Sunday, June 3, 2018

Cross Cultural Glitches

I'm not a very good selfie taker.  But I learned today that you can use the volume button to take the pic.  Welcome to the 21st century, Dra. Lisa!

We get such a kick out of listening to the students tell us about their adventures living with host families.  Most of the best ones center around language miscommunications and food and bathrooms, haha! 

Lori: "My family serves me Pepsi every night with my dinner because they asked me if I liked Pepsi, and I didn't understand what they were saying, so I just said, 'yes'.  I don't really like Pepsi."

Lori: "I think I may have told my host family that my dad had died. (He hasn't)."

Ian: "Every night, my host mom serves me 5 tamalitos with my meal.  But I can only eat one. Last night she served me 4 tamalitos.  After I ate one she walked by and said, 'just eat one more'."

Sam: "I was offered a mango but my host dad told me not to eat the side that was too soft.  After cutting around it and eating some, I noticed that is had some little worms moving around in it.  I showed it to him and he said, 'that might possibly be a worm'."
Lori, Brandt and Sam getting ready to dive into a delicious bowl of caldo de gallina criolla (patio-raised chicken soup) and tamalitos wrapped in corn leaves.
Bethany: "My host sisters wait for me to eat then accompany me out to the outhouse with their little flashlight.  When I'm inside they turn it off and they wait in the dark.  Then they flip it back on when I'm done to walk me back to my room."

Brandt: "Last night I had to make a bathroom run and after getting to the outhouse my phone battery (ie. flashlight) died.  I had to make it back up the hill in the dark and I dropped my toilet paper and had to fetch it as it unrolled its way down the hill."

We challenged everyone to eat all of their chicken down to the bone.  Everyone did great!  So proud of these guys!

Monday, May 21, 2018

Love and Good Works

This year we have been very busy with groups and visitors helping out in both the medical, educational and spiritual aspects of the work.  It is humbling to think that people want to come here and work with us and share in the ministry in Guatemala. The church is growing by leaps and bounds, some congregations doubling and tripling in size in a matter of  3-5 years.

But we find ourselves wondering who the real missionaries are--we foreigners or the local evangelistic church members.  As the church in the States and Europe seems to be on a decline, it is so encouraging to see it planted, growing and spreading in this small country.  We are always learning from the brethren here about the importance of relationship building, community participation and love for God. They use their gifts well to spread the word and introduce others to Christ.

As a medical ministry we can get caught up in tending to just the physical needs of people, but we are quickly reminded that a gentle inquiry as to the spiritual and emotional health of the person gives us an opening to teach about the sovereignty of God, his patience and love and desire for us to be whole.
We want to thank our visiting teams for helping us expand the services that we normally offer.  We have been able to visit all of our ABC communities for well-child checkups without disrupting our normally scheduled routes of community clinics.

A big thanks to Hennessey, OK Church of Christ, Oklahoma Christian University, Lipscomb University, and Harding University for your visits and hard work.  Also to Klay Bartee and Gene Luna for your continued work in the development of local church leaders.  Thanks to Melanie Dixon for your willingness to study the local population of families regarding water safety and health.

May we learn from each other and " Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works." Hebrews 10:24

Saturday, April 7, 2018

Literacy Update

Last year we reported that we were donated 1000 Spanish children's books by our home congregation of Eastside Church of Christ to add to our small library. The books were lovingly scouted out by our friend Benecia Campbell.   There are enough now for four really good starter collections to use in different locations. With our spring break teams we took the book boxes out on the well child check ups to get the kids interested. 

Twins C. and M. enjoying a book together.
After a year or so of promoting  reading and the library idea, we finally have some churches stepping up to the plate.
Three congregations are excited about using the books and have plans on how they will offer them to the kids at the church first.
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But one congregation also has a proposal that includes opening up the church building several times a week with their youth group and sharing the book collection with neighboring families for reading time.  They see it as a unique way to reach out and love their neighbors.
Getting in a little reading in the waiting room...
Be in prayer about the books and the ways that we and the churches use them to improve reading levels of their own kids and of their communities.

Friday, March 23, 2018

Mission Trip

I know it sounds funny, but we are going on a mission trip!  For the last few years over spring break we have been meeting up with our friends from our supporting congregation of Eastside Church of Christ and heading to Ciudad de Angeles children's home in Cozumel.  We will be assigned some work tasks and participating in classes for the kids--our specific job will be as translators.  This year we invited Sheri to go with us to enjoy a little fun in the sun and some work days as well.

Like a scene from Planes, Trains and Automobiles we made it last night by the skin of our teeth.  Our flight from Guatemala to Cancun took off late because there were so many families with lap-riding kids that they couldn't get the passenger count right for the flight manefest.  They must have gone down the aisle 15 times with their click counters, every time with a different number.  Each flight attendant, the ground crew and some guy from the airline desk came in doing the same.  We heard one guy say that the kids kept playing under the seats and would mess up the count.  For people like us without kids we were trying to be patient, but feeling our eyes beginning to roll and snide comments welling up within.
But finally we took off--late.  Too late we thought to catch our connecting flight to Cozumel.  But after a less-than-excruciating time in customs, and thanks to taking carry-ons only, we got out to the shuttle area that takes you to the separarte terminal by 7:40 pm. Our 8:00 flight looked unlikely.  But thanks to fast thinking Sheri, and quick acting Kemmel we found a taxi to take us to the small all-in-one terminal desk/gate.  We made it to the desk just as the guy was checking everyone in and our faces lit up with excitement that we wouldn't have to go back and find a bus to Playa del Carmen and then a boat to Cozumel!  Success!
Here are a few shots from our prop plane ride.

Friday, February 23, 2018

Good Things

Our week has been filled with mobile clinics in the communities, home visits with the ABC families and the usual  administration and maintenance of equipment and vehicles issues.  Sometimes we feel like our days all look about the same. But every now and then we get a little extra good thrown in.

We enjoyed a birthday party for Maury's baby, getting there late and thinking everyone had left--but turned out it was taking place across town and we showed up just as her mom was looking for a ride to the party with all of the snacks in tow--good timing!

Kemmel has been busy getting ABC kid charts and data updated for the coming teams to do well-child checkups, working on dental equipment repairs and tracking down new tires for one of the trucks--the last two had to be taken care of in the Guatemala City 3-4 hours away. But at least he enjoyed a quick swim at the Olympic-sized pool there.

I was chatting with one of the moms from a church where we have the ABC program.  She was relaying some dental problems she had and lamenting the fact that she never brushed her teeth much when she was younger.  She said, "not until you all came and showed us how important brushing is, did I start taking care of my teeth.  Now I make my kids do it whether they want to or not!"
That made our day!

Here are a few shots from the rest of our week.

You can't see this little girl's backpack well --I couldn't get my camera out fast enough,  but it made me smile because it has Doc McStuffins on it.  :)  

I love this picture of Danny Suy and his little boy Daniel celebrating his first birthday.  Look at their facial expressions, LOL!

And finally an action shot of our student Melanie Dixon and her helper Tomasa Sut Marroquin out making home visits in the Chuchuca, Zacualpa area.  What troopers!

Monday, February 12, 2018

Field Study on Drinking Water

We are honored to have Melanie Dixon with us for a few weeks.  She is a Public Health student doing a study on the effects of contaminated drinking water on nutritional status of children. In many developing countries the water sources used for drinking water are not treated so, although they come from springs or wells, there are still at risk for contamination at the origin or at broken tubing sites.  This makes bacterial and parasitic disease from amoebas, giardias, cryptosporidium and e. coli common occurrences.  Most families boil their drinking water, which is effective, but kids are often seen drinking directly from the faucets which exposes them to contaminated water and disease. So if families have other sources of  clean, cool water access we hope kids will learn not to drink from the faucets.
So Melanie will be studying families that have never used filters and families that have, to see what the general health and nutrition of their children has been. It should be intereesting and helpful for us to have some concrete data. She will live with a local family and get a good feel for the way water is cared for and used, and will be visiting homes and interviewing parents about the health of their family. In addition to studying Public Health, she is a Christian family counselor back home--she will be quite the asset here.
Juana, Sara and Johnny helping Melanie get settled in her new room.

Utz a petik, Melanie!

Friday, February 9, 2018

Math Skills

detail of Codex Dresdensis by Lacambalam Image source

For a lot of kids, math comprehension is a struggle.  We stumbled across this article about a math method being used in Mexico--resurrected from ancient Mayan mathematicians.  Very interesting!
Aqui es la pagina con Google Translate.