic in the small El Progreso town of San Augustin Acasaguastlan. Our team was grateful to have arrived to a fully stocked clinic as our local Faith In Practice volunteers worked hard overnight to prepare the clinics, lab, and pharmacy so that we could start the day early and see as many patients as possible.

Mobility Clinic 

Randy is a 9-year-old boy with cerebral palsy. He was carried into clinic today by his mother for wheelchair fitting. Faith in Practice works closely with Hope Haven, an organization dedicated to delivering customized pediatric wheelchairs. Kristel obtained all necessary measurements and expects that Randy will have his new wheelchair in 2-3 weeks. Oscar is a 3-year-old boy who was also carried to clinic by his mother. He has spina bifida and hydrocephalus, complicated by recurring wounds and difficulty with bowel movements. He was evaluated by Dr. Mary Lutz and Jeanne Clarke and will also receive a wheelchair from Hope Haven!

After the last patient left the clinic today, Jeanne, a translator stationed within the mobility clinic earnestly tells stories of her patients who were provided with custom wheelchairs today from the Free Wheelchair Mission. The most memorable encounter was of a charming adolescent boy named Julio who presented to the clinic with hydrocephalus and immobility. Jeanne explains that Julio initially played “hard to get” with the ladies of the mobility clinic, but he eventually warmed up to their welcoming hands. When he received his wheelchair, he insisted on giving the staff many kisses before his departure. This is just one small example of the outpouring of love we received when serving such loving people. Another patient was a double-amputee woman with diabetes. She was unable to afford insulin at her local pharmacy and due to severely uncontrolled blood sugars lost two limbs due to untreated diabetes-related complications. Today, she received a custom-built wheelchair and a new hope for the future. 


During group discussions and reflections after a busy day in the clinic, many stories told about the Guatemalan children were the most heartbreaking, but fulfilling. This morning, a 14-year-old girl named Joselin with congenital birth defects and a rare state of malnutrition known as kwashiorkor presented to see a pediatrician. Dr. Frank Schreck and translator, Mike, noticed her waiting in triage and sought to bring her into pediatrics for an examination. Mike picked her up and immediately experienced an overwhelmingly remarkable feeling. Mike explains that he raised daughters himself, who he carried to bed many times during their youth. However, Joselin was too easy to lift. Mike states that lifting up her featherweight body was the most profound experience he has had while volunteering at a Faith In Practice clinic, after multiple years of service. He looked into her eyes and thought that “sometimes where God puts Dr. Frank is amazing because he is a magician of medicine.” Given her severe state of malnourishment, Joselin was truly in need of medical care and fortunately fell into the care of Dr. Frank. Joselin left the clinic with a smile for the first time in many days and a brand-new wheelchair. 

Another amazing story from pediatrics today was an 8-year-old girl named Ana who was born in a hospital in Guatemala City. On the day she was born, she left the hospital with her mother to return to their village in El Progreso. Their family departed home with their “healthy newborn,” per the Guatemalan doctors. However, she was born without eyeballs or eyelids and was never told to seek medical attention or see a specialist, leaving her family feeling hopeless. Too much time had passed for any intervention. Today, she was referred to neurology for follow-up and will hopefully be connected to an engaging social program for children with special needs so that she may have the opportunity to break the boundaries of her disability with the resources she needs in order to thrive.

General Medicine

Today, nearly every volunteer had the pleasure of meeting Agapito, a chipper 106-year-old gentleman. While he was young, he served as a soldier in the Guatemalan army and became a local farmer for many years following. Within the past year, Agapito lost his eyesight entirely and has been experiencing frequent falls, despite relying on his homemade cane. He was unable to afford a wheelchair. Today Agapito “thanks us for coming so far with these wonderful gifts.” He continues to “thank the Lord for sending you here and for leading me to this clinic.” Rather than having to provide a constant guiding arm, Agapito’s son, Christian, was able to push Agapito’s wheelchair out of the clinic with ease. He left with a custom wheelchair, essential medications, and a referral to ophthalmology. The gift of mobility is something that profoundly impacts another and is amazing to experience first-hand.

After our hottest day yet (high of 98 degrees!), we saw a van of smiling faces with a multitude of wheelchairs on top departing alongside us as we boarded the bus to return to our hotel for the night. It was the perfect picture of so much good that had been done by the hands and the hearts of our team. That moment, as well as all the stories mentioned above, and the many more moments felt and experienced, make all the hard work worth it. 

Looking forward to another great day tomorrow!