Well, here I am on the plane again home. Except for the fact that I will have to travel through Miami (my least favorite airport on the planet so far…), it should theoretically be a smooth day—and most importantly, now less than 14 hours or so before I get to see my family again!!! As a bonus, it sounds like Matt will be home around the time I get there tonight, so I get to see him FIRST!
I find my head is nearly literally spinning with all that I have seen, learned, and been convicted to pray about this trip! So if you feel inclined, please join me in prayer first for a few special patients—there is a lady who likely has severe preeclampsia very early in pregnancy who did NOT, unfortunately, come in to clinic for us to see her today. She was told she needed to be delivered by the National Hospital in Quiché a couple of weeks ago, but refused since her infant would not live due to prematurity. Now if the diagnosis is correct, both lives are in danger. So, we pray.
And another sweet lady who has lost two pregnancies, including one that was a two-pound baby born prematurely after her bag of water broke too early, and is now pregnant with her third. We have little to offer her, either here or in the U.S., for prevention of preterm labor or PPROM, but we did are going to be able to start her on progesterone injections just like we would do in the U.S.—and lots of prayer, which is likely more effective.
There are several patients struggling with infertility, which is a huge issue in Guatemala as anyone who can’t have kids is so likely to be left by their spouse for someone who can. And then there is sweet Cruz, the lady whose bladder fistula we fixed on our last trip…
Apparently, Cruz’s husband hasn’t really spoken to her since her surgery, for some unfathomable reason. For the first time in many years she doesn’t reek of urine constantly, but he’s mad that she accepted surgical treatment instead of “just taking a pill or something” (which doesn’t exist)! She is still smiling somehow, though, since he has not become physically violent or anything and the kids are still friendly towards her. He could use some pretty serious prayer in his alcoholic tendencies for sure! It wasn’t even a money issue; she only paid about $12.50 for her surgery if I recall correctly. From a medical standpoint, though, we can give thanks that her recovery has been smooth and she is doing really well!
In terms of what God is doing down in Guatemala, though, there are many, many prayers of thanksgiving to pray—as well as some specific ongoing needs to lift up! The Ficker family, my dear friends, continue to ask for wisdom and patience (as well as continued economic resources) as they are meeting so many new people who want to help with the hospital project and trying hard to discern what is best for everyone. This hospital is happening, my friends. The property is purchased and paid-for in full, ground has been broken and is being prepared for construction, fencing is going up, and plans are drawn! We definitely need to pray that we all continue to stay on the same page (God’s) as much as possible and that all of this is done to His Glory.
Pray for the doctors who will be working here at the clinics and in the hospital—for wisdom, favor on their families as they work, peace of mind, and unity of thoughts and goals. Pray for the nurses who will be graduating from the Nursing School that is now open, that they will be faithful providers of loving care for the patients. Pray that some people with pastoral care gifts will show up with a heart to serve the patients and staff full-time. Pray for me to continue to stay focused in prayer for these things. Pray. Pray. Pray.
(Little David "helping" Mom in clinic, and playing outside with some new friends he found!)
And remember, God is good. God is in control. God is faithful, and God is working in Guatemala as you read this! Pray that they would see His faithfulness and His love through the service of the missionaries there and that they would KNOW HIM.
(And in case anyone missed the fun of our "ice bucket challenge", here are some more clips and pics…)