Team Work

We have been back in Honduras a little over 2 months now.  Alena has been adjusting to life in Honduras fairly well while her parents are still trying to figure things out.  Thankfully we are surrounded by a great community who has helped immensely with our transition back.   From cooking us meals to offering to watch Alena for a few hours so that we can get some down time, we have felt loved and been blessed by the team around us.  As the saying goes, “It takes a village to raise a child”, and we have been encouraged by our village here in Honduras.

As most of you know we have a prosthetics lab at the hospital which is still in its infancy.  We are in the process of training one of our on-staff pastors, Oscar, to be able to work independently year-round in the prosthetics lab.  While Oscar is still a way off from that goal, we have seen good growth each time our visiting prosthetist comes down to train and work alongside Oscar.  Oscar is very motivated to learn the skills necessary to help our patients physically but the trait that really stands out, which I also frequently get to see from many different people in the many different ministries at Loma de Luz, is his love for our patients (which is ultimately our collective ministry and why we are here in Honduras).

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Oscar in the Prosthetics Lab

One Friday while working in clinic I saw a teenage patient, Gerson, who was left with a deformed and extremely shortened leg from a bone infection when he was younger.  Because of his extreme leg length discrepancy, he has to walk with crutches at all times.  Gerson had come to our hospital last April to get a custom shoe lift so that he could walk without crutches.  During the process to make and fit the shoe lift, I got to see Oscar interacting with Gerson and encouraging him in both his spiritual walk as well as his literal walk.  Gerson had been concerned about what others would think of his out of place shoe.  Oscar told him that instead of trying to avoid the problem he should show off his new shoe to all his friends and school mates, telling them how this custom new shoe was giving him the chance to walk without crutches.

Gerson had taken Oscars advice and had been doing well but then his shoe got soaked inadvertently which caused his shoe to come off of the lift.  Gerson and his mother live far away from our hospital (about 6 hours).  After a few unsuccessful attempts to contact us they decided to just come without an appointment but because of how far away they live they did not get to our Hospital until the early afternoon (only able to rely on public transportation).  The day they came Oscar had been planning on going into La Ceiba to see family and was needing to catch the last bus to La Ceiba from our area at 3pm.  When I told Oscar about the situation, he immediately got to work to repair the shoe lift.  Although it may seem like it would be simple to just glue some foam to the bottom of a shoe it takes a lot of work to sand, grind and cut the foam to the right contour to make the lift functional, especially when the lift is so large.

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Oscar working on Gerson’s shoe

Oscar did his best to finish the shoe lift in time to catch the last bus but when it became apparent that more time was needed to fix the shoe lift, he continued to diligently work to try to make the lift perfect for Gerson.  By 4:30pm Gerson had his custom shoe and was once again walking without crutches.  Realizing that Gerson and his mother were also stuck without transportation, Oscar escorted Gerson and Gerson’s mom to the front gate of the Hospital.  It just so happened that as soon as they got to the gate a passing truck offered to take them all toward La Ceiba.  It just showed how God provides for those who are faithful and are called according to his purpose – to love others as he has loved us.

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Assisting Oscar in the Prosthetics Lab.

Our prosthetist, James, is going to be at Loma for the month of October working with Oscar to make more prosthetics, orthotics and shoe lifts for our patients.  We also have our Orthopedic team here for a week performing much needed surgeries (ankle fusions, non-union fracture repairs, club foot corrections, and bow leg corrections to name a few).  Please pray for stamina and renewed purpose each day for those serving and for exceptional outcomes for those being served.  Please also pray for us as Alisa transitions back to work part time in clinic.

 

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Community life

We want to give you a little community update this month to give a picture of rural Honduras life. The end of summer in Balfate, Colon usually means two things: Rambutan season (or licha as the locals call it) and Honduran Independence Day. Rambutan is a funny looking red fury fruit that is rare in the US but is sweet and the flesh has the consistency of a grape. I (Alisa) snatch them up from local fruit stands whenever I can find it and feast on them during their short season. They sell bags of them during the local independence day parade where all the kids come out and march representing their school, playing drums, carrying pom poms, and performing dances in the square.

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Alisa’s favorite local fruit, rambutan.

Summers end also typically brings drought. After a hot few months with little rain, our region is in a severe water shortage. For the past three weeks the municipalities surrounding the hospital have been without running water during the day. A small trickle is allowed during the night time (Why night time? I’m not sure). Thankfully the hospital has its own treated water source apart from the city and has flowing water during the day and night. While we are conserving water, our house still gets water during the day.

What does this mean for our community and patients outside the hospital? Well, only having running water at night time means weeks of bucket showers, only flushing the toilet when you go number two, and saving all dirty dishes to complete after 9pm or whenever the water ends up getting turned on. Many families have to complete their laundry in the river and end up taking baths there as well. If you are lucky you have a pila- or holding tank at your house to save water up to use during the day. Several families set their alarms to wake up at midnight in order to turn the water on to fill the pila, and then again in the early morning to turn the tap off after it is full. Truckloads of 5 gallon jugs would sell out in a matter of hours as people were desperate to use water again in their homes. Every Thursday night our community prayer group has been petitioning to God to bring back rain to this dry region.

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Taking a walk with Alena to what was once a swift flowing river. Now it is mostly stagnant water. Bridge construction is occurring in preparation for rainy season.

This past weekend it finally started to rain again. The loud spray of water on our tin roof and accompanying cool breeze brought a smile and rejoicing to our household and many others. It reminded me of the scripture in Isiah 44:3 that states “I will pour water on the thirsty land, and streams on the dry ground; I will pour out my Spirit on your offspring, and my blessing on your descendants.” The desperation for water in our community is teaching me new ways of how I should be thirsting for the Lord and his hand in my life and ministry. With God as our guide we can be “like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail” (Isiah 58:11). Over the holiday weekend the water returned for about three days, only to stop again last night. Please join us in praying for our local community- for rain and more importantly that we would learn to thirst for the Lord continually.

Misery loves company? I guess so- because along with water shortages it seems as if the hottest and driest parts of the year are also plagued with frequent power outages. Sometimes the outages are planned, sometimes it is a surprise and anyones guess about when it will turn back on. In the small community of Balfate next to the hospital when the power goes off most everyone in the town comes out of their house to sit and socialize in the main square (its cooler outside when you don’t have electricity anyway!). When the power finally returns you can hear a collective shout of “YAAAY!” from the square when everyone rejoices together, then breaks up to go back into their homes. The shout for joy occurs if the power has been off for 15 hours or just 15 minutes.

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Independence Day parade 

In the hospital Andrew has been back working with chronic wounds, fractures, post surgery cases, and taking turns covering the emergency department (this past weekend included appendicitis, humeral fracture, two cases of dengue, liver failure/ascites, and more). I was able to donate some breast milk to a premature infant whose mother died only 5 days after she was born due to complications of kidney failure and other health problems that were present before she got pregnant. The baby’s life was saved through an emergency c-section, however the mom wasn’t able to hang on. Please pray for this family and the life of the baby who won’t grow up to know her mother.

More hospital updates to come next month…

Heading back to Honduras

Hello friends and family,

This week we begin our journey back to Honduras! It starts with a road trip to Miami on Thursday and our flight to La Ceiba, Honduras is on Friday morning. Andrew will begin back working next week in Terapia doing his usual wound care, pre and post op care, and a lot of orthopedic injuries. Alisa will have another month of maternity leave while in Honduras, then begin back the 1stof October two days weekly.

We have been blessed this summer in Florida welcoming Alena with baby showers, sip-and-sees, and a baby baptism while on leave. There has been lots of help from grandparents and friends- we have treasured the time with all of you!

Thank you to everyone who has supported our time in Honduras with your prayers and finances. Many of you have started giving towards our ministry again since Alena has arrived- thank you very much! Due to some unexpected costs of having Alena, we are looking to raise an extra $3,000 to cover baby expenses. Would you consider giving towards this amount? Giving link

Many prayers are appreciated for our travels, that they would go smoothly, and that Alena would be an easy participant. There has been a dengue outbreak in Honduras that is now slowly going away. Please also pray that we would stay healthy during our travels and that we would be protected from Dengue.

We are looking forward to getting back and into the lives of our patients again, helping relieve some of the load that many have carried in the hospital over the summer. For some interesting medical stories over the past week at Loma click here to read our colleague Dr. Isaac Hotz’s blog.

Blessings,

Andrew, Alisa, and Alena

View More: https://michellestokerphotography.pass.us/alenanb

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Alena’s baptism this Sunday
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Giving smiles while on a walk

Our Little Firecracker

Happy Fourth of July!  Today was the expected due date for baby girl Geers but as many of you already know, she decided to make an early grand entrance.  Alena (pronounced: uh ley nah) Rose Geers was born at Winnie Palmer Hospital June 23rd at 3:09 am weighing in at 5 pounds 5.6 ounces and 18.5 inches.  We have been beyond blessed with our sweet baby girl!

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The few weeks before Alena’s arrival we were able to spend our time at an indigent clinic in downtown Orlando. We saw many uninsured patients who wouldn’t have been able to receive medical care otherwise due to lack of insurance, cost, or documentation. We even got to see a few patients that were from Honduras!

Now that Alena has arrived we have begun setting our sites on returning to Honduras.  The first step in that process is getting Alena a passport. Yesterday we had an appointment at a local post office to submit paperwork and get her passport picture taken.  The process started out rather smoothly with the postal worker confirming that we had all of the required paperwork in order. There was only one thing left to do to complete the “simple” process…take a photo.

We were informed that Alena had to be bright eyed and bushy tailed in the photo (aka awake). The problem was, Alena was enjoying a post meal siesta and was not being very cooperative with our initial attempts to stir her.  The postal worker suggested that we could always come back another day and try to time it so she would be awake (aka when she is hungry), but it took all our effort just to get her and ourselves somewhat together and out the door so we took the “wake up game” to another level.

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Though we have only had Alena with us a little over a week and a half, we have become very aware that she becomes hyper alert when her diaper is changed.  Thus we carefully began to open her clean diaper just a bit and as expected she began to squirm. I have never seen a volcano eruption in person but I no longer have to imagine what it would be like.  Without warning, and just as Alena shifted her body out of the security of her diaper, a poop eruption of Mount Saint Helens proportions occurred, leaving very little untouched (including the car seat, Alena’s clothes, mom’s shirt, and even the post office counter).  To her credit the post office worker took everything in stride and we had things cleaned up fairly quickly as embarrassment can really get a person moving.

Thankfully we were able to get the needed photo just a few minutes later to complete the application process and get everything mailed off.  Needless to say, we will never forget the process of getting Alena a passport. We hope to have her passport in about a month and are shooting to return to Honduras in mid to late August.  Thank you for all of the prayers, well wishes and gifts! We have been overwhelmed by the kindness and support we have been shown both during and after pregnancy.  

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Alena’s mug shot (aka passport photo) post poop explosion

Please pray that Alena would continue to be healthy and grow well and that everything needed to return to Honduras would come together perfectly.  Please also pray as we adjust to life as parents and the responsibility of loving and caring for our little gift from God. We can feel, now more than ever, just how precious your support and prayers are for our growing family!

Provision through Prayer

Last month our prosthetics team completed a 3 week visit.  As you can imagine, there is an extra dose of energy and excitement around the hospital when one of our amputee patients regains the ability to walk.  A lot of things have to come together both behind and in front of the scenes to make each trip successful for our patients. However, things rarely go as planned, especially in the middle of the jungle. Despite this lack of control, we have experienced time and again that in all things God is working to show his love for us and those who we serve.  Every prosthetic patient has their own unique story but I want to share one of those stories with you now as an example of how God faithfully provides for our needs.

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Our prosthetic lab which is located directly next to the hospital.

Before the last trip in April, our prosthetist, James, visited us in February of this year.  Towards the end of the February trip, Dr. Alexander (one of our surgeons), was “coincidentally” seeing a 3 year old little boy, who we will call Marvin, in clinic for follow up.  Marvin is battling a rare cancer called spindle cell rhabdomyosarcoma which resulted in his leg needing to be amputated below the knee last year. The first thing out of Marvin’s mouth when he saw Dr. Alexander in February was the question, “When am I going to get my new leg?”  While our team of providers had been focused on getting this little one the best cancer treatment possible, all this little boy cared about was walking again. Dr. Alexander quickly tracked down James, and plans were made to get Marvin a new leg the next time James could return to our hospital.

 

All the supplies had to be custom ordered, including his little prosthetic foot, and by God’s grace, everything arrived to our hospital just in time.  Marvin was scheduled for prosthetic clinic on a Wednesday, however, he did not arrive on time and was a no show. The next day Dr. Alexander got an email report from the oncologist treating Marvin which painted a very bleak picture.  It appeared that Marvin’s health was taking a turn for the worse. Later that evening, our community prayed for Marvin, specifically that not only would he be strong enough to come get and use the prosthetic that was waiting for him, but that he would miraculously overcome the cancer that threatened his life.

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Marvin’s new foot

The following week Marvin arrived to our hospital. I could not stop smiling as I realized that the happy, energetic and playful little boy before me was an answer to prayer.  Though his body showed the signs of degeneration from cancer and chemotherapy, his spirit showed signs of one who was uplifted in prayer. That sweet spirit seemed to abound to the point that it gave his body strength.  While he was glad to receive and use his new prosthetic leg, he was even more excited to show his new leg to his sister because he thought she would think it was cool!

 

Please join me in continuing to pray for Marvin and his family as they navigate this difficult season in life.  He is scheduled to come back for a follow up clinic visit this summer. I know that God will continue to bless this little child who he calls his own and I am hopeful that he will be healed of his infirmity. Whether you realize it or not, you, who are reading this right now, are a vital part of the team who helps make these miracles possible. Thank you for your faithfulness, both financially and in prayer, in partnership with us to bring hope and healing not only to the northern coast but to people from all around Honduras!

Christian Health Service Corps recently published a video of us which provides a brief overview of our daily lives here in Honduras.  Click here to watch it.

 

Zebras in Central Park

There is a saying in medicine that goes: “When you hear hoofbeats in central park, think of horses, not zebras.” Its an analogy that helps providers focus on the most common causes of diseases (horses) rather than focusing on a possible exotic medical diagnosis (zebras). I learned to follow this wise aphorism during my first 6 years in practice while in the U.S. However in Honduras, I have found the most unique medical diagnoses popping up with a surprising regularity. This month on our bog I wanted to highlight some of the peculiar pathology Zebras that we get to see.

Most of the patients that come in with these illnesses have been searching for a cure all over the county, many of them having received several mis-diagnosis, treatments, and medications previously without any success. Andrew and I are so thankful that these folks find their way over to our edge of the jungle to get care that is finally providing answers and sometimes some hope.

40 year old women with neurofibromatoma. This leg mass is actually a tumor that develops within a major or minor nerve and can occur anywhere along the body. Typically it is caught when it is 1-2 cm in size and monitored or removed soon after. This one kept growing and growing and the patient didn’t seek care due to financial concerns until it was this size! She will get surgical repair this October when our orthopedic team comes for a visit.

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45 year old male with osteogeneis imperfecta (aka brittle bone disease). This patient tripped and broke a metatarsal in his L foot. For you or I, this typically wouldn’t be a problem except to our pride. However any fall or trip for this gentleman is a high risk for a fracture. Osteogenesis imperfecta is a genetic problem with the connective tissue in the body causing bones to break more easily (along with possible loose joints, hearing loss, dental problems). Only one in 20,000 babies are born with this every year. This disease sound familiar? In the movie Unbreakable, Samuel L. Jackson plays the character/antihero Mr. Glass who had osteogenesis imperfecta. We are monitoring this patient as he heals with a walking boot and crutches, returning for x-rays every 4 weeks or so.

 

 

Newborn with tibial hemimelia of the R leg. Tibial hemimelia is a congenital orthopedic deformity that manifests usually with a shortened leg from knee and ankle deformities. This sweet newborn had a Paley classifification type IVa, where the tibia looks like a broken off toothpick- a one and a million chance to get this disorder. We are currently treating with bracing and he will eventually need surgery.

IMG_533348 yr old male with lymphatic filariasis of the R leg. Also known as elephantiasis, lymphatic filariasis is a parasitic disease spread by bites from infected mosquitos. The parasite makes its home in the lymphatic system, usually in the lower extremities like this patient, and causes severe swelling and thickening of the skin (like an elephant). It is usually only found in Southeast Asia and Africa, but we have seen 1-2 cases now in Honduras. Sadly the skin and swelling changes are permanent. Previously, this patient had been getting “secret injections” in his leg from another medical provider in a big city about 4 hours away. After paying a lot of money and not seeing any results, they came to us for some answers. We had to give them the bad news that there wasn’t any cure, but were able to educate them that compression stockings can help with swelling a lot (approx. $1 in cost), and help them avoid further unnecessary injections, surgeries, and miracle cures.

There are many more Zebras that come in daily but there are just too many stories to tell, and lets be honest, the pictures aren’t blog appropriate (blood, guts, etc)!  Please pray for the hospital as we are entering our busy season- that all our providers would be energized, positive, and continuing to think out of the box for all the Zebras that come in.

We welcome any prayers for baby girl Geers- that she would continue to grow and develop healthfully! Thankfully everything is progressing just as it should.

Welcome to the Jungle

It may sound crazy but sometimes I can forget that I’m living in the jungle.  Sure there are the daily sounds of toucans and howler monkeys beckoning me to the realities around me but after a while their calls become just another sound in the ordinary daily routines of life.  Sometimes, however, the jungle gets in your face and forces you to see the reality in which you have been living in the whole time. That in your face moment happened to me this past Friday but let me start at the beginning.

Clinic this past Friday was unusually slow which was a welcome change from the past several weeks which have seen several visiting specialists including orthopedics, urology, pediatric surgery and ophthalmology.  Each team provides much needed specialized care that our patients would not otherwise get, but it also provides more work for those of us who call this hospital in the jungle their home. Because clinic was relatively lite on Friday I was able to try to catch up on charting, e-mail exchanges and other admin stuff that goes along with patient care.  As I was trying to focus on getting caught up as fast as I could, one of our on staff pastors popped his head into terapia and very matter of factly said, “there is an iguana in terapia”.

I thought I misheard him but he said the exact same thing again.  My natural inclination was to do a quick survey of the room behind me and upon completing my scan without viewing the “intruder” I naturally asked, “Well, where is he?”, to which the pastor responded, “Close the doors and you will see him”.  I think the long weeks have been getting to me, or at least that is the only explanation I have for why I closed one door while the pastor closed the other, leaving me alone in terapia with “an iguana” that I could not see even when the doors were open.

After about a minute of cautiously walking around the room I decided that either this is a horrible prank or I am the world’s worst iguana spotter or both.  So I opened the door again only to find that the pastor was nowhere to be found. I probably would have went back to working but just then one of our Honduran maintenance workers, let’s call him Burt, came around the corner.  I thought to myself, surely Burt would be able to spot an iguana if there really was one and so I convinced Burt to come into terapia for a quick look. Even though Burt got on his hands and knees, there was no iguana to be found.  Needing to get back to work I decided to shrug it off and keep plugging away at the computer.

Fast forward about 2 hours after having 2 relatively complicated emergency room patients (since I was on ER call) and I had all but forgotten “Iguana gate 2019”.  One of those patients was a woman in her 60’s with a very complex medical history who had been in and out of our hospital many times trying to stabilize all her comorbid conditions.  These comorbid conditions seemed to all come together Friday to create a perfect storm that culminated in her having a gastrointestinal bleed which required emergent medications and 2 units of blood with an additional unit on standby as her hematocrit had dropped to 14 (normal for a women is above 38).  Usually when a patient needs blood we ask the patients family to donate (after confirming that they are a match) and if more is needed then we go to the “blood donor list” to see which employees/ missionaries/ random people from the community who have been willing to be an “on call donor” are a blood match.

It just so happened that besides one of the patient’s family members, I also was the patient’s blood type and so that left only one more person to find.  It did not take long to get another willing participant. As I waited for the third donor to come down to the hospital, one of our Honduran lab technicians and I prepped the supplies needed and once finished I lay down on one of the beds in terapia in preparation for having my blood taken.  Well, the third blood donor had not been in terapia longer than 30 seconds before he said, “Woah, there is an iguana in terapia!”. Low and behold, there was an iguana lounging on the vital signs monitor right next to the bed I was laying on. Good thing it wasn’t a snake!

Thankfully it is not everyday that a wild animal wanders into terapia or that I have to give a patient blood but it is in these moments that I am brought back to the reality I live in, that God has orchestrated and continues to orchestrate countless miracles to enable this small mission hospital in the middle of the jungle in rural Honduras to provide lifesaving care to local families who would have no other option due to location, resources and finances.  It is “big picture” moments like these that help breath life and purpose into the seemingly ordinary and mundane routines of life. My prayer is that our eyes and ears would be in tune to the moving of God’s spirit in and around us and that through renewed minds we would walk in his will and the good works he has already prepared for us to do daily, even in the midst of the seemingly ordinary.

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For those who are wondering what happened to the iguana, we left him to rest on the vital signs monitor and presume he found his way to another part of the jungle without too much trouble.  As far as the patient who needed blood, she stabilized but still needs prayer for healing.

His Love Endures Forever.

Not long ago I listened to a sermon entitled, “When giving thanks is hard to do”. We all have had times where our circumstances have made us anything but thankful to God. In Psalm 137, the people of Israel found themselves in a foreign land in captivity and asking themselves, “How can we sing the songs of the Lord while in a foreign land?” (Psalm 137:4). The pastor went on to say that there is a reason and structure to all of the psalms and that it is no coincidence that in order to get to Psalm 137 you have to go through Psalm 136 (more on this in a bit).

In past blog posts (June 2017 and September 2018) I have put in updates about a patient named Juan along with asking for prayer for him.  Through Juan I have been given a real life example of someone who is able to praise God despite being in a foreign land. I am not talking about foreign in the sense of nationality, as Juan is Honduran, but in the sense of being in a place in life that you are not accustomed too and that is unfamiliar.  To briefly recap, Juan first came to our hospital in June of 2017 with a horrific open wound with exposed bone which was the result of a motorcycle accident. He had been told that his only option was to have an amputation after multiple failed treatment attempts to heal his wounds.

Juan felt God’s prompting to seek help and another opinion at our hospital and so he followed that prompting.  Despite the overwhelming circumstances of trying to heal an infected wound with exposed dead bone along with a complicated fracture, our team (including Dr. Alexander and Dr. McKenney) set out to do everything we could to try to save Juan’s leg from amputation, including prayer.  His treatment has included skin grafting, antibiotic cement, a tibial nail and bone grafting. During the past year and a half we have had many ups and downs including several times where it seemed like we were losing ground. But despite all the difficulties, every visit with Juan was one of assurance that God was in control and would provide.

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Dr. McKenney explaining the operation to put in a tibial nail.

At one of his clinic visits last year I asked Juan what he had been reading in his bible recently.  He said that he had been experiencing more discouragement than usual so he decided to open his bible and the first thing he came across was Psalm 136 and since then he could not stop reading it. Juan had set his heart and mind on the promises of God, having faith that despite his circumstances, God’s love endures forever.  Meaning that God would continue to love and care for Juan no matter what troubles he was going through or that would come, and thus, Juan could continue to have an attitude of gratitude even in a foreign land. Juan also told me at that visit that he had faith that his leg would be healed for God’s glory.

Last month Juan had what we hope is his final operation on his leg. We both were filled with joy, awe and wonder at the work of God as Juan was able to walk into clinic, with the assistance of crutches, using his leg for the first time again since his accident.  Juan and his story have been a true testimony that by remembering God’s love for us, and how he has been faithful to us in the past, it is possible to have a thankful heart and praise God even in the midst of trials and tribulations. I have been personally challenged because I usually find myself identifying more with the grumbling people of Israel in Psalm 137 then with the joyful Juan who exemplifies Psalm 136.  So my prayer is that the next time we find ourselves in “foreign land”, which may even be at this very moment, we would, “Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good. His love endures forever.” (Psalm 136:1).

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Reviewing x-rays before what we hope was Juan’s final surgery and marveling at the amount of bone growth occurring despite all odds.

Thank you for all who have and continue to pray for Juan and his family!

Also thank you for all of the love and excitement surrounding the news that we are expecting our first child in July.  We are happy to announce that a baby girl will be joining our family!  Several people have asked about how they can help with the baby. In lieu of having a baby shower we are having an online registry via Amazon to be sent to a special container that will travel to Honduras in March (that is filled with medical supplies but has room for missionary needs). Since we are restricted to what we can bring back with the baby to what fits in our checked luggage, this allows us to get some needed items that wouldn’t otherwise fit and aren’t available in Honduras. If you would like to give a baby gift please do so by the 28th of February so that it can make it to the container on time (gifts purchased from the registry will automatically ship to the correct address in Mississippi). Geers baby registry

Its a girl

2019 with exciting changes

Hello friends and family,

We hope that all of your new years resolutions are still going strong at this point. As we look back at 2018 we have been thanking the Lord for his provision (through many of you!), the opportunities that he has brought us through serving in Honduras (sharing the gospel during our daily work, starting a prosthetics lab, re-initiating cervical cancer screening), and a growing love and understanding for this beautiful country.

2019 we know will bring some challenges, new projects, and a big change for Andrew and I. We are thrilled to announce that we are expecting a baby in early July! We are excited to begin this new adventure in our lives and can’t wait to meet the little one. We plan to go back to Florida for Alisa to deliver, spend some of her maternity leave there and then will head back to Honduras to continue working at the hospital. Alisa will go back in a part time status, Andrew will continue full time.

Please join us in thanking God for this pregnancy as well as praying for the health of Alisa and baby. We are praying that the Lord would give us wisdom and grace as we learn to be parents while living abroad.

Blessings,
Alisa and Andrew Geers

View More: http://michellestokerphotography.pass.us/fallow-2018

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Andrew checking up on the baby last week during a work break.

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Walmart Consult

There are many privileges to being a healthcare professional.  One of the greatest privileges is having a patient invite you into their lives to help in their care.  That invitation is not just lived out or applied to a clinical setting as life happens everywhere, even at Walmart.  For those of you who do not know, there is a Walmart in La Ceiba, the nearest large city about an hour and a half from our hospital.  Our trip to town usually includes a Walmart stop.

But regardless of where we go, there is rarely a trip to town without someone saying, Hola Doctor (or Doctora for Alisa).  This greeting is typically in passing and the majority of the time we do not recognize who the people greeting us are (missionaries have hard times remembering names and who people are too ; ).  But on a recent trip to Walmart while wandering the aisles, I faintly heard the usual “Hola Doctor” as I turned down an aisle. Low and behold there was one of my patients, George, with his larger than life smile to great me.  It turned out that George had spotted me wandering through the store earlier and had been on the hunt to track me down as he wanted to show me his progress.

The reason I remembered George, a Honduran man in his 60’s, was because before he came to our Hospital, he had spent his entire life walking on a deformed club foot which required the assistance of a cane to walk.  Usually in the states club foot is treated with casting and bracing and then if needed, surgery, so that the deformity and debility is corrected well before the patients teenage years. Unfortunately George did not have the resources to correct his deformity while he was young and his situation did not improve as he aged.  

That all changed after George heard that our hospital provided Orthopedic care.  An initial consultation lead to an ankle fusion surgery done by our regularly visiting Orthopedic Surgeon, Dr. Owens, who is also a foot and ankle specialist.  I was fortunate to get to assist Dr. Owens with George’s surgery and then help with his postoperative rehab which took about 8 months. Needless to say, I knew how much that big smile meant as George strolled through Walmart with ease and without any assistive device.  If you were a casual observer you would have had no idea that he had any kind of surgery, let alone that he had not walked normally for the majority of his life.

I can only imagine how strange it looked to those passing by to see a Honduran doing squats in the middle of an aisle while holding the side of a gringos shopping cart!  But that is what he did to show his elation for the progress he had made and the gift of walking that had been restored by the grace of God. George could not stop thanking God with his words and with his walking!

We pray that this Christmas Season and continuing into the New Year, we would imitate the attitude of gratitude that George demonstrated. We can think of no better way to start then expressing our deepest thanks to each and every one of you who enables us to walk in the calling we believe God put on our lives by serving the rural poor in Honduras.

Merry Christmas and a Blessed New Year!

Please click on the link for a short video of us at the hospital: Christmas greeting