Guatemala Adventures, pt 1

Greetings from Kansas once again! I had fully intended to do better at keeping this blog updated over the past few weeks, but due to a variety of reasons that didn’t happen. It was one of the most exciting Central America trips I have taken…and I am so grateful for God’s protection, care, and faithfulness. There’s too much to say in one post, so I’ll try to write more about it in a later post as well.

I left KS for Guatemala back on May 8, a bit earlier than planned, as the baby that I was going for was making signs of appearing sooner than expected. Usually, when going to that spot in Guatemala, I would need to fly into Guate City, take an overnight bus up to the northern Petén area of the country, catch another bus to head 4 hours to the town of El Naranjo, and from there catch a ferry across the river and drive another half hour or so, or take a boat from that spot….alot of traveling, to say the least! But since we felt time was crucial, I had the fun privilege of getting flown up to the town of El Naranjo by James, a pilot who works for the mission. This eliminated hours of travel, and after leaving KS at 6:30 am, I arrived at the destination that afternoon around 4 pm.

View of Guatemala City from the small plane's window

The plane on the small runway in El Naranjo

It was lovely to be back in Guatemala with some of my dear friends there! As we waited on baby’s arrival, I enjoyed time catching up with them, and getting a further glimpse of their life. A few days later, we headed out to a small town about 4 hours away, where we stayed awaiting the birth. This allowed us to be within half an hour of a hospital should complications occur. Little Alex José arrived on May 19, after a lovely first-time labor. One of my good friends, Ashley, who works as a nurse in a nearby clinic, was my assistant for the birth, and it was a special treat to get to work with her!

Little Alex a few days after birth

His first Sunday!

I ended up staying with Alex’s family for about a week after his birth, going with them back to the little village where they live….then when I tried to return home, things got interesting, as a result of several natural disasters that occured the weekend I tried to travel….but more pictures and those stories will come later!!

In closing, a big thank you to all of you who were praying for me, and kept in touch. It was an incredible opportunity, and dream come true to spend the time in Guatemala helping with a delivery!

I know it’s been awhile!

Well, after several weeks with no posts, I have decided it’s time to sit down and actually write something to let you all know I’ve not dropped off the face of the world! Life has been speeding along at a rapid pace, as I know it has been for many people, and I keep thinking that I will write…

Yesterday finally saw the arrival of a very big boy that we have been waiting on for several weeks. That is one reason I’ve not written-I kept thinking that we would have a baby announcement to post! But this little fellow wanted to take his good ol’ time.  We are grateful for his safe arrival, and glad to be able to see him on the “outside” at last.

At the moment, I am busily trying to wrap things up around here in order to be ready to take off for Guatemala this weekend. My intention in going is to help a missionary family with the birth of their baby. I’d appreciate your prayers for safe travels, and for God’s hand to be over us as we anticipate the arrival of this new little one! I’m not sure how long I’ll be gone…could be two weeks, or up to five…so it’s a bit challenging to have things taken care of back home for an unknown amount of time. It makes me grateful yet again for for wonderful midwives in the area who help me by covering and providing quality care for my clients that are left behind in my absence. So, if you contact me this month by phone, and wonder why I’m not answering, know you will know what’s up!

I know this is a rather interesting conglomeration of topics, but I figure I might as well catch you all up on several different areas. However, the best and biggest event going on in my life right now will be announced soon, so stay posted for another new announcement within a week or so.  🙂

Alright, in closing, I have to let you know that my friend and fellow midwife, Heidi, has started her own blog. It’s beautiful, and will give you more information about the services and care she offers. Check it out!

While I’m giving you other links, if you are looking for a midwife in the Tulsa, OK area, you might want to check out the website of another friend of mine, Faith Morie. She has spent the past 8 months or so working for a midwife in Isreal, and is now back in OK getting her practice started. Pass her information on to anyone you think might be interested!

May you enjoy this beautiful day to the fullest!

Back in Kansas again

After a full month in Guatemala, my younger sister and brother and I have arrived safely back in Kansas.  The trip was a wonderful experience, and we made many special memories together. God worked out so many details, and I enjoyed introducing my siblings many of my friends, and places that I had visited before. We studied at the La Ensenañza school in Antigua for three weeks, and then headed to the northern Petén region where we visited friends for a week. Getting to experience life in another culture without many of the conveniences that we are used to is an opportunity that I wish many people could experience!

Now I’m back to work, getting ready for a couple of upcoming births, seeing clients and babies, and numerous other activities that have been keeping me busy since arriving back in the States.

Here are a few of our favorite pictures from the trip, to give you a taste of what our life was like….

The Archway-an old, beautiful landmark in Antigua

One of the beautiful, old landmarks in the town of Antigua


Santa Elena Market

A view of some of the delicious fruit available in the markets.


Petén, Guatemala

Isaac, Charis and I


Guatemala October 09 204

Some of the lovely handiwork available in the markets-the colors are gorgeous!



A jungle baby story

An aerial view of the little village of Santa Rosita, in the Petén region of Guatemala

An aerial view of the little village of Santa Rosita, in the Petén region of Guatemala

This week I have enjoyed the special treat of having a good friend, Ashley Beck, here visiting. We met in Guatemala in 2006, while students at the same Spanish school in Antigua. She has been working as a nurse in two different clinics since that time, and we have kept up here and there. This past April I had the opportunity to visit her in Guatemala, and now she is here in Kansas with me! That’s something we never thought would happen….her family is from PA, and there isn’t much to draw her to KS, but her brother found a good reason to come to this state-he’s getting married this Saturday to a girl who lives in the western part of the state. I’m grateful, as it’s been lots of fun to introduce Ashley to my family and life here.

When we met that winter of ’06, my brother and I had plans to study Spanish for almost two months, and then spend several weeks visiting various missionaries that we knew involved in work throughout Central America. While attending a two-week class on Medical Missions in NC, we met a sweet couple, Jeff and Crystal Yoder, who were planning to return to their work in Guatemala. They invited us to come and visit them while we were in the country, which was an invitation we eagerly accepted. Imagine our surprise, then, when we met Ashley the first week we were in language school, and found out she was returning to her post in the Petén area of the country, and was going to be working with Jeff and Crystal! That increased my anticipation of the visit, and after 5 weeks of language school, we headed up to Santa Rosita to see these dear people….

Santa Rosita is a very tiny village, located on a large river. It is just south of the Mexico border, and is close to a larger town called El Naranjo. I believe there are about 30 houses, and the mission clinic is a real asset, as the closest hospital is about 4 hours away.

Well, all this introduction to set the stage for the following story. With Ashley here, we were reminiscing about this particular birth, and I thought some of you readers may enjoy hearing the story. I’m going to copy the story as told by Jeff Yoder,  in one of his updates.  This takes place in February, 2006. Enjoy!

“Another major event of this month was the arrival of a new little baby.  One Sunday afternoon, a lady came and asked Ashley (our nurse) if she’d go upriver and check out a lady who thought she was going into labor.  We prayed about it, debating whether we should get involved.  Ashley has really wanted to start doing midwifery, has observed a number of births, and helped sometimes, but wasn’t sure if this was the time to start as a midwife.  We decided to go, and piled into our boat and headed up.  It wasn’t very far up at all, just below the rapids.  Kelsey has helped with a number of births, so she went along as Ashley’s support.  It turned out that she wasn’t really in labor yet, so Ashley left it that they would call another midwife in when she went into labor, and also would call Ashley, so she could observe.

“That evening, right after supper, a fellow showed up outside our door.  Here it was Arturo, the husband of the expectant mother!  He said his wife was in labor, and they decided to stay in Santa Rosita and use the elderly midwife here.  So Ashley and Kelsey went to the midwife’s house to watch.

“Around 10:30, the girls came back to our place for a few minutes before returning.  The labor was proceeding only slowly, so the birth didn’t seem imminent.  The mother was in a tin-roofed board hut with a dirt floor.  The walls were papered with old newspaper and the cockroaches ran up and down, on top of and behind the newspapers.  In the corner the hen and chicks peeped to each other.
“As the night passed on, the girls ended up piling onto a bed with the others waiting for the birth and sleeping for a while.  Around 2:30, they woke up again, and things were moving along faster.  Just about the time they started to see the top of the baby‘s head, a commotion broke out in an adjoining room.  The hen started cackling and flapping around, chicks peeping.  “Oh, that rat!” said the midwife.  She scurried off into the other room, grabbed the machete, and started running around whacking at the rat.  Pans clattered, hitting the floor, and the rest of the people called out encouragement, “He’s over there!”  Ashley and Kelsey decided that they might have to deliver the baby themselves.  But the midwife returned, a bit sheepish, and delivered the baby around 3:20.  He’s a healthy little boy, and probably weighed around 7 lbs at birth, though they didn’t weigh him until a day later.  (On the story of the rat, the chicks will be the midwifes source of meat, so the rat was going to affect her livelihood.)  Needless to say, the girls were elated after their night.
“The family was so appreciative that they made Ashley take Q50 (about $7 US) and gave her a half-grown rooster.  (Ashley shared the rooster with us the other evening in a caldo (soup) of some sort — quite tasty.)”

It was one of the most memorable births I have attended….actually, one of the least complicated, just the most interesting environment!

myself and Ashley with the baby, the day after his birth

myself and Ashley with the baby, the day after his birth