While I type this, I’m currently in Pennsylvania, visiting family and friends, and going around to different churches sharing what is going on with our ministry in Guatemala. And yet, I feel guilty. I feel guilty that I’m here in the States while the rest of my Guatemalan family are down there continuing to work and having to do it without some extra help. Guilty that I’m up here, constantly going out to eat and hanging out with friends to reconnect. Guilty that I’m “getting a break” and they don’t get one. Guilty that because of family life events that I’m here until October. Yes, it’s great to reconnect with family and friends who I haven’t seen since January. And yes, I know that I need to be here in Pennsylvania during this time. But man…I miss them all in Guatemala so bad! It’s hard to be honest. You’re always saying goodbye as a missionary. You say goodbye to everyone in Guatemala to go to the States to visit. And then you are saying goodbye to everyone in the States to head back down to where you now live. But with that being said, I know that I’m doing what God has called me to do.
We still have some construction going on. This house is a legit fixer upper. The roof has been completed. 2 of my amazing cousins came down and worked on finishing our bathrooms by making cabinets for the sinks. They were able to make some bunk beds as well. Laura continued working after Matt returned to PA and made a massive bookshelf. I’m in love with it and since she finished it after I came to the States, I can’t wait to actually see it in person! Currently, we are in the process of building more showers to use for when we have teams visiting. We now have connected the 2 houses so we don’t have to go outside of our gated property to go between houses. That makes it nice especially at night when it’s not the safest to be outside.
We have been crazy busy with clinics and house calls! I was 45 minutes late leaving for the airport since we had a line of people wanting me to do house calls on the day I was heading back to the States. Pretty much daily, I have house calls and patients to follow up on. The baby who is missing most of her brain has been doing pretty well. She has been gaining weight now that we found a bottle that she can drink out of rather than being syringe fed. She had struggled with pneumonia and diarrhea, but has recovered well. She is now 7 months old. Her parents were originally told that she wouldn’t live past 7 days old. Her grandmother has been pretty sick recently, receiving iron transfusions, has a low hemoglobin and really could use a blood transfusion, and the most recent issue has been congestive heart failure. She was so short of breath, completely filled with fluid up to her neck with pitting edema, vomiting, sweating profusely, and ridiculously pale one night. We told her that she needed to go to the hospital. I have Lasix pills to help with the fluid retention, but that wouldn’t kick in fast enough and really she needed a hospital now. She just wanted nausea meds and to go to sleep that night. We told her that there was a good chance that she might not make it through the night if she didn’t go to the hospital. But she and family insisted that she didn’t want to go and they would try to take her another day. When they finally did go to the hospital, they did not receive the care that she needed. So she came home and still struggled with all of the same health problems.
There is a 4 year old girl who came to clinic one day because after she eats “her belly button sticks out,” according to her mother. This happened after she fell down the steps. We took her to get an ultrasound and found that she does indeed have an umbilical hernia and needs surgery. We are currently in contact with a group who hosts teams from the States who perform hernia surgeries. One of the boys who spends a lot of time at our house became really sick in July and it was looking like an appendicitis. I started an IV, gave pain and nausea meds and some IV fluids, and we took him to a hospital. The doctor agreed that it was an appendicitis and he had surgery done that night. We have had a number of patients recently who have needed specialists or more testing done. Because these patients come from very poor areas and are just trying to have enough money for some food, we provide the funds for these tests and take them to get them done and whatever follow up care or appointments are required. As you know, we live strictly off of donations and none of this would be possible without your support. Honestly, so many patients would not have been able to receive care, medications, treatment, surgery, or the help they needed without you. And every little bit helps. No amount is too small to be able to greatly impact these patients. Because of you, so many lives have literally been saved. Thank you for being a part of it. I wish you all could come down, witness the miracles, see exactly where your money is going, and experience how grateful they are for your help. We are open for teams to come and help and any of you are welcome to come! But I know it’s not possible for many of you to come. But please know that you are just as important to this ministry and to these families we work with and they need your continued support and prayers!
We continue to have kids club on Saturdays and youth group on Thursday evenings. Both are going well. We had received a donation to buy sports equipment from Canoe Creek BIC church. We loaded up 50 kids in a bus and went to the park to play with all of the new gear. These kids had such a blast playing new sports they never had the opportunity to play before. Thank you so much for providing that opportunity! They keep asking me when we are going to start a legit baseball team and practice. The youth group is currently studying the book of Job. Each one of these kids have been through so much already, can relate, and find hope from Job’s experiences. Please continue to pray for each kid that we work with. They are/have gone through so much crap, need to work on processing all of it, and begin the healing process. It’s not easy by any means for these kids and just pray we can figure out the best way to continue helping these kids. We have seen a huge change in these kids over the past year especially. But they still have a long way to go in the healing process. Thank you again for all of your support, donations, and prayers. We couldn’t do any of this without you all!