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This morning I ventured outside of the hospital. It’s not a huge space and is surrounded by a stone wall with razor wire along the top. I’m dying to know what life is like outside of those walls. A new round of patients have arrived to prep for next week’s Faith In Practice team and were lined up outside behind the hospital. My Spanish is extremely limited but yet another example of the patience our Guatemalan friends show us, no one laughs when you try.

I’m sure I’m not the only one who feels the impact of being here. It’s only my third mission trip, and my first time to Retalhuleu, but I imagine even the veterans feel a calling to be here. I wanted to hear from two of our members who are with us on their first medical mission trip. These young women are so cool and calm.

Kristin Baker is a prospective medical student at the University of Buffalo getting her MBA ’22 with a concentration in Healthcare Management and Consulting. She was invaluable in the Operating Room and doubled as a translator and eventually Circulator, helping the scrub nurses. “When I was a little girl I was gifted the most beautiful woven bag. Hand crafted with a variety of pinks, yellow, oranges and reds, I carried the bag everywhere because it was a gift my parents purchased for me when they served on a medical mission trip in Guatemala. I still have that bag. Fast forward 18 years and I am on my first medical mission trip to Guatemala. As a prospective medical student a medical mission trip is without a doubt medicine in its purest form. Watching the steadfast doctors operate and seeing patients trust in the surgeons wholeheartedly is astounding. Despite language barriers, there is an air of certainty around the medical providers and patients. This is a medical missions trip.”

Ashley Wyrick is a graduate from Texas Tech in Kinesiology. She is about to start Physical Therapy school in May at TT. She is here as a Patient Advocate and is also working with the Post Op nurses. “What surprised me or what I learned is just how much we take for granted, the care we have access to. The Guatemalans are so grateful for the care and time we give them to be heard and that is just another reason why I came; to step back from my life, to humble myself and to put forth my time and purpose to others that really need it. It has been an eye opener but I love it and I will definitely return.”

Following the surgeons on their morning rounds it was sweet to see the way the patients looked at them. You could feel their gratitude.

Martha, 30, lives in a town three hours away. She developed a disfiguring keloid scar on her ear when she had her ears pierced. Dr. King removed the scar and although this was a simple procedure that normally would have been outpatient, Faith In Practice arranged for her to stay the night. She was anxious her husband would have to travel home in the dark and part of their journey is unsafe. Her shoulders dropped and she relaxed. It’s a blessing to be able to provide a peaceful outcome for our guests.

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