Sunday, February 14, 2010


Well it was difficult to say "goodbye" to the people of Belize. While we worked very hard, we had a wonderful time serving and fellowshipping together.

We saw an amazing spirit amongst ourselves as well as the people of Belize. One event stood out that spoke to their generous spirit... we noticed a "yard sale" going on outside of the hospital. When approached as to the purpose, the people said they were selling these items to raise money for the people of Haiti. That was special.

As we look back, it is amazing what was accomplished in just four days (although much more time and effort went on in preparation for those four days)...

  • 68 people received free surgical assistance (some had more than one procedure)
  • 190 people were screened in preparation for the surgeries
  • 680 people received medical care, vitamins, etc. at 4 village clinics
  • 90+ people received reading glasses
  • 50+ people received Bibles
  • One home was completed (with unique showering system & possibly the only indoor plumbing in the village)
  • 4 swings, 1 seesaw & playground equipment stabilized
  • first Portable Ultrasound Equipment in the nation of Belize (to the best of our knowledge)
  • 7+ doctors trained on use of equipment
  • 200+ children participated in Vacation Bible School

All in all, it is amazing what God has accomplished through us but also in us.

I believe we were able to more than fulfill the theme of our trip: 1 Peter 4:10 "Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God's grace in its various forms."

Praise God!!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Day 6 - Wednesday (Feb. 10) - Ultrasound Equip

While everyone else was taking a well deserved break at San Pedro Island or on a Jungle River/Mayan Ruins tour or cave tubing, Dr. Frappier chose to forgo the fun and provide one more day of training for the portable ultrasound equipment. At the end of the day, they held a dedication ceremony that included many of the hospital dignitaries.

They have already been able to use the equipment to help diagnose issues. In fact, one girl from the Copper Bank Village Medical Clinic was able to find transportation to the hospital in Orange Walk and have her issues diagnosed by the team today.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Day 5 - Tuesday (Feb. 9) - Construction

Today the construction crew was able to finish installing the window slats, installing the doors, and installing a state of the art shower system. In the afternoon we hosted a Home Dedication Celebration for the village of San Victor. Many in the village turned out for songs that the children learned during Vacation Bible School and everyone enjoyed eating the roasted pig.

Given the physical limitations that cerebral palsy causes Ishmael, he required a very special showering system. This state of the art system allows him to reach the hand held shower head, while sprayer jets help him with areas he cannot reach. This wonderful gift not only helps him but it most likely is the only home in the village that has indoor plumbing. Who knows, Ishmael might now be the most eligible bachelor in San Victor?!?

In addition to the construction efforts at Ishmael's house, the construction crew developed a passion to fix up the village Park Playground. Yesterday they installed three swings. Today they put up a fourth swing, stabilized the playground structure, and used their ingenuity and creativity to make a seesaw. Once again, the park started to fill up with children as the work completed.

Day 5 - Tuesday (Feb. 9) - Surgery

The final day of surgeries took place today. Another 15 patients were helped by this gifted, talented team. That means a total of 68 people were able to receive access to free surgical assistance which will dramatically impact their lives and the lives of their entire families.

This type of assistance would be unattainable for the people that were served. Truly, we were able to help those who were in greatest need.

Day 5 - Tuesday (Feb. 9) - VMC

Village Medical Clinic - San Victor

The Medical Clinic was held in San Victor today -- the same location where the Vacation Bible School was held and where the construction was being done. As a result, most of the Mission team (with the exception of the surgical group) was in San Victor and would be able to participate in the dedication of Ishmael's house.

It was especially hot today and there was no breeze, as was in Copper Bank. Everyone was feeling the heat -- as you can see in the picture album, several of the team fell asleep when they had a break due to exhaustion from the four days of effort coupled with the humid heat.

In San Victor, we were able to screen, evaluate and treat about 170 patients which means that we have seen almost 700 people in just four days. That 5-7 times the normal load in the USA.

Once again we were able to distribute reading glasses and Bibles. This week we were able to distribute over 90 reading glasses and 50 Spanish and English Bibles.

Delayed Access -- Saturday thru Monday

Sorry about the delay in updating the blog.

Between access issues, the Super Bowl, and the ISP servers going down I have had great difficulty updating the site.

But the server is back up and so I will update you on the past several days... be sure to look at the "older posts" because with all of the new posts, several of them have been pushed back to the previous posts section.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Day 4 - Monday (Feb. 8) - Construction

Yesterday the construction crew was able to install the window slats and complete some school repairs. Today they began installing the doors on the home.

Some of the guys walked over to the empty park in the neighborhood and began making improvements. By the time they were done, they had installed 3 new swings. And this park that had been empty for 3 years came to life with children within the hour.

Day 4 - Monday (Feb. 8) - Surgery

The surgical team was able to complete 18 more surgeries (that represents 53 total surgeries!) today.

They had a 25 year old woman who had been in some sort of accident that had mutilated her ears, in addition to leaving some scars on her face and throat. The team was able to perform reconstructive surgery on one of her ears.

Additionally, they were able to reconstruct a drooping eyelid on a 4 month old baby, remove the pareidal gland from a 60 year old man (while avoiding all of the nerves in the face!), and remove a keyloid tumor from the ear of an 18 year old.

Once again, it is wonderful to see God working through these gifted men and women.

Day 4 - Monday (Feb. 8) - VMC

Village Medical Clinic - Copper Bank

One of the highlights of the trip was getting to ride a hand-cranked ferry across the river. Of course, we had several photo ops with the "gringos" operating the hand-crank. Probably made it go slower but we had a lot of fun!

Copper Bank rests by a lovely river which provided a cool breeze, a very welcome cool breeze. As we were setting up the medical clinic the breeze grew a little strong, lifting up a portable canopy shelter that was set up for some of the children, and then it began to come apart. We ran over to make sure the children got out and then safely disassembled the structure. No one was injured. God enabled us to be in the right place at the right time to help out.

At Copper Bank we were able to screen, evaluate and treat 140 patients. That means we have seen over 500 patients by this third Village Medical Clinic -- over 500!!

In addition to the medical patients, we were able to distribute 13 more reading glasses and 16 more Bibles. That means that we have distributed almost 90 pairs of glasses and almost 50 Bibles.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Day 3 - Sunday (Feb. 7) - Construction

The construction crew was finally able to start work on Ishmael's home. The concrete foundation and walls were poured prior to our arrival. After some bartering and negotiations at the local hardware stores, the crew obtained the necessary supplies and were able to install the window frames and slats.

Upon completing the windows, they moved over to the school where the VBS is being held and performed several repairs.

Day 3 - Sunday (Feb. 7) - Surgery

The surgical team continued to use their gifts and talents to bring relief to several who could not afford otherwise. They were able to dramatically impact the lives of 14 more people today (that is 35 total in just 2 days) .

Once again the team was able to help so many with a variety of ailments, including: cleft palette repair, cleft lip repair, adenoidectomies, tonsillectomies, thyroid cyst removal, thyroid gland removal, lipoma (fatty tissue) removal, scar revision, and mole removal. These men and women have been blessed with gifts & talents and are now able to be a blessing to others... that really seems to be the theme for the week. Whether surgeries, medical assistance, construction, VBS, or ultrasound training -- it is all about using the blessings we have received to bless others.

Day 3 - Sunday (Feb. 7) - VMC

Village Medical Clinic - Progresso

The Village Medical Clinic moved to the village of Progresso. Using key learnings from the previous day, set up started a little easier. However, shortly into things, we realized there would be a whole new set of challenges. We were setting up in a school and it was hard to find regular chairs -- most of the chairs were small and had a desktop connected to it. We worked with the local contact and were able to obtain chairs in several locked classrooms on the second floor. After that issue was averted, we realized that the people in line waiting to register would soon experience heat exhaustion with the sun bearing down on them. Using "creativity" and "flexibility" as hallmark traits, Ed Carl optimized the flow while providing shade by creating small queues in front of each station and moving the bulk of the line to the shade. (God brought the right people for the right moment on this trip.)

After getting the initial kinks worked out, we began the process of screening, diagnosing, and treating the people waiting. But we ran into one more snag -- and a big one at that. A large number of Mennonites had heard that we were coming to Progresso. And while we were happy to help them, we had a big barrier... they only spoke German. Who would think we would run into German-speaking people in Central America -- go figure. Well God had prepared help for us. One very kind gentleman was able to speak English, Spanish, and German. He translated for every single Mennonite, which meant he had to stay for the entire day. His kindness and generosity was a godsend.

We helped the largest number of people at Progresso, with over 200 people being seen. In addition to handing out over 25 pairs of glasses, we were also able to distribute over 30 Bibles (providing both English and Spanish translations).

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Day 2 - Saturday (Feb. 6) - VBS

This is the first year for the Vacation Bible School. The key word for a first time event is "flexibility" and a second key word is "adaptability"... and the VBS team was filled with both, including "creativity"!! The VBS was held in San Victor, the same location as the home construction. They started with over 100 children and the numbers kept growing (kind of like rabbits) over the course of the day.

And while you are thinking about that number of children, understand the VBS team only had 7 members. By God's grace, the construction team's supplies did not show on the first day and they ended up joining the VBS group -- which caused much rejoicing on the part of the VBS team.

Even with the complexities of a large # of children, spanning a wide range of ages, coupled with language barriers the children had a great time. You saw lots of grins, giggles, laughs, and smiles. I guess that is why the # of children kept growing. The VBS team treated the children to games, crafts, a balloon show (that included Adam and Eve) and creative teaching.

Pictures were taken of all the children so that they could be printed out later tonight and given back to the children on Sunday. However, since we used digital cameras, the children were able to see their pictures immediately through the camera displays. They thought that was pretty wonderful by itself. The printed pictures will be incorporated into another craft which the team prepared for later in the evening after returning to the hotel.

Day 2 - Saturday (Feb. 6) - Ultrasound Equip

With generous donations received, Dr. Frapper was able to deliver the portable ultrasound equipment along along with a cart and a laptop. He was able to start the training with 7 doctors, including the hospital Chief of Staff. As he moved from describing how to use the equipment to actually demonstrating how it works, the doctors used the equipment on each other.

In the process of the hands-on training, one of the doctors discovered he had gall stones! Now that was a powerful demonstration -- one remembered by all present.

Day 2 - Saturday (Feb. 6) - Surgery

The wonderful team of doctors, nurse practitioner, nurses, and technicians were able to serve over 20 patients today. They performed many different types of surgeries including cleft palette repair, cleft lip repair, adenoidectomies, tonsillectomies, ear reconstruction, hernia repair, scar revisions, and wart removal.

It makes me exhausted just writing all of that! I cannot imagine actually doing all of that. They worked tirelessly leaving the hotel shortly after 7:00am and not returning until after 7:00pm. Certainly eliminates any thought that they came to Belize for a vacation! It was a long but very productive day with many grateful hearts.

Day 2 - Saturday (Feb. 6) - VMC

Village Medical Clinic - Louisville

The Village Medical Clinic visited Louisville today.

This was the team's first experience working together. We started by setting up in a local school and determined how the flow would work. In the first room, the nurses would evaluate and screen the patients. They would give out vitamins and worm pills. Those who needed a doctor were passed to the next room where the doctors would diagnose concerns. Then, when necessary, they would be sent to the last room where the pharmacists would dispense the donated medicines. Additionally, those that need help with ear wax build up were sent to the ear lavage station. And those who needed reading glasses were sent to the eyeglass station.

Using this approach, the Village Medical Clinic was able to screen, evaluate and treat 166 patients. To provide some perspective on that number, it represents 5-7 times the number of patients per doctor per hour that would typically be seen in the USA. They were able to diagnose and treat high blood pressure, diabetes, colds, infections, arthritis, stomach aches, and intestinal cramps, in addition to showing love and compassion to old and young alike. And over 50 eyeglasses were given away. During any down time the children were given toys, games were played, and even a soccer match broke out.

As you could imagine, that is an exhausting pace in an un-air conditioned setting, sitting on hard wooden chairs with make shift stations. And while everyone was exhausted, there were smiles on all of the faces because the families were so appreciative of the gift they were receiving.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Screening Day

The team that arrived on Thursday was able to spend today screening patients for surgery. There were over 250 people who waited all day in the hopes of being a recipient of the upcoming surgeries. The team was able to screen 190 people and were able to more than fill up the surgery schedule with very deserving candidates.

Dr. Moody had an opportunity to share with the 250 people that were waiting to be screened about our purpose for being here. As the room quieted, Dr. Moody shared that while we are Americans, we were not here to represent America. While were are a medical team, we were not here to just provide medical assistance. He emphasized that our real purpose for being here is represent Jesus and his tremendous love to these people.

With that in mind, we hope that you enjoy this blog and are blessed by the good news that we able to share.

Pre-Flight Adventures

We boarded our initial flight earlier this morning with the team arriving bright and early at 4:30am. (okay, at 4:30am it was not very bright but we were all very excited for the trip to begin.) At the airport we heard about some pre-flight adventures. Our Indianapolis participant, Chelsea, had driven to Cincinnati and was enjoying dinner when she realized that her passport was safe at home! Fortunately she had a friend who was willing to meet her half-way so that she only had a 2+ hour trip. She arrived at our house at 12:30am. After a brief power nap, she headed off to the airport -- where she proceeded to sleep on the plane.

Additionally, we almost lost our Pastor Chad. Those of you who are enjoying the current sermon series ( know that Pastor Chad is quite the scientist/magician/chemist. He enjoys making flames turn into pillars of fire or causing clear water to glow in the dark. Well Pastor Chad was planning on using these skills to intrigue the children of Belize in the Vacation Bible School sessions. Of course, the perfect summation of his lessons would be to show the children that the Word of God is mighty and powerful and has the flame of God burning within it. To emphasize this, he was planning on using his special "burning Bible" trick which has a hidden compartment in a Bible that will ignite into flames. Fortunately Pastor Chad had a moment of clarity when he realized that including this device in his luggage, given today's air travel climate, would result in missing the flight and enjoying a long stay with the airport security guards.

In addition to all of this adventure, one of the teams that left on Thursday nearly missed their flight because not only did their gate change, but also the terminal it was leaving from. After getting in some good airport terminal jogging (an important part of everyone's exercise routine) they were able to board just before the doors closed shut.

Well we are all here now. We enjoyed an excellent meal, some worship & praise time, a brief lesson, and an exciting slide show (sorry for the self promotion -- but take a look at the slide shows and tell me what you think).

God Bless