Day 2 of Surgical Week:
“Little things in the hand of God grow up to be big things,” Sammy wisely said to me this morning. I find Sammy to be so good at connecting the dots for me. “Sometimes, little things look like just little things,” he continued, “but we forget that God has a purpose in the little things.”
In other words, even if we’re not a medical professional, our presence, our talents are highly purposeful, no matter how great or small they may appear. In the hands of a very purposeful God, all things are multiplied, all people are fed, and God is glorified.
For me that looked like coloring pictures on the waiting room floor with way too many kids at once then giving that picture to a child who is afraid of getting his teeth cleaned only to find that this same child also lost his father tragically just a few months prior.
A little comfort and a little love can go a long way.
Sammy is a vital part of a superhero-boots-on-the-ground team of local Guatemalan men and women who regularly serve the under-served in many different village communities. They share the transformative power of our Savior with all they come in contact with, provide formula to malnourished babies, help the sick, and they advocate for “the least of these,” who in this cultural context are the children born with clef lip and pallet deformities. Some families travel far and wide to the STJI clinic for surgery out of love for the child. Other times, families who have children with these deformities are the ones who need to be sought after. This fantastic group of seekers is called AVIS.
The AVIS team also takes the STJI team’s English, turns it into Spanish, and when needed, turns that into various Mayan languages so that patients, families, and doctors can all be on the same page.
With the second full day of surgery complete, everyone is pouring out every ounce of skill and energy they have. Our days and nights are long, the team from AVIS stays with STJI around the clock helping gather supplies, comforting emotionally drained parents, coordinating meals, rides, the list goes on. Everyone’s willingness to step in and joyfully serve in any way possible particularly touched R.N. Nadji and Central Bucks college student Ashlynn. It’s amazing to watch Nadji and R.N. Julia wake the children up after surgery, get their stats up, lungs strong, heart steady, and place them in the arms of their parents. New hope and new life literally await each child, a perfect picture of a transformed life in Christ.
Julia loved watching an inconsolable infant be relaxed and soothed by none other than dad himself. Seeing a father “step up” showed her that the child will truly be well cared for. Traveling nurses Elissa and Mallory help oversee the post-operative room. Sometimes the conditions the nurses in this hospital work in and the equipment they work with test the skill. Mallory and Elissa noted that getting to use their skills by successfully starting IVs made them feel like part of the team, and being able to relationally engage with the school-aged children was important to them.
Marylyn and her son Andre helped bridge relational gaps from language barriers. “The people feel safe with us,” Marylyn noted because all of the doctors take time to explain their health, treatment, purpose of medicines, etc., which is unfortunately an atypical experience for a lot of Guatemalan people.
Other team members checked on water filters installed in schools from previous years. All of the children from an incredible local children’s home for neglected and abused children came to have their teeth cleaned as well. The faith of the family who started this home touched the hearts of Lucy and Andy and many on our team.
Please pray for continued unity in all of the ongoing relationships that STJI has with AVIS, Casa Gloria, the hospital, etc. Pray for complete healing of all the tissues from surgery. Pray for those we will be visiting deep in the villages on Thursday. And please pray that many would be saved! Thank you for Sharing in this Journey with us!