Monday, June 22, 2015

Medical Clinics (We Did It!)

Last week we attempted something we had never done before. My sister, Kathy Grant, and her husband, Bob, put together a medical missions team from their church, Project Re:3, and brought them to Guatemala. So we put together four days of medical clinics to touch physical needs. In the past we have done therapy clinics, but this was our first attempt at bringing doctors and nurses together to provide medical care.

IMG_1062The team from the States consisted of two nurses, two EMT’s and a respiratory therapist. We teamed them with our staff doctor, Dr. Augusto Perez, and our staff nurse, Katie Riley, and headed out to San Pablo La Laguna early Sunday morning. We arrived late morning and set up in the building that had been set aside for us. It was an excellent facility with a sheltered waiting area, a triage room and three exam rooms. We had no sooner finished unpacking and setting up when the crowd arrived.

IMG_1082As people came through the door, they were given a number and were called up one at a time to fill out an information card and go into triage for assessment. The role of the triage workers was to assess the need and determine if they needed the doctor, one of the nurses, or the respiratory therapist. From there they went to their respective exam rooms for treatment. During that day our clinic was only open for four hours, yet we treated over 70 patients.

That evening was spent in San Pedro La Laguna, because there are no hotels or decent restaurants in San Pablo. We had a crew of 18 people traveling with us, so the logistics of transportation, lodging and feeding was no small matter. Those logistics broke down somewhat the next morning when the restaurant took an hour and a half to feed our team, resulting in our arriving 15 minutes late to the clinic.

IMG_1078When we entered the building we found around 75 or 80 people already waiting, so we dove right into the work. We had gotten more efficient the day before, and were able to get people through the process faster. In the next 7 hours we saw around 120 patients. And as we were loading our vehicles people continued to approach us seeking medical help. Several people were examined and treated next to the van and truck. We pulled back into our town after 9 pm that night, exhausted and ready for sleep.

Over the next two days the team did some shopping, worked in our home and visited Hermano Pedro in Antigua. Then, on Thursday and Friday, we hosted another clinic in their hotel here in San Antonio Aguas Calientes.

In the past, we had used the municipal building in town for a therapy clinic. But a few months later we found that the mayor had used that clinic in a pamphlet promoting his political party. We work hard to not get involved in politics. We minister in Jesus’ name, not in the name of a party, so we decided to host future events in non-governmental locations. This has, apparently, angered our mayor and the local elements of his party. So, when we approached the municipality to ask them to announce the clinics through the loud speakers, they told us they would. But we later found out they did not. So we were wondering if many would show up.

IMG_1107We needn’t have worried, as around 170 people crowded in over the two days we were open. People with everything from infections to machete wounds showed up seeking help. The team was a group of rock stars as they endured the long hours and hard work without complaint. So many people were touched and helped in Jesus’ name.

As I look back over the clinics, I am struck by a few truths:

1) Sometime the emotional wounds can seem physical. On our second day of clinics I sat with a young girl who told me about her physical problems. She insisted that her heart would stop for brief periods. I asked her to describe the experience and quickly realized that she was having panic attacks. So I asked about her home life, and she teared-up as she told me of their poverty, her fear that she would have to drop out of school and the fighting these things had caused between her parents. What she needed was not medicine, but a listening ear and an understanding heart. We prayed with her, praying that she could take her fears and stress to God and encouraged her to follow-up with her pastor.

IMG_11122) Education is crucial. One mother came in with her baby wrapped in layers of blankets and nearly unresponsive. The nurses realized he had a high fever and quickly removed the blankets and layers of clothing and replaced them with ice packs. Within 10 minutes, he was once again responding as his temperature dropped. He received antibiotics and Tylenol, and the mother received instructions on fever control. We face this issue repeatedly. A child runs a fever and shivers. The parents, seeing their discomfort, wraps them in blankets. The fever spikes and brain damage results. So much of the battle we face lies in educating parents.

3) Many people just need a friend. Several of the people who came through the doors and waited a long time to see us did not need a doctor. They were just seeking company. During the hours they waited and were seen, they were just enjoying being in the presence of others. This was especially true of some of the elderly who could not give us a good reason for coming to see us. So we chatted and prayed with them, and they went home a little happier than when they arrived. The ministry of presence is one of the most important ministries we can do.

The Project Re:3 team was amazing! They brought so many medicines and medical supplies and kept a great attitude through it all. My sister and brother-in-law served tirelessly as they greeted and kept children entertained with balloon animals. Another part of the team organized our pharmacy and dispensed medicine for hours. Our doctor was incredible as well, soliciting donations and bringing along almost his entire pharmacy. And, of course, our live-in nurse, Katie, did a fantastic job of leading and serving.


At the end of it all, we had an exhausted team:


I believe this will be the first of many medical clinics. We have learned that, with God’s help, we can do them and do them well, and we are anxious to continue this area of ministry that has been started.

Presently we are being presented with so many opportunities. There are so many open doors in front of us, and we cannot go through all of them. Could you please pray for us in the days ahead that we will know which directions are the right ones? We need wisdom, resources and people. The need is great, but the workers are few.

Blessings from Guate!

Daryl, Wanda and the Crew

Monday, June 1, 2015


In the last 24 hours, we have said two painful goodbyes…

The first goodbye was to little Micah. He was in our home and a part of our family for only eight days. We knew when he came to us that he was dying, and we knew that it was good for him to go to Jesus. But it was still painful.

He entered our home via ambulance on Friday, May 22nd and was embraced by all. During the time he was in our home he was never alone. We took shifts overnight, knowing that his time was short and not wanting him to be alone. He was held and rocked, almost constantly. And he heard the words, “We love you!” hundreds of times.

So frequently during those days we thought he was leaving us, but each time he would rally and surge back. However, on Friday we all noticed a pronounced decline. He became less responsive and his breathing would stop for 10 to 15 seconds, only to restart again. Twice during his final days we all gathered around, told him we loved him, played worship music and said goodbye, the last time being Saturday afternoon. Then, around 5:00 pm, he took his final breath and slipped from our arms into Jesus’.

That was such a bitter-sweet moment. On the one hand, we were so tired of seeing him struggling that we wanted to see him go. I kept pleading with him to let go and go to Jesus. At the same time, I grieved that he had left us. We all wept and hugged and talked about our love for him.

Here in Guatemala, the funeral happens quickly. So within an hour Jeremiah, Joel, Dale and myself were digging the grave in the cemetery at the end of our street. We worked hard in order to finish by sunset. The casket was brought to our home and Wanda and the others prepared his body and placed him inside. He remained in our home overnight.

The memorial service was yesterday (Sunday) afternoon, and was well attended by staff and friends. Feliz, from Solola, came down, along with family and friends. She had been a mother to Micah before we ever met him, visiting him in the hospital regularly and praying for him.

The service was simple and held in our courtyard. Afterward, we had a procession down to the cemetery, where we prayed, sang and filled in the grave. As I type this, the workers are making his gravestone.

At this moment Micah is whole, healed and basking in the presence of Jesus. Of that, I have no doubt. And I rejoice for him. But the goodbye is hard and painful. Yet, this is our calling. And in the midst of the pain, I feel God smile.

Yesterday, during the service before I went up to speak, I was standing to the side with Wanda. I had tears in my eyes and was struggling to sing, but I put my arm around her shoulder, pulled her close and whispered in her ear…

“Thank you for being willing to live this life!”

Any other woman would have left me years ago. They would have left behind the pain that this life and ministry brings. They would have left behind the long hours and broken heart. And they certainly would have left behind this stubborn, driven and thick-headed excuse for a man. But she is still here beside me, embracing it all.

After it was all over, my son, Jeremiah, approached me. He struggle the most with our decision to accept Micah into our home, not because he wouldn’t love him, but because he would. When both Esperanza and Tanya died, Jeremiah struggle the most because he loves deeply and with abandon. So he was not thrilled when we decided to bring in another dying child. But his words to me were the most healing that I have heard through this process. He hugged my and said, “Thanks for being willing to say yes. It bothers me to think that he could have died without a family.”

And so, it is worth it, and that was our first goodbye.

Our second goodbye was this morning as we dropped our daughter Carissa off at the airport. My little girl is moving to Uganda where she will be opening a home for girls with special needs.

How do I feel about that? Good question.

I feel incredibly proud…and very scared.

I feel an overwhelming excitement…and a deep sense of sadness.

I feel confident of her future…and timid about her journey and the price she will have to pay.

When each of our children were born or adopted, we prayed and dedicated them to the Lord. And each time we asked God to raise them up as a man or woman of God that would love Jesus, love the world and would follow Him wherever He may lead. He has answered that prayer in spades with Carissa, and I could not be more proud of her.

But, just between you and me, sometimes obedience sucks. You know what I mean? (I know. That is a horrible thing for a man of God to say. I will expect your correcting e-mails.) Even though we know obeying God is what is right and best in the long run, it sure is painful in the present sometimes.

Today, as I watched her carrying her luggage through the crowds into the terminal, I stood on tiptoes to catch one more glimpse of her before she was gone. In my mind, she was a toddler taking her first steps again, but this time she wasn’t going to stop and come back. She confidently stepped through the doors without looking back. (I didn’t expect or want her to. That is who she is and how she lives.) And, at that moment, my heart both swelled in pride and broke in two.

She is off to change Uganda. And she will. The power of Jesus Christ is strong in her, and He will use her in mighty ways. And we are behind her, 200%. But this dad has a lump in his throat that just won’t go away.

One day, in the place where Micah runs and plays today, there will be no more goodbyes. There will only be hellos. I keep reminding myself that our family will be together in the presence of Jesus…forever. But in order to bring as many people with us as possible, we have to say a lot of goodbyes in this life. And it will all be worth it…one day.

But for now:

Goodbye, Micah. You are loved and missed deeply. You are and will always be our son and brother. Have fun and we will see you soon!

Goodbye, Carissa. We are proud of you, excited for you and miss you horribly already. Go change the world. And, remember, we love you, are praying for you and will be behind you all the way. Go get ‘em!

Daryl, Wanda and the Crew

(By the way, if you wish to support Carissa’s new branch of Hope for Home in Uganda you can do so through our US office. Just visit to see how.)