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On Friday morning, the surgeons, pharmacist, as well as Guatemalans Fito and Lidia head to the hospital early to evaluate the remaining post operative patients. Despite the early hour, the patients and Guatemalan nurses greet us with smiles and blessings from God as we wish each other speedy recoveries and safe journeys and I wonder if our paths will ever cross again. After devotional and breakfast, we board the bus for our long journey to Antigua via the mountainous route.

As I return home to my family, friends and surgical practice, I find myself already committed to return again to Guatemala and Faith in Practice. Why do I keep coming back? The easy answer is the people – the Guatemalan patients that are so in need of – and grateful for – medical care; the local FIP staff who work with such dedication in their communities; the other US volunteers who donate their time, talents and money to people in need.
The news is full of stories of evil, misery and division, but every year I return from Guatemala with renewed hope in humanity. I return reminded of our kinship beyond age, gender, nationality, language, religion, politics or other “labels.” I am proud to be part of an active effort to make a difference in the world and spread the message of love and kindness for each other. For anyone who wants to volunteer—I encourage you to sign up! The mission doesn’t start on day 1 and end on day 6, it continues all year and there are many other teams (both local and rotating) that also need support. For those that want to help but don’t have the ability to participate on a trip, consider donating or sharing the mission and stories with your friends, family, church, patients, business associates and anyone else who may be interested in supporting this wonderful work!

-Kim V.


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