September, 2018
Health Talents International News
Our “Improving Our Serve,” campaign has been remarkably successful with only thirteen of fifty hospital beds and gurneys remaining to be sponsored. Your generosity, coupled with your pledges, has allowed us to proceed with ordering, not only the beds and gurneys, but a new eye exam lane. (Exam chair, slit lamp, LCD chart projector, phoropter, applanation tonometer and autorefractor keratometer.)

Reading through the list of donors and those to be honored is a bit nostalgic. Some of the names date back to the seventies and eighties, an era filled with medical evangelism pioneers. Others represent a younger generation and at least one…the next generation.

In my mind and through the eyes of my heart, I envision a solemn walk down each side of Clinica Ezell’s recovery room reading the brass plaque on each bed. Those plaques will identify those we love, revere, respect and treasure; a walk among the honored.

The “Improving Our Serve” campaign is not complete, nor is our mission, our service, our ministry. Please help us finish out this campaign and when able, join me on a walk among the honored at Clinica Ezell.  by Rick Harper
Breaking News from Paxot II
Jesus Christ is returning…and he has entrusted you with the role of announcing this wonderful news. OK, it isn’t breaking news to you, just a reminder. 

Alejandro and Paulina Ezquerra, part of the Bammel Road Church of Christ in Houston, recently traveled to Chichicastenango as guest teachers for our leadership evangelism seminars. Hosted by the Paxot II church, the chosen theme was a survey of the prophets and our role as Christians to announce the gospel and the return of Christ.

When we asked everyone how it went, the response was unanimous--"great conference and very uplifting"!

Since 2005, HTI has been blessed by the Brentwood Hills Church of Christ with funding to help cover the expense of the two to four-day seminars which focus on reviewing books of the Bible in an in-depth manner. In the highlands, the hosting congregation is Paxot II, who graciously accepts the challenge. Volunteers work to organize, announce, provide a comfortable sleeping area, clean water, and meals to the 30-60 brothers and sisters that come to three seminars per year, two for men and one for women. 

Over 1000 attendees, many returning attendees, from a mix of up to 25 churches in the highlands have come to discuss the Word with teachers from the United States, Mexico, Nicaragua and Venezuela. These men and women then take what they have learned to edify their local congregations representing more than 2000 brothers and sisters in Christ.

This was our second seminar for the year with leaders from eighteen Quiche area churches represented.
Improving His Serve
Gaspar Chan, a health care promoter turned full-time evangelist is “improving his serve. ” He has expanded his role with Health Talents and currently spends considerable time counseling families in trouble and sharing the gospel. He spearheads evangelism campaigns sponsored by local congregations, visits patients in their homes, meets with families whose marriages are in crisis and leads discipleship training among young people and elders alike.

In a recent campaign that Gaspar was leading in the town of Zacualpa, in the department of El Quiche, fifteen people traveled from a town 3-4 hours away to hear the gospel message. This family had been studying the word with one of the church members in the past, but it seemingly went nowhere and they lost contact. Remaining spiritually hungry, they heard that there was a gospel campaign, one committed to preaching the Bible, and determined to visit the growing church of Christ meeting in Zacualpa. 
They came from the community of Guatzalip, buried in the mountains of the department of Baja Verapaz, far from our ministry base of Chichicastenango. Several baptisms have taken place and Christ has impacted their lives in a positive manner.

Not satisfied with the knowledge these new brethren had been baptized, one of the members from Zacualpa took the commission in Matthew 28:19 “to make disciples” to heart. With his personal testimony, one of a failing marriage restored through the power of God’s Spirit, he now makes weekly visits to teach the small church meeting in Guatzalip. 

This is just one example of God working in the areas of Quiche and Chichicastenango as local congregations continue to grow. Young people are taking a deep interest and using their talents to grow the church through various ministries such as worship, service and personal evangelism. Graduates of our ABC program are now giving back to their communities…and the elders of the congregations are supportive and encouraging. Churches are self supported, not relying on income from outside sources.

Work remains; more souls need winning! We are committed to meeting and working with the local congregations, supporting them in areas that yield kingdom growth. We will continue to provide clinics, community education, focusing on diabetes and women’s health. All the while remembering that the most important element is spiritual health. Our highland ministry team is devoted to “ improving our serve .”

It is our desire, dream and mission to see that souls are added to the kingdom. To God be the glory!
VIAA---Responding to a Vital Need
Health Talents International has stepped up, improved our serve, and responded to the vital need for pelvic screening among women in various communities. According to the Mayan Families Woman’s Health Initiative in January of 2018, the leading cause of death among Guatemalan women is cervical cancer. This sad statistic is within our ability to reduce!

VIAA stands for visual inspection with acetic acid. This is a cervical cancer screening method for premenopausal women recommended for low resource countries and offers same day results. This eliminates the need for specimen collection, potential for specimen loss, long distance transport and delayed turnaround time associated with Pap smear review by a pathology lab. It helps us identify and treat or refer more quickly when we find precancerous or cancerous lesions and avoid losing patients to follow up.

Education is essential to heightening the awareness of cervical cancer; and we must be sure that women understand the need and the danger if screening does not take place. While the health department may offer free screening, and some do participate, there is a population that simply will not return for their results. Travel can be difficult and many times the women do not understand the significance of this exam.

Working side-by-side with our promoters and the leaders in the local churches, we visit and provide classes on why the screening is essential, how the screening is done and answer any questions. If there is interest, we return to the community with everything we need to set up clinic…an exam room can be created in any place that is private. When we do this, the women do not need to travel far to clinic and when we perform an IVAA, we will know right then, if there are precancerous cells present.

In the highlands, we have provided this service to more than ten communities and in some areas we have returned twice. On occasion, women test positive, meaning precancerous cells are present. One such young woman had positive results and then she shared with us that her mother had died at a young age due to cervical cancer. She was able to receive treatment and has done well!

Another patient in her 50’s was diagnosed with cervical cancer, was able to enter the National Hospital system for surgery and is currently undergoing chemo and radiation therapy treatments. The church of Christ from Zone 11 in Guatemala City has been providing a place to stay as well as meals for patient and her husband. We are so thankful how everyone has come together to provide this service. All glory is to God!

When we are in different communities, we want to share the love of Christ and serve as He served. Through our actions and words, we want to have others see that Christ lives in us. It is all part of improving our serve.

John 15:12 “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you."