Thursday, August 30, 2007


Granddad really is here... We just don't have any pictures here to prove it. We managed to leave our camera at clinic at ASELSI today, so maybe we'll get it back tomorrow.

This morning we went to clinic there. It was Heidi's dad's first chance to really watch his daughter practice medicine. We had our normal load of about 25 patients, including some very interesting new cases.

One was a man with a pretty severe case of psoriasis that he's been aggravating by getting steroid injections every month.

Another was a woman who says she's been feeling faint and weak for the last few months - just not today. She IS diabetic, so we'll try to do a little more work with her to see if we can determine what's going on.

We had two siblings, ages 8 and 11, come in. Neither of them can walk or talk. They are both alert and respond appropriately to directions and games. The parents told us that these two have three other siblings, ages 1 to 26 (you read that right) who are all normal. Our translator told us that ASELSI has a van going to Antigua for pediatric and genetic evaluations in the next few weeks, so we are trying to see if there's room on the van for these two.

The two have been in a "special school" for the last two years and reportedly are making progress. The parents tried to go to Guatemala City once for an evaluation but there was a rockslide that closed the road and they couldn't go. Let's hope we don't have the same luck with our upcoming trip.

Isaac weighed in at 9 1/2 lbs this morning - completely naked (at home, folks, don't panic!) While Matt and Eddie were visiting the Chichi market, Heidi had a 3 month old baby come in who was supposedly 9 1/2 lbs. Since people here are absolutely sure that every baby is freezing to death all the time, they weigh kids with their clothes on. Heidi assures us that this child is nowhere near Isaac's size. His mother died during childbirth and the family is doing their best to feed him, but resources are probably a little thin for that (a can of formula costs about 3 times what the average field worker makes in a day). So we'll help out with milk for this family and try to get this kid back on track.

After clinic, we made an attempt to get down to Panajachel on Lake Atitlan. We got about halfway there and realized that the rainstorm we were in was going to prevent us from seeing any of the breathtaking sights, so we just turned back.

Tomorrow, Heidi will be at the Hospital Buen Samaritano, then Saturday we'll head out to Canilla.

Sorry about the lack of pics again. Hopefully we'll get our camera back tomorrow!

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Granddad comes to Guatemala!

Isaac's granddad (Heidi's father) came in yesterday to visit. We had clinic in Nueva Santa Catarina on Monday, and due to the geography there, we drove straight from clinic to Guatemala City (to avoid a 3 hour backtrack) and spent the night on Monday night. We had some errands to run on Tuesday morning in The City, anyway.

So we were hoping for a relatively low-key clinic Monday to give us a chance to run a few errands on Monday afternoon, too. No such luck.

When we pulled up to the church there, about half of this hemisphere was standing there. Matilde told us he had sold 60 numbers, saw the horrified looks on our faces, and then revised the number down to 50. That didn't help much. Our normal load there is about 20-25 and each number typically comes with anywhere between 1-4 patients (the one number per patient concept isn't really catching on up there).

It wouldn't be so bad with that many patients in a day, except that Isaac still isn't extremely excited about spending 8 hours in clinic. Luckily, only about two fussy hours into clinic, Matilde's wife offered to take Isaac and carry him around on her back - Guatemalan style. He went straight to sleep and only woke up to feed the rest of the time. Amazing.

We have no idea how many patients we saw, but we went straight from 8:30am to 3:00pm with only a few breaks to feed Isaac. He still doesn't really feed all that well when Mommy's doing consults.

We saw our typical Tums/Tylenol patients, but we also saw some very interesting cases. We got a couple of prenatals, two ganglion cysts, some diabetics, a few surgical referrals, a young man who needs glasses (we told him to come get a prescription from the eye team here in Quiche and we'll help him buy some glasses - he's in 6th grade and seems very bright and promising. It would be a shame for the lack of a $50 pair of glasses to put an end to his school career.), and several other social cases. One lady is scared because her husband is a drunk and there's a lot of violence in her house.

Another young girl (14 years old) who is a member of Matilde's church came in with some pretty obvious STD markers. It's a little tricky when your translator is the pastor of the church and you have a situation like that. She doesn't speak Spanish and we're not about to explain to her pastor that she's sexually active. So we told him that for this particular problem, she'll need to come see Heidi at the Hospital Buen Samaritano because we didn't have the meds she needed with us - which was true. But we also have access to translators in the hospital, Heidi may have to do a minor procedure, and we'll get a chance to really spend some quality time with this girl - if she shows up. Please pray for that.

Anyway, we finally got down to the City Monday evening - much later than we had hoped for, but we really felt like we helped some people in clinic. We went to dinner at TGIFridays (yay for steak!) and went back to the hotel for some much needed sleep. Isaac is probably a very normal 7-week-old in which he alternates between unbelievably cute and unbelievably frustrating, but he was SO good for us on Monday, having spent 6 hours in the car, almost 7 hours in clinic, and being completely out of is regular routine. He fussed a little, but didn't stop us from doing what we needed to do.

Tuesday morning we got to the US Embassy and picked up his American passport, his documentation of American Citizen birth abroad, and applied for his social security number. It took 10 days to get his passport, but his social security number won't be available for 6-7 months!?!?!? We don't even ask any more.

We also went down to the municipal building and got two more original copies of his birth certificate (which will be impossible to get once we move back to the US - at least without a visit back to Guatemala) and then applied for his Guatemalan passport. We can pick that up any time after today.

About noon, we picked up Eddie (Isaac's granddad) from the airport, got some groceries, and headed back up the mountain. And we only got stopped for about an hour and a half on the road due to construction!

Anyway, today we're here around the house. Heidi and her dad are about to go to market. And Duane Ficker just called. Eddie brought some parts down for one of the trucks and the boys are going to fly over and pick them up... (it's a two hour drive each way from their house to ours, but only a ten minute flight - which one would YOU do?)

No pics today, but we'll take some and post tomorrow or Friday. We have clinic in Chichi tomorrow and may head down to Lake Atitlan for dinner...

Sunday, August 26, 2007

San Andres Clinic

Heidi was in clinic in San Andres with Katie and Leslie today, while Matt watched Isaac and helped with the building efforts at the airport. Isaac spent much of the morning and afternoon crying and screaming-- A phase which we sincerely hope he will outgrow soon! He is SO cute when he's happy, though, and growing like a weed... now up well over 9 pounds.

Clinic today was pretty busy, so we'll try to just hit a few highlights--

One lady provided us a great witness opportunity when she clearly told us that her stomach hurts when she drinks beer! (Alcohol is VERY not acceptable in any of the Churches down here... We have written before about the very legalistic climate) So we at least got a chance to talk to her about how better to fill that void with God's love than with alcohol. (Well, "we" meaning Katie, really... Great job, Katie!) The lady decided that she had to talk to/get permission from her husband before she could consider finding a Church or hearing more, though, unfortunately. We prayed for her after she left (she declined to let us pray for her while she was there), and ask you to continue to pray with us for her and millions other like her.

Another lady is planning to ask her husband this week if it's okay to pursue surgery for her prolapsed uterus. (Think: parts falling out where they should NOT be falling out and where you do NOT want them to be doing so, for you non-gynecology types who are reading!) We will help her if she decides to go through with it, of course.

This has been a recurring theme this week, it seems... There have been lots of stories of women who truly have no autonomy in their homes or lives. This is a sad but very, very real state of affairs here. We're not talking about trying to break through any "glass ceilings" or anything , either-- We're talking about women scared to get health care because of what their husband might think about them needing some recovery time... or women who are afraid to let people pray for them because they are afraid of what their husband might think.

So please remember to keep the women of Guatemala and so many other countries around the world in your prayers. This has weighed heavily on our hearts recently.

Tomorrow is our first post-Isaac clinic back out in Nueva Santa Catarina. After clinic, we will drive down to Guatemala City to get some errands done and stay overnight. Tuesday it's more errands... then we pick up Isaac's maternal GrandDad at the airport! We are all so excited about his visit, and will be sure to post lots of pictures this week of our time together.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Please Pray for Sara

We are out at the Fickers for the weekend, but needed to post a somewhat urgent prayer request...

Many of you will remember little baby Sara, who lived with the Fickers for a few weeks when the baby's aunt handed her to them through their truck window on the way home from clinic one day. After taking care of her until they could find another home for her, they prayerfully handed her over to some other trusted missionaries who had an adoptive family lined up for her. This family has negotiated, legally and ethically, the adoption system here before successfully.

Anyway, the story has gotten quite long since then, but the problem we are facing now is quite serious. The political powers that be have now decided that they do not believe "our story" of how Sara came to be in "gringo" possession, and unless the mother signs or personally gives a corroborating story, they will take Sara away. We do not know what will happen to her if she is taken in to government custody.

The problem is that the mother has now gone away to the coast looking for work, and is not planning to be back for about a month. We have no way of getting in touch with her. (Joseph and Tomas went to her home today, but the family has no way of finding her, either)

So we need to all get together and pray hard for the welfare of this beautiful little baby girl. They are threatening to take her away on Monday... hence the urgency!

It is so frustrating to try to navigate the corrupt government systems of a developing country. Please also continue to pray for patience for the Fickers and for us and the other missionary families down here as we all continue to try to do so!

Friday, August 24, 2007

Hospital Buen Samaritano

Today Heidi was at the Hospital Buen Samaritano in Chichicastenango and Matt and Isaac were at home.

Five and possibly six of Heidi's thirteen patients today are surgical cases which will get done in the next few weeks. This coming week brings in a surgical team to Buen Samaritano which will do some general surgeries and some facial surgeries, so the gynecologic cases will wait a week.

Matt and Isaac stayed at home and did some painting in the east courtyard. Matt noticed that it was a little...well...less than pristine this week while walking Isaac around to calm him, so two gallons of paint and two days later, it's about 90% done. Next will be the front of the house, then the west courtyard. Then the doors, then the grates... Never ends, does it?

Anyway, we are very much looking forward to Tuesday when Heidi's dad comes to visit and meet his grandson. We have clinic in Nueva Santa Catarina on Monday, then we'll drive down to Guatemala City, spend the night in a hotel there, run some errands on Tuesday morning, then pick him up at the airport and head back up the mountain.

Tomorrow morning, of course, we head out to Canilla. Last week the roads were horrendous. Luckily, it hasn't rained too much here this week - we'll see how the roads fared. It could be a long morning!

Sorry, no pics today, but Isaac weighed in at almost exactly 9 lbs this morning. He's gained over three pounds in the last five weeks. Go Isaac and Go Mommy!!! (Daddy's basically just a cheerleader in this department!)

Thursday, August 23, 2007

ASELSI and Six Week Pics

Well, the last two days were our weekend, meaning that today was our Monday.

We had Diego and his family come by the house a few times on Wednesday to get some details worked out for his medical care. His family speaks Spanish well and really seems to be interested in getting treatment for him. He was seen in the hospital here in Quiche on Wednesday morning, has an appointment with some social workers today, then will head down to Guatemala City after that. We've made it clear to them that if they'll put in the time and effort, we'll help with the money. There's no reason for $1000 or so to stand between this sweet little baby and the medical help he needs.

Today was our weekly clinic at ASELSI. Sharon and John have headed to the US for some much needed vacation (their first real vacation in around ten years!!!!) but have left the mission in some very capable hands, including Virginia's (who just came back from her furlough in Canada). It was nice to see her again, as well as some pics of her first grandbaby - born just about the same time as Isaac.

We saw about 25 patients today, including some prenatal patients, a possible new seizure patient, a diabetic that we diagnosed a few months ago who may be able to control his diabetes with diet alone, a diabetic woman who travels 12 hours each way to see us, a pretty old woman who appears to have an inoperable stomach mass (she probably wouldn't survive the surgery - but she's in a church and is saved, so that's good news), and a variety of kids.

Isaac was, for the most part, a very well behaved little boy (in contrast with the last two days when he was the world's cutest little screaming monster). He only had to take a couple breaks, during one of which he practically got mobbed by the milk program families who have been anticipating his arrival almost as long as we have - they were very impressed by the pale Guatemalan.

Yesterday was his 6-week birthday. He weighed in at 8lbs 12oz. He's growing like a little weed! He ought to be, as often as he's eating!! Sometimes it seems as if Heidi has just gotten dressed again when he's screaming for more, but we've promised him that he'll never be short of food. He may be a Guatemalan, but we'll do our best to make sure he's the best fed Guatemalan for miles!

Well, we took about a zillion pictures today. He wasn't really in the best mood for it, but we got a few cute ones (thank God for digital!) Here are a few of our favorites...

Monday, August 20, 2007

Chicabracan Clinic

Today was our second "solo" clinic with Isaac. In all of our other clinics, we have help that allows Matt to go hang out with Isaac, thus removing him from clinic. In our Monday clinics, we're on our own.

Today started out with Isaac a little fussy, but after a couple feedings in the first two hours, he basically went to sleep and stayed that way for the next four hours, allowing us to finish clinic and get him home to feed on the couch (his favorite spot).

We knew that today was going to be a bit of a long clinic because we've been away for about six weeks. Plus, the fair just ended in Quiche and people basically ignore their health for a week (meaning we'll get to clean up the mess afterwards!)

It wasn't quite as bad as we expected, but we went just about six hours straight (a long time for a six week old!) We saw our standard hypertension and diabetes patients today as well as a pregnant woman who lost her first baby at three months pregnant and was understandably nervous about this one (we didn't have electricity to run the ultrasound, but the Doppler showed good heart tones on the baby, which made Mom VERY happy!)

We also saw a pretty severe hydrocephalic baby. His name is Diego. He's only 10 months old, but his head diameter is about 60 cm. The family doesn't have much in the way of resources, and the child needs some neurosurgery. We are the first people they've brought him to. After a phone consult with Sharon at ASELSI, we told them they need to bring Diego to the hospital here in Quiche to get "into the system". They will likely be referred to Guatemala City, but this first step is important. We wrote a note so the hospital here will know that we'll help them with money - otherwise, they would probably be blown off. (If the docs here know the family doesn't have the money to go to Guatemala City for surgery, why spend a lot of time with them? - at least in their way of thinking.)

Isaac did have a pretty entertaining moment today - at least for Daddy. Mommy had just fed him and was changing his diaper (we took a few minutes between patients for this whole spectacle) and he did his little fountain routine. It's always funny when you're not the one getting sprayed!

As you'll recall, today is Friday for us, so we have the next two days off. We have an errand to run for Duane here in Quiche tomorrow, but for the most part, we'll be here, playing Mommy and Daddy. Oh, on Wednesday, Diego (see above) is supposed to come to the hospital here so we'll probably spend a bit of time with that family, too.

The first pic is of Heidi and Isaac in clinic, about a minute after the aforementioned "incident". The second is of Diego. The third is of the Fickers' new plane (YAY!) and the fourth is of the progress that's been made on the first plane (also YAY!)

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Saturday and Sunday

(Remember, our "weekend" is now Tuesday and Wednesday...)

Both clinic days this weekend went very well. On Saturday, Leslie, Katie, and Heidi saw about 40 patients in Canilla-- Mostly either chronic patients, prenatal patients, or fairly easy problems. It was nice to have a little bit of an easier clinic day, and then we all got to enjoy a beautiful afternoon in Canilla. Duane and Aaron flew some locals down to The City to pick up someone from the airport, and we continue to thank God for safe flights in the new plane. What a huge blessing to be back in the air!

Today at San Andres, we saw a few less patients than we have been seeing lately (only about 70, versus up in to the 90's over the past several weeks... yikes.) It was nice to have a little bit more time to spend with each patient, as we definitely had a few that needed it. Please continue to pray for us to truly be a blessing to all of the people that God is sending our way in this clinic. It is sometimes easy to lose patience with ninety people crowding your doorway and begging to be seen next every time you open it!

Please pray especially for a little three-year old girl who has a huge (seriously, about the size of a volleyball... and remember, she's three!) tumor in her belly. We think it's probably a tumor of her left kidney, but are trying to get her in to Chichicastenango for more evaluation and likely surgery. The reason the family brought her in and/or noticed the tumor themselves is that she is becoming almost unable to eat because of its size. Ouch.

Also pray for a lady named Maria who has a terrible infection in the tear duct of her left eye. Trust us, this looks and is quite painful. We have treated her with one antibiotic already with little improvement, and spent some time trying to drain the infection today. She left with another antibiotic and advice to come here to Quiche to see the eye team on Thursday. We really hope they are able to help more than we have so far!

Another young pregnant lady has been suffering from some severe abdominal pains this week and was afraid at one point that she had appendicitis. She was fine today, but is very scared that her pain will come back and that she will have to come to the hospital. Note the truly sad part-- She is not afraid of the pain itself, or even of the surgery per se-- She is worried about having to take the time to go to the hospital and stay there! She has another kid at home, and is unlikely to receive much support from her husband if she is gone for any length of time. Count your blessings, women for whom that thought does not have to occur!

Tomorrow is our second "solo" clinic with Isaac... Wish us luck and maybe a little bit of silence from him! It will be our first time back to Chicabracan since late June, so we should be plenty busy and will be needing plenty of patience. We will definitely welcome in our mid-week break after that.

The picture is of Isaac and Daddy playing on the blanket today. Sorry no clinic pictures; the camera stayed behind in the diaper bag with Daddy! We'll try to take some tomorrow.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Heidi at Buen Samaritano

Today was Heidi's first day back at the Hospital Buen Samaritano (post-Isaac). Matt stayed home with Isaac and got some recording done.

It was a relatively slow day at the hospital, but Heidi did tentatively schedule one surgery. The patient is rather old and not the healthiest person in the world, but simply cannot tolerate her prolapsed uterus any more. Pray for the patient and her doctors to make the best decisions they can for her health.

Tomorrow we're back out to Canilla for our weekly clinics there.

We didn't put any pictures up on this site, but there are some new, larger, print-quality pictures at the following link...

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Before and After

Finally took some time to put together some "before and after" composites of "our" cleft palate kids... Thought you'd enjoy!


Not a typo. Under our new schedule, Tuesday-Wednesday is our weekend. So we've been here at the house, relaxing and trying to enjoy a very, very fussy boy.

Yesterday, we talked to a pastor in Totonicapan, a town just down the road. They are trying to do some outreach and are looking to use medical clinics as a vehicle to do that. We are going to go do a clinic at that church in September. It'll only be a small trial run - we've authorized him to give out 35 numbers - mostly just to see what type of work is being done there. If it looks like that's a place God would like us to do more, we'll figure out how to add it to the schedule. Please pray for us to have some guidance on that.

Also, here are some pics... The first is a progress picture of the west courtyard here at the house. It was previously choked with weeds and had become an outdoor storage area. Matt and his dad hacked all the weeds out and dug the hole which will eventually be concreted-in as a firepit. We also added the plants, the rock border, and planted some grass in what will hopefully become a nice small yard (maybe for a baby to hang out in?)

The second pic is Isaac smiling.

The third shows him taking a break from the new Harry Potter book...

Monday, August 13, 2007

Isaac's First Clinic Day

Today was Isaac's first day in clinic and for the first hour or so, we thought we had made a grievous error. All he did was scream for the first seven or eight patients. Matt had him in a Baby Bjorn while working the computer and Heidi was doing consults. He had just eaten before clinic, but apparently it wasn't enough. We gave him two more ounces by bottle and he calmed down quite a bit. Go figure.

All of our patients thought he was very cute (especially after he stopped screaming), though they were all convinced that we're freezing him to death. Guatemalans believe in their hearts that it's cold here. They wrap their babies in so many layers of clothing that we often encounter babies soaked in their own sweat. Isaac is dressed more appropriately for the weather, causing every one of our patients (and local friends) to think he's freezing.

Anyway, clinic went well, with us seeing many of our chronic patients for the first time in two months and even several new patients. Included in our day today was our patient with the really bad psoriasis (we hope). We had gone out looking for him last month and couldn't find him, but he came back today. We were able to get some biopsies which we hope will help with diagnosis and treatment (picture 3).

The first two pics are of Isaac in his first clinic day. Note that in the second pic he's wearing a completely different outfit. Experienced parents will be able to guess why...

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Clinic Weekend

Wow. Has it really been since Wednesday that we wrote? Sorry about that. It's been busy.

The team left on Thursday morning. We really enjoyed having all of them here - they are fabulously organized and unbelievably generous. Matt took Dr. Horth, Dr. Gonzalez, and Nurse Wendy down to ASELSI for clinic there. It was a great experience for everyone - including the patients - who got some top-notch medical care. After clinic, Matt took the crew down to Panajachel to meet up with the rest of their group.

After getting back from Panajachel, Matt loaded all of the drugs the team left us in the pickup truck (the entire bed was full, as well as the entire inside of the truck - even with the front passenger seat taken out - this is a whole lot of drugs!)and brought them to the house. Heidi has some work to do to get all of these put away in our pharmacy.

We mentioned that the front passenger seat has been taken out of the truck - this is because Heidi now sits in the back with Isaac. Removing the seat makes she and Matt feel a little closer, she can now see out the windshield, and has ALL KINDS of leg room (or space for diaper bags, etc.)

Friday morning, we went down to the hospital, turned in the key to the multi-purpose room the team was using to stage drugs and equipment, and let the hospital know how many gifts had been left for them. Tens of thousands of dollars doesn't even begin to describe it. We'll just use the word "lots".

The rest of the day Friday was devoted to laundry and rest.

Saturday we got up early and went to clinic at the Fickers' in Canilla. We even had an evening game of baseball on the runway. (Oh yeah, the new plane is here, so we're offically back in the air. There's still a lot of work to do on the big plane, but at least we have "four seater" capability. Thank you God!!!)

Today was clinic in San Andres. Now that Isaac is here, we have to split up for this one. There are way too many sick kids in San Andres to bring Isaac. So Heidi goes to clinic and Matt takes care of Isaac at the Fickers' house in Canilla.

Tomorrow is our first 'solo' clinc back after the baby. It's likely to be a long day. We'll be in Chinique with Roy Espinosa.

Oh, and the yearly Feria (fair) is going on in Quiche, which means non-stop horrible marching bands, bombs, loud crowds, obnoxious PA systems at all hours of the night, etc. A real treat. At least it's only one week a year.

Here's the only real picture we took this weekend (we were a little busy) - it's Isaac being a fussy-pants in the bed the Fickers put in "our" room at their house.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Wichita Falls Team Surgery Day 3

Just when we were getting discouraged and starting to think we weren't going to get many surgeries, the whole world showed up. Of course, it happened on the last day of surgery (we had already shortened the week by one day to account for the low patient turnout in the first two days). And it also happened on the day that some of the key players on the team are getting Guatemala Gut. Oh well.

So it'll probably be a late evening of operating, trying to get in all of the patients who showed up today. It turns out that word of mouth spread the news faster than any of the advertising the hospital claims to have done. Some things to think about.

Anyway, tomorrow, the bulk of the team will leave in the morning and head to Panajachel to do some shopping and tourist-ing. Dr. Horth, Dr. Gonzalez, and Wendy will go to ASELSI with Matt and do clinic there. After clinic, Matt will take them to meet up with the rest of the team in Panajachel. Then they'll be off to Antigua.

Then it'll be weird and quiet here again. We'd better enjoy the day or two of quiet, though, because on Saturday we're back in the saddle. We'll go out to Canilla for clinic there, back to San Andres on Sunday, then off to Chinique on Monday. We'll be doing some marathon clinics for a few weeks to get caught up on everybody, we're sure, and things will probably go a little slower because we'll be stopping to feed Isaac every two hours (or less - based on the last two days!!!)

Now we have some pics of the team - enjoy!!!


Just some pics -

The first is of our ASELSI translator, Cecy, with Isaac.

The next ones are of Isaac on couches - one with his big brother, Jake.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Wichita Falls Team - Surgical Day 1

Today was the team's first day in the OR. Things got started a little slowly because the hospital didn't sterilize the instruments we took them at 6:30am as soon as we needed, but they were willing to share their own instruments until ours were sterilized. They also let us scavenge pieces off one of their anesthesia machines to supplement the incomplete one in the room we had.

The good news was that the surgeries today went very well. Remember the little boy we told you about yesterday? His surgery went well today and he only has one more step to go (one that Dr. Hoak can do in Chichicastenango). The bad news is that the hospital failed to publicize the team's arrival in the right places. We do not have enough patients!

Of course, this means that here in the immediate area, there aren't tons of patients who need medical care who can't get it. However, we are well aware of the TONS of patients in outlying areas who ARE in that boat. They are not being reached.

So our mission for the next year is to make sure that we know how to get word of these teams to the patients who really need help. Of course, all we can do is lead the proverbial horse to water - we referred in about 10 patients from our own rural clinics and only about half of them showed up.

But we'll be working with some other area organizations and trying to contact some rural K'iche language radio stations to advertise the arrival of the next medical team. This hasn't been necessary in the past because the hospital's own channels have been sufficient to bring in the needy patients. The good news is that we have to start getting the word further out. The bad news is that the need is out there but isn't being reached.

Please pray for this team to have good patients to help the next two days. But even more, help us to find ways to get our needy patients in for surgery.

Tomorrow, Matt will take one of the docs and two of the nurses out to Leslie's clinic in Chiminicijuan. The roads are quite bad, and we will have to walk at least 20-30 minutes from where we'll have to leave the truck. Pray for our safety and for a good and productive clinic day.

And here are some Isaac pics... One of him in the bath (thanks for the bath mat, Bethany) and one of him playing with Mommy on his quilt (thanks for the quilt, Rachel)

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Wichita Falls Team

Our good friends from Wichita Falls, Texas are here once again. They came in last night, got up this morning and went to market in Chichi, then started clinic this afternoon.

One thing that's different this year is that we're using the large multi-purpose room outside the hospital for storage instead of the living room in the house. It's a much larger room, it's closer to the clinic, and being in and out all day won't wake the baby. So it's a win-win-win.

We know some of you remember Carolina, our little cleft palate baby. She is the 7th child of a mother who became widowed during her pregnancy. We've grown pretty close to this family over the past several months. Anyway, Carolina's mom, Regina, brought her by a few weeks ago for a ruptured eardrum. We told Regina then that when Carolina has another earache, she needs to get to a doctor very soon to prevent another rupture. Well, poor Carolina got another ear infection before the rupture even healed. So we saw her again two days ago. We're treating her with antibiotics - and we finally managed to get a picture of her when she's not screaming at us! - that'd be the first picture.

The second and third pics are of the crew working in the multi-purpose room to organize A TON of meds and supplies for the week.

And the last picture is of Isaac playing with a new toy. We're not sure what's going through his little mind, but it looks fun!

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Wichita Falls Team

Today is the day that the Wichita Falls team comes in. This is the first team that Heidi and Matt ever hosted. Almost exactly a year ago, we had been here for two entire weeks when they arrived. The first week was some turnover with Jim and Kathleen and the second week was with Russ, Bethany, and Carrie, cleaning out the pharmacy and making the house "ours" a little bit. Then this team came in.

It's amazing how much we've learned in a year. For example, Matt can now speak some Spanish. It was funny last year when the team was asking him to help translate for patients. Thank God Hannah Ficker was here!

Anyway, this year should be a little different. We know a lot more about the place, the culture, the people, the language... and we have a baby. Heidi has referred about ten patients in this year, too. Last year we didn't have any - we hadn't been here.

We'd like to ask you to pray, especially, for a young boy named Jaiben. Jaiben is nearly three now. He has Down's syndrome and was also born with an imperforate anus. That means that his intestines do not connect to his hiney. There's no "out door". The immediate treatment is a colostomy. Later in life, when the baby is bigger, doctors will go in and connect things properly.

Jaiben's family cannot afford colostomy bags. So they make do. They have been tremendous caretakers of him, even though they now have an even younger baby. They brought him in last year and surprised our general surgeon friend, Dr. Mercer, who didn't have the equipment he needed to repair Jaiben. So they waited an entire year, cleaning an open colostomy all day every day. And now their day has come. Please pray that everything goes smoothly with his surgery.

Isaac was a little better with the colic last night. Having two extra pairs of hands around probably helped (Carrie and Abby came in last night to help host the team.) Starting tonight, there will be about 20 extra pairs of hands. Perhaps we'll make it through the week without any serious meltdowns!

Well, we have a little cleanup to do before the team gets here. Gotta run. And, sorry, no new Isaac pics. But we'll take some with the team members, we promise!

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Three Weeks!!

Well, we made it as far as three weeks. No major catastrophes yet. Isaac has been pretty fussy the last few days, but we're managing (some with the help of a motorized swing - thanks Mom and Dad!).

We got our first package in the mail today, too. Matt's cousin Michelle sent a wonderful care package from New Mexico that survived its trip through customs and everything. They didn't even open the wrapped gifts!

We had a great time yesterday meeting with Matt Carpehart and some of the folks from Waxahachie, Texas who came to visit us. We got to talk about our mission here (which we love) and take Isaac to Pollo Campero (think Guatemalan KFC) for the first time. He got A LOT of attention - they don't see too many gringitos here.

The bad news was that Matt Capehart's new truck wouldn't start when they went to leave. SOOOOOO, Martin to the rescue (again). He diagnosed it as an electrical problem, then went to go fetch one of his buddies who is more of an electrical specialist. We got it started, but the problem is of a nature that it'll need to be repaired at a dealership in Guatemala City, so Martin will take it down on his flatbed.

So, a bit of a pain, but at least there's someone here who can help. Imagine that - Martin helping us out again...

A bit of mission related news - the mother of our cleft palate patient, Franco, called this week to tell us that they've had to move as a result of Dad leaving them. Since they're pretty far from Chichi now, they've fallen out of the milk program. They're going to work to make sure that Franco gets fed properly, but they were more concerned that he wouldn't get his second surgery (to repair his palate). We assured her that we will not abandon her, no matter where she is, and that we'll let her know when it's time to get labs, head to Antigua, etc. No worries!

Now, what you really came for - pics of Isaac. The first is a picture of his older and more murderous brother, Jake. Somehow, Jake encountered some pretty large lizards today and brought them into the living room for our enjoyment. He managed to eat about half of each one - apparently they don't taste as good as rats - but that's two fewer lizards that'll be in the rooms when the Wichita Falls team comes this weekend. Good work, Jake!

The second is of Isaac on the floor on a quilt that Rachel Ficker made for him. He's not QUITE turning over yet, but he's about 80% of the way there on a flat surface and he can get all the way over if he's on the couch next to one of us (slight incline).

The third is of Isaac in the onesie and blanket that cousin Michelle sent. SOOO cute!