Sunday, May 25, 2014

Medical Mission Trip

I'm excited to share with you that in July Phil and I have the opportunity to join with a group from our church (The Village Church in Flower Mound, TX) to spend 10 days in Guatemala City, Guatemala on a medical mission trip.

As most of you already know in May 2012 Phil graduated PA school and has since been working in a Pediatric ER. One of the reoccurring dreams Phil had as he trudged through school was to serve on medical mission trips as much as possible. This trip is answer to that prayer and dream and I am thrilled, as his wife, to be able to join him even as a non-medical professional and serve alongside him in other capacities.

For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.
How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed?
And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard?
And how are they to hear without someone preaching?
And how are they to preach unless they are sent?
As it is written, "How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!"
Romans 10:13-15

I want to take a step back though and really walk through why go on a short term mission trip rather than just continuing to share the good news here at home. 
So why go? 
This is a question I have wrestled with myself in preparing for this trip.  Surely there are plenty of places to serve and give back here in our own community.  Why raise money?  Why spend that money on travel and accommodations when that money could be given to a local organization. I believe these are legitimate questions and ideas to wrestle with but I believe answers and reasons are clear and my hope in the blog post is that you too will see the same need we see.

"If we have never had the experience of taking our
commonplace religious shoes off our commonplace religious feet,
and getting rid of all the undue familiarity with which we approach God,
it is questionable whether we have ever stood in his presence." 
― Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest: Selections for the Year

Phil and I are in a unique position of not having tons of responsibilities keeping us from traveling right now. We don't yet have kiddos, are jobs are flexible, we have great friends and family that will watch our doggies and so we can go. Go; into other parts of the world, stepping away from our daily routines to see how others live, work, worship, and to reach people with resources they aren't always provided like we are.

Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous works among all the people!
1 Chronicles 16:24

When we first became interested in this trip we didn't know much about Guatemala and thought perhaps others may not as well so I wanted to tell you a little bit about where we will be going.

Guatemala City, is the capital and largest city of the Republic of Guatemala, and the most populous in Central America. More than half of Guatemalans are descendants of the indigenous Maya peoples; most live in the western highlands and are poor subsistence farmers. By contrast the rest of the population are known as Ladinos (mostly mixed Maya-Spanish ancestry). Ladinos use Spanish and wear Western clothing, while Maya speak some 24 indigenous languages and retain traditional dress and customs. What that means is the economy is divided mostly between lower class rural and upper class urban. It also means that Spanish is not the only language spoken especially in the rural areas. Poverty in the Republic of Guatemala is widespread and deeply entrenched. Approximately 51 per cent of the population lives in rural areas, according to the International Fund for Agricultural Development Rural Poverty Portal, and the rural population accounts for a large majority of the country's poor people. Poverty is highly concentrated among indigenous communities. These communities lack assets and access to resources. Resources that we take for granted every day. Many homes are made of scavenged materials, with dirt floors, no toilets, and no drinkable water. Preventable diseases occur frequently because of these poor conditions and often result in death. Malnutrition is common among children, and infant mortality rates are high. 

For these reasons, we are joining with our partner church, Casa de Libertad, in Guatemala City to serve in rural communities, as well as a clinic located at Fundaninos (orphanage/children’s home). Guatemala City has modern conveniences, medical supplies, pharmaceutical resources but the rural communities lack access to these necessities. Unless groups like ours go to these rural areas those who live in the poverty are often without quality health care.

But if anyone has the world's goods and sees his brother in need, 
yet closes his heart against him, how does God's love abide in him? 
Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.
1 John 3:17-18

The above verse from the Bible speaks directly of why we have a desire to serve on this mission trip. We have been given abundant blessings and want to love those in need through our actions. We love because we were first loved, 1 John 4:19, we hope and desire to share that love with others.

Probably as everyone reading this is well aware, part of short term mission, well actually any mission work, is raising the funds to make the mission happen. When I first was faced with raising the funds to go I bowed up to this because I felt like we should not ask our friends and family to give us money for a trip that we could save for and potentially fund ourselves. As I mentioned, at this point in our lives, we don't have as many financial burdens and hurdles as some of our friends. But as I was challenged with the tasks I have realized that by allowing friends to contribute to our trip (even in the smallest amount) we are allowing them to be a part of the trip though they can't physically go; investing into the Kingdom and support our decision step outside our comfort zones and serve alongside others in our church family. And let's be honest, we are all more interested and in tune with what we are financially invested in than if we aren't. 

Also, in raising the trip fund requirements Phil and I are more financially freed to be able to give monetarily to the church or orphanage or community in Guatemala once we are there. So if you can give monetarily and have a desire to join in the mission of this trip to serve the medical needs of those in rural villages near Guatemala City as the children's orphanage there or just to support us as we follow the Lord's leading then even $10 is a choice, a dedication, an action that means the world to us and I believe is an act of faith that the Lord is going to do great work on this trip.

But most importantly the way to partner with us in this trip is through prayer. Earnestly seeking the Lord on our behalf as we prepare for this trip and then while we are there serving. Praying for the children and adults we will meet. Praying for our team to grow in unity as we get to know one another. Pray for the wisdom of each medical provider that is going on the trip. Courage for each of us as we strive to share the good news of the Lord's great mercy and love for each of the people we encounter. Pray for the hearts of the people we will meet that they would already begin to have soften to the Lord's promises. Pray against the distractions that so easily entangle us as we prepare and while there. Pray for funding for each team member to be raised so that it doesn't become a stumbling block. Pray for our hearts to be in tune with how the Lord will use each of us on this trip.


If you desire to contribute financially to this trip you may do so either by check or securely online.

You can hand us a check to submit to the funds or feel free to drop it in the mail*. Please have it made out to The Village Church with STM - Guatemala IV - Phil & Constance Ray in the memo.

*text, call, email, FB message us and we will get you our mailing address.

(You have to create an account to donate online so this is the login area.)

To do so, please follow the instructions below:
  1. Go to
  2. If you do not already have an account, you can create one at this time. Otherwise, log in using your Email & Password.
  3. Select your name.
  4. Select "STM - Guatemala IV - July 17th-27th" from the 
  5. drop-down menu and click continue.
  6. Select "Ray, Phil & Constance" under the first drop-down menu, and select the amount you would like to contribute from the second menu.
  7. Select eCheck as your payment option and enter your 
  8. information. Ensure you use a check and not a deposit slip, as routing numbers may differ. Also, ensure you do not include the check number at the end of your account number. There is an illustration on the page for your reference.
  9. Double check your information and click "Submit Forms."
Your contribution will be tax deductible.

Additionally, we are hoping to host a dinner at a local restaurant where proceeds would go to our funding. Once we details are confirmed I will update. 

I am almost bursting in anticipation of telling you all about this trip - the beautiful children we will meet, the people in the clinics, how our team grew together and worked as ambassadors of Christ together, and mostly how we see God work.

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