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After singing this morning about the goodness of God and His faithfulness, Pastor Dave read to us from the book of Mark 3:14. “Jesus went up on a mountainside and called to him those he wanted, and they came to him. 14 He appointed twelve[a] that they might be with him and that he might send them out to preach 15 and to have authority to drive out demons.” Jesus assigned names to his 12 Apostles, such as changing Simon’s name to Peter. In the same way, our Father in Heaven calls every child by name.  Have you heard him call your name?

Pastor Dave, Sandy and I had the pleasure to talk to Estela Velasquez, a Faith In Practice volunteer. She accompanied a young patient Liliana and her father from their village. To get to their village requires driving 4 hours to Momostenango, 2 more hours to a town at the foot of a mountain, and then an hour hike up on foot.

In 2007, she met Joe and Vera Wyatt, the founders of Faith In Practice, at a health care center where she and her husband provided food for midwives. The Wyatts asked them to volunteer for Faith in Practice. 15 years later, they continue to escort foreign doctors and medical personnel to remote villages and then patients to Antigua for surgery. She remains with the patients through their recovery and then accompanies them back.

She explained that people in remote villages who have never traveled or been to a hospital are often apprehensive to go to a strange place for surgery or to allow their children to go.   However, when they see others in their community return with positive results, they are much more amenable to receiving treatment.

Drs. Apel and Vohra had a busy and challenging day. They performed a simple procedure to release a stuck thumb on patient Myra, no anesthesia required. Then they moved on to more complex cases. Epifanio has injured himself in a saw accident 1 ½ years ago.  He was left with a painful nerve injury that affected his ability to work. A procedure was performed to free up the nerves, remove scar tissue, and restore sensation.

Two-year-old Liliana was born with syndactyly, a condition where three fingers were fused together. The doctors were able to successfully separate all the fingers.

Silvia, a 62-year-old patient with nerve compression in her elbow, has now regained function in her hand.

They also followed up with Eddie, a favorite patient from 2020 who had syndactyly (webbing) of his fingers.

Dr. Stehly performed shoulder repairs for Ana Maria (33) and Selvin (34).   Injuries to patients’ extremities are devastating because it prevents them from earning money and supporting their families.

MEET OUR TEAM

Over the next few days, I will be introducing all our team personnel.

MISSION COORDINATORS

Jim Gill, MD – 20 years ago, Dr. Gill answered God’s call to start a Faith in Practice team in Guatemala.   Now a retired anesthesiologist, he continues to serve as our Mission Coordinator aka “El Presidente.” Everything runs smoothly with Dr. Gill at the helm.

David Freeman, CRNA, DNP – Col. (Ret) Freeman is another veteran with the Guatemalan team and has provided anesthesia care to Faith in Practice patients for 13 years.  He has partnered with Dr. Gill to serve as a Mission Coordinator.   He provides anesthesia care at home for Baylor Scott & White hospitals.

John Schweers, MD – After providing anesthesia services to Faith in Practice patients for the past 13 years, Dr. Schweers recently retired.   He has returned with our team to assist with Mission coordination.

SURGEONS

Peter Apel, MD – Dr. Apel joins us for the 2nd time from Roanoke, VA, where he is an orthopedic surgeon at Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine.  He specializes in pediatric and adult hand surgical repairs.

Stehly, Eric, MD – Dr. Stehly is an orthopedic surgeon with North Texas Orthopedics in Grapevine, Texas.   His specialty is shoulder surgery.  He stepped up to help the team in 2020, and now returns for his 2nd trip with Faith in Practice.

ANESTHESIA

William “Rocky” Adcock, MD – Dr. Adcock’s anesthesia career spans 18 years.  This is his first mission trip, and already he has found it very rewarding.   He welcomes the opportunity to use his skills to help those truly in need and is humbled by the gratitude of the Guatemalan people.

James Heaberlin, MD – Another physician on his 2nd Faith in Practice trip, Dr. Heaberlin is assisting the orthopedic team with anesthesia for both pediatric and adult patients.   Prior to Faith in Practice, he served on other mission trips to Mexico and Guatemala assisting in medical clinics.  He finds the surgical cases fulfilling as he can utilize his skills.  He has privileges at Baylor Scott & White Frisco and Presbyterian Hospital of Plano.

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