As I walked into her little house in Taxisco, Guatemala I was immediately impressed with several things as I looked around. These are people of very humble means. The floor of the house was packed dirt and the walls of the house were made mostly of tin that looked like old roofing material. The house was pretty dark without much natural light or ventilation. It was smoky on the inside because of the open fire which was used for their heating and cooking. There was no electricity, I could see no evidence of running water and the bathroom facilities were an outhouse in their small backyard. I realized it does not get much more primitive than this.
The lady we were visiting had just been visited by Dr. O and RN T just a couple of hours before I arrived. They had come to see her because she was unable to walk to the place where we were holding the medical clinic. She had severe respiratory problems and needed help. Dr. O treated her as best he could for the respiratory problems and an infection as well. He was able to do a nebulizer treatment by plugging the machine into the electric of a nearby neighbor. Medicine was provided and encouragement was given before Dr. O and T went to another “house call”.
I arrived about 2 hours later with Sylvia B, one of the Word of Life missionaries who we were serving with that day. We brought several pounds of staple food supplies to the lady and spent some time talking with her with translation help. The patient told me that it was the first time in her life that she had actually been treated by a doctor. She looked elderly and I found out that she was in her mid-60’s. The hard work of life, living in smoke filled houses and in a countryside that is so often filled with smoke from burning sugar cane had taken its toll. She was so sweet and filled with appreciation for the help that had been given to her. She said, “After the doctor’s visit, I already feel better!” Then she wept tears of joy and gratitude for the food that was given. After a few more minutes of conversation I prayed for her and her husband and went on to another house to deliver more food and listen to their story and share the love of Jesus with them through an interpreter.
This is just one glimpse of what the medical team in Guatemala can do. We run a large clinic in the towns but not everyone can get there so we send teams of doctors and nurses out to treat patients and then other people to distribute food, pray with them and try to establish just a little bit of a relationship so that when the Word of Life people return they know who they are and how much they care about them. We feel very comfortable and secure in going on these visits because of the armed security provided by Word of Life and also the mayor of the town.
On another day I was able to go with another team of people to a small village to bring some food to them. These sacks of rice, oil, beans, flour, sugar and salt can feed a family for several days and it is a great privilege and blessing to be able to give it out in the name of the Lord Jesus. I get to share the Gospel with them (again through an interpreter) and then experience the joy of people receiving food because people here at Fellowship Community Church have cheerfully given so they can have food to eat. Over the years some of them have responded to the Gospel and trusted Christ as Savior. All have been fed and know at least a little bit about the love of Jesus.
The doctors treat all ages and all genders in the clinics that we run. They see many common ailments and treat for respiratory problems, chronic dehydration, infections and when we have an OB-GYN the women are able to receive that care. At times we have been able to provide dental care and help with reading glasses. Vitamins for the children and adults are given as well as many different medicines. We have a preventive care station where they are taught simple things like brushing teeth and are given toothbrushes and tooth paste. Instructions on hand washing and personal hygiene are also given to men, women and children. This year we have a portable ultrasound machine to help with diagnosis and a portable EKG for cardiac assessment and health.
Many of the people of Fellowship Community Church have already contributed to the needs of this very special missions endeavor but it is not too late to contribute. This money will go to procure the needed medicines, vitamins and other health care necessities. It will go to help buy the food for distribution to these dear people in rural Guatemala. You can give online by clicking on this link and select "Missions" and then "Guatemala Missions 2019". Thank you for partnering in this ministry through prayer and financial support.
- Pastor Jim Panter