Two nights ago a group of us played UNO after dinner. Our translators joined in, and there was raucous laughter around the table. Over the lake floated a salsa tune from some lakeside restaurant or home. The city gradually quieted as the sun sets, until the peace of the night covered all.

Last night dogs howled and fought later in the evening, waking some. It is part of  life here; part of the environment. Just like the poverty. The vast majority of the residents are very well groomed here; only occasionally do we see someone actually dirty and dusty. This is in spite of many of them working in the fields-men, women and children. This is in spite of having what we would consider primitive bathing options.

We were back up the mountain yesterday, and it was our busiest day yet. A boy came in who had toppled a pan of hot oil on himself from off the table. It looked like he had been crying when he came in, but he did not utter a peep as we cleaned the wound and dressed it. His family had put toothpaste on it as a first aid measure. They didn’t have anything else. A continuing parade of complaints of headaches, backaches, diabetes uncontrolled, and children not growing as they should passed by us. By the end we were exhausted. Our team packed the pharmacy bags back up and loaded the tables on top of the car for the ride home.

What will happen to those folks with chronic diseases, like diabetes or high blood pressure to whom we gave thirty days of medications? We asked them to return to a doctor, not knowing where that would be. The government health center for the area had closed in the last six months-how will they be followed up?

Dr Elry wrote referrals for those patients that needed studies done somewhere-a mammogram, ankle xray, whatever, so presumably he will see those patients somehow in followup, although he doesn’t normally go up to that village unless with a mission team. After his brother, Abdiel Orozco – pastor at Castillo Fuerte (Mighty Fortress) Lutheran Church in Guatemala City, contracted COVID and passed away he took on the pastoral responsibilities at his brother’s church and his own mission church in Amatitlan. He has so many responsibilities pastoring two congregations and running his own two clinics in Amatitlan and Guatemala City.

The donations in the plate at church do not cover the expenses of the churches, so he supports them with his own funds. This is not sustainable. He is on his own on so many levels - UNO in Guatemala, and MOST is trying to provide assistance through its’ networks in the international community.

As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God's varied grace. 1 Peter 4:10