We had an amazing land dedication service on the land God has given us for our future clinic build! It was a sweet time of worship and prayer and consecrating this project and our plans to the Lord. Then we celebrated with a fun day in Antigua!
Post from Austin: In the Shadow of the Mountains
Cars, Tuk Tuks, psychedelic buses, mopeds, and motorcycles transport the excited masses throughout the tourist city. One-way sidewalks, lined with glitzy restaurants, attract the weekend crowds from all over the world who have flown, driven, and walked hundreds of miles for one purpose: Antigua. In this vast sea of humanity, we are but a spot. A bright spot, but a spot, nonetheless. We were in this city, tasting its foods, walking its streets, touring its sites, and enjoying its scenery, following the dedication of a plot of land that will become a holy place of love and medical care for thousands. But contrasted against the mountains, the team appeared small, the plot seemed insignificant, and hope for the future, useless. How can a small clinic on a narrow street in the corner of Santo Tomas, heal the mountains of spiritual and physical illness that surround the Guatemalan people like the Fuego, Agua, and Acatenango? What can prayer and worship accomplish, on a little plot of land, in the shadow of the mountains? In 2 Chronicles 7:13-14 (New American Standard Bible) God says, “If I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or if I command the locusts to devour the land, or if I send pestilence among My people, and My people who are called by My name humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin and heal their land.” There we were, at the dedication, together in prayer and worship, taking our stand for God against the mountains. One by one, designated members arose, prayed, and praised God for His wonderful gift to his servants. During the dedication, Corey also preached in the spirit of 2 Chronicles 7:13-14, about the need for holiness, that the future clinic would be a place set apart for the glory of God. But a clinic cannot be holy unless its people are. Thus, his message was not for the cinder blocks and cement that would comprise the future clinic, but to us who would operate it. We must be the holy ones, the set apart ones, the light in the shadow of the mountains, that the Guatemalans may say of this future clinic, “The people who were sitting in darkness saw a great light, and those who were sitting in the land and shadow of death, upon them a light dawned” (Matthew 4:16 NASB). May our prayers, praise, and preaching give us the strength to summit the mountains in our own lives, so we can in turn, help the Guatemalan people reach the summit of theirs.
Post from Andre:
Every trip seems to have a theme. This summer it is: Same but different. For this trip I was worried because it was a new location for the Jornada or Outreach (aka clinic). Most of the medicine on this trip is not the most scintillating – adjusting medications for diabetes or hypertension, anti-inflammatories for back pain and headaches, and giving out vitiminas. The relationships make this trip exciting and are reason I come back every year. I was worried that we wouldn’t get to see many of the same patients with whom relationships had been formed over the last 6 years. And while we haven’t been able to see as many of the children from our original location in Membrillal there have been many others who have made it. I was able to see the original Principal of the school in Membrillal, Rudy of Iglesia Galilea, Albita is still the heart of the dental jornada, Juan Carlos and his wife Rebecca have once again been a huge blessing (with prayers for patients and now delicious lunches).
This trip has also one of new beginnings. Instead of church on the day of rest we went to visit and dedicate the site of the new Medical and Dental Clinics. It was a small but special service. Our hosts in the Casa de Fuego Craig and Carol have been wonderful. As I write this on the roof top patio I am distracted by the eruption of Fuego (the volcano that is still active) and appreciate where the name came from. I have been assisted by new translators Adrianna and Sofia who have been wonderful. Sofia is a Guatemalan physician who hasn’t been practicing in nearly a decade. Her excitement to be practicing again has given me a burst of much needed energy.
I also have to give thanks for our team. The dynamics of the team this year have made it one of my favorite. From new friends to old favorites (to be clear when referring to my wife the word old does not apply). I have a tough time putting it into words, but if you come you too will know what I mean. May God bless you all as he has done us.