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To prepare for today’s devotions, Nan Peters asked team members for one thing they wish to impart to the rest of the team.

Dr. Schweers – God doesn’t give us burdens that we can’t bear; instead, he gives us strength.   We have to accept that strength and not be afraid to ask for help.   The Serenity Prayer expresses this perfectly: “God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.”

Therese – I hope everyone can discover the difference between happiness and joy.  Americans may be wealthy in a financial sense, but Guatemalans are wealthy in peace and joy.  My wish is that everyone can stop to experience that peace and joy and be in the moment.

Patty – I remember the obstacles that prevented me from coming the first time and how those were overcome.   Stop and think about what obstacles are holding you back; you may find they are not obstacles at all.

Peter – I encourage everyone to find your purpose and to understand the satisfaction that comes from fulfilling that purpose, even though you may never get accolades.

We all found a gift of granola in our rooms that have this quote on the bag, “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.”

JOY by Henri Nouwen

“Joy does not come from positive predictions about the state of the world.  It does not depend on the ups and downs of the circumstances of our lives.  The surprise is not that, unexpectedly, things turn out better than expected.  No, the real surprise is that God’s light is more real than all the darkness, that God’s truth is more powerful than all human lies, that God’s love is stronger than death.”

We had another busy surgical day, completing 17 surgeries.   The most challenging surgery was performed on the left hand of a beautiful 13-month-old girl named Sophia.   Sophia is from Costa Rica and has Treacher Collins syndrome, a genetic disorder characterized by deformities of the ears, eyes, cheekbones, and chin.   She has endured nine prior surgeries.  The procedure performed was a pollicization, which is a hand surgery technique in which a thumb is created from an existing finger.   This consists of surgically migrating the index finger to the position of the thumb.   Drs. Apel and Peters were very happy with the outcome of the operation and the dexterity this will give Sophia.

What resonated with me was the preparation that the doctors put into this procedure. The night before the procedure, while everyone was eating dinner and visiting after a long day, they stayed focused on planning the best course of action for this tiny patient.

I observe this same care and attention to patients with all the medical team. They treat each patient as if they are their own family, provide the best care possible, and want each one to leave with a better future ahead of them.

After the long day, we enjoyed a team dinner prepared by Vilma, our in-country assistant to the cooks. Each year Vilma cooks a traditional Guatemalan dinner for us. This year we feasted on carne mechada (stuffed beef tenderloin), delicious vegetables, Guatemalan rice, followed by flan.

Vilma has a fascinating story.  She was born with a clubfoot condition. At age 12, a medical team from Michigan met her. They arranged for her to travel to Michigan for surgery, and she stayed there for 3 years with a host family.   During this time, she learned fluent English. She is now married with two handsome young boys, and the four of them travel every year to Michigan to visit her American family.   She is a huge help to our cooks, taking them shopping and helping with meal preparation.


Benton, Susan, MD – Susan is providing anesthesia for the first time with our team.   She works back in Texas as an anesthesiologist for Baylor Scott & White hospitals.

Lara Bonasera, MD – Dr. Bonasera is joining us for the 3rd time from Chicago, IL, where she is the Director of Pediatric Anesthesia at the Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center.  We also congratulate her for her recently promotion to Vice Chairman of Clinical Affairs for the Department of Anesthesiology.

James Heaberlin, MD – Another physician on his first Faith In Practice trip, Dr. Heaberlin is assisting the orthopedic team with anesthesia for both pediatric and adult patients.   He has been on other mission trips to Guatemala, but this is the first time as an anesthesiologist.  He has privileges at Baylor Scott & White Frisco and Presbyterian Hospital of Plano.

John Schweers, MD – Dr. Schweers’ tenure of providing anesthesia to Faith In Practice patients spans 13 years.  He works at Baylor Scott & White hospitals in the DFW area.


Deborah Burns, NP – Debbie is a family nurse practitioner who has been serving with Faith In Practice teams for 15 years, including serving for 2 years as our Mission Coordinator.


Ingrid Carter, RN – Originally from South Africa, Ingrid emigrated to the United States in her 20s.  She is assisting as a circulator with orthopedic surgeries.   This is her first Faith In Practice trip.  She is currently on a three-month assignment at John Peter Smith Hospital in Fort Worth, assisting with trauma surgeries.

Stephanie Fassett, RN – Stephanie joins our team for her 3rd mission trip.   Back in Texas, she is a Nurse Educator for labor and delivery and women’s health for Plano/Frisco/McKinney.

Felecia Green, NM – Felecia is a Nurse Manager at Presbyterian Hospital Dallas and works in the high-risk obstetrics unit.  She is on her 2nd mission trip.

Gail Morgan, RN – Gail is on her first trip with Faith In Practice and first mission trip.  She is a labor & delivery nurse at Medical Center of Plano.   She has been caring for patients in the PACU.

Brittany Rosenbaum, RN – Brittany is serving on our team in the roles of circulator, scrub and in PACU.   She works at Medical City Plano in labor & delivery.   Her husband is home taking care of her 2- and 5-year-old daughters, giving her the opportunity to accompany us on this trip for the first time.

Carrie Thompson, RN – Another first-timer with our team, Carrie is assisting with orthopedic surgeries as a circulator.   She works as an RN at Baylor Scott & White Frisco.

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