Friday, July 05, 2013

A Meet Up at the Presidential Residence


(From De’s Pen) The last week of May, Rod and I attended a project meeting in the presidential residence in Guatemala City. (I know. Unreal.) Right around the corner and a few blocks away from the National Palace shown above.

Following a series of preliminary meetings and teleconferences, the prosthetics project team that I’m serving on at Hospital Shalom was granted an opportunity to give a pivotal presentation to the directors of the national public health services, a department under the direct supervision of the Office of the First Lady. The NPHS offices are located inside the building known as the presidential residence.

The President and First Lady don’t actually live there. Disappointing. I know. And no, we didn’t meet the First Lady, but we did get to shake hands with her personal assistant.

Three of our team members (Tim Spurrier, Brent Wright and Foster Ortiz) presented the plan to expand prosthetics services to the citizens of Guatemala through the collaborative effort of several non-profit organizations, individual contributors, and the help of the regional PHS offices. To put it in perspective, past prosthetic outreaches at Shalom have typically served from 30 – 50 people in a one week period.

But there are over 100,000 amputees in Guatemala… a country with a landmass the size of Tennessee.

The current project seeks to not only offer prosthetic clinics more frequently, but to eventually expand service locations, while providing a higher quality, more durable and cost-affordable end product in a manner that helps ensure sustainability and shared ownership of the process between providers and patients.

First of all, in order to get the project plan in motion, numerous shipping containers of parts and supplies must be brought in. Unfortunately, common snags at the port include missing paperwork, unexplainable delays, or containers red flagged for days with each day costing hundreds of dollars in added storage, fines, and unpredictable costs. All of these delays equate to patients not receiving the help they need.

The directors we met with oversee provision of healthcare services to the country’s most vulnerable populations. Therefore, they are the ones in position to help eliminate unnecessary delays and keep the supplies flowing more smoothly. As a result, their constituents … the patients we serve… receive the help most needed.

All in all, the meeting went very well, and the team came away pleased with the excitement level in the room. We’re ready to see this project rolling forward because the more people who receive help through Hospital Shalom, the more opportunity to share seeds of faith in Christ.

The next prosthetics outreach is planned to coincide with Guatemala’s Independence Day, September 15th. And what a day of independence celebration it will be for several very blessed people.

  • Please mark your calendars for that week and pray with us as we make preparations.
  • Pray for continued favor from those in key positions.
  • Pray for God’s purposes to be evidenced in the lives of each person served.
  • Pray for open opportunities to sow the light of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

As always, we are so grateful for your prayer covering, and your faithful support of what God is doing among the people of Guatemala.

Simply serving,

Rod & De


Photo: The photo shown above is the National Palace of Culture, (not the presidential residence). It once headquartered the President. This gorgeous old structure occupies the spot known as Kilometro Cero (Km Zero), and is the origin of all roads in the Republic. A bit of trivia to help you win your next round of whatever game you play that requires trivia. (Thank you, Wikipedia!)

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