Monday, December 3, 2018

12 years

HTI ABC Program

We have been scrolling through early photos of church activities and families in the area. We came to  realize that we have been here long enough now to see kids who started out in the ABC Child Sponsorship program as 1st graders who have actually graduated out of the program.

Although is sounds routine to see a kid grow up and finish school, it is not the norm here in Guatemala. In the departments of Quiche and Suchitepequez where Health Talents works, the number of kids still in school at age 13 are 40% and 38% respectively.  (Data from the Ministry of Education School Census, Schooling Rate, both sexes, by age for 2016.) This is an age based number and includes kids who are older and have failed grades as well.

In our ABC program the number of kids graduating from 6th grade has steadily increased. But what really gets us excited is that in 2011 school year, 33% of  ABC program 6th grade graduates continued on to junior high.  In the 2017 school year,  54% of 6th grade graduates continued on to junior high.

This is still a high number of kids dropping out before junior high, but we are working to beat the averages! We are grateful to all of the sponsors who faithfully contribute to this program.  Your participation is making a difference!

Jose Luis Alberto - graduated as a teacher, continuing to university

Hector - Computer Tech - actually has one more year, but a cute picture....

Tomasa (green blouse) - graduated with a high school degree, applying for PT School

Visiting families with an intern

Joel - graduated from high school (big white stripe)

 cannot get it right side up!

Tomas - graduated in 2017 as a mechanic

Tomas on the right - with his brother and their teacher

 Juana Graciela - graduated with high school degree in bookkeeping

Friday, November 30, 2018

Give Thanks!

November is just about gone. That's hard to believe! Although we don't celebrate Thanksgiving Day here in Guatemala, the people here remind us that we should always be ready to give thanks for the blessings that God routinely showers on us.   The last couple of months have been full of activity--in the States and here in Guatemala.
States-Side Visit
We spent some good time reconnecting with friends at Eastside Church of Christ in Colorado Springs and Meadowbrook Church of Christ in Jackson, MS. The constant faithful support of these two churches has been a comfort and blessing to us and the people we serve here! Thank you for your love of the work here.

Mobile Medical-Dental Teams
Before we left for the States we had our regular September crew helping us out on our pediatric checkups. This team is always encouraging and generous with their time and resources! Thanks guys!

Thankful for a great ministry team along with volunteers

When we returned from the States, we had one last medical and dental team help us finish up our well child checks on the ABC sponsorship kids.  This team had both new visitors to Health Talents and Dr. Jim Haller who spent his 50th trip here to Guatemala with us. He is 84 years old and still delights in helping others and serving God with his gifts.  Thanks to this small but mighty team of workers!

This year we have been bombarded with graduation invites.  When we first arrived in Guatemala in 2005, we hardly knew anyone in this area with a high school diploma. Secondary schooling was, and still is expensive, and for most agricultural families not a priority. But with job opportunities scarce and families' land resources diminishing each generation, people are beginning to see education not as a luxury but a necessity. We are proud of all of these families and students who have sacrificed to achieve this goal.  Some are scholarship recipients from Health Talents and some are ABC program kids and others members of the local churches.  It's great to see how people are starting to take advantage of the educational options here in the area! Thanks to all of you who pray for and send money to help promote education here through the ABC and Scholarship funds!

 Israel - Degree in Tourism - ABC Student

 Gerber - degree in industrial drawing - ABC student

 Tomas in Business Administration - ABC student
 Mario in Business administration - scholarship student
 Jocelyn in Business Administration - neighbor of Clinica Caris
 Elvis in Business Administration - neighbor of Clinica Caris
 Israel son of HTI health promotor Tomas and his family including grandparents

Brenda - scholarship - kindergarten teacher

 Manuel - scholarship professional nursing
Manuel's family

Plus up to 15 more all in one year!  

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Academic Medicine

Teaching is a large part of our work here in Guatemala.  We spend a lot of time on staff development, encouraging reading and practice of clinical skills, as well as teaching our staff to educate the patients on disease process, medication usage and preventive health.

Katrina Aardema and Rowdy Sarrett after a day of healing the sick and afflicted in Chuchipaca II.
 Currently we are blessed with the visit of two senior physician assistant students from Harding University. Katrina Aardema and Rowdy Sarrett are spending six weeks with us as part of their clinical rotations.  This definitely keeps us on our toes making sure that we guide them in their clinical skills. But having them in clinics also opens up opportunity for our professional nurses to have study time they need to develop their clinical skills and basic sciences background. 
Cristina Chan and Pedro Zapeta working the front desk at Clinica Caris.
Not only do we have U.S. students, but joining us this quarter are Cristina Chan and Pedro Zapeta two local high school students and members of the area churches helping us out as part of their internships for business and bookkeeping degrees.  Kemmel has them honing their public relations, medical office, computer and data entry skills. This is big help for us in clinic and back office.

Saturday, August 25, 2018


We enjoyed a great visit from Alejandro and Paulina Ezquerra from the Bammel Road Church of Christ in Houston.  They taught the Men's Seminar and Women's Seminar hosted by the Paxot II church on Survey of the Prophets and our role as Christians to announce the gospel and the return of Christ.
When we asked everyone how it went, the response was unanimous--"great conference and very uplifting"!
Every year we are blessed by the Brentwood Hills Church of Christ with funding to help cover the expense of the two-day seminars reviewing segments of the Bible in an in depth manner.
This is our second seminar for the year and we have had leaders from 18 Quiche area churches represented.

It is exciting to us to see interest from both mature churches as well as newer church plants. These pictures represents elders, teachers and  evangelists that are active in church planting and training and those who focus on personal evangelism through family counseling. Some of the churches represented are active in a church plant in the neighboring Department (province) of Baja Verapaz about 5 hours away.

Be praying for the churches here as they work to grow in knowledge of God's word and to share with their neighbors about God's redeeming love.