Message from the CEO

Message from the CEO


April 9, 2021


Teams Return


We currently have twenty-one teams scheduled to return to Guatemala in 2021 starting May 1st!! Pre-screening clinics for the first surgical teams (orthopedics) have been completed. Medical clinic site visits are done. Containers have arrived or are en route. Medical clinic medications have been procured, added to medications already in inventory, and the trunks have been packed awaiting the teams’ arrivals.


Staff have done nothing short of a miraculous job in preparing for teams to return to Guatemala, anticipating every detail and establishing contingency plans for when, not if, something changes/does not go according to plan. Their planning has been thoughtful and thorough. These plans include anticipating how we might expand and adapt in the months ahead, even as we follow steady the course established to ensure a safe and successful return to Guatemala. It is a delicate balance, and the staff is doing a beautiful job as they continue to lead and adapt with changing times.


We are so very grateful to our U.S. volunteer team leaders who are stepping out in faith to lead in uncharted waters, especially in these first few weeks. Leaders are working closely with staff and are being extremely flexible as we push to do as much as possible even as we exercise caution to ensure safety and long-term success. Managing expectations remains key. In like fashion, our Guatemalan volunteer leaders are reinventing every aspect of a medical clinic and screening of patients, their already arduous work is doubling. They too are enthusiastically stepping out in faith, trusting the results to God.


The Celebration


We have named our U.S. volunteer return to Guatemala Welcome Home: Encouraged by Each Other’s Faith. The title is based upon Romans  1:11, “I long to see you so that…you and I may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith.” We are all longing to see each other so that we might, yet again, be encouraged by each other’s faith—a truth that somehow seems to uniquely occur in Guatemala.  Please see our webpage dedicated to our return at


At the same time even though we have not been together, God has been present, keeping our community close, encouraging us in our faith. I was recently reminded of this. On March 4, Lesly Rivera was working beside Felipe Gutierrez and Tagni Moncada as they evaluated the medical clinic site in El Progreso, preparing for the upcoming medical clinic that would take place in their community in the next few months. The same day, Georgina, Lesly’s sister, also a volunteer, was arriving in Antigua with trauma patients from her community to be seen at the trauma triage clinic for the Woolf/Parsley team. As these sisters faithfully served their patients and all our U.S. volunteers for whom they were preparing to welcome home, their father was dying. And they knew it. He died on March 6.


As I received the news, I was again humbled by the dedication of our Guatemalan volunteers. Their faith, their trust, and their compassionate strength. I was reminded of how many times across the years our Guatemalan leaders have suffered personal loss in the midst of a clinic or a surgical jornada and still, they served. They bore the pain and continued on, without denying that pain, but allowed it to mingle in with the salve they found in serving others, finding solace there. Their commitment and faith have repeatedly encouraged me, and I know they have encouraged you too. I hear it from all of you who volunteer, how the people of Guatemala reach into your hearts, encouraging you, sustaining you.


But, I also know as much as they encourage all of us, witness to all of us with this compassionate strength, that Faith In Practice and all of you are a source of encouragement and strength for them too.  Your commitment to leave your homes to meet them in Guatemala. I know this mission and you give them a unique way in which to serve and grow closer to their God in a very meaningful way. They trusted from the beginning of the pandemic that we would not abandon them, and that trust has sustained them. And now, as they continue to work and serve, I know that their belief and hope in this mission, God’s own, is encouraging them, even though we have not been able to be with them physically for more than a year now, even as the waiting time is coming to a close.


The Pandemic and Vaccine Availability in Guatemala.


Notwithstanding our excitement to return volunteer teams to Guatemala and the growing excitement here in the U.S. with the increasing availability of vaccines, the pandemic remains a significant challenge in Guatemala.


COVID-19. Over these first months of 2021, Guatemala has continued to reopen. The ‘stoplight’ system which determines varying levels of restrictions remains in place. Currently, Antigua is in the ‘red’ zone, for example. The assignment of these stoplight colors is based upon overall COVID-19 positivity rates, but these statistics are incomplete and unreliable. Therefore, we are exercising extreme caution regardless of published rates per department with respect to staff and volunteers. Reported deaths, however, remain low. 


Vaccines. Vaccines are just now becoming available in Guatemala, but not in large quantities. Currently, only frontline healthcare workers who are treating COVID-19 patients are being vaccinated. As such, we will not see widespread distribution any time soon and it is unknown when we might reasonably expect such distribution to occur. Also, due to regulatory restrictions, we cannot import vaccines for our Guatemalan staff and partner staff from the United States, even if it were possible to procure it.


All of our protocols are established not only on Ministry of Health regulations but are deeply rooted in the fact that while all our U.S. volunteers will be vaccinated (our requirement to serve in 2021) the patients, Guatemalan volunteers, staff, and the vast majority of hospital staff will not be vaccinated. Protecting our brothers and sisters is paramount.


Ongoing Mission Activities Independent of U.S. Volunteer Teams.


Mission activities that we expanded during the pandemic are ongoing, some of which are highlighted below.


  • Mobility Clinics. Currently, we are conducting clinics (generally one week in duration including travel) twice monthly. These clinics are not only providing much needed care but are also serving to solidify local partnerships and assisting us in assessing potential additional program growth in keeping with our long-term view to deepen and widen our network of care.


  • Telemedicine Clinics. We are holding these clinics on a monthly basis, increasing over time the number of involved U.S. practitioners. Again, this new program has not only served while teams have been unable to travel to Guatemala, but they are also the basis upon which we hope to further expand and deepen program into the future.


  • Cervical Cancer Refresher Courses and Trainings. We are conducting ‘refresher’ courses with partner clinics and doing initial trainings with others.


These program developments are continuing as we continue to ramp up volunteer teams’ return to Guatemala. In addition, we will continue efforts to plan for longer-range program expansion related to expanding our network of care. We remain focused on our overall long-range vision, determined before the pandemic, to build local clinic relationships to expand our network and leverage resources to serve more. The pandemic has allowed us to further that vision in a strategic and targeted way.  


Partner Hospitals


Hilario Galindo Hospital. The solar panels are installed at Hilario Galindo as is Central Suction in the operating room suites. Our staff has shared the COVID-19 prevention protocols that we developed and implemented at the Casa de Fe with Hilario Galindo as they prepare to reopen the Casa de Milagros patient guest house. As the time nears for teams to return, the excitement and energy is building at Hilario Galindo.


Obras Sociales del Santo Hermano Pedro. Guatemalan staff continue to work with the Obras at all levels ranging from board strategy sessions to assisting in setting COVID-19 protocol and process to shadowing Guatemalan surgeons to anticipate and rectify possible glitches before teams arrive. Like Hilario Galindo, the Obras is anxious to have you all return.



The pandemic has afforded us the opportunity to review all aspects of our systems to further streamline operations through integration and to improve the volunteer and donor experience. Among these projects, we have replaced our email software and are in the process of developing a new website, which will include a new and simplified photo/blogger process. The new website is expected to go live in August 2021. We will then turn toward redesigning our Volunteer Portal among additional internal-facing projects.



These days of Eastertide are filled with awe and with gratitude. Of course, we are all a little nervous as we anticipate teams returning, knowing there will be challenges to navigate. But the overwhelming feeling is of awe and gratitude. Gratitude for God’s faithfulness. For the faithfulness and commitment of all of our volunteers. For the faithfulness of every one of you who have journeyed with us during the dark days of COVID-19 as we together now enter Eastertide, new beginnings, new life. The promise fulfilled.  


January 27, 2021

Our first team will return to Guatemala—an orthopedic surgical team—on May 1, 2021!  


This is possible, first, because of God’s blessings. And, then because of the dedication and strategic approach of our staff, the commitment and faith of our volunteers, and because of your support.  


For months now, staff has been working diligently to identify and assess each risk, each possibility, each contingency to allow for a safe return of volunteers to Guatemala. This includes assessing projections of needed PPE, anticipating housing challenges, looking into insurance, legal releases, application form modifications, calculations on surgical specialties, assessment of available supplies, and working with partner hospitals to ensure a safe environment for our patients and staff. The process has been thoughtful and thorough, including planning contingencies in such a way as to allow for agile shifts should (and when) circumstances change.  


Based upon this work, we have composed and published FAQs which are being updated as needed, team leaders have chosen dates for 2021, which are now uploaded on the website, and our new Application went ‘live’ in mid-January.    


And, the serving and preparations are in full swing: telemedicine clinics, special case management, mobility clinics, unloading a container of wheelchairs in Guatemala, keeping abreast of regulatory changes in the U.S. and Guatemala, purchasing and procuring and preparing for a container to ship from Houston, and so much more. And it is only the end of January! 


The following are just some of the activities that are upcoming in the next couple of months:   






  • Telemedicine Clinic: Xela Aid, Quetzaltenango 

  • Mobility Clinic: Xela Aid, Quetzaltenango

  • Mobility Clinic: Health Talents, Retalhuleu 

  • Hospital Protocols: Ongoing discussions with partner hospitals due to dynamic situation 

  • Guatemalan Volunteer Leader Deliveries: PPE, Medicines, Food, Heath Education, Prayers 


Return-to-Country Preparations: 


  • Medical Clinic Program Advance Trips: Suchitepéquez, Totonicapán, Retalhuleu, Santa Rosa 

  • Partner Hospital Protocols: Ongoing discussions with partner hospitals due to dynamic situation 

  • Shipment: Container carrying medical and surgical supplies ships 

  • Processing Applications, Building Teams, Revising FAQs 

  • Zoom calls with teams returning in 2021: Topic - Supplies 

  • Roundtable Zoom calls with individual teams preparing to serve in May and June 2021 






  • Telemedicine Clinic: Xela Aid, Quetzaltenango 

  • Mobility Clinic: Xela Aid, Quetzaltenango 

  • Mobility Clinic: Antigua 

  • Guatemalan Volunteer Leader Deliveries: TBD 


Return-to-Country Preparation 


  • Medical Clinic Program Advance Trips:  El Peten, El Progreso 

  • Shipment Receipt: Receiving and unloading February container 

  • Hospital Protocols: Ongoing discussions with partner hospitals due to dynamic situation  

  • Installation of Solar Panels: Hilario Galindo Hospital 

  • Installation of Central Suction: Hilario Galindo Hospital 

  • Shipment: Container carrying supplies, medicines, and medical devices will ship 

  • Processing Applications, Building Teams, Revising FAQs 

  • Zoom calls with 2021 Teams: Topic - COVID-19 Protocols and Return Logistics 

  • Roundtable Zoom calls with individual teams preparing to serve in July and August 2021 


As you can see there is a flurry of activity. The energy and excitement are high as our volunteers prepare to return to their beloved Guatemala. As Guatemala joyously awaits their return. There is so much hope. 


And yet, I must pause and sit in the stillness for a moment. To remember the despair that so many have suffered and continue to suffer these past months, even as we dared to hope. To remember the darkness that, while receding, remains and lingers, even as we turn our faces to this light. So, I sit in the stillness in somber wonder. In awe and in gratitude. 


I invite you to join me in this stillness for a moment and give thanks. To give God thanks for this mission that always has brought hope into our lives, always brought light into our lives. And, to give thanks that it has continued to do so in the most uncertain of days that we have traversed. Just as it is leading us forth into a new future.  


In gratitude and in certain knowledge that this mission brings hope and light into our lives, because this mission has been created and sustained by the One who said, “Abide in my love and you shall bear fruit.” The One who said, “I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.” The One who has blessed us with this gift of Faith In Practice which allows us to abide in him through it, which allows us to feel his joy within it.  


All to God’s honor, glory, and praise.   



December 3, 2020

As you can see in my update in October below, much is happening in Guatemala through this mission. All efforts noted in the October report are continuing and expanding as we continue to push forward to meet the ever-growing need, while committed to doing so safely.


The following is a quick recap of the current situation in Guatemala and what our plans are for the future, including the planned and scheduled return of volunteer teams in 2021. First, however, as is always the case, we give thanks.



This year Faith In Practice’s Christmas theme is A Thrill of Hope. From the beloved carol, O Holy Night, the theme seems particularly appropriate in this year of challenge and fear, this year of possibility and courage:


                          A Thrill of Hope

                 The weary world rejoices,

For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn.


While we all are weary, there is a hum, a thrill of hope, as we give God thanks for God’s faithfulness and your faithfulness. Faithfulness that we have witnessed time and time again over these past months. A hum, a thrill of hope, as we turn to 2021 to meet his new and glorious morn with joy.



Guatemala Update

As you all know, the vast majority of Guatemala’s population lives on the edge, from day to day. Guatemala has been challenged by 2020, as it has challenged the world. Yet, what continues to impress is Guatemala’s resilience, her ability to meet challenge with joy in a way that never ceases to inspire.


  • COVID-19. The virus continues to spread in Guatemala. That said, Guatemala has reopened while implementing recommended precautions that mirror those in the U.S. While there are fewer departments (states) in ‘red’ or with a high number of cases than two months ago, most recently, there was a spike in Antigua’s department requiring the reinstatement of restrictions that had been previously relaxed. As is the case worldwide, the situation is very fluid. With respect to the vaccine, according to Guatemalan newspapers, negotiations for acquiring vaccines are underway and could potentially be available in a limited capacity in Guatemala in late Spring 2021. Of course, even should a vaccine become available, questions remain related to priority and distribution, so timing remains in flux. Even so, this is encouraging news. 


  • Hurricanes. This unprecedented hurricane season has devasted many, and Guatemala is no exception. She was hit by two hurricanes, resulting in mudslides and loss of life and property. She is now digging out with her characteristic indominable spirit. Faith In Practice has been working with local non-profits and fire departments related to donations of medicines and support in affected areas. Also, we are working with other partner non-profits to further support our Guatemalan volunteers living in the affected areas. With this characteristic of resilience and hope, our partner hospitals and Guatemalan volunteers are joyfully preparing for our U.S. volunteer return. 



U.S. Volunteer Team Return to Guatemala

We currently have 20 teams scheduled, with an anticipated three to five more yet to confirm dates certain. The Season will run from May through November 2021. The 2021 teams will be smaller than pre-COVID-19 as we continue to navigate questions of safety for volunteers and patients as well as ensuring compliance with Guatemalan law. 


Staff has done an excellent job in anticipating what would be a reasonable timeframe for a return to Guatemala as well as anticipating and addressing a host of risk management matters. We are taking a conservative approach, knowing that we can always expand should matters develop more favorably. This return-to-country plan also allows for a few ‘advance trips’ of just a few individuals to return earlier than May, should developments allow. For more information about the precautions we are implementing, please refer to our FAQs on the website.


In short, we have established assumptions upon which we are proceeding, including contingency planning, which will allow us, with fluidity, to scale up or down depending upon changing external factors. We continue to work closely with our partner hospitals and Guatemalan volunteers who are all very excited to welcome you all back to Guatemala.



Financial Position and Strategy

God has been faithful. You have been faithful.


Beginning in the early days of the pandemic, we quickly made changes to respond to the crisis, reducing and realigning expenses while maintaining mission continuity. Throughout this time, management and staff have worked diligently and strategically to streamline and conserve where possible, while still developing new and creative ways to continue the mission in the midst of an ever-changing landscape. Paramount was, and is, the commitment to maintain the integrity of the mission, exercising prudence while trusting in the future that we knew God had in store for Faith In Practice.


As we continued to respond to current circumstances, we began planning for the next fiscal year, September 1, 2020 - August 31, 2021. Through this process, we recognized the need to create a forecast model that would allow for ease of expansion/retraction to maximize flexibility and to adapt as circumstances dictated. In addition to conservative spending and revenue projection assumptions, the forecast contemplates an acceptable draw down from reserves without compromising the mission.


While the coming months remain uncertain, we believe our proactive, timely responses to the challenges of 2020, a conservative fiscal year forecast that we are monitoring very closely, and your belief and trust in this mission, leave us well positioned to navigate an uncertain future with confidence.



Because of You

We are currently in this position, poised for a new future, because of your faithfulness. Because of your belief, trust, and love of this mission. You supported the Faith In Practice Birthday Celebration. You supported the Light the Fire Ride. You generously supported Giving Tuesday. It is because of you that we are in the position to be able to plan a well-orchestrated and thoughtful return-to-country and to be listening for, and following, God’s call to further improve and expand programs.   


In this time we are celebrating the Birth of Jesus, the Miracle of the Incarnation, God’s Love made flesh dwelling among us, I am reminded of Meister Eckhart’s words in speaking of the Incarnation:


              “If it takes not place in me, what avails it?

Everything likes in this: that it should take place in me.”


Through you, the Incarnation, God changing and blessing the world. Through you and Faith In Practice that has and ever shall be God’s own.


Thanks be to God and Merry Christmas.


Rev. Linda L. McCarty

President & CEO


October 20, 2020


I must begin this latest update to give thanks to God. Six months ago, things looked quite bleak, I know, for so many of us, but also for the mission. Now, I am amazed at all that God has done and continues to do in the face of adversity, in the face of our own fears. 


This is not a time where we are ‘cobbling together,’ ‘getting by,’ ‘doing what we can under the circumstances.’ 

This is a time of innovation and new programming. This is not a time of mourning what we have lost, although much has been lost. This is a time of restructuring, rebuilding, and imagining all that is possible for a new future. This is just the beginning:


The Mission Continues 

Each week, we are seeking to do more in the short term always with an eye as to how these initiatives might be grown and incorporated with our core programs in the future. In spite of it all, it is an exciting time where we can see light in this darkness and are very grateful to God for it. Some updates are as follows:  


  • General Medicine and Orthopedic Telemedicine Visits. We began telemedicine visits in June as Guatemala started to emerge from complete lockdown. Since that time, we have continued to expand and improve these clinics and have several scheduled through January. Initially, the clinics were 100% remote (one Guatemalan physician and a U.S. physician, organized and facilitated by Guatemalan staff) and addressed some of our Guatemalan volunteer health needs. Following these consults, we delivered medicines and did follow-up. As Guatemala opened, we expanded these clinics to include in-person consultations (Dra. Patty Baiza and partner clinic personnel) and remote U.S. physicians to provide medical consults via Zoom. We continue to work with our Guatemalan volunteers and clinic partnerships to hold these clinics, which include a pharmacy, review of x-ray, etc. In September, we added specialty (orthopedic hip and knee implant follow-up and future triage) telemedicine. 


Each month we are expanding these clinics and are adding additional U.S. practitioners, specialties, and locations. Currently, we have clinics scheduled through December. Each clinic has full PPE and plexiglass barriers and shields. Patient numbers are limited, of course, due to Ministry of Health regulations and the need to limit gatherings of patients for safety reasons. But we are expanding as quickly and as safely as possible.


  • Mobility Clinics. Begun in June, our Mobility Clinics are ongoing. Currently, we are holding weekly clinics at the Casa de Fe patient guesthouse in Antigua and have scheduled several clinics throughout the country working with local partners. Currently, we have clinics scheduled through April 2021 and have ordered three additional containers of wheelchairs to support this program.


  • Care Packages to Guatemalan Volunteer Leaders and Their Communities. Since June, we have been distributing packages of food and vitamins to our volunteers. Also included have been rapid growing seeds, stress management kits, first aid supplies, PPE, hand sanitizer, etc.  We are also including general health education brochures on a different topic per month. As Guatemala has opened, our Guatemalan volunteers have been distributing these gifts beyond their immediate families to those most in need in their communities.


In December, we will be ‘morphing’ these packages into more of a “Leadership Development/

Community Service” kit to give more tools to our volunteers, as we move toward expanding this volunteer program, linking them more closely with local ministry of health services into the future and preparing for the return of our volunteer teams in May.


  • Special Case Management and Cancer Patient Accompaniment. Dra. Patty Baiza and staff continue to manage and accompany patients who require follow-up as well as cancer patients. As Guatemala has opened, Dra. Baiza has been able to more freely continue this important work. We continue to shepherd and provide for our amputee patients to provide them with a new limb.


  • Symposia. We recently launched a professional development exchange via Zoom with Hilario Galindo Hospital and Providence St. Joseph Health System via Zoom. We held the first of these in August, the second is scheduled in October. The topics are driven by the hospital itself. We are planning on expanding this program, which we intend to become a core program expanding beyond Providence St. Joseph to other systems and practitioners. 


  • U.S. Volunteer Team Return to Guatemala. We are scheduling teams to return to Guatemala in May 2021, limited in scope due to necessary COVID-19 precautions. The volunteers are ready to return and we are preparing for that anticipated return through procurement efforts of supplies, medicines, etc., recognizing that all is costing more to serve fewer patients in light of COVID precautions that we must implement.


  • U.S. Corporate Partnerships. We are continuing to develop and expand these partnerships to plan for the future, including medical supply manufacturer DeRoyal (donated container to ship in October and ongoing willingness to sell surgical supplies at below cost including shipping), Providence St. Joseph (donation of PPE, symposium, sending volunteer medical teams), orthopedic implant manufacturer Zimmer Biomet (a new donation of knee revision surgical instrument set and a full complement of hip replacement hardware to ship in December), a new potential hospital system partner (in the process of discussing a new comprehensive primary care program in partnership with Faith In Practice and Hilario Galindo Hospital), among others. Our U.S. corporate partners remain engaged and willing to support this work in spite of the challenges they themselves face.


  • Guatemalan Partnerships. We are expanding ongoing partnerships and looking to add more local partnerships as we increase our continuity of care model of delivering healthcare in Guatemala. Xela Aid, located in Quetzaltenango, is a new partnership, one that we had begun just before COVID, where we are currently holding telemedicine clinics, for example. With this partnership, Xela Aid will be able to send patients who come to their clinic to Hilario Galindo Hospital, and will serve as a local clinic for follow-up of surgical care. We will continue to provide clinical support remotely. We hope to replicate this model in the future. 


In addition, we are strengthening our core hospital partnerships, Las Obras and Hilario Galindo. For example, we are exploring holding a medical clinic at an Obras outpost clinic in Jutiapa in 2021. With Hilario Galindo, as noted above, we are working toward a comprehensive primary care program, conducting symposiums, and are also assisting in establishing additional specialty clinics, even as we continue to invest in the Women’s Health Clinic that opened at Hilario Galindo in July 2019. Last but not least, we are assisting the hospital in a solar energy project designed to significantly reduce its overhead costs.


Guatemala Update 

Guatemala has reopened for all practical purposes. While this is good news, on one hand, it is not necessarily reflective of any reduced risk or spread of disease. As such, we are continuing to proceed with extreme caution as we continue providing services in Guatemala at this time. Protecting our patients and staff to the best of our ability and safeguarding our ability to implement the return of volunteer teams remain top priorities.


A few developments of note are as follows:


  • Airport. On September 18, 2020, Guatemala’s international airport reopened. It is slowly adding additional commercial flights over the next few months. The airport has imposed set entry protocols and parameters, including a negative COVID test within 72 hours of arrival. As is the case throughout the world, they are navigating uncharted territory in this regard. 


  • State of Calamity. On September 30, 2020, the President allowed the State of Calamity to expire. There remain some national mandates such as universal mask-wearing in public, social distancing requirements, and a limit to occupancy on public transportation in place. That said, most measures have been handed over to local authorities to set regulation and to enforce. 


  • Second Wave. There is evidence to suggest that Guatemala is entering into a second wave/surge of COVID cases. At this time, we have no reason to believe that the national government will lock down again or impose stricter measures than noted above. But, as we all know, it is a fluid situation. 


  • Navigating the Changing Seas. Faith In Practice staff has set out established internal protocols and standards to ensure a safe environment for our staff and patients, independent of governmental restrictions (that is to say stricter). Staff and patient safety remain the most important priority.  


Return to Guatemala

Pending any additional developments, our plan remains to send small ‘advance’ groups to Guatemala in late winter early spring of 2021, with a resumption of medical and surgical volunteer teams shortly after Easter, 2021. From May through August we are planning 17 teams (smaller than usual as we test out the waters and implement COVID safety precautions). The first three teams with set dates are: Parsley/Woolf (Surgical Obras), Bullard (Surgical Hilario Galindo), and Farrow (Surgical Hilario Galindo). Staff is working to set additional dates with team leaders and are already looking toward the Fall of 2021! Please note this is our current plan, which may change based upon developments. 



Because God is faithful.

This may be a time of fear but let us not be fearful. 

This may be a time of uncertainty but let us step out in certainty. 

This may be a time when many are losing faith but let us hold out our shivering faith to the One whose faithfulness never falters. 

Because God is faithful.

Let us act boldly leaning into this future that God is unfolding before us with expectant joy. 

For I know that if we do, we shall be met with a future which shall be richer in meaning, purpose, and faith than any of us could have imagined. 

We have seen it before. We are seeing it now. And, we shall see it in the days to come.

Because God is faithful.


Blessings to you all,


Rev. Linda L. McCarty

President & CEO


PS: Should you wish to support this mission at this critical, at this exciting, time, you can do so here. May we continue to hold our Guatemalan brothers and sisters and prayers, even as they pray for you. And may we all continue to pray for those wherever they may be who are suffering as a consequence of this virus. 


September 1, 2020

Guatemala Update


Current Country Status. As you know, Guatemala basically closed down in mid-March in a heroic attempt to contain the virus. (See prior updates for specifics below.) Most recently, the Guatemalan government instituted a ‘stoplight’ system wherein communities could open in phases based upon their positive testing rate. That said, with the exception of uniform mask-wearing, communities are not necessarily complying with the restrictions. The reasons for this are multi-faceted and complicated. It is fair to say, however, that the poor are being disproportionately impacted by the virus not unlike the United States. It is fair to say that Guatemalans are doing what they can to go back to work, provide for their families, and are doing so recognizing that they are placing themselves at inherent risk. As is often the case for the poor, they have little choice. 


The Mission Continues With Guatemala’s staged opening, we are expanding the services that we can provide. We will continue to do more each week predicated upon the law and what we believe we can do safely for both our patients and our staff. Some of the services we are providing, as of this writing, are as follows: 


  • Telemedicine Visits and Distribution of Medicines
  • Remote Symposiums to Disseminate Information and Share Learnings with Partner Hospitals
  • Wheelchair and Ambulatory Care Clinics
  • Distribution of Food and Healthcare Related Materials to our Guatemalan Volunteers
  • Distribution of Vitamins and Basic Medicines through our Guatemalan Volunteers
  • Provision and Management of Prosthetic Fittings for Recent Amputees
  • Continued Donation of Medicines and Supplies to Partners Based on Need
  • Case Management of Cancer Patients 


Return Travel to Guatemala I know many of you are anxious to return to Guatemala as soon as possible. So, am I. That said, it is important that we do so intentionally and safely. Guatemala’s borders have been closed to all international travel since mid-March. The government has indicated that it intends to reopen the airport in mid-September. That said, we have no information (at the time of this writing) related to whether certain countries will be banned from entry, what protocols will be in place to screen passengers upon arrival, what will happen when a passenger presents with symptoms (although there is some indication that they will be doing rapid testing at the airport and if someone tests positive, they will be taken to a COVID-19 hospital immediately), etc.  


Considering these unknowns, we do not deem it prudent to send staff or volunteers to Guatemala until the protocols and procedures are not only established but that we have a good sense of how they will be implemented. We hope with time, the airport protocol will be smoothed out and we will be able to more accurately assess the risk of entry. 


Taking all of this into consideration, and based upon currently available information, we hope to send small ‘advance’ groups to Guatemala in the Winter of 2021, with a resumption of more robust medical and surgical volunteer teams shortly after Easter, 2021. 


In the interim, we will continue to provide and expand services to those in need. It is important to note, however, that we are viewing all services provided during this time as a basis upon which we might incorporate the expanded services as a part of our corps programming for the future.  


There is so much that is unknown, but we are seeing that in the unknown there is much possibility. And, while there is much that is unknown, we are seeing very clearly that which is known. And, that is that God is very present in this mission. That God is present and also leading us forward. What is known is that God, as always, is creating something new. 


Thank you so much for being a part of Faith In Practice, that which is was, is, and is becoming. All to God’s honor, glory, and praise. And, please continue to hold our beloved Guatemala in prayer, even as we pray for you, during these challenging times.  


Faith In Practice is responding under these challenging circumstances and you can support this mission so we can continue to serve and will allow us to return to our beloved Guatemala when the border reopens. Also, please keep our Guatemalan brothers and sisters in prayer during this extremely challenging time for them. As always, they continue to show a depth of faith that inspires. And, may we all continue to pray for those wherever they may be who are suffering as a consequence of this virus. 


Rev. Linda L. McCarty

President & CEO


July 15, 2020

Guatemala Update

On March 17, Guatemala closed her borders and began imposing internal travel restrictions to do what she could to contain COVID-19. Currently, she is on significant lockdown. Some of the measures in place are as follows:


  • All medical office visits in the public system suspended.
  • No surgeries beyond trauma/emergency proceeding in the public system (even in the very small private system it is severely curtailed).
  • All public transportation suspended.
  • Imposed curfew from 6pm until 5am each day, with, at times, weekends on complete lockdown, residents not being allowed to leave their homes at all; pharmacy and food deliveries are allowed. 
  • Restricted travel between ‘states’ (only exception is with special written permissions) which are the size of small counties (in two weeks, these restrictions may be lifted for states that have fewer reported cases).
  • Ban of gatherings of individuals.
  • Mandatory mask-wearing throughout the country.
  • Airport closed with exception of repatriation flights scheduled through embassies.


The result of these measures to contain the virus has led to an alarming increase in poverty levels for the majority of Guatemalans who do not maintain traditional employment as well as job loss and hardship for the small minority work force who do. 


In addition, for all practical purposes, for those who do not have a private physician (the vast majority of Guatemalans) there has been virtually no medical care rendered in the entire country since March 17. 


With respect to our partner hospitals, Las Obras Sociales del Santo Hermano Pedro and Hospital Hilario Galindo, the Obras has been closed under the direction of the Ministry of Health. Hilario Galindo is seeing only a few patients related to emergent cases. We are working with both to determine how we might safely begin to consider opening to only a few patients, with set protocols in place, again, to prevent the virus from spreading.


Most recently, the government is trying to parse out how to open portions of the country, having launched a rating system based upon positive rates. That said, the hardest hit areas are around Guatemala City and Antigua, in all likelihood, because those are the areas receiving testing. For the size of the population, testing is not widespread and limited where it is available. As is the case in the United States, there is a great deal of conflict surrounding the costs vs. the benefits of keeping the economy shut down as poverty rates rise and health continues to deteriorate.


Faith In Practice is responding under these challenging circumstances and you can support this mission so we can continue to serve and will allow us to return to our beloved Guatemala when the border reopens. Also, please keep our Guatemalan brothers and sisters in prayer during this extremely challenging time for them. As always, they continue to show a depth of faith that inspires. And, may we all continue to pray for those wherever they may be who are suffering as a consequence of this virus. 


The Mission Continues

Even in these difficult times, however, Faith In Practice continues to serve. We are pushing to do more each day, as circumstances allow, even as we watch the need grow daily. The following are some of the ways in which we are currently serving:


  • Telemedicine Visits. We are conducting general telemedicine visits with delivery of medicines across Guatemala through Faith In Practice staff. 
  • Symposiums. We are working with U.S. health systems to create remote learning/sharing opportunities for our partner hospitals to assist them in responding to COVID-19 and other areas of need. 
  • Monthly Care Packages to Guatemalan Volunteer Leaders. These care packages contain food, medicines, health related information, seeds for planting, soap, sanitizer, masks and include a written devotional for them as well as messages of encouragement.
  • Donation of Medicines and Wheelchairs. Doing what we can, we are making donations of medicine, PPE, and wheelchairs, to local and public hospitals as needed. 
  • Special Case Management and Cancer Patient Accompaniment. We are continuing to manage and accompany patients who require follow-up as well as some cancer patients.
  • Mobility Clinics. We are still distributing wheelchairs and mobility aids, including medical checks and PT visits, whenever possible. Also, in partnership, Faith In Practice is continuing to provide specialty wheelchairs. 
  • Prosthetics. Our surgical teams performed several amputations prior the Guatemalan border closure. Faith In Practice is continuing to work with these patients in physical therapy and provide them with their new limbs.  
  • Orthopedic Follow-up. We are continuing to work with a local orthopedist to follow patients who were awaiting staged surgeries or who had complications.  


Each day we are seeking and finding ways to serve in spite of the current limitations. And, as soon as possible, we will resume volunteer teams.  


Thank you for being a part of this mission. Thank you for your support that allows us to continue to serve and which will allow us to return to our beloved Guatemala when the border reopens.


Please keep our Guatemalan brothers and sisters in prayer during this extremely challenging time for them. As always, they continue to show a depth of faith that inspires. And, may we all continue to pray for those wherever they may be who are suffering as a consequence of this virus. 




Rev. Linda L. McCarty

President & CEO


June 4, 2020

The Mission Continues

I will never forget Claudia, a young mother in her twenties, saying to me that throughout her surgery, amputation, and months of physical therapy, her standing on her new leg for the first time, that Faith In Practice never abandoned her. Her words were a strong reminder of what we are called to do, who we are called to be. Above all else, we have been called, through this mission, to witness to the One who shall never abandon us. It has been a pillar of who we are. Therefore, know that in the midst of this storm, we shall trust. We shall not abandon. It is not an option.  


The following is a short recap of developments of where we stand:


Short-Term: Ongoing Mission in 2020 

While we cannot serve for the time being, as we once did, we are committed to doing what we can. We are limited, of course, because Guatemala’s borders remain closed and travel is restricted within Guatemala as she valiantly works to contain the virus*, but we are striving to find ways to serve, nonetheless. The following is the current plan for the next several months. (Ability to do much until now has been limited due to internal curfews and restrictions of travel between departments and, at times, communities within Guatemala, but that is changing, and we are ready.)


  • Food delivery to Guatemalan Volunteer Leaders.  We had our first food distribution in May and will continue to do so monthly during this time of crisis. Timing and ease of transport is challenging due to travel restrictions, but staff has and shall continue to overcome those obstacles as hunger continues to grow in Guatemala and the threat of widespread famine looms. 
  • Special Case Management and Cancer Patient Accompaniment. Staff continues to manage and accompany patients who require follow-up as well as the cancer patients shepherded by Dra. Patty Baiza. This work is continuing, albeit made more difficult due to travel restrictions and curfews.
  • Mobility Clinics. Beginning in June, Guatemalan staff will be conducting mobility clinics including medical checks and PT consults. These clinics will take place at the Casa de Fe in Antigua. We intend to expand these clinics to Hospital Hilario Galindo in San Felipe, Retalhuleu in July. 
  • Medical Clinics. In the planning stages, we hope to begin medical clinics wherein we will contract with Guatemalan physicians who are close to Faith In Practice and also employ the use of telemedicine using some of our U.S. volunteers. We anticipate these clinics will take place at Hilario Galindo and will begin in late July. Our Guatemalan volunteers, who look to us for their medical care, will also be invited to these clinics, of course, contingent upon travel restrictions. 
  • Surgical Program. Currently, there are no elective surgeries taking place in Guatemala. We have been meeting with our partner hospitals as they try to navigate the challenges on the ground and to anticipate what medical care and medical mission will look like once Guatemala begins to open again. They are committed, as are we, to working with the government to establish protocols that will create a safe environment for patients, practitioners, and volunteers alike. This is an important role for us as we look forward to the future, wherein we can be a part of setting the standard which will ease other organizations’ return. Therefore, our focus in this area is one of collaboration, advocacy, and support to local authorities as they begin to emerge from this crisis. 
  • Small Specialized U.S. Teams. While the lead-time required for a full team makes it impossible to return in the fall, our hope is that Guatemala will be open with sufficient regulatory stability such that we will be able to send a few volunteers in the fall and/or early winter to conduct, for example, triage trips. Because they will be limited in scope, these forays will be able to be planned with less lead time and less need for permissions. They will also serve to ‘test the waters’ as we move toward resuming operations on a larger scale.  


Therefore, for the rest of 2020, our plan is to serve two purposes:

  • Serving people NOW.
  • Exploring/vetting/testing other models that might shape how we work in the future in our ‘reborn’ state.



Short-Term: Suspension of U.S. Teams through December 2020 

Consistently, we have been committed to volunteer safety and to efficient use of resources entrusted to our care. It has become clear that there will be insufficient information available upon which to plan a safe and successful fall season, as we had hoped. Therefore, we have suspended sending teams to Guatemala until January 2021. 


Long-Term: Resumption of Operations in January 2021 

We are committed to returning stronger in 2021 knowing that they will need us more than they ever have. Knowing that we will need, more than ever before, to see their faces. Again, we hope to use these upcoming months to develop and enhance programs in a way that will allow us to serve more individuals in a more efficient way, leveraging technology and strengthened relationships for a new future. In this crisis, there is opportunity.


Financial Challenge 

As you can well imagine, as is the case throughout the United States and the world, this situation is creating a financial crisis for us. We have always sought to maintain a good balance between healthy reserves for times of crisis, while ensuring that we did not over-reserve so as to use the funds in mission.


Therefore, we are committed to ‘flattening the curve’, using our reserves as judiciously as possible to get us beyond this time of crisis, using this time to reimagine operations, and trusting we will be able to resume operations in January. If we focus our efforts on serving where we can, reimagining the future, and listening for where the Spirit blows, trusting in the One who created and has sustained this mission across the years, we shall prevail. To that end, we have reduced staff by 65% and cut costs as much as possible, recognizing that we have always run a very lean organization.



Much is unknown and uncertain. But much is also true and sure. And, that is that God created this mission and has sustained it for more than 26 years. And, that God is faithful, as I know you all are. 

Please reach out to us with any questions or thoughts. Above all else, hold our beloved Guatemala in prayer. And hold us in prayer, joining with us in any way you can as together we seek to fulfill this call to witness in the name of the One who shall never abandon. The One whose Spirit moves through this precious gift that is Faith In Practice. Then, now, always. 


Guatemala Update 

We evacuated two teams from Guatemala mid-March just before Guatemala closed her borders. The President of Guatemala has taken this threat very seriously and has continued to work towards containing the virus as much as possible. His goal is to reduce or eliminate the risk of Guatemala becoming overwhelmed with cases beyond her capacity to manage them. He has required the wearing of masks, restricted movement of the elderly and children, implemented curfews, and restricted travel between departments. The curfews and travel restrictions have been relaxed or strengthened based upon number of cases as well as perceived population compliance. So far, his efforts have been successful. As of this writing, there are 5,586 confirmed cases of COVID-19, 123 dead, recognizing numbers may not be accurate, as is the case in the United States. We do have reason to hope, however, as on June 3, the Ministry of Health published phased reopening targets.


All the while, other illnesses and the people’s hunger are on the rise throughout the country. The human rights commission recently appealed to Congress for funding indicating their concern that the hunger will soon rise to the level of famine if the government does not intervene.


Roosevelt, the main national hospital in Guatemala City, has closed their medical clinics and all elective surgeries. This is not uncommon, and we have seen it many times before. That said, the news is now reporting that the hospital is overflowing with patients being attended under tents in the neighboring park and the morgue is overflowing. The same is being reported with respect to the other large national hospital in the city, San Juan de Dios. 


In short, the situation related to lockdown and the containment of the virus and the ability of Guatemala to manage it remains in flux, even as Guatemala seeks to balance the need to reopen with the threat of the virus. Guatemala is bravely facing this crisis and we have been grateful and impressed with the leadership the government has exhibited, even as our heart aches as the pain grows each day.


Needless to say, it remains uncertain when Guatemala will open her borders to foreign travelers. Our hope is that as the months pass, there will be more clarity with respect to when we might return to our beloved Guatemala.  


Again, please hold Guatemala in your prayers. And, please know she is praying for you, even in the midst of her own crisis. 


Sending prayers to you all and hoping you are safe and healthy. God’s blessings to you all and I hope to see you all in Guatemala one day soon.



Rev. Linda L. McCarty

President & CEO