February 2019   
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Another beautiful sunny day greeted us this morning here in the Highlands of western Guatemala. The air here is so crisp and cool, very refreshing from the humidity back home. It is such an inspiration seeing the volcanoes Atitlan, Toliman, and San Pedro towering over Lake Atitlan as we ascend through the lush foliage to our work site , meditating on God’s wonderful natural works here.

After our usual brief stop at the Mission Guatemala clinic we arrived at the work site for another productive day. We were able to complete several more walls of stucco and install electrical wiring thanks to the knowledge and talents of Audrey and Taylor (from Trinity UCC). We are so blessed to have such enthusiastic and gifted young people amid our team. The fellowship we experience working along with each other is a great blessing. Although we are a smaller team, we are large in Christian love and service for the people here in San Andreas Semetebaj.

We were also treated to a tour and presentation of the Mission Guatemala Clinic. Dr. Lidia Balan, a Cuban trained doctor, explained what a typical day is like here in the Highlands. The clinic sees approximately 20 to 25 patients a day with most visits in need of assistance with high blood pressure and diabetes. The clinic has been blessed with a lab donation that is able to check patients’ blood work with same visit results. Very impressive considering our lab results at home sometimes take several days. The clinic also has a diabetes group that meets on Thursdays to discuss ways to improve and prevent this common health issue. The clinic continues to specialize in the needs of health and nutrition here in the San Andreas Semetebaj and Panajachel areas of Solola, Guatemala.

I want to take this opportunity to thank you for inviting me to join your mission team this year. It is a sincere pleasure to work with such a wonderful group of fellow United Methodists working together to assist the beautiful people here in San Andreas Semetebaj. This is my fourth mission trip with Mission Guatemala. It is always a thrill to come back and see how Tom Heaton’s dream has grown since its founding in 2009. I have witnessed a lot of productive growth and service since working here in 2012. Thank you for your assistance and making me feel so welcome in joining your team.

Muchas gracias de Guatemala,

Duane Martin

St. Pauls United Methodist Church Evansville