Cue the Pig

Never fear, the title will be explained in due time. Cue the Von Trapp children on their way to bed if you don’t like pigs. Either will do just fine.

Gonna try to make the most of my last day here in Guatemala, and this will be my last blog post for this installment of the adventure. To those of you who stuck around or occasionally sent me a message with a “What’s up Doc?”, you have my most sincere thanks. To all those I told I owe cookies, I meant it, but it’s on you to remind me. 

Give my heartfelt gratitude to all those who have kept me in prayer this summer.

You know, I want to write an incredibly eloquent blog post to wrap all this up, but I’m having some trouble doing it. Many of the things I’ve learned I’ve shared all along. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my time here, and sufferin’ succotash there’s a lot of good memories and lessons that I’ll take with me, but that’s not the whole point.


Why you Wascally Wabbit!


Up till now, the summer’s gone by faster than a skinny rooster whistling “Meep Meep!” on it’s way past, and I’ve got a lot of good memories. When I first walked into Dennis and Cindy’s house, I tot I taw a putty tat, but it was so scared of me that I wasn’t sure. Now the cat (Misha is her name) won’t leave me alone. I got to see a slice of the real world of mission work in the developing world and the need for biomedical technicians / engineers / educators here. I was blessed by relationships with some awesome people. I got to hike a sweet volcano and see some awesome scenery. The most important things I’ll take away from this summer, however, are a deeper appreciation and reverence for the Word of God and a little better understanding of Him as a sovereign God in control of all things. 


Just a few of the awesome people serving God down here.

Never going to forget getting to share my testimony with 16 young men at a local prison last Wednesday. It was one of the highlights of my summer. Medical and engineering work is good and nice, but there’s just something about sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ that is thrilling and refreshing. I wish I could have taken pictures, but we weren’t allowed to have cameras. 

Gonna go ahead and admit that this trip / co-op ultimately isn’t (wasn’t) about me. I’m nothing but thankful for it and for what it’s given me, but if all I can talk about is how cool the food was or how much fun I had or how I’m better off for it, I’ve missed something. How I’ve been affected is certainly worth noting, but I think primarily about myself much more than I should. My motives suck, remember? (Though God’s been working on them).


Let the questions shift towards “How did I serve those I was with?” and “How can I use what I’ve learned and been given?”, and the answers get harder to find. This isn’t my story, it’s God’s, and for some reason I’ve been blessed enough to enjoy wandering my way through it. As He writes the next chapter, I only hope and pray that I’ll have eyes and ears to follow Him onto the next great adventure He has planned. For now, it’s back home, then to Cincinnati. It’s going to be good to be home.


Working on a surgical microscope at Clinica Azel near Chicacao.

You all are incredible and an answer to prayer as well for supporting me in my trip to Guatemala. I can’t say what exactly the next step will be, but I’ve got some ideas I’d like to check out. I’ve got two more years till I’ll graduate from UC, and till then I’d like to continue to learn skills and knowledge that can apply well to the mission field. It would be awesome to find others at UC who are similarly motivated towards service and missions and possibly start a class, club, and / or trips to enable those who God is calling. After I graduate, I still can’t predict where I’ll be, whether working in business or ministry in the states, in the mission field, or somewhere else entirely new. After this summer, though, I can say that if God calls me to Guatemala or anywhere else, I’ll go gladly. 

Down to the end here. Now, I want you to do something for me. Go back and read the first word of every paragraph of this blog post. And you thought the Looney Tunes were subtle.


Well said, Porky. Well said.


Grace and Peace,


A Prayer Request

This one’s pretty straightforward. 

On Wednesday I’ll get the chance to share / teach / visit / preach / talk at a prison here in Guatemala. 

On the surface, I don’t share a lot in common with these men / boys, which will make trying to relate difficult. I’m not that nervous about it, as weird as it sounds. All I can do is preach Christ crucified and raised in my life, and the Holy Spirit is in charge of doing any soul work necessary. As such, I ask that you would be in prayer, not for me, but for the words to be spoken and for the hearts of those who hear. Pray that truth would be heard and accepted and that any inaccuracies are left behind.

God’s been teaching me a lot about faith in Christ producing hope in my life, and that hope then joy, and eyes towards an eternal perspective. At this point I plan to speak towards this aim, however the Spirit leads. 

This morning I was giving it some thought and the words from a hymn popped into my head: “My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness”. I couldn’t remember all the words, so I Youtube’d it.

Something that Dennis and I definitely agree on is how awesome a church full of grown men belting out Christ’s praises sounds. Just a sidenote. 

Thank you for your prayers,

Grace and Peace,


I’m Still Alive

Pulse? Check. Breath? Check? Intelligent thought? Pending….

Not much blogging recently, but there hasn’t been a ton out of the ordinary, at least until Sunday.

On Sunday, instead of going to “regular” church, Dennis, Cindy and I piled into the Mitsubishi and went to have church with some people that Dennis and Cindy help minister to and with on occasion. I’d love to tell some of their incredible stories, but they’re stories that must be told in person, not online. 

Let’s just say this: these people live transformed lives and risk much to spread the gospel. Talk about putting what’s important into perspective… It brings to life the words of my namesake:

“I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.” Philippians 1:20-21

I’m grateful to have grown up in the freedoms that America provides, but sometimes I rue the complacency and lack of purifying fire that the tradition-laden church culture fosters in the States. It’s not an excuse, but seeing the transformation and courage of these men and women and the daily dependency on Christ encourages and challenges me to live further out of my comfort zone and in reliance on Christ for my provision above all else. 

Monday morning Dennis and I picked up Joe Leier dark and early and headed out to Sergio Castillo’s hospital near San Antonio along the Pacific Coast. Sergio started out several years ago providing healthcare out of the trunk of his car to the largely Mayan population, and he has recently acquired a property with three buildings which will be a fully functional hospital following renovations. This trip was to: A) give me exposure to Sergio’s place; B) clarify responsibilities for coordinating work teams from the States; and C) plan for the installation of a generator and operating room renovations. 


A team from South Carolina working at Sergio’s while we visited. Though some teams come in with arrogance, these guys came to serve and did it well.

Praise God, all three tasks went remarkably well. Lord willing, the hospital will provide tremendous blessings of healthcare and evangelism for years to come, but it’s not going to be easy. The area is largely agricultural, the local economy is driven largely by coffee and sugar cane harvests, and the Guatemalan coffee is going to be hurting in the next several years due to a fungal blight wiping out the crop. And the gringo teams from the U.S. often are too busy stampeding in and out to “do their mission work” to stop and consider that they can actually bring long term harm if not careful. I hope and pray for the hospital, that God would provide even in difficult circumstances. 

We Three Gringo from lands afar then piled back into our van and set off for Clinica Azel near Chicacao. A delicious tilapia dinner (The pulled my fish live out of the tank after I ordered and fried it whole), a good night’s sleep, and we set to working on their faulty equipment the next morning. Joe and I tag-teamed a surgical microscope control panel while Dennis worked on a surgical table and air compressor, and we made good progress. As usual, some problems we were able to diagnose but not fix due to a lack of parts on hand. But things were left in working order and we set out towards the city and home. 


View from the Pacific Highway back towards the Highlands.

Twelve days left in Guatemala. Projects are winding down. I’m not eager to leave, but I’m eager to go, onto the next thing. Pray for me, that I would still be present here while I’m here, that I wouldn’t miss a chance to grow or serve in my last week.5 here. 

Grace and Peace,



Just in case you didn’t know, or if you’ve been living on Mars for the past ever or so and breathe something entirely different, that oxygen stuff is pretty important.

Can’t see it, smell it (can you?), taste it (never tried drinking the stuff), etc., but you sure know when it’s there and when it’s not. And when you don’t have it, you try to figure out how to get it pretty quickly.

This simple truth was illustrated twice over this past week, in rather different ways.

The beginning of the week was spent experimenting with medical oxygen concentrators. There’s lots of old ones down here in Guatemala, and most of them are tired. After 5,000 hours of use or so, the zeolite substrate (the sand stuff inside it that pulls the nitrogen out of the air) tends to quit working quite so well. Normally O2 concentrators will put out about 95% oxygen at a flow rate of 3L/min. They need to have this high of a percentage to be effective. Our machines were putting out ~80%. Marty Hand, a biomed tech from Alabama, brought us the oxygen sensor we needed to begin testing last weekend, so away Dennis and I went trying to cook up a way to revitalize the substrate.

By Wednesday we had a good baseline for testing, but our first attempts to pull a vacuum on and heat the substrate up to 200 F didn’t show any improvements in oxygen concentration. This week we’ll start cooking it hotter and trying any other ideas to recharge the stuff.

On Thursday we picked Marty Hand and his family up from the orphanage they’d been serving at this week and took them to Antigua to be tourists for an afternoon. And of course, I got to thoroughly enjoy an aftenoon full of shopping too. That was some pretty dry sarcasm, there. We all had a good time visiting Antigua for a day, and we stayed at nice hotel for Thursday night before dropping the Hands off at the airport on Friday morning.



Then dark and early on Saturday morning, I began my second adventure with oxygen (or a lack thereof) this week. It was 4 o’clock AM and myself, Mike Brubaker with Orphan Resources International, and his nephew Ryan all set out for the trailhead to climb Volcan Acatenango, the highest volcano in this part of the country. We drove for about 2 hours to get there, the last hour of which was spent on what Mike would call some “beautifully made Guatemalan roads”, featuring the finest ruts and dirt that good ol’ Guatemalan engineering can buy. Finally we arrived in a small remote village, parked the van, and began our trek.

For all the nerds out there like me, here’s the stats of our hike:

Beginning elevation: 7,900 feet above sea level. Ending elevation: 13,045 feet above sea level. Hiked distance laterally, switchbacks and all: 3.08 miles. Average percent grade of our climb: 31.63%. Time ascent began: 6:00 AM. Time summited: 12:00 PM. Time descent began: 1:00 PM. Time descent ended: 2:45 PM.

It was a fun, but very tough hike. For every three feet hiked, we gained a foot of elevation, which is a pretty steep pace to keep for six hours. I was stuggling pretty hard by the time we got towards the top. The worst part was the 2-3 inches of sand that you had to trudge through most of the way up. And that oxygen stuff. There’s less of it up there. Sea level air has 20.9% oxygen. At 8,000 feet, the air has 15.4% oxygen. At 13,000 feet, it has only 12.7%. The concentration is actually the same, but the air is just thinner up there. Needless to say all three of us were taking frequent breaks on the last section of our climb.

The last stretch to the cone.

The last stretch to the cone.

It was semi-cloudy on our climb, but still awesome. On a clear day from the top, they say you can see both the Pacific Ocean and the Gulf of Honduras (Mexico). It was really awesome to get up there and see that much of creation from a bird’s eye view. The ground at the top crater of the volcano was warm to the touch, and there were steam vents that would occasionally spurt pockets of gas and moisture out. It felt about ten degrees warmer around the vents than the ~50 F we had at the top. The crater at the top of the volcano reminded me of a lunar scene, several inches of black sand throughout. You could drop a football field into the crater pretty easily, to give some perspective on size.

At the top, among the clouds.

At the top, among the clouds.

Looking north towards Mexico from ~10,000 feet.

Looking north towards Mexico from ~10,000 feet.

Volcan Atitlan, from about halfway up.

Volcan Atitlan, from about halfway up.

These are some of the pics that I took, but if you’re interested I’d strongly recommend that you check out Mike’s pics on his blog (from another trip up he took) at this link: . Seriously. Click the link, it’s worth it, cause his camera is way better than mine. Feel free to check out some of his other pics from Guatemala, they’re fantastic. And accurate.

(On a side note, when there’s less air, I burn faster. Just ask my face and neck. I should’ve known better than to trust the clouds to protect my pasty white gringo hide.)

In other news, God is continuing to challenge and teach me through his word. For those who have been praying for me, thank you, thank you, thank you. Pray that God would be glorified both in this trip and in any decisions made as a result of it.

Grace and Peace,



Joe Leier came up to the warehouse on Thursday and kicked off the great autoclave clean-up. There were 7 laying about the shop, and the goal was to “rob Peter and pay Paul”, as Dennis would say; trying to get as many functional units as possible. A short day’s work Thursday yielded two that were working (we hoped) and one that had some mysterious circuitry problems.

Friday morning I went to the warehouse to see what I could get done on my own, while Dennis ran errands in the city. Most of my time was spent re-drawing wiring diagrams and staring at the mysteriously broken autoclave trying to puzzle out where the problem was. At the end of my time at the shop, I noticed that there was steam leaking out of a small fitting on the back of the tank. Not a circuitry problem after all. Cue facepalm.

Saturday Dennis and I had a full day’s work cleaning, fixing, and testing all three machines, with good results. We want to run a few more cycles tomorrow morning, but we’ve realistically got three working autoclaves we didn’t before. Good stuff.


Working at the shop alone on Friday was a learning experience. It was actually hard for me to get motivated to work at first, and I couldn’t understand why.While the machines cycled in the shop, I sat down in the office and journalled while I was waiting, trying to figure out what the heck was wrong with me. It took awhile, but I think I finally hit on it.

I was lonely.

Lonely? I don’t get lonely. Lonely is, like, depressing. And I’m not depressed. Am I? Don’t think so. So where is this loneliness coming from?

Oh, yea. Right. That little part about being 2,000 miles from home and being alone in a foreign country. I hadn’t been lonely during this whole trip, but there was still that little twinge there in my stomach. So this is this home-sickness they speak of.

-To all you who may start asking question now (that means you, Mom, Grandparents, Cindy, etc), I love you all, but please be assured that I’m alright. I’ve scarcely ever felt more confident that this is where God means for me to be. And that morning at the warehouse was the exception to the rule.-

I don’t think getting homesick a little is inherently bad. I miss my friends and family. It would be a little weird if I didn’t miss them. They mean the world to me.

I sat there in the office, praying and journalling, while the machines buzzed in the next room. I don’t claim to have it all figured out, but I think I’m starting to understand how hard it would be to move down here to be a missionary. No, hard isn’t the right word, though it’s close. I’m starting to understand the cost of it.

It’s a funny thing, I think. Hard and easy at the same time. God calls us to do difficult things sometimes, things that can make us very uncomfortable. Yet he always sustains us through it. It’s costly to follow Christ, just as it’s a costly grace that allows us to follow. It couldn’t have been easy for God to give up his son unto death and humiliation. It takes on real meaning when I stop to consider it from a father’s perspective…

I have no room to complain about any costs. Ever. I can only be thankful when I stop to consider how blessed and loved I am. And that’s the truth of the cost of following Christ.  Though God may call us to make sacrifices or to do uncomfortable things at times, he doesn’t take them by force. He waits, patiently, until we can give them to him in love. He doesn’t desire our obligatory actions, he desires our hearts and our obedience. It’s not about our actions. It’s about knowing and loving the God who gave everything for us. And when we have our eyes on him, his promises to sustain us ring true.

I could ramble here for awhile, about grace and love and how God has our best interests in mind. All of those things are very, very true, but there are far better sources for accurate theology than me. I’d love to sit and talk about it for hours with you, but this blog isn’t the place. To bring it back around, what I’m trying to say is that I think I’m starting to understand the costs of foreign missionary service. And when you start to understand how much something really costs, you can finally start to understand the value in it.

Love you all. Grace and Peace,



For just about everything. 

For friends and family.

For a functioning body and mind.

For generous hosts Dennis and Cindy.

For the occasional delicious steak.

For a God who loves me more than I know.


Grace and Peace,


Warning: This blog post is potentially interactive.

(Boy, I bet you’re excited to interact with something titled “Epitaph”. No voodoo here, I promise.)

In probably the best class that I’ve taken at college (Intro to Interpersonal Communication w/ Evan Griffin), our professor challenged us to write our own epitaphs. It was a tough assignment, to put my finger on just what I wanted my life to be remembered by. 

(This is the part of the blog post where Paul comes out and challenges you to write, your own epitaph.)

(If you got the reference, then a cookie for you. Comment below. Obviously, you don’t have to write your own epitaph to finish reading the post. But if you’ve got time, I encourage you to give it some thought.)



Thanks, Danny, for filling some space for us. And by the way, nice hat, pen, watch, and bible. They make you look strikingly handsome, and somehow familiar. 


This is part of the blogging I needed to catch up on from the roadtrip this past week. An excerpt from my journal, dated 6/14, which was last Friday:

Tikal today. Which will be cool, but at the same time I’d much rather actually be fixing something today. We’ve come hours and hours up here, and all that’s come of it was to order some hose fittings. Which is important, yes, but it feels so small.

Even writing that is bringing up a conflict in my mind and soul. My natural tendency is to be disappointed, to look only as far as my eyes can see and my hands can physically do. Naturally, I’d be partly glum and sulky, because I define myself and my worth from what I accomplish. 

And herin lies the conflict…

Firstly, that hose fitting will bless these people. And more so than that, that’s not how I, or we as Christians, are to define ourselves. There very well could have been something wrong and we could have fixed something. No, that’s not even the heart of what I mean either. What I mean is that I tend to have a high opinion of my actions. I do feel that I’m a mostly competent person and can do many things well, and I believe that with good focus, direction, and work, I can do much good in this world. But that high view of myself, which puts so much stock in my own worth and weight of action, puts God in a very low view.

The question is raised of, ‘How do I define my success?’ It’s such a crucial question to ask and answer, as what I believe about its answer drives much of my behavior.”

That’s where my entry ended that day. How I define my success in life is a question that I’ve considered before. Trust me, I can give you the good church boy answer. But the reality is that this question isn’t testing knowledge, it’s testing belief and identity. Big difference. What do I believe (as is shown in my actions) defines my purpose in life, defines success?

I’m a performance driven person. I grew up being very good at school, and I thrived on having people pat me on the back and tell me I was going places. Getting good test scores prompted me to apply to an Ivy League school. Recently (and this is still an odd shift for a lifelong nerd) I’ve joined the rowing team and have taken to it. I thrive on the competition, and it has driven me to invest thousands of hours. I’ve invested to the point that I’m the fastest person on the team. The point I’m trying to make is that for whatever reason, God has gifted me to be able to set a goal and to go get it. Period. (sounds genetic to me) That’s a good thing, right?

4.0 student. Varsity captain rower. Church leader. World traveler. Not a bad resumé.

I’ll be honest with you. It’s a curse at times. Can you guess what my biggest fear is? I’ll give you a hint. It starts with the letter “F” and rhymes with “Mailure”. 

Back to the journal entry. My natural tendency would be to be sulky because I only got to prescribe some air tank fittings. But that depression wasn’t sitting right with me.

I think God’s working on me here again. Cause there’s several passages of scripture that have cut me deep the past few days. 

Isaiah 64:6 – “We are all infected and impure with sin. When we display our righteous deeds, they are nothing but filthy rags. Like autumn leaves, we wither and fall, and our sins sweep us away like the wind.”

Our righteous deeds are filthy rags. Ouch. What does that make all the deeds that I definitely wouldn’t classify as righteous? 

How do I define my success? Fixing the world’s problems? Sounds good, but I’m coming to see how self serving my natural self is. 

The reality is that God isn’t calling me to be “successful” in getting lots of stuff done. He’s not calling me to be successful to have lots of fun. Or to be married. Or to get good grades, or to row fast. They’re all good things, but not anything to define myself by. I’ve made each of them my master, my idol, at times in my life, and I can attest that they’re empty. Good things, but empty, ultimately. They fill up for awhile, but none of them gave me lasting purpose. The reality is that the times my deepest sense of purpose and fulfillment, of my deepest intimacy with God, have been the times when I’ve just had to be obedient. My success isn’t to make more of me, it’s to place my identity in Christ fully and just obey, not matter the cost. 

Big time theological postulate coming here: Success = Obedience. Funny how the simple ideas are hard to really get. At least for me.

Obedience is hard. I would guess that I don’t have to illustrate this one too much. The toughest moments of my life have been times when God has called me to do something that hasn’t made any sense to me. It’s looked different at times. Sometimes it means walking away from things. Relationships. Scholarships. Sometimes it means confession. Sometimes it means confrontation. Sometimes it means failure. I haven’t always done these things eagerly or with enthusiasm. Or at all…

I can say that in every single place that God has called me out into a place of vulnerability, He has been faithful to provide. His word says that faith pleases him. I’m learning that faith looks a lot like obedience. I’m so thankful for how God’s blessed me. I am messed up. I’ve got issues. My righteous deeds are as filthy rags. My motives are self serving. And for some reason the God of the universe loves me so much that he died for me and lives to be intimately involved in the tiniest details of my life. He cares enough to teach me and to put my foot on a firm foundation, a straight and narrow path.

I’m thankful that God’s Spirit is wrestling with my carnal self in an act of sanctification. But it is a struggle. A real struggle at times.

John 17:4 [Jesus, praying to God, shortly before being led away to be crucified] – “I brought glory to you here on earth by completing the work you gave me to do.”

I want to change my answer to Professor Griffin. I want that to by my epitaph. That I brought glory to God by being obedient. Even if it isn’t sexy. Even if it isn’t rich. Even if I don’t do anything other than recommend some hose fittings. God is sovereign, and there is no higher calling than to operate where He has placed me. At the end of my life, I hope that somebody can take a chisel and hammer and etch that verse into my tombstone and it can be true.


Gosh, I love this kid. Maybe the trip wasn’t a waste after all…

Thanks for letting me ramble and get that all out.

Grace and Peace,


It’s Gettin’ Real

The swelling in my finger is going down now. 

It wasn’t ever super bad, but I swear that fly was only on my pinkie for a second. Five minutes later I was losing sensation and dexterity. Kinda like a horse or deer fly in Ohio. 

Today Dennis, Joe Leier, and I headed out to the remote village of Sarstun to assess the equipment and electrical work at a clinic of Refuge International there. Sarstun is located close to the ocean / Gulf of Mexico right on the border of Guatemala and Belize. The kicker is that there aren’t really any roads that go there. We traveled several hours south from Flores to an obscure little dock along the Sarstun River and CA-9 highway. There we were picked up by Rafa from Sarstun in a motor boat and transported thirty miles downstream to the town. 



We got to the clinic safe and sound about an hour later…



and ate lunch. Shrimp, rice, tortillas, pinapple, and cucumbers. And shrimp. Such good shrimp.



Then it was to work. Sort of. I’m still in learning mode, but that’s fine. Trips like this where I get to learn from guys like Joe (the earlier mentioned electrical engineer turned biomed tech) and Dennis are great. Not only do I get exposure to how to repair equipment and different parts of the country, but I get to listen and talk and soak up the years of experience and wisdom these guys have from doing mission work for so long. I’m incredibly thankful. I’ve still got a lot to learn. 

Anyways, Joe started evaluating the electrical system in the clinic to make sure that some gringos hadn’t wired an instant inflammation device into the breaker boxes anywhere, and Dennis and I tagged along and helped where we could. Then we went outside to look at the water filtration system. This one is a two part filter that screens the water from a deep well then passes it through a UV filter to kill microbials. Good in theory, only the UV bulb had a wire that had been chewed through and a ballast that was bad. And there was a ton of algae growing in the white PVC piping due to sun exposure. Turns out that the “agua pura” really wasn’t so pura. Which was really a shame since it was pretty warm and extremely muggy. And by really a shame I mean that it was really a problem. Dennis, Joe, and I all share the same feelings about the water, that we like our intestines the way they are now, so thanks but no thanks. 

Fix the broken power cord. Pause on the water problem. We don’t have any replacement ballasts. Now it’s time to go check out the operating room. 



That’s Joe there (I think he said he was playing video games on his Iphone or something like that), sitting in front of the anesthesia machine and military issue O.R. lights. And there’s the operating table, complete with Guatemalan anti-skid stilt devices. I set my foot up against one at one point, and the block started to crumble out from under my boot. Probably not the best thing to have a patient propped up by when you’re attempting surgery. But hey, this is Guatemala, and that is almost a classic example of the way people operate down here. (Operate in general, not just in surgery. And docs are smart in lots of ways, but not all). Hence the need for biomedical technicians and engineers. The table will hopefully be replaced with a better one soon.

The vacuum pumps checked out fine. The anesthesia machines had expired O2 sensors and corroded contacts, but those were quickly diagnosed and loosened up. The new O2 sensors will have to come in with the next team. Then Dennis noticed that the machines were wired to be plugged into 220 volt AC power. A problem, since it’s a 110 volt machine. Uh oh. Opened the back of the machines up, none of the fuses were blown. They had apparently never plugged either of their machines in to use them yet. So we put 110 V plugs onto the cords to avoid any potential harm. Crisis averted. 

Found replacement parts for the water UV filter. I went out to finish assembling it while Dennis and Joe finished up in the O.R. Everything got put back together well, and we were wrapping up early. Talked with our trusty boat captain Rafa, and he confirmed that we could make it back up the river today if we left by 4:30. It was 3:30. Little victories are where it’s at. As much fun as sleeping in the open air under a mosquito net would’ve been, I do enjoy being able to drink water and maintain my present state of bowel health. Little victories. Like not becoming severely dehydrated.

We recorded a quick segment of video to put into a presentation for the North Carolina Biomed Association this fall about the need for Biomed Techs in the third world / missions field, and we were on our way. We’re back at Mike and Karen Rhea’s now, and now I’m blogging for a few minutes before bed. We’ll return to the City tomorrow, and it’ll be home sweet home a full day early. 

A good day. Thanks and praise to God for his continued provision and faithfulness. 

Hope that you’re all doing well, whoever you are reading this blog. Thanks for your love and support.






I’m a couple days behind on my blogging. Hopefully I’ll get caught up when we get done with this trip. 

Dennis and I got to go visit Tikal today. Tikal is the ancient capital of the Mayan civilization, and it is pretty close to where we were working on equipment near Flores in the Peten. So I got to be a tourist for a day and look at a bunch of rocks. (Shhhh, don’t tell my co-op advisor. ((Hi Jill)) ). But they were some pretty cool rocks. Crazy to think that those guys built that entire city with dozens and dozens of temples and shrines and pyramids with no metal and no machinery. For you Star Wars fans, this is the site that they shot the scene of the Rebel Base with the ruins rising above the tree tops. 

I’ll post a couple more pics here. Not too much to it but some sweet old rocks. The only unfortunate part was that the howler monkeys were AWOL. 


Partially unearthed pyramid.


Dennis trying to get a photo of that elusive bird…. I forget what it’s called.


More cool ruins.

Grace and Peace,


In The Jungle, The Mighty Jungle,

The lion sleeps tonight…..

If you’re like me, you’ve now got the “O-Weem-O-Weps” swinging merrily through your brain cells right now. But please, don’t let me stop you from singing along. If anything, I’d like to add another dimension. Dennis and I are going to take a road trip, and I’d like to tell you some about it. There will be pictures coming.

(This is going to be kinda fun.)


(To be read in your very best Steve Irwin a.k.a. “The Crocodile Hunter” voice. ((May he rest in peace.)) Bonus points if you give in and read the entire following narration OUT LOUD in said accented voice. If you do and let me know, there’s a cookie in it for you the next time I see you. Please feel free to interject the occasional “Croicky, mate!” as needed.)

Anyways, let’s get roight into our little advencha. 

(Got the accent? Good!)

Tomorrow begins the start of a grand journey that pits our heroes against the forces of natcha. They’ll roise long before the sun comes out to take full advantage of the easier roadways and avoid getting trampled as they begin their quest. This first part of their migration is cruuu-cial to their success, as it’ll take them six long hours to weave their way out of the high-lahnds and into the scorching heat of the jungle below. Finally they’ll arrive at their first destination in Rio Dulce at the orphanage of Mike and Karen Rhea.

Mike and Karen are what you could call friends of our great adventurers, they have what you could call, a symbiotic relationship. Mike and Karen do quite a remarkable thing in Rio Dulce: They raise 8 kids, count ’em, 8!, in their own home. Croicky, it’s incredible to see what things God can accomplish through two ordinary people. Anyways, our team will spend the rest of the day there and will depart the next morning for the Peten, the destination of their journey.

But wait! What’s this? It appears that we’ve lost a member of our team! What happened to Cindy?

Oh! Whew! She’s staying behoind in Rio Dulce to keep Karen company. She must be content to wait out the journey here with her friend. I only hope she can cope with the heat well. Drink lots of wahter, Cindy!

And back with our travelers. Into the Peten we go. The Peten is a vast, sparsely populated region of the country where few ever bother to venture. It is here that our dynamic duo will encounter anotha migratory worker, Joe Leier. Joe is a rare breed or homo-sapien, he exhibits the ability to talk continuously, even while doing any other task. Even eating. Blimey! But a good guy he is, roightly so, an electrical engineer who is in the Peten to help our duo repair medical equipment. Just don’t ask him to go near any electric motors! That would get ugly. They’ll join forces at the Hospital Shalom and other places to repair at least one mammogram machine and a whole host of other nasty broken equipment. 

Then on Froiday, it’s off to Tikal, the ancient Mayan ruins. Did you know that they used to offer sacrifoices on those pyramids? 

After a refreshing day of tourism, our team will finish their work at hospitals and clinics. It’s hard to say for sure what they’ll get into until they get to those places and see what needs fixing. On their way back, they’ll get the chance to really explore some uncharted territory. They’ll have to abandon their wheels and instead take to the wahter to get to the remote clinic at Sarstun. Repairs there, then it’s homeward bound. They’ll head back through Rio Dulce, retrieve their beloved Cindy, and return to home on Monday or Tuesday of next week.

Whew! That was exciting! I can’t wait to see it all play out. 

Till next toime! I’m Steve Irwin, and you’re bloimey fantastic.