These are indeed trying times! Pandemic, quarantine, closed businesses, disrupted plans -- It is certain nobody imagined this 2020 we are currently living! Speaking of disrupted plans, CCI had the year full of scheduled evangelistic campaigns and medical outreach in different countries, but due to the measures taken in many of these countries, these had to be canceled. Nonetheless, we trust that the Lord is in control of everything, including this ministry, and that His purpose and plan for sending this time upon us will be fulfilled.
SARS-Cov-2 was first identified in China in December 2019. The illness produced, COVID-19, was declared a Public Health Emergency by the World Health Organization by the end of January later reaching the status of a Pandemic in mid-March while we were hosting the first of six planned evangelistic and medical activities in Guatemala, Central America.
In March we were able to host two days of activities in which, by His mercy, the Lord moved and visited us. He allowed us to help many people through the free medical and dental clinic. Eventually, we had to suspend the activities to comply with the local government‘s orders declaring a “State of Emergency” and closing the country’s borders. Thank the Lord, the team and volunteers were able to make it back home after only a short period of being stranded in Guatemala. Only Dr. Reyes stayed in Guatemala along with all the medical equipment and medicines.
Now, what do we do? We can‘t host campaigns, let alone a medical outreach in which we at some points can have as many as 200 people at once under a tent! What can we do with all the medicine we brought to use in this country? Four months have passed since the borders closed, and the Lord has opened doors to reach the poor and the needy. It all started with a local group of volunteers who made plans to visit a small village near Guatemala City to donate much-needed food. This village was lacking food provision because the locals have lost their jobs due to the quarantine. When CCI was informed of this activity and knowing how much medicine we had available, we offered to donate any medicine the community might need and also visited the village. We are glad to have had the chance to give medical advice and share some time with these needy people, witnessing first-hand their gratitude and gentleness.
Later in the month, the Lord opened more doors in Guatemala City by allowing our clinic to help a local orphanage with medicine for children in addition to providing medical advice. The CCI clinic donated rehydration fluids to a local fire station and worked alongside “Mi Alto Refugio” to reach many families living in a high-risk community also giving them medical advice and free medication.
We also were able to aid communities outside of the capital city in both El Naranjo Village in Guastatoya and Zacapa which are on the eastern side of the country of Guatemala. God has blessed us by providing faithful messengers who are willing to deliver the medicines to these communities while always complying with the local government’s preventive recommendations. These volunteers have been identifying communities in need. They then gather food and wood for the needy and distribute the donations in an orderly fashion. We had the opportunity to join them in one of their outreach activities, and it was wonderful to see how they shared the love of Christ with others!
The clinic has been able to outreach through the aforementioned group of volunteers, to connect with local organizations, and also to locate communities in need of basic medical attention. After providing medical consultations through telemedicine, we prepare the medicine with clear simple instructions and are sure to add to each bag of medications a gospel tract as well as a small surprise if it is for a child. When needed, we refer the patient to a specialist or the hospital. Our prayer is that as we help with the physical needs of the sick and needy people, they may see the love God has for them. It is God that commanded us to remember the poor. We desire that these people come to know our Divine Healer and that God would touch the hungry hearts and heal the wounded souls.
To date, the CCI clinic has served more than 140 people, and that number is continually growing. We are very grateful for what the Lord has allowed us to do up to this point, and we are trusting that He is in control. We know He had a purpose for all our surplus medications to be in Guatemala during this time. He has provided us with a place to set up the pharmacy, to give medical advice through telemedicine, and also given us faithful ambassadors who are willing to pour themselves out for others, investing their time and energy to reach out to poor communities and deliver the medicine to them.
During the ministry of our Lord Jesus Christ on this earth, He lived the example of ministering to the sick, poor, and needy which the disciples then continued with. The Apostle Paul writes to the Galatians about his meeting with some of Jesus’ disciples in Galatians 2:9-10, which says, “and when James and Cephas and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace that was given to me, they gave the right hand of fellowship to Barnabas and me, that we should go to the Gentiles and they to the circumcised. Only, they asked us to remember the poor, the very thing I was eager to do.”
During these trying times, we encourage you, as you are able while obeying local authority, to reach out to those who are needy. We urge you to pray for the sick, for those who are battling to survive an illness, for those who are afraid, and for those who just do not have the resources to receive medical attention. May the Lord do His perfect will and may His purpose be accomplished in every soul during this time.
We decided to write this short article to share the clinic activities with our readers and to ask you for your prayers. We trust God will continue to open doors for the clinic in spite of all the restrictions. We desire our clinic to reach even more needy people. Please pray that the Lord would keep the volunteers and physician in good health and that His name would be glorified in all that we do. Amen!