Sunday, 29 November -0001 19:00

From The Ottens

Written by
Dear friends,

We send you our warmest greetings for 1998. May the joy and peace of Christ's coming live in our hearts throughout this new year.

We had a wonderful visit to Canada in October. Arlen (10 months) was introduced to all his relatives, and the girls renewed friendships with their cousins. Connie has made a good recovery from the hepatitis she contracted last July. Jolene (7) and Melissa (5) are progressing well in school. Sarah (3) likes to do crafts and ride her tricycle. John continues to direct activities at the hospital and, now that the plane is stationed in Cubulco, he does some flying as well.

We'd like to share with you about some activities at the hospital. Every Wednesday Celestina and Maria, the instructors at the nutrition center, visit the homes of families who are part of the program. Because they usually go unannounced, they found no one at home on one such trip in June. As they returned, they decided to stop at the home of Petronila Rodriguez, a girl who had been discharged from the program the year before. When they arrived, they found the house clean, the food containers had lids on them and the children were bathed and ready to go to school. The mother showed them several large pots where she had onions and cilantro growing. She had already harvested radishes and spinach. She told them that now they boil their drinking water to kill the bacteria and other impurities in it. Celestina and Maria were very encouraged. This makes their work so worthwhile, when people put into practice what they are taught.

A large part of medical consultation involves educating the people. In Guatemala anyone can buy almost any medicine without prescription, including steroids, antibiotics and intravenous solutions. In July two men, ages 42 and 66, came to the emergency at the hospital, intoxicated and nauseated, experiencing diarrhea, stomach pains and vomiting. They told the doctor that they had felt weak, tired and without desire to work lately. They then bought intravenous solutions and an ampule of intramuscular vitamins. Instead of injecting the vitamins into the muscle, they put it into the IV solution, right into their bloodstream. The result would have been intoxication leading to death within half an hour if they had not come immediately to the hospital. In two days they were both in stable condition and educated on the importance of medical consultation.

In November we had an ophtalmologist come and this is what he wrote of his time with us: "A few faces shine forth from the many we saw during a week of ophthalmological work there. When Eulaho Turcios stepped forward to be examined, his small eyes were so crossed that he could barely focus on the large letter E. He seemed a pathetic case, but not at all despondent and announced he was an evangelical who wanted to read the Bible. After receiving a pair of reading glasses, he was delighted to be able to read the small lettered New Testament we gave him. Less easily treated was Dora Garcia Mogen, a 33 year old school teacher who had lost all sight in her left eye three days previously. When it was determined she must go to the Capital city for further tests of the brain, we prayed and cried with her in the adjoining room and asked her to return to the hospital with the results. Even sadder was the case of Sebastiana Raymundo, a pretty, shy Indian girl, who was deaf and hardly able to speak. Although her eyes were nearly normal, there would be little opportunity for her to learn to speak and read in her remote Indian village.

A humorous and touching incident took place when an extremely thin, old woman with no teeth wanted her blindness cured with medicine instead of surgery. As she and her husband left the examination to return the many miles to their village, the next two patients in line took it upon themselves to try talking Francisca into having the necessary cataract operation. They were successful, and following surgery the next day, she was able to see after having been blind for two years. Even more ecstatic was Rosaho Morales, who returned for a second cataract operation this year. After having his bandage removed, he now has two good eyes after several years of darkness. He embraced us with inexpressible gratitude. These are a few of the lowly and weak ones of the world who are ministered to in the name of Christ at the hospital in Cubulco. May all the glory go to God!

We have had surgeons from the United States come throughout the year. One patient, Ines Xitumul from the village of Nuevo Trapiene which is near Salama (a two-hour bus ride from Cubulco), who was operated on at the beginning of the year. Her husband, Pedro Ixcopal, wrote a note to the hospital to thank us. Here are excepts from his letter: "Dear brothers that work at the Christian medical Center, especially the local and foreign doctors. We greet you in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, wishing you success in your spiritual and temporal lives. The purpose of this letter is to thank you for the favor you did to my dear wife by operating on her hernia... Many thanks brothers and our God recompence you with great blessing... Brothers in Christ, thanks for attending to us, because this really gives a good testimony to our friends who are without Christ... Your brother in Christ, Pedro Ixcopal."

We thank God for all of you who come to work with us, who support us, and who pray for us and the ministry of the hospital in Cubulco.

John and Connie and children.

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