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Funds Low-Can You Please Help

I want to thank all of Hands of Hope supporters that have been so faithful to help the people of the villages we have worked in since 1999. It will now be almost 12 years since we started working in these villages and we see improvements in their lives and health every year.

 The need is still there although the death rate among babies and young children has dropped significantly. Many times these people should be treated at a hospital but fear keeps them away as well as lack of funds for hospitals. Surgeries in the fall of every year at public hospitals come to a standstill as hospitals run out of funds. Then the backlog must be attended first and the patients can wait up to 6 months for a needed surgery.

So we have started taking patients to a semiprivate hospital, Hermano Pedro Obras Sociales, where many American doctors offer their services for free. The patients must still pay a donation towards the hospital but the care is excellent. Many of our patients do not even have money for the exams and laboratory exams they need so Hands of Hope helps with that. Even a small donation of $100 is often beyond their reach. Again Hands of Hope helps with that donation and even arranges transportation to and from the hospital . Otherwise the post surgery patient would have to ride home in a bumpy bus!

This past few months our cost of medicines and help to patients has increased but our donations have been reduced. We desperately want to keep the clinic running smoothly and provide for these people who have no one else to turn to for help. Would you please consider a donation to keep the clinic from having to cut back on needed medicines and help for these people. We thank you so much for considering this and thank you for the help and prayers that you have offered for those in need.

Blankets for Christmas!

February 7, 2011 by  
In Daily Blog, Stories and Photos

The following week after prenatal clinic in the furtherest village of Yalu, we had an outreach to the elderly people in two other villages we serve, San Rafael and Santa Marta.
hoh-web-gregory-blankets-yalu-dec-2010

Maria handing out blankets in Yalu

Maria handing out blankets in Yalu

We made special food for our lunchtime together and gave out blankets and bags of food and also shared about the Ultimate Gift that God gave us.

It was a great time, and the many poor elderly people appreciated it very much.

We also distributed hundreds of blankets to the poorest families in the villages. This is something we do every year, and it never fails to make us feel  so blessed to be able to have supporters who contribute to make the Blanket Drive a success every year. Thank you!

Is Insulin a Christmas Gift?

January 8, 2011 by  
In Daily Blog, Stories and Photos

Most of us wouldn’t think of insulin as a Christmas gift, but to Miguel it was the best gift of all.

The Monday after Christmas, Maria and I drove 3 hours to see Miguel, age 23, who had lived in the USA for a few years, and actually knew a good bit of English.

Miguel has severe diabetes and I had first met him a month earlier when I was with Maria, one of our ministry workers while we were with a few of our village patients at the Hermano Pedro Hospital in Antigua.

When we had first met him, he was so very sick because he hadn’t had money to buy sufficient insulin that he must take to stay alive. Maria and I had been horrified to see that he was so sickly and so emaciated that he looked like a skeleton.

He was not able to walk unassisted and could only speak in a soft whisper.
His family was very poor, and he was slowly dying from lack of insulin.
That day, I went home and returned to the hospital with some insulin we were storing in the fridge.

Now we were on our way to see him, to see if he was still alive, and possibly had become healthier. And, importantly, we were bringing some more of the insulin he needed but could not afford.

He was so happy to see us when we arrived at the door of the simple adobe house where he lives with his parents and several younger brothers. His small, dirt-floor room had only a bed and he had no table or any other furniture.

He stood up to greet us, smiled and in a surprisingly clear voice told us that he felt so much better.

He had finished the insulin we had given him last month, and he was so excited to see that we were now here, bringing some more. Someone had donated donated food and blankets for his family as a way to help them out because they have almost nothing.

Miguel is gaining strength and weight and can now walk again. I was able to connect him with a medical clinic run by an American man only thirty minutes away. His entire family thanked us and prayed for us before we left. With a continuing insulin supply now assured, he should be able to lead a productive life and help his family.

What a great day!
As I drove the three hours back home, I thought of how thankful I am to all of you who give support to make it possible to do what we do in our ministry.
Merry Christmas, Miguel!

Christmas Miracle in the Village

January 7, 2011 by  
In Daily Blog, Stories and Photos

Small house is home We had our first Christmas miracle on the Saturday before Christmas.

I got a late-night call Wednesday, and learned that a mother who was 8 1/2 months pregnant was experiencing
preeclampsia. This is a possible fatal condition affecting both mother and child. I told the husband to call an
ambulance immediately and we would pay the ambulance later.

Thursday morning as we drove slowly on the mountain roads to go to our clinic, the father was nervously waiting along the side of the road for us in the village of Santa Marta and said his wife had been too scared to go to the hospital as I had insisted. I was very worried.

I parked the pickup truck, and Dr. Efrian and I climbed a steep hill to their simple cement block home. The mother was in very serious shape because she also had a heart condition. Her body was swollen and she had trouble moving and breathing. We could not hear the baby’s heartbeat and we assumed the baby had died.

We called the ambulance to come and decided to wait. (Over the years, we had made friends with the ambulance drivers and they now come when I call them – a little extra “payment” helps us to get good service. )

The ambulance rushed her to the Guatemala City hospital but they warned us that it looked like the mom was not going to make it.

Well, we had 79 patients that day in clinic and ended the day too tired to check out anything further. We did talk to a family member later that day who said the mother and baby were still alive but the mother was quite sick.

By Saturday, not having heard any update on the mother and baby, I drove to the village to check on them.

I was so surprised to see the father smiling, carrying the most beautiful baby boy! The baby was doing fine; they had just returned from the hospital. He told me the doctors said that the mother needs heart surgery and will remain in the hospital for a while, but she will survive.

I rushed to the clinic to get formula and warm blankets for the baby (it had been 36 F at night). I truly believe
it is miracle that they are both alive. A Christmas miracle in the village, with a new baby!

God is good and we are so happy.

PACO DIED TODAY

March 30, 2010 by  
In Daily Blog

At 11 am in the hospital, Paco said he was fine, had no pain, except for a sharp pain in his stomach. He said he was feeling peaceful. Then one hour later, he quiety died. We are devasted beyond comprehension.  More later.

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