ALBUQUERQUE (BNM) – In May, a four-member team from Christ Church, Albuquerque, partnered with 21 other team members from Desert Springs Church, Albuquerque, to serve on mission in Guatemala.
The team from Christ Church consisted of Anna Avery, Julia Avery, Taylor Kidwell, and Nataly Cowling. Asher Griffin, Desert Springs’ minister of theological training, served as a team leader for the trip.
The whole team partnered with several Achi people – Christian natives from San Miguel Chicaj, Guatemala. They first traveled to the remote village of Chicholom to provide medical care and saw about 60 patients on the trip’s first day. Two team members collected individuals’ vital signs and directed each patient to either a medical or dental station.
At the medical station, a doctor and a Spanish translator explained to the patient their diagnosis (dehydration, an infection, etc.). Dental station doctors mostly pulled “troublesome teeth,” according to a church-wide email update by Julia Avery, one of the missionaries who took vitals. The doctors gave medications, and each missionary prayed with an Achi and offered counsel from God’s Word.
Avery said one of the things she learned was the importance of unity in her group: “There were always people ready and able to step up to do what was needed. God unified us in what we could offer to make it all come together,” she said.
The group remained in Chicholom the following day, splitting into three smaller groups to provide different types of medical care. The first group performed over 30 teeth extractions, Christ Church missionary Nataly Cowling wrote in an email update. The team provided preventative care through Community Health Evangelism, a program that equips impoverished villages to optimize their limited resources for the benefit of their people.
Cowling wrote that the second group saw about 30 patients who mostly required antibiotic or antiparasitic medications. She mentioned the team prayed for a “visible overwhelmed and distressed” man who learned his wife had a miscarriage. “By the end of the prayer, you could see God’s peace that surpasses understanding settling into his features. That was one of the most powerful moments of the day,” she wrote.
The third group’s task was “child engagement,” she wrote. The team played with kids and even trained them to brush their teeth.
Avery also wrote an update describing their experience with the Old Testament translation team in Guatemala. There, the team learned about the ongoing effort to translate Scripture into the Rabinal Achi dialect. She said the Old Testament is currently in the revision stage, and that some books are ready for print. After visiting the translation site, the team returned to their clinics. Anna said the final clinics were slower-paced, so the team spent more time interacting with the locals.
“I have seen God work in so many ways this trip,” she wrote. “[It] has been an example of how the church works as a body and uses all types of people.”
Avery urged her readers to pray for Old Testament translation work – specifically, that funding would be adequate for printing once translation is complete.