Greetings from Antigua!
On Saturday, February 8, Team #650 arrived in Guatemala from all over the U.S. – including Texas, Maryland, Florida, Kansas City, Michigan, and Minneapolis, to name a few! We slowly made our way through Guatemalan customs complete with more than 40 trunks of medical supplies for our packed week of back-to-back orthopedic surgeries. Once we loaded up all 50 people onto the buses, we slowly made our way through the traffic filled streets to Antigua, where we will be staying for the week. Upon arrival, the entire team met for orientation where the Faith In Practice Staff Jaime, Lydia and Maria walked us through the schedule, procedures and safety protocol for the week.
Triage & Scheduling
Sunday, February 9thwas a full day, starting bright and early at 6am. Our first time Faith In Practice volunteer and team Pastor, Seth Davidson, led us in devotional where he shared his theme for the week – Hope and Healing. Seth spoke about a story from the book of Luke 6: 17-19, after Jesus came down from the mountain and crowds of people had flocked and were waiting for Him to be healed. Seth reminded us all about the crowds of people that were sick, ill, and in pain and had exhausted all their resources because they have hope– hope that if they reach out, they will have the opportunity to be healed. Seth posed two questions to the team: “What would be your greatest hope for this week? What obstacles/opportunity will you face this week?” As we go through this week, it is our hope that each and every volunteer will be transformed by the hugs, smiles, interactions, surgeries and experiences with the patients, local Guatemalan people and by each other.
After devotional, the team walked to hospital, which is located within the Asociacion Obras Sociales del Santo Hermano Pedro. As soon as the team arrived at the Obras, the hope of the local people became evident. There were dozens of people waiting to see the Faith In Practice team and you could feel the positive energy and anticipation of everyone around, many exchanging hugs, smiles, handshakes and prayers with all the local patients and their families. The team instinctively divided into their various specialties and began setting up the operating rooms, evaluating patients, building and fitting wheelchairs as well as getting implants and medicine organized. Shortly after, the entire team began to hear (and share) countless stories of healing that moved them. One example is about Zonia, a young 38-year old woman.
Zonia came in to meet with Dr. Conrad and Dr. Harvey, walking difficulty with crutches and accompanied by her husband. They began reviewing her chart and xrays and noticed that Zonia had a large benign tumor located in the center of her knee. Zonia explained to Dr. Conrad and Dr. Harvey that she had three prior surgeries to remove the tumor. She shared how the current condition of her knee had been greatly affecting her quality of life - she was no longer able to walk unassisted and was no longer able to work. The doctors shared with Zonia about how they would be able to give her a total knee replacement, removing the tumor. She instantly asked, “Will I be able to walk again?” They replied with great compassion and confidence, “yes, you will”. She immediately started crying and the entire room could feel her hope and extreme gratitude. As tears were streaming down her face, she got up and hugged the doctors. Everyone in the room was moved by true hope and healing and there was not a dry eye in the room.
There will be many more stories to share over the course of the week and we will continue to share these amazing stories of hope and healing.
Happy Birthday to Ryan Richardson and Katherine Parsley!