Sunday, 29 November -0001 19:00

World Relief

Written by John and Connie Otten
First of all, we still wish you all a happy and blessed New Year!

God has been very good in letting us bring the Gospel through the work at the hospital in Cubulco. One of the visiting surgeons commented that it would be almost impossible for a patient to come to the hospital and not hear something of the Gospel. Acknowledging our dependence on God, we start each surgery with prayer before putting the patient to sleep. This has reassured and comforted many patients, Christians and non-Christians alike. One Christian lady wa so happy to be operated on in an evangelical Christian hospital that she sang hymns and choruses until she fell asleep with anaesthesia! At a Sunday evening sing-song a surgeon once gave a meditation on Mark 2, where four men lowered their paralytic friend through the roof for Jesus to heal him. Before he was healed, Jesus told the man his sins were forgiven. Jesus was saying that physical healing is important, but spiritual healing is most important. Pray that God would help us not lose that vision.

Our head nurse shared these two stories with us. Julian, a 45-year old man, came to the hospital in December, very sick and drunk. He was a chronic alcoholic and being delirious, he was seeing people all around him trying to kill him. This made him scared. A group of nurses prayed with him and he thanked them for that. The nurses and chaplain continued to share with him from the Bible. A few days later he realized that he needed Jesus. His wife, who also was a chronic alcoholic, came to the same realization. They both now attend church and have stopped drinking. Martha is a 5-year old girl who came with severe asthma. She is an Indian girl, so the nurses often sang songs to her in the Achi dialect. She enjoyed this. She left the hospital doing very well. The doctors consider it a miracle that she recovered, because the medication she really needed was not available. We praise God for His healing.

From the year 1993 to 1994 there has been and approximate 10% increase in the activities at the hospital. The patient load went from 11,101 to 12,176. We have been privileged to have more surgeons and dentists volunteer their time also. Five surgeons came, giving a total of nine weeks of surgery. Nineteen were ophthalmologic cases, and 127 were general surgeries. This is almost twice as many surgeries as last year; 147 compared to 80, bringing the total number of surgical cases treated at the hospital to 302. There have been 512 in-patients; 172 of which were deliveries and 132 were major surgeries. Some surgical patients, such as for cataracts, were out-patients. We thank God for blessing these operations, especially as we realize that most of the hospital staff are local people with no more than six years of schooling.

The number of dental patients doubled since the previous year: over 700 patients. We have had seven dentists come this year, providing seventeen weeks of dental service. Although all the work is important, these areas of dentistry and surgery are the ones that people have a difficult time getting treated elsewhere.

Two work teams came to help out at the hospital. As we write about the activities of the past year we realize how much of a team effort the work at the hospital is, and we thank everyone for their part in it.

On On December 16th, at the agrigultural centre, we celebrated a Christmas program with hospital and agriculture centre personnel. After a time of devotion and praise, the traditional (delicious!) tamales were served. There was plenty of room on the airstrip for sports and pinatas. At this program the AMG Mission gave each employee a Study Bible. They were thrilled. We've noticed that the chaplain uses the Bible's study notes in the meditations for staff and patients. Others carry their Bible with them to work and to church.

On a personal note, our girls have a lot of fun together. This afternoon it was warm enough for Jolene and Melissa to play in their wading pool, and Sarah enjoyed a bath on the porch. Sarah is beginning to sit on her own, and takes only two short naps a day. Melissa likes playing "doctor" with a doctor kit. Jolene loves to draw people and every day we can see more detail unfolding.

We appreciate the interest, prayers and support given to us and to the hospital, so that we can serve the people of Guatemala.

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