Team 615 arrived in Guatemala on Saturday, March 23 from all over the United States – Texas, Maryland, Indiana, and Colorado, to name a few! Once we arrived, the entire team zipped through customs and made our way from Guatemala City to Antigua via bus and headed straight to Casa de Fe for our orientation. Casa de Fe, is a local residence here in Antigua that is a large part of the Faith In Practice program. Many of the patients come from remote villages and travel for hours (sometimes 8+ hours) with injured joints and are in severe pain. As these patients are scheduled for surgery, they can stay for a few days before to prepare for their operations and for several days after while they recover. During the orientation, Linda McCarty (CEO of Faith In Practice) shared Faith In Practice’s mission, the reach and impact and then God’s plan for this week. We also learned that that in 2018 the Parlsey/Woolf team performed 60 surgeries in only FOUR days!
Some exciting happenings for this year:
- The team has ~51 surgeries scheduled that include a variety of hip and knee surgeries.
- We are also the pilot team for the Faith In Practice Wheelchair Program at Las Obras Sociales Del Hermano Pedro. Faith In Practice has partnered with local volunteers and organizations to obtain and then fit local Guatemalans with wheelchairs. To date, the Faith In Practice has given out over 3,000 wheelchairs since the launch of the program in 2016. This week, the team is planning to assemble and distribute over 100 wheelchairs!
The CEO of Faith In Practice, Linda McCarty, happened to be in Guatemala at the start of our trip so we were lucky enough to have devotional with her for not one, but two days! Over the course of the two days, Linda shared the stories of Exodus 3 “Moses and the Burning Bush” and John 6 “Feeding the Five Thousand”. Linda posed several questions to the Team in preparation for this week: “Will you turn your face to God and make sure you’re on the path He has placed before you?” and “How will you shepherd your gifts for God?”
For many of us, this mission is much more than a trip, it’s a full-circle path we choose to walk on…year after year, trip after trip, smile after smile, that changes our life. Sandra and Edgar, two of our Guatemalan-based volunteers, have both received surgeries through Faith In Practice and have chosen to shepherd their gifts through volunteering. Edgar received surgery in Antigua and since has become a Village Director for Faith In Practice, partnering with rural villages to establish medical clinics, recruit volunteers and refer patients to the surgery centers. Another volunteer, Sandra was operated on by Dr. Parsley and now is also a community volunteer working with local Guatemalans and coordinating patients for the wheelchair program. These are only two examples of MANY that show the true impact of this life-changing journey!