Day 6: Last Day

Today was the last day of clinic. The providers saw their last patients and sent them to pharmacy to receive their vitamins, dental supplies, and medications. We gathered together as a group to take photos of medical students and wish them farewell. Many hugs and heartfelt goodbyes were exchanged as the team wished the students safe travels home. We thanked all of the volunteers from Mundial Extendido for their help. The each department took inventory and packed everything away. The team had satisfaction of a job well done, yet couldn’t believe how fast the week went.

It was a blessing to serve the people of San Lucas Toliman on this medical mission trip. In total, 655 people received medical care. The level of impact goes beyond the number of people helped. People came together to serve those in need and lives were touched this week. We can show God’s love despite the barriers we face.

Please pray for safe travels home.

Day 5: The Big Picture

Today marked Day 3 of Clinic, or "hump day" as one of the leaders put it. Serving for 2 full days at the clinic has tired many of us out. But after breakfast, the group received encouragement from our friend and missionary Oscar Chiquito. Oscar gave a short speech about his mission and how we play a role in what he hopes to see for Guatemala.

Oscar first told us briefly about his background. Oscar grew up in Guatemala and earned a college degree in the U.S. He is keenly aware of the current socioeconomic state. He understands that changes need to be made in order for the people of Guatemala to thrive. He deeply wanted to make an impact and improve the impoverished cities of Guatemala. With Oscar's education and background, he would be a natural fit for a politician. Oscar considered pursuing a career in politics so that he could represent the interests of the people. After much thought and prayer, Oscar decided to become a missionary to help change the status quo.

Oscar’s missionary focus is community development with the help of Christian churches. Oscar and his family work to change the current state of the country in three ways. The first way is to work with local churches to develop a strategic plan. The second way is to empower church leaders. The third part of Oscar’s approach is to establish partnerships with churches and create outreach initiatives. Oscar also emphasized the importance of making disciples. Although there are a high percentage of Evangelical Christians in Guatemala, too few are actively living out the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20). Oscar wants to change the statistics through his missionary focus.

The Woodlands medical mission team is a part of the big picture. Woodlands is doing more than providing a medical clinic. Hearing Oscar speak and getting to know him this week has convinced me of that. In partnering with churches like Mundial Extendido, we are a part of the community development Oscar and others long to see.

Checkout pictures from the trip at

Don Price's Blog Post

Greetings from San Lucas Toliman (SLT),

This years edition of the Woodlands' Medical Mission Team to SLT is off to a good start. Day #1 was a little light in numbers, but a steady flow allowed this team to get things sorted out and "hitting on all 8". Many of our team memeber have never worked together before and we, of course, welcomed the medical students (9 of them) from Guatemala to the team. Our first day did coincide with a huge celebration (parades, carnival, no work and schools closed, etc.) and so that may have affected the turn out. UPDATE: mid morning and still very light crowds.

Each team has been great (Optical, Ortho, General,, Women's, and Pediatrics in the medical area; Family Photo Clinic; the Pharmacy team;logistics; and the Spiritual Clinic) and we are looking forward to this day. All 35 of us gathered last evening and are all having a great time getting to know each other. The team did the first day "dance" very well.

Special kudos to the Optical Team. They did see the most people yesterday.

Dr. Joe has the medical staff very well organized and our corp of RN's are keeping things running smoothly.

We covet your prayers and are all dong well.


Day 3: Clinic Opens

Excitement was building this morning as we gathered for a team photo in our tan Woodlands scrubs. Today marked the first day of the clinic. After breakfast we walked to Iglesia Mundial Extendido, the church hosting the clinic. It took some time to set up and equip each medical station. The pastor and leaders of Mundial Extendido brought everyone together to thank our team for serving and pray for God's blessing on the day. Everyone took their places and the doors were opened.

This year, the clinic offers general medicine, pediatrics, orthopedics, blood pressure/glucose screenings, GYN, optical, pharmacy, family portraits, and spiritual services. A patient would first go through triage area and speak with one of our team members about their particular ailment or need. Our volunteers would guide them to the proper station to be seen by a medical professional. Chairs are set up if they need to wait. While waiting for physicans, patients can be weighed and have their blood pressure and/or glucose checked. After the patient is seen, they have the option to go through the "spiritual clinic". The leaders of the church are available to share the Gospel and pray for each person. The medical clinic is hosted by the church as a way to help meet the physical needs of their community, but the leaders have the bigger vision to impact the community for Christ. We are privileged to be a part of their vision.

All in all, the clinic ran very smoothly. We had over 120 people come for the medical services. We are very grateful to have the volunteer help from members of Iglesia Mundial Extendido and Medical Students from Guatemala City. The students are very helpful to the doctors not only in translating, but with the knowledge of medicine and local culture. These students are very friendly and eager to learn. As we prepare for the day tomorrow, please pray that the clinic would continue to run smoothly, we would continue to gel as a team, and that we can show God's love.

Optical Pharmacy

Some Day 2 Pictures

Boat landing at Panajachel

Group photo at a pier

One of the local shops

Hotel grounds

Gardens at the hotel

Day 2: Cultural Day

After a longer than anticipated bus ride, we arrived at the Hotel Toliman Saturday night. The hotel has very nice accomodations. Big rooms, beautiful gardens on the grounds, and a top notch restaurant where we have been having our meals. The city of San Lucas Toliman is located off of Lake Atitlan. A landlocked lake surrounded by mountains.

Sunday was the cultural day for the team. We started the day with a delicious breakfast of omelets, black beans, cheese and plantains. It was a sunny day and the team was ready to go exploring.

After breakfast, the group traveled to the city of Panajachel, located across Lake Atitlan. Panajachel is a popular tourist destination in the area. Our team had a few hours to walk around and browse the local shops. Members of the group who bought merchandise were encouraged to haggle with the merchants as there were no price tags listed. Haggling with the merchants made for an entertaining shopping experience.

The team traveled back to San Lucas Toliman for lunch and a team briefing. During the meeting, we went over clinic expectations and also had devotional time and a chance to worship. After the meeting, about half of the team went to the clinic to get a feel for the layout and to transport the medical supplies. The clinic is being held at the local church, Iglesia Mundial Extendido. Once the supplies were delivered, we traveled back to the hotel and got ready for church.

The team had the neat opportunity of attending an evening church service at Iglesia Mundial Extendido. The worship and sermon was passionate and the congregation was very welcoming. One of our Spanish speaking Doctors gave a short speech about the clinic and what we came to do.

The team anticipates a busy day tomorrow, but we pray that God prepares our hearts to serve and the clinic would run smoothly.

San Lucas Toliman: Day 1

The October 2014 medical mission began early Saturday morning at the Milwaukee Airport. We departed at 6 am arriving in Atlanta for our connecting flight. The team had about an hour lay over before we boarded our flight to Guatemala City. During the layover, team members grabbed lunch and stretched their legs. We were surprised to find another medical group would be serving in San Lucas Toliman. A team of Doctors and surgeons out of Detroit told us about their plans to perform surgeries at the local hospital. This group would also be staying at the Hotel Toliman.

After a safe takeoff and landing, we arrived at the Guatemala City. The team was prepared of a potential hold-up at customs, so we tried to be inconspicuous as each team member passed security and claimed their bags. The team was in high spirits for getting to our destination country without a hitch. Trip leaders Don and Julie agreed that all things went smoothly.

It wasn't until we boarded our Chicken bus, that the real adventure began. Local Missionaries, Carla and Rueben greeted us outside the airport. The plan was to load up a highly decorated bus, stop for lunch at a nice restaurant, stop briefly in Sumpango, and drive to our final destination. The bus did not have enough room to accommodate all belongings and medical supplies, we were forced to load the top of the bus with a good portion of the teams' belongings. We didn't mind the tight quarters.

The skies darkened shortly before our half hour drive to lunch. We originally thought a tarp was available to cover the stuff on top of the bus. Turns out we did not have a tarp. It hadn't started raining yet so we thought we could chance it and get a tarp in Sumpango when we dropped off Carla and Rueben. Just few minutes after leaving the airport when it began to downpour. Narrow, crowded streets made things a little more stressful, but we made it to the restaurant. Our driver, Carla and Rueben all came through to get us to our destination.

After a delicious lunch of steak, chicken, sausage, baked potato, garlic bread and cheesy dipping sauce. We also were treated to desert that resembled tiramisu. After lunch the rain had subsided. We boarded the bus to Sumpango. Driving uphill on narrow, winding roads made for an interesting bus ride.

We will find out if anything is damaged when we arrive at our final

Some observations: Guatemalan people seem to be friendly and family oriented. It's been evident that these people value relationships. I was surprised at how busy the roads were even outside of the big city. It seemed like rush hour at times with vehicles squeezing together as they share the road. Our chicken bus is a sight to see even for the Guatemalans; many watch as we go by, some wave, some laugh. I think I speak for the group when I say, I very much look forward to serving and getting to know the Guatemalans.

More updates and pictures to come. Stay tuned!

-Tom Hoeft

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