Tag Archives: medical missions

The 2013 Guatemala Medical Mission Trip Report

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I am an EMS helicopter pilot out of Cheyenne, Wyoming and, while I had been on many missions trips before, I wanted to go on a medical trip. However, I was hesitant to go because I don’t provide direct patient care as a pilot. I was reassured that training would be provided and that all that was needed were individuals who cared about others because God would work out the rest. So, I signed up for the ten day mission trip to Guatemala and joined a team of 24 including 17 from Timberline Church.

Our first sign that God was with us happened upon arriving at the airport in Guatemala City when we tried to pass through customs. The Guatemalan customs agents let everyone and everything through … except all of the crates containing medication. (I am sure you can understand the importance of medication on a medical mission!) Then, God started to move. The group formed a circle and prayed while our team leader and a Spanish-speaking team member spoke to the customs agents. Long story short, we left an hour and a half later with all of our supplies, including the medications, and our team member earned the nickname “Silver Tongue.”

One of my most memorable moments of the trip came on the first day when we spent half of the day in an orphanage. The plan was for the team doctors to set up a clinic for the children and senior citizens while the rest of us divided up the medications into smaller containers. Before we began our work, one of the children led the rest of the orphans in a prayer for our team. Imagine an eight-year-old boy belting out a prayer at the top of his lungs, echoed by 20 or so other youngsters, thanking God for us and asking Him to help us on our journey. The moment was simply amazing and totally filled with God’s presence.

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We then drove to Los Amates and were based there for the following four days hosting clinics for the local villagers. While there are many stories from the dental and medical clinics, I worked in the optical clinic. On the first day, we helped an older gentleman that really wanted to be able to read his Bible again. I scanned his eyes to get a starting point and then had him put on the “funny glasses” to get a more precise idea of what he needed. We fitted him for glasses and he immediately sat down and started to read.

We also met several professional drivers who could only read the top line on the eye chart (if that). We were able to get them glasses and the roads of Guatemala are now that much safer! Overall, we served roughly 275 people in the optical portion of the clinics, built 106 pairs of glasses, gave out 174 pairs of reading glasses, and gave away over 300 pairs of sunglasses. For the first time in possibly years, people could see to read, sew, and cook. Their eyesight is now protected from cataracts and other eye problems caused or aggravated by too much sunlight and many were given back the means to go out and work in the fields to bring home enough money to feed their families.

Guatemala is a very poor country. I was reminded of the time in Matthew when Jesus said it is easier for a camel to get through the eye of a needle, than it is for a rich man to get into heaven. He was speaking about me…and you. We need to be good stewards of what is given to us and use it for him.

(Thanks to Storyteller Donnie Crouch for sharing his experiences.)

Medical Team Heading to Guatemala

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A 20 member team (some of whom are pictured above) is leaving on October 31st for Guatemala. In addition to conducting a short medical clinic in Guatemala City, they will host medical, dental and optical clinics at four different churches near Los Amates.  The team returns to Fort Collins on November 9.

While they are gone, please pray for:

  • Their safety while traveling.
  • Health and energy to complete their work.
  • God to open welcoming hearts.

Building Hope in El Salvador – 2013 Trip Report

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After long hours of travel, the Timberline missions teams were warmly welcomed by the church in El Espino, El Salvador. The group stayed in the country’s capital, San Salvador, but worked with families in El Espino and La Labor. The bus rides were long, but the beautiful green and volcanic landscapes fueled entertaining and exciting conversations. The journey over the week was filled with laughter, challenges, joy and hope. The teams worked with an organization called Enlace, which means “to link.” Enlace’s goal is to link churches in America with churches in El Salvador, then help them to serve their community.

On Sunday, the teams worshiped with Pastor Santos and his congregation in El Espino. Although there was a language barrier, it did not stop the love that was shared and the relationships that were formed. The youth team taught the Sunday School leaders some games to help engage the kids in learning about the love of Jesus. They also taught the leaders some actions to a Spanish/English worship song, “Trading My Sorrows/Cambiaré Mi Tristeza.” Seeing the congregation worship together emphasized the importance of having the teams in El Salvador. They brought hope to the community.

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In just four days, the youth team tackled the overwhelming challenge of building 20 EcoStoves in La Labor. Until now, families have been using open, wood-burning fires, which cause many respiratory diseases in addition to harming the environment. The EcoStoves provide a safer, cheaper and more effective way for families to cook. The youth team had a fantastic time building the EcoStoves, using their feet to mix the cement. The cement even contained a secret ingredient–molasses! They used molasses to protect the bricks on the outside of the stove. It was such a blessing to be a part of something that will change the lives of Salvadorian families. One lady had a huge smile on her face and could not wait to light the first fire on her new stove. By the end of the day, they were exhausted, covered in dirt, but feeling satisfied about each day’s work.

Meanwhile, the adult team kept extremely busy at the clinic, serving over 450 patients through the week. Not one person was turned away and the team was able to meet the needs of every patient. Many kids had developmental disabilities and it was amazing to witness how their families met their needs with limited resources. When the teams met to make house visits in the afternoon, it was eye opening to see how strong the families were and how they shared unconditional love for each other. Each day was challenging and filled with incredible experiences.

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Both the adult and youth teams met at a rural school where the team started building a wall two years ago. It was exciting to see the wall completed and being used to benefit the school. Both teams spent time playing games and worshipping with the smiling kids. The kids were very welcoming and loving and it emphasized the importance the teams of being in El Salvador.

The youth team received a banner from the school in honor of the work they have done. The plan is to display the heartfelt gift in the youth office of Timberline Church. There was a wonderful dedication of the project at the church in El Espino. The pastors spoke about the very exciting new relationship formed between the churches in El Espino and La Labor. After the dedication, they enjoyed a celebratory dinner of pupusas, which was a great opportunity to share in praise with the local church members.

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It was a very emotional and exciting week for both teams. The last day was planned as a fun day at the beach. It also was a day to mull over what they have learned over the week before heading for home. They asked the question, “What do we do with our heightened relationship with Jesus once we return?” They learned that we serve a truly amazing God who will provide no matter what. It’s important to always trust in Him. After a fun day of walking through the warm volcanic sand and splashing through the waves, it was time for the team to go home. Everyone arrived safely at home very early Sunday morning. The teams would like to thank you so much for your prayers and support over the week. It’s exciting to see how the Holy Spirit will change the lives and bring hope to the people of El Salvador.

Read more and watch the daily videos from the youth team at www.elsalvadortym.blogspot.com.

(Courtesy of Storyteller Nicole Sutton)

Teams Heading to El Salvador

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On the morning of July 6th, two teams from Timberline will be flying to El Salvador until July 14th. The first team of 21 students and 5 adult leaders will pack stay in the country’s capital, San Salvador, but work in El Espino and La Labor. For the third year, they will be working with an organization called, Enlace, which means, “to link.” Enlace’s goal is to be a bridge from the local church to the community and will serve as a catalyst for the church to continue connecting after the trip. While in El Salvador, the team of youth will be training church leaders for children’s ministry and spend a lot of time with the kids and several different families. However, this year, their main project will be to build Ecostoves and provide a safer, cheaper, and more environmentally friendly way for families to cook rather than over an open, wood-burning fire. To learn more about the Ecostoves, visit www.cookinguplove.org.

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The second team, comprised of adults, will be impacting the communities of El Salvador by providing a medical clinic to minister to the physical as well as spiritual needs of the people.

While the teams are gone, please pray for:

  • safety in travel
  • health throughout the trip
  • the students to encounter God and be transformed by Him
  • partnerships with the church so families can experience the love of God
  • wisdom and stamina when seeing patients through the clinic

(Thanks to Storyteller Nicole Sutton)

Caring for Los Amates, Guatemala

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From treating a chicken to getting jostled by an earthquake, the 30-member medical team conquered numerous first experiences as they served the people of Guatemala.

On their first full day in the country, they worked in Guatemala City at a feeding center and interacted with orphans and their caregivers. While the medical portion of the team saw patients, the rest processed bulk medications into individual dosages since new customs regulations stated all medical supplies must be brought into the country in their original containers. After a brief visit to an orphanage, they loaded up for a four-hour plus bus ride to their final destination of Los Amates in the northeast section of the country.

With the help of local pastors and translators, the team set up clinic locations at five different sites and served between 250 and 350 people daily. The group rose to the extra, and new, challenge of setting up their equipment and supplies in a different location every day. One day, they were in an open sided church and the next an enclosed building, creating warmer conditions with less of a breeze to make the hot and humid weather tolerable.

Dental Guatemala November 2012

Normally, extractions are the focus of the dental clinic and the team did plenty of those! However, for the first time, they also had a dental hygienist cleaning teeth with the help of a medical student, although both helped the dentist pull teeth when needed. One particular dental challenge in the region was the community’s habit of drinking coffee sweetened with lots of sugar, including giving it to young babies in their bottles.

The optical area encountered many bright smiles after handing out new glasses. There is nothing quite like helping those that could not see to read before. One highlight was seeing developmentally disabled twin girls transition from shy and insecure to grinning and pleased in their new glasses.

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The medical portion of the team was blessed with a variety of specialties – a nurse practitioner, physician assistant, ER doctor, internist, and pediatrician – who were able to bounce treatment ideas off each other. One special moment was when a brave 12-year-old girl with an infected tear duct sat very, very still as a needle was used to allow the infection to drain, providing relief after two years of itching and scratchiness. At times, the medical team was busy with families of five or more. The patients were grateful, even if the best the team could do was relieve suffering and not cure the underlying issues.

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In one case, a woman’s daughter had problems the team wasn’t able to treat. After giving advice to the mother about ways to make her daughter’s life better, they prayed for the girl. The treating doctor realized that perhaps it would be better to start with prayer rather than to offer it as a “well, at least we can pray for her” last resort. Later in the day, the woman returned with her husband and entire family and requested to see that same doctor. In a short amount of time and through the power of prayer, trust had been built.

Some needs seen were not medical in nature. The team had the opportunity to pray for a woman whose chief complaint was anxiety that began after she found out neighbors were gossiping about her. In cases like hers, the compassion of Jesus shown through caring hearts soothes more than any medical supplies or expertise brought into the country.

Medical Team Headed to Guatemala

On November 1, 2012, a 30-member team led by Linda and Bob Vomaske will be traveling to Guatemala to provide medical, dental, and optical services to numerous communities over a ten-day period. Team members include three doctors, one dentist, four nurses, two nurse practitioners, and one pharmacist. Their work will be aided by local pastors and translators.

The group will spend their first day in Guatemala City, providing medical care to the Jesucristo es mi Casa Children’s Home.  They will then travel six hours by bus to Los Amates in the Izabol region in the northeast section of Guatemala. After spending a day providing services in Los Amates, the team will then travel to three different communities each day, requiring a lot of unpacking and packing of supplies. (In previous years, the team has had one location with the community coming to them.)

As if numerous locations weren’t enough of a challenge, changes in Customs regulations dictate that medical supplies must be brought into the country in their original containers. This means that medications cannot be divided into individual rations beforehand and requires extra work for the team once they get to Guatemala.

Please pray for safe travels for team members and their supplies.

Pray for the logistics as they move supplies to the different areas and ration medications.

Pray for open doors to reach those in need.

Pray that the team would lean on the Lord for strength and that they would be sustained through Him.

Pray for their emotional strength as they serve the people of Guatemala.