Tuesday, March 29, 2016

The View from the Sofa

As I type this, I am sitting on a love seat in my bedroom with my right foot elevated. My makeshift office is composed of a crayon-covered folding table (Thanks, Yenni.), a backpack filled with paperwork, and cords and chargers surrounding me. From this position I have been juggling emails, text messages and phone calls and trying not to go stir-crazy.
This forced exile was triggered by an unnoticed event about three weeks ago. I received a blow to my shin that I do not even remember receiving. But some time later I noticed pain when I walked. It was at that point that I noticed a bruise and cut and assumed it would pass. However, over time the pain grew and spread down my leg to the point that I finally consulted my doctor.
He assumed it was a blood clot and sent me to the city for a sonogram. That test showed that I did not have a blood clot, but the doctor informed me that I did have an infection which he began to treat with antibiotics. Within a few days the infection was gone, but the pain and swelling was still present. 
I don't understand it all, but apparently my original injury and infection led to swelling which restricted blood flow. This restricted blood flow led to more swelling, which created an ugly cycle. So the doctor told me to get off my leg and elevate it. And I did...kinda. Except for some family visits. And wheelchair work. And a long day trip to Guastatoya. And a few other exceptions. Basically, I ignored him and continued working.
Then on Saturday night my doctor took me to the woodshed and explained that if I did not get off my leg and elevate it, it was going to continue to worsen. And that led to my self-imposed exile.
So, here I sit with my leg up and watching work stack up. In the last two days we have received two application for new wheelchairs and three for monthly assistance, some of which are critical. Meanwhile, I have juggled emails, phone calls and texts which are greatly increasing my to-do list for when I am back on my feet.
Feeling sorry for me yet? Of course not. And I wouldn't either. I am just lying in the bed I made. Or love seat. Whatever.
Speaking of wheelchairs, we have been quite overwhelmed by children and adults in need of wheelchairs. We are currently on track to give away more wheelchairs in 2016 by the end of April than in any other year combined. Yep, you read that right. Praise God, we received a large donation of wheelchairs from Vine International in December as well as a large financial donation to purchase chairs. So everyone is being covered.
About three weeks ago, I found myself staring at 18 applications for wheelchairs and feeling overwhelmed. So I took several hours one day to go to our bodega (storage building) and pull out every chair to inventory and try to match with applications. It was a rather large task, but I enjoyed the work.
At the end of the day, I found wheelchairs for all but three children. And I knew those three would be tough. Each of these little ones had severe special needs and needed chairs that are hard to find. I normally see about one or two of these chairs come through a year, so I was concerned about finding three. But I prayed.
On Saturday of that week we welcomed a team from Liberty Baptist Church in Texas. They brought four wheelchairs with them that were donated. Dale picked them up from the airport and dropped the chairs off at the bodega. I did not have a chance to go see them until Thursday of the following week.
What do you think I found? Yep! Three of those four chairs were exactly the types and sizes that I needed! This was miraculous. I would have been delighted and surprised to find one of the chairs I needed, but to find three left me wiping tears of joy and gratitude!
I have spent a lot of time delivering wheelchairs recently. And when I am healthy again, I have a lot more to deliver. So instead of writing more words and boring you, I am going to share some pictures of people receiving their new chairs. And I want to remind you that it is because of the prayers and support of many of you that these people now have mobility and the awareness that they are not alone. Thank you!
Jeremiah and me with the custom built chair for Nancy in Quichè.

The team from Liberty Baptist Church in Texas
with Iulian and his new ride.

Maria and her mom show off her new wheelchair.

Jean in Guastatoya relaxed into his new chair and promptly fell asleep.

Angel had been using a poorly fitting stroller
that left him uncomfortable, but not anymore.

Mariam has grown into a young woman
and now has a new chair that fits.

Olga's old chair was hit and crushed by a tuk tuk.
Now she no longer has to crawl.
Blessings and thanks from Guatemala!
Daryl, Wanda and the Crew

Friday, March 4, 2016

Changed Directions Down Dusty Roads

For well over a year now, we have been planning to expand our rural village work into new departments. About 19 months ago, I felt a strong urging from the Lord to begin working in the Department of Chiquimula. It is one of the poorest areas of Guatemala with the highest malnutrition rate. The needs are great there, and the instances of special needs are extremely high. So, we began to make plans to go there. On no less than three occasions we planned to go, only to have events beyond our control cancel the trip.

Meanwhile, there are five other departments that have requested that we come and begin ministering. Most of these requests have come from social workers who have learned what we do. And most of them have informed us that children with special needs are dying for a lack of resources and help.

My plan, as of January 1st, was to expand into Chiquimula in early February, with the hope of expanding into the department of Santa Rosa by late Summer or early Fall. The date was set to travel to Camotan in Chiquimula, and I gathered the supplies and equipment to take. And then, Angelita died just three days prior to our departure. So, once again, the trip was cancelled.

Quichè is the red pin to the far north. The other pins
are areas in which we are currently working.
Just a few days later, we received a call from the mother of Christian, who had lived in our home for 18 months and then been returned to his family. His father had succumbed to alcoholism and had become abusive of his mom. He eventually abandoned his wife and two children and ran off with another woman, leaving his wife to try to provide for her son and daughter. She was contacting us to ask for help. Christian had no medicine and needed a wheelchair badly.

The problem was that they live in Quichè, a department that was not yet on my radar. I had plans of expanding there in 2018 (maybe), but had not considered doing so soon. It is a 5 to 6 hour drive there, and it is WAY outside our current area of ministry. I knew that if we went that far, we could not just do so to minister to one family, so that meant we would need to begin working in that region. And I wasn’t sure that we were ready to do that.

But, because the need was so great and God had continually blocked our plans to go to Chiquimula, I began to pray and ask God what He wanted us to do.  And, about two days later, I received a message from my friend, Dennis McCutcheon, the Director of the Guatemalan branch of Vine International. He was connecting me with Greg and Helaine Walton, who were beginning a ministry for those with special needs in Canilla, Quichè. And that made me wonder what God was up to.

Greg and I connected, and he and his family visited us at home several days later. As they shared their vision and story, I knew God was bringing us together for His Kingdom. So, we scheduled a trip up to visit their new ministry center 10 days later. And what a trip it was.

Their are two routes that will take you to their town. One is longer, but uses main roads, while the other one is shorter but much rougher, composed almost entirely of rugged backroads. Since we were planning to meet with Christian and his mom, we chose the first option, which would take us closer to the meeting spot.

Even the main route had its
share of bumps and hills.
 But even this main route had its share of challenges. About 75 minutes of the trip was on dusty dirt roads that required me to engage my 4-wheel drive twice. And, since my air conditioner has been broken for almost two years and we had to leave our windows down, Gerardo, Jeremiah and I arrived dust covered. (I am still knocking the dust off my overnight bag and tool box.) Greg met us in town where we had lunch together and then headed out to visit families. 

We went first to Nancy’s house and heard her heartbreaking story. Nancy was a healthy young girl until the age of nine. She was the apple of her daddy’s eye, and they spent every spare moment together. But then her dad was killed in an accident. Her mother took her up to the casket to see her father one last time. But when the reality of his death hit her, she lay down on the floor next to the casket and stopped moving and responding. She has been that way for 21 years now. She has not spoken a word or made a voluntary movement in all that time.

Due to her lack of movement, her muscles, ligaments and tendons have gradually contracted. Since she struggles to swallow, her mom has crushed fruits and vegetable to feed her, but she has been unable to get sufficient calories into her. As a result, she is horribly malnourished. Yet, her mom has continued to care for her faithfully. In spite of her condition, Nancy does not have a single pressure sore, and that is a testimony to her mom’s excellent care.

We are now arranging formula for her, as well as providing a specialized wheelchair for her. Her body does not bend, so we will be making a flat bed that will attach to a wheelchair frame. We are also working with her mom to teach her basic therapy that she can do with her. Please pray for both Nancy and her mom.

Nancy's malnutrition is severe.

From there we visited Samuel. This young man suffers from severe cerebral palsy that has twisted his body. He has not had a wheelchair, so his mom had placed him in an old child’s wagon with blankets in the bottom. Over time, this has resulted in increasing deformity in his back and hips. His left hip is now completely dislocated and would require surgery to fix it.

Greg and his new ride
Greg had sent me the measurements and photos that were gathered by some visiting therapists, so I was able to take the proper wheelchair for him. After over an hour of adjustments, we were able to get him sitting upright. And with additional padding, we were able to get his dislocated hip into a secure and comfortable position.

His family is very poor, so we left them with a food basket. We will be seeking a sponsor for Nancy, Samuel and all the people you will read about here.

From there we headed back to the ministry center that the Waltons have opened. The ministry is called Las Maripositas (The Little Butterflies). It is a beautiful facility that they rented and are fixing up. From there they will offer special education, therapy, a nutrition program and more. But they are new at working with people who have special needs, so they are asking us to train them and their staff. So, in the coming months we will be providing classes in assessment, the most common special needs, therapy, first aid, CPR and more. 

Meanwhile, they are blessing us by connecting us with resources that we need, including a missionary pilot with two planes that can do medical evacuations for us from all over Guatemala and a Christian hospital in Quiche that will open soon and provide high quality medical care. We are praising God for this new partnership.

Darlyn and his mom
When we arrived at the center, Darlyn and his mother was waiting for us. He is a young man with cerebral palsy and is in desperate need of a wheelchair, so they were meeting us there so we could measure him to bring a chair on our next trip. But as we talked with the mother and interacted with Darlyn, it became clear that he also is on the autism spectrum. His mother explained the issues with which he struggles, including insomnia. He sleeps only two hours a night, and cries much of the time. This makes life hard on his family as well. We have now connected him with some medicine that will hopefully help.

At this point, we took time to go over the menu for their feeding program. They have done a fantastic job of creating a menu to provide high calorie and high nutrition meals, but we were working with them to tweek the program to be adapted to children with special needs. Many do not realize this, but those who are immobile or limited in their mobility struggle with constipation because movement aids digestion. So we worked with them to add juices and fiber to assist with colon health.

Maynor is blind and will
be receiving cane training
and a cane from our team.
By this time, we were wiped after a day of travel and work, so we headed back to the Waltons’ home for a nice meal and a good night’s rest. We were ready to hit the ground running the next morning, which was good. There were more families waiting.

A stroke victim, a teenager with severe autism that includes self abuse, a teenager who is blind and will be receiving the benefit of our team’s recent training by Global Cane Outreach, and more. We finished up and headed back home around 1:00 pm.

More dusty roads followed, and we somehow ended up even more dust covered going back. Everything we had with us produced a dust cloud by the end.

Christian and his
new wheels
We stopped in Santa Cruz del Quichè, where we met Christian and his mom. It was so good to see them both, and we quickly had Christian sitting well in his new wheelchair. We also gave him the medicine he so desperately needed, so we are hopeful that he will be doing better soon.

Please pray for us in the days ahead. We have much work happening here in Guatemala with our expansion into Quichè, but it does not end there. The ministry is growing in every area in which we work. Just yesterday Gerardo and Manuel ventured to Comalapa and Tecpan to visit families and deliver medicine and food. But when they returned they had four more applications of children with special needs who desperately need intervention. This is stretching both our faith and our schedule.

Add to that the expansion into Liberia and a still young work in Uganda, and my plate is very full. Please pray for focus and clarity for me and all our team.

Speaking of Liberia, Don and Melanie Riley and their children will be making their move back to Africa next week. Please keep them in your prayers during that transition.

Cesar is making great headway!
Finally, I want to introduce you to the newest member of Hogar de la Esperanza. Cesar is nine years old and suffers from a seizure disorder and physical and cognitive delays. I normally keep information regarding the background for the children private, but this case is special and He truly needs your prayers. For the first eight years of his life, he grew up in a very remote village to the north. Because of his seizure disorder, his family and village believed him to be demon possessed, so they treated him accordingly. They kept him in a homemade cage where he lived like an animal. 

The emotional damage to this young man has been severe. When he first arrived in our home, he was out of control. He hit, kicked, bit, threw toys at the heads of others and more. He was unresponsive to verbal correction, and we will not use physical discipline on a child that has been abused. So we resorted to the only thing we could do, physical restraint. We would hold him firmly from behind while seated on the floor and securing his arms and his legs. We would speak words of love and correction, explaining that hurting others was not allowed, and they were not allowed to hurt him. We told him that we are now his family, this is his home and that he is loved and safe.

In the last three weeks we have seen tremendous strides. He seldom is aggressive, and has become quite affectionate. He loves being hugged and hugging others. We had removed all hard toys from the play area out of fear of him using them as a weapon, but we are now gradually reintroducing them. In the early days, it took 5 of us to administer his medicine due to his fighting and spitting. Now he opens his mouth and receives them without a battle. God is slowly bringing healing into his heart and a sweet little boy is emerging, but there is still much healing that remains. Please pray for Cesar.

I guess I have probably overwhelmed you with info, so I will bring it to an end. Thanks for every one of you who pray, give and encourage! You help make this ministry possible.

Blessings from Guatemala!

Daryl, Wanda and the Crew

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Uganda or Bust - Taryn Fulp

As you know, our ministry does not fundraise for expenses. We, instead, take our needs to God and trust Him to place it on people's hearts to give. And He has always done so, so we have no plans to change that approach. However, we do not insist that everyone who works with us live and serve by that same principle. Indeed, we understand that God calls each of us to follow His voice, and that may be different for each one.

Currently, my daughter, Taryn, is in the process of raising funds for the next step of her life. God is calling her out in faith to help her prepare for her future in missions, and I would like to ask you to read her letter below and prayerfully consider partnering with her as she follows Him. 


Hello, Everybody!

As I am finishing up my senior year of high school and approaching my eighteenth birthday, I am seeking God for my future. For a couple of years now I have had a passion for medical missions and a draw to Africa. Over recent months I have been hearing God’s call but fighting Him because of my fears of the unknown. However, moving beyond those fears, God has been helping me to put into motion a plan for the next year of my life. 

I have recently been accepted by Equip International for a two week Missionary Medicine Intensive course from May 8-19, 2016, in Marion, North Carolina. This is a course that is designed for missionaries working in areas of the world with little or no medical resources. Here is a link to the course if you are interested in seeing more what I will be doing: http://www.equipinternational.org/mmi/. After that, I will return to Guatemala for the month of June and then early July I will be moving to Uganda, Africa for approximately one year. (Do you see why I have some fears? ) Some of the time that I am there, I will be living with my sister, Carissa, and working with various ministries in her area. Other times I will be living in different parts of Uganda, working other ministry opportunities. Since Uganda is a third-world country, there are plenty of opportunities to use my medical training while I am there.

At this point, I am unsure whether this is where God will call me long-term, or if this is a stepping stone to a future call.

There are a couple ways that you can help me. 
1. Prayer. As I said before, I have a lot of fears. Please pray for peace (for me and my parents), guidance, and provision.
2. One-time or monthly financial gifts. Unfortunately, because of airfare and the length of the trip, I will need a lot of support. Below I have listed some estimated totals. If you have questions or would like to see a more specific breakdown of the totals, feel free to ask.

One-time expenses: $3190 (airline tickets, visa & renewal, medical missions class, etc.)
Monthly expenses: $330 (room, board, transportation, ministry expenses, etc.)

If you are interested in following what I will be doing, I will be starting a blog in the near future to give updates. 

If God leads you to support my work, you can give your tax-deductable gift through Hope for Home Ministries. Send your gift to the home office at
Hope for Home Ministries  
P.O. Box 393 
Troy, OH 45373

Or you can visit http://hopeforhome.org/donate.html and give via PayPal.

Please make note that the gift is for "Taryn Fulp - Uganda," and specify if it is a one-time gift or a monthly gift. 

Thank you so much for taking time to read this. I am very excited about what God has in store for my future.