Good morning from Guatemala! Hoping that I will have some time to get some internet coverage (it’s pay-as-you-go physical, plug-in modem here mostly—remember those?!) so I can get this posted today. Wanted to get everyone up to speed and on the same page… so it’s time to
“MEET THE TEAM”!
Long-time readers will know that is literally the title of the first post of every week here, so let’s go…
I’ll start with introducing myself better to the new folks: I’m Heidi Bell, an OB/Gyn from North Carolina (currently in the Cary area) with a bit of a winding road of a career history-- It goes like this:
- · Studied medicine at ECU (where you’ll see I met most of the others on the trip later)
- · OB/Gyn residency in Houston, Texas—where God was clearly preparing me for His work in Guatemala by teaching me Spanish through my patients
- · Met my amazing husband Matt while in Houston, and he and I felt called together to move to Guatemala after my residency training
- · Spent an unforgettable and life-changing two years living here in Guatemala with the support of a group called Agape in Action from the Houston area—you can read more about them here: agapeinaction.org
- · Returned to the US to take a faculty position at ECU in 2008 where I stayed until 2014
- · Have been amazingly blessed and privileged that God has been faithful to provide for and continue to keep going this current mission set-up, which consists of 3-4 times yearly, one week trips down to do a few different things:
o Perform affordable gynecologic care and surgery for the indigent population
o Be the hands and feet (and yes, scalpel!) of Christ for these people in any way that I can
o Strive to encourage the long-term missionaries here in the area with whom I have become very close over the years and been blessed to know—especially the Ficker Family who you can read more about here: adonaiinternationalministries.org and docsforhope.org
o Bring different small (2-5 people usually) teams with me each time who hopefully go away with a renewed sense of how “the rest of the world” lives and hearts renewed by The Gospel as well.
And that was way too much about me! But I should also mention this can only be accomplished with the support and patience of my family (including in-laws, a husband, two kids, and a goofball Boxer dog) at home as well as my church family in Cary. Life is truly better than I deserve, friends.
I’m joined this time by three ladies who I look forward to getting to know better—I’m continually blown away at how many people “sign up” for this trip sight unseen and with very little detail about what they are getting in to! Serious cool-cat-easygoing-hero status here, y’all~
So Lee Ann Garner is an OB/Gyn working in the Wilmington, NC, area currently. I met her at ECU when she was a medical student there, and one of her current partners, Julia Posey, came down with me a few years ago as a resident. You might recognize the city of Wilmington from recent news, where Hurricane Florence hit. Her kids (10, 8, and 4 if I remember the ages correctly) are STILL not back in school there! What an amazing sacrifice to show up for the trip anyway, right? Let’s pray that she and her family will be truly blessed this week!
Dr. Nikki Parson was an OB/Gyn resident while I was on faculty at ECU, and we’ve been talking about getting her down here for years now. She works in Charlotte now, and I absolutely LOVE that she brought along her “right-hand (female) man” from her office for the experience. Crystal Yarborough has worked with Nikki in her office since she started there out of residency, a little over 3 years ago now as a Certified Medical Assistant. Theirs is clearly a special and close relationship, and it has been awesome meeting her! Nikki has two beautiful boys in 6th and 7th grades at home with another clearly amazing husband of the group.
It is Crystal’s first time leaving the country, so maybe some extra-special prayers for her this week? She has been an awesome trooper so far, especially since she has two kids (16 and 9!) at home and clearly is very involved and beloved in her community. Poor thing was up at 5:30 this morning with well-wishers calling to check on her (not quite realizing that we are two hours behind NC here… 😉)
So today will be a bit of time in market and then a LOT of time in clinic seeing patients and hopefully setting up lots of surgeries for the coming days. Pray for patience, wisdom, and perhaps a bit of efficiency as we dive in to usually 20-30 patients. But above all, pray that we can truly be a light and just a tiny reflection of God’s love for them—it’s pretty hard to feel in a world that can feel rather bleak at times.
Everyone hug your families hard and appreciate them today! We are running off of your prayers and love from afar… so thank you for that.