When I started at MOST Ministries last August, I had not yet been on a mission trip. While my ministry experiences may have prepared me to serve at MOST and to serve on a mission team, I had never actually been on a mission team until Team 2208 departed on November 2nd.
The makeup of our team was very interesting with Tim, our team leader, and Karen, our team liaison, both coming out of St. Lorenz Lutheran Church in Frankenmuth. The rest of our team was assembled out of congregations in Kansas, Indiana, Wisconsin, and three other congregations in Michigan – 10 people from 7 congregations in 4 states!
Our team members had all the professional qualifications that we needed for our medical clinic: a physician, a physical therapist, a pharmacist, an optical technician, 3 registered nurses, and one person (me) with no medical background but who was able to contribute by helping in the pharmacy.
Our team prepared by meeting several times over Zoom in the weeks before departure. Tim and Karen did a great job preparing us in our meetings, helping us with travel, getting us where we needed to be and when we needed to be there, and making sure we had everything we needed for our medical clinic.
We served alongside Rev. Dr. Elry Orozco and his wife Liz, a Lutheran deaconess, at Santa Cruz Lutheran Church, a mission congregation on the shores of Lake Amatitlan near Guatemala City. Elry’s story is remarkable, having had an established career as a medical doctor, he completed a program through Concordia Seminary St. Louis to become an ordained Lutheran minister. At the Santa Cruz mission he serves as both a physician and a pastor.
Our team spent the first part of the week seeing patients in the mission’s sanctuary which had been converted into a medical clinic with areas for registration, triage, and provider care. Separate rooms were used for physical therapy and pharmacy. Patients were welcomed into this house of God to receive help and encouragement with their physical and spiritual health.
We spent the rest of our time seeing patients in the mountain village of El Pepinal, a 45 minute drive from Lake Amatitlan, where health care is not as easily available. We packed up the whole clinic, like a MASH unit, and transported it to this remote location. In all we saw 283 men, women, and children at our two locations.
During our stay, I learned about the heavy load Elry and Liz have been carrying. Elry’s brother, Abdiel, had been a Lutheran pastor at Castillo Fuerte (Mighty Fortress) Lutheran Church in Guatemala City. Abdiel died of COVID one year ago in January. With no succession plan in place and with the current shortage of pastors, Elry consented to add the pastoral duties at Castillo Fuerte to his already busy schedule. He also provides medical services in that community. This leaves Elry serving as the only pastor in two congregations and as the only physician at two medical clinics!
Elry and his family are certainly instruments of God’s grace in Guatemala – and I have been blessed to work alongside these incredible servant-leaders!
(See the rest of this story at mostministriesblog.org)