Full Time Medical Evangelism Work
|HTI's ministry has been working in what is known as the "coastal area" of Western Guatemala since 1990. We support a network of clinics in the Suchitepequez Department in villages with such picturesque names as Flores Costa Cuca, San Basilio, Palmira, and San Andres Villaseca. The majority of people in this area are of Mayan descent and have very little access to health care. The care provided by dentist, Dr. Silvia Albizures de Baltodano and Dr. Manuela Ixquiactap Tambriz, physicians Dr. Walter Sierra, Dr. Nehemias Lopez and Dr. Patricia Poz is holistic in nature and they make every effort to meet the wide range of patient needs, including physical, mental, social and spiritual. During the course of their daily clinics, they also identify patients in need of surgery. Oscar Mejia and Obdulio Chavez work with our community development program focusing on agriculture, air, sanitation and water projects.
Clinica Ezell serves as our point of operation for all of our surgical teams. The dormitory houses all the visiting teams, and the surgical clinics are conducted here. The clinic is also used for health promoter training and community development classes.
|Dr. Lisa and Kemmel Dunham joined HTI's medical evangelism team in 2005 and moved to Chichicastenango in January of 2006 to replicate the work being done on the coast. Following the same pattern of going to remote villages to partner with churches and communities, they too, treat patients medically and are on the lookout for patients who need surgery.
In addition, they are spearheading the VHE program: Volunteer Health Evangelists. This is an important aspect of HTI's overall ministry because it comprises the educational component of our work. Church leaders in participating villages have selected volunteers from among their membership to serve as “community educators/health promoters.” These volunteers receive no pay for their participation, being motivated only by their desire to improve the health of their communities. Over a several month period, they have been studying various elements of the curriculum including physical examination of a patient, good hygiene practices, spiritual topics and a host of other immediately applicable topics that they can now share with members of their communities.
As part of our education programs, nurse Sheri Kretzschmar and Dr. Lisa Dunham have developed an excellent education curriculum on nutrition and diabetes care that is reaping great benefits and marking a generational shift in eating habits.
Dr. Lisa and Kemmel Dunham have had several wonderful Central American physicians and dentists work alongside them. United States native Sheri Kretzschmar, RN has also attended patients and spent many hours providing valuable education in the area since 2007. Dr. Aura Alvarez and Dr. Andrea Lux are the dentists who currently work alongside the MD's in this region of Guatemala. These doctors, dentists and nurses form two mobile medical and dental teams which provide care to patients each week in the highland area.
Under the direction of Kemmel, our Director of Highland Operations, Health Talents has been blessed to partner with more than a dozen churches of Christ and witnessed several of them double in size. Through these partnerships, we see one-three new churches planted each year.