Stories - Guatemala June 2017 #6


Guatemala June 2017 #6

Joel Eaby | Jun 22, 2017

Today I was scheduled along with my daughter Elisabeth to go with the team to set up a mobile medical clinic in a village about an hour away. As we were getting ready to leave it was announced that we needed to take one more vehicle and that a driver, any driver, was needed. I wasn’t sure I was allowed to drive in Guatemala with a US license, but I was assured that it would be ok. I love to drive, so I quickly volunteered. The vehicle I would have to drive was a 1985 Toyota Land Cruiser with a 4 speed stick shift. This older vehicle was like driving a bus, and with the Guatemalan traffic, I knew this would be a fun challenge. Driving in Guatemala means dodging people, dogs, massive potholes, and cars pretty much all at the same time. Plus, there was a a very good chance of a rain which happened on the way home. I had one other team member from the US, Clint, and 3 interpreters who would be riding along.

On these trips to Guatemala we always have the help of many wonderful translators, most of which are young women, some as young as 14. They are lovely young ladies, with sweet spirits, that the Lord provides, and we would be completely lost without their help. Well just like any young women, as soon as we started moving they plugged their phone into the radio, cranked the tunes, and started singing at the top of their lungs! This just added to fun of driving this cool old truck on this trip. It was quite the cultural experience!

When we arrived at the village it was apparent that this was an area where the people did not have a lot and were in need of care. There were about 20-25 people waiting outside of a church which was basically just one room. As with a lot of rural places in Guatemala it was poorly lit, usually just one or two bulbs hanging from the ceiling. Electricity is very expensive in Guatemala. The medical mission has been going out and setting up clinics in Guatemala for 30 years and it was apparent in how efficiently they set up and were ready to see patients in a matter of minutes.

The patients first see the physician, who following the consultation will give them a prescription for some medicine or at the very minimum some vitamins. While the patient waits for their prescription to be filled by the mobile pharmacy, they are invited to sit in a sharing station with an interpreter and one of the team members. We sit very close in this small room and pray with the patient for any need they want to share with us and we also look for opportunities to share Christ with them if they are not a believer. Many of the people have family or health trials going on in their lives and are very thankful to have someone praying for them.

I let the physician know that I was a physical therapist and that I would be happy to help if he had any patients with musculoskeletal symptoms. I was thrilled to be able to help evaluate and treat two patients. Both patients had symptoms very similar to the patients I see in the US, except the cause was different. Most of the time I am helping people who have low back and shoulder pain from sitting and working at their computers too long. The cause of the symptoms for these patients was very different. One had low back pain from being bent over too much using a machete. The other had shoulder pain from washing clothes on a wash board. Both patients left with clear instructions on how to get better and most of all hopefully felt loved.

My daughter Elisabeth played with the children while their parents received medical care. God worked in amazing ways with many team members able to have meaningful prayer and connection with the patients. The Medical Mission Ministries is truly being used by God in this place!