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Today is our triage day. This is the day our surgeons meet the patients, assess their conditions, and set up the surgery schedule.

We started the morning with breakfast, followed by devotions led by Pastor Dave. There is no better preparation for the day than worshiping God and praying for His guidance.

Pastor Dave asked us to reflect on why we each felt we were here. Maybe we were returning after prior trips. Perhaps a colleague or friend invited us and we said yes. We are all united in one cause: the ministry of Faith in Practice. It is exciting to envision the significant plan God has in store!

In Luke 4:14, we learn how Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit after 40 days of temptation.  Jesus came to earth in human form, the son of a poor carpenter, but with the power of the Spirit. In interacting with the people of Guatemala, we meet the wealthiest people on earth. They are not rich in a financial sense, but rich in humility, gratitude, and love for God and their fellow man.  That same power of the Spirit is at work today.

The Gill Team is celebrating 20 years!! In 2001, Dr. Gill was approached by Faith in Practice.   Together with Dr. Daryl Greebon, Dr. Ted Peters, Debbie Burns and Larry Stephens, the first Gill surgical team was created.   Now we celebrate 20 years of life-changing experiences for both patients … and team members.

We walked to the Obras Hospital where we have been performing surgeries for many years.   The operating rooms have been recently remodeled, modernized, and expanded. We met a team of plastic surgeons from Newfoundland who will be treating cleft palate patients this week at the same hospital.

After a hospital tour, we separated into groups. The surgeons and anesthesia staff went to the interview rooms to meet the patients and assess them for surgery. Our nurses and scrub techs unpacked supplies and prepared the ORs. Pastor Dave, interpreter Sandy Litschi (from Texas) and I met with the patients and had fun handing out toys and crayons to the pediatric patients.

Most of the patients we met have been waiting two years or more for a procedure.  Elective surgeries in Guatemala were postponed as hospitals coped with the influx of COVID patients.   While each person comes filled with hope, occasionally we cannot provide the needed treatment or it must be postponed. One of our patients, Hugo, has a disabled shoulder. Unfortunately, he is not a candidate for surgery at this time, but he was given a steroid injection to help with his pain. For others, their surgeries have been scheduled, and we hope their prayers will be answered.

We look forward to seeing God at work in ways we never expected!

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