Wow. What a trip this has been! I think I last wrote on Tuesday or Wednesday, so a quick update is in order of course. We finished up the surgical week with the vaginal hysterectomy and laparoscopic tubal removal for sterilization on Wednesday, then stuck around to help Tom with several more cases (hernias, gallbladders, and a thyroid) Wednesday afternoon and Thursday morning. ALL of our patients looked fantastic Thursday morning and were discharged—even Aura, who had a major surgery on Wednesday morning, was asking to go home! We felt comfortable sending her knowing that she lived near where we would be doing clinic this morning (Saturday), so off she went.
Sweet Micaela, the lady we operated on twice, may have looked the best of the bunch. God’s grace and provision, clearly, since it could in no way be accounted for by the “perfection” of surgical performance. It is so humbling to see families of patients bring us gifts on top of the financial offerings they are making to the hospital—from apples (ironically, imported from the USA!) and avocadoes to hand-embroidered hand towels since they know we “have to wash our hands a lot”, they are such sweet and generous thoughts.
Truly, though, what really makes it worth it is the smiles we can occasionally even catch on camera like this one from Marta—she stayed one day longer than “usual” after her Monday surgery, likely due more to the fact that on Tuesday, she got the news that her brother had passed away. He had been sick for a few years, but the news was still quite hampering to her recovery. Wednesday was the funeral, and then a large group of family and friends descended upon her in the hospital that evening! What a gift it was to be able to get this sweet smile after all that from her when I asked her to pose with “Flat Stanley” from my second grader’s class ;-)
Thursday afternoon we flew out to see firsthand ALL of the change and excitement that God is bringing about to His people in Canilla’ where our dear friend the Fickers live. There are no words for how amazing everything is that He is doing there! From a full-fledged university-affiliated nursing school (with 37 students enrolled!) to footings and walls being poured for a full-fledged HOSPITAL, to doctors and other health care providers coming out of the woodwork to volunteer faster than housing can be found for them all, to EIGHTEEN kids currently under age 10 running around the compound, to another airplane that has been donated and may be able to be flown down soon, and all around in everything in between, nothing is short of miraculous. And yet all of it is just a tiny reflection of His Glory and Grace.
I’ll share a few more pictures to leave you with for the week—mostly just for fun.
There’s the one of “Flat Stanley” taking a rest on some lovely coasters or doilies that one patient’s family gave to us, then him getting ready to go in to the OR with me…
Then several of the hospital grounds, including one of me playing (and losing) “king of the mountain” with Jacob and Joshua Ficker (Ryan and Katie Ann’s boys), and one of the well drilling rig that is due to start drilling any day now (it was promised in January…), and the final hospital plans for any who are interested.
We then move along to the nursing school to see Katie’s first day of TEACHING CLASS in the newly-built “wing” of the school dedicated to the nursing program…
And the last are just for fun: Chris, Tony, and Caitlyn playing on the swingset, Abi and Grace posing for us with “Flat Stanley”, “Flat Stanley” getting ready to take off in the Cessna, and the hospital grounds from the air…
We will leave you finally with a few shots of the volcanoes seen from above the clouds on our way back down to The City this morning—I will never tire of that view!
Please continue to pray with us for healing for our patients, and spiritual growth and renewal for Chichicastenango, Canilla’, Guatemala, the US, and the World. God bless you all.