Fall 2019
Health Talents International
Moments & Memories!
Memories! So many special moments! I remember so well when my first ABC child, Sandra, honored me as her mother for Mothers Day in her village of Xepocol. Her mother had been killed in a tragic accident a few years earlier, so this day was especially meaningful to me. I remember each of the babies with cleft-lip and palates who I’ve had the privilege of shepherding to the coast for surgery (over fifty at last count). I remember the time in 2007 when God answered my prayer by moving me from the mountains of North Carolina to the Volcanoes of Guatemala. My life has been forever changed by my time living in Chichicastenango, Guatemala.

But nothing stays the same! I was given the opportunity earlier this year to be living the best of both worlds, while continuing to serve full-time with Health Talents International. I am now able lead surgical and medical mobile clinics, participate in mobile clinics, teach classes and also encourage others from the states to do the same. 
Spending more time in the states has not been an easy transition for me. While I love my family and friends in the states, I miss my Guatemalan family and friends. I am thankful that my parents were able to participate in my Guatemala life over the thirteen years, so they understand. Each place is very different, with a unique life style and pace but I cherish all that I have been able to experience.        
Now, I am in the states more searching for areas that would love to hear about the work that Health Talents International does in Guatemala. I am searching for people who would like to serve with us, the indigenous Mayan population. I am searching for people who want to share the gospel with those who may not have yet heard about Christ´s love. There is so much work to be done and there is an important place for everyone to fill.
Along the way, I have been very thankful for congregations and people who have financially supported and prayed for me. I would like to extend a special thank you to the South Fork Church of Christ and the Morganton Church of Christ for their continued support.
I am not sure where I will be after another thirteen years. I pray that I will be continuing to serve, sharing the hope that we have in Christ and finding others to do the same. One thing is certain, I have enough sweet memories to last a lifetime!
Loving it!
I have been a classroom teacher, an assistant principal, a children’s minister, and a principal. I have always felt God’s hand leading me each step of the way. When I stepped down from my administrative principalship from Harding Academy in the spring of this year, little did I know that God was opening a new door for me at HTI. I received an email from Rick Harper asking a very simple question, “what would you think about applying for a position with Health Talents”? This email put into motion an application, several interviews, and a totally, unexpected new direction for me that only God could have appointed.

I stepped into my new role on July 1 st and hit the road running. Since my first day on the job, I have set up an office, interviewed a dozen or so different fundraising professionals, received advice from many different mission minded professionals, sent out dozens of letters, made many phone calls, met countless new people, driven hundreds of miles, and spent three weeks in Guatemala building relationships with so many wonderful people. It’s been quite a start!

I have experienced many different foods, the hot, humid nights at the Ezell, the welcomed cool breeze of a thunderstorm, the singing in the recovery room, the coolness of Chichi, the friendship of many new friends in Guatemala and all over the states: the prayers of the patients, and the warm handshakes of a brother and sister who are nervous either for themselves or a loved one going into surgery. All of these and much, much more are just a fraction of my new transition, and I am LOVING IT! 

I am thankful for all the years I had the opportunity to work with students and families in education and being able be a part of transformations in mind, spirit, and physical growth which took place over the years in students. The greatest difference now is that the transformation for our patients is almost immediate. Their lives are changed when their ailments are healed and their spirits are lifted. What a privilege it is to get to witness and be a part of the healing of the body, soul, and mind. Working alongside fellow brothers and sisters in Christ who are blessing others with their gifts, talents, and spiritual walk is spiritually transformational for me, and I would dare say the experience is transformational for them as well. 

Thank you for this fantastic opportunity and blessings on you and yours.
Sincerely in Christ,
Bode Teague
Who? Nurses! When? April 18-25 and May 2-9 , 2020 General/GYN Surgery
News from next generation doctors
Dr. Lisa Dunham, resident physician, encourages Josue and Marta Ana, Guatemalan medical scholarship students. Read their stories in their own words below.
Scholarship Students progress:
My name is Josué Álvarez Osorio, student of Medical career of the Medical Faculty of San Carlos University of Guatemala. With the support of Health Talents International, I started this adventure of studying medicine in 2013. Thanks to God, to Health Talents International and my family support I am in the final stage of my academic studies, I am currently in the second semester of the sixth year of medical school, which consists of the participation in professional supervised rural program (EPSR) that provides health services in the rural area of Guatemala.

My experience in this new stage of my university career I would describe as impressive. This is because it represents a change, a challenge and a new way to see the health care situation of Guatemala.  I started on August 1 st . of this year, in a place called La Primavera.. This Health office belongs to the network of health centers that provides health in the first level of care of the Ministry of Health and Social Assistance of Guatemala (MSPAS).

I began my activities as an EPSR doctor. That day, I participated in the health programs that are managed in the Health office, My activities included collecting the height and weight of children, from 8 families in the community of La Primavera, which is part of the MSPAS nutrition program. During the afternoon, I participated in 9 medical consultations as an EPSR physician. The first day represents for me the beginning of a new stage of expectations, emotions and joys. However, it also represents the stage where I have full responsibility with the patient.

This new stage requires the use of skills that we learned in the first 3 years in the university and what has been learned and practiced in the last 2 and a half years in the hospital environment. This represents to start walking alone, it represents the establishment an own medical criterion, it represents facing a patient alone with no one else just me and what I learned in college.

So far my ESPR has been a great personal satisfaction with the help of God and the books I have obtained great benefit from this experience and I think that also to the more than 250 patients that I have assisted during these 2 months. With the help of God I hope to learn as much as I can about the pathologies that afflict the population in Guatemala to be able to perform an effective and efficient work in Health Talents international when it is time to be part of HTI as a doctor.

Thank you very much to you, the sponsors of the scholarship program for young people of the Church of Christ who study medicine. For me it has been vital importance because otherwise my dream of being a doctor would not have been possible. God bless you and your families.

Dear Sponsors:
I send to you a fraternal greeting, wishing you many successes in your daily activities.
I write a few lines to publicize how I feel now. It is amazing how time has passed during these years, there were times when it seemed too far to reach the goal. But now that I am in contact with patients and I remember that it was worthwhile to study.
These last years of the career have taught me that there is still much to learn and that as soon as I can I must perform with quality the work I do.
This year, being at the hospital I could appreciate love more closely, learning that life can change immediately, and one can have too painful experiences watching a family member suffer or saying good bye to a loved one, or the fortune of healing and continuing living. I have learned to value the precious things that I have.
I feel very happy and fortunate to be working in one of the communities of El Quiche. I have the satisfaction that I am in the place where one day I dreamed to be, providing health care to many people. When I see patients who have healed or recovered, I realize that God’s grace is wonderful. Definitely, being in the rural area has allowed me to see the Guatemalan panorama and reality where are challenges to work.
These last two months, I have had more time to spend and share with my family, I missed being at home a lot. Now I am here, there are many things that have changed. It is getting back to them that makes me happier and motivates me too much in the activities I do. I am also excited to start working with Health Talents International next year I want to help in the best way, getting involved in HTI programs.
Finally, I want to thank you very much for trusting in us and for being our support, there are no words to describe the gratitude I have for you.
Martha Ana María Álvarez Gutiérrez