HOLY CROSS PARISH MEDICAL/DENTAL TEAM OFFERS CARE IN GUATEMALA

Four years ago, the first OCMC mission team to visit the Mayan Orthodox Christians in the highlands of Guatemala elicited this poignant response from the late Fr. Andres Giron: “Now we know that we are not alone.” Since that time many teams have arrived offering their musical, catechetical, medical, dental, architectural and construction skills to the rapidly growing membership of this indigenous church. As a result, tens of thousands of our Mayan brethren now realize that they are part of the Great Church of Christ, which is to be found in all parts of the world. Yet another very concrete expression of this truth was made real by the visit (July 1-6) of my Holy Cross parish mission team to the Fr. Andres Giron medical/dental clinic in the remote border village of Aguacate. Patients came from as far away as 7 hours on the flatbed of a pickup truck to receive medical attention. Also, the life of a two year old feverish child, who was convulsing and near death, was saved by the rapid response of our medical team, led by Robert Kirschner, our project director and Dr. Alexis Megaludis-Politis our medical provider. Others who participated in the team’s effort were Kassiana Politis (medical intake and pharmacy), Lia Dennison and her daughter Lillian (eye testing), Alexa Megaludis (medical intake and dental assistant), and Dr. Willie Manteris (dental work).

Dr. Manteris assisted by Alexa offer dental care.

Another important feature of the outreach was the videography of Manny Politis and his assistant Johnny Chakos, which will highlight elements of the compelling history and life of the village, as well as the impact of the clinic on the lives of its residents. Presbytera Alexandra and I, together with long-term missionary Jesse Brandow, served as interpreters. This mission of mercy not only made real the Gospel imperative to love our neighbor, it reflected the love and generous support that our Holy Cross parish has for those in greatest need. At times like this the convicting words of Christ come to mind: “Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of these My brethren, you did it to Me”  (Matthew 25:40). May we always see the face of Christ in those who lay claim to our love.

Donation of soccer balls for all grades to village school.

Holy Cross mission team members.

Patient intake begins with photo and number for the clinic’s data base system

Dr. Alexis treats patients with loving care.

Comments

  1. Michael Bosworth says

    In 2017, a couple parishes in the Washington DC region (Ss. Peter & Paul Antiochian Orthodox Church of Potomac, Maryland, and St Katherine’s Greek Orthodox Church of Falls Church, Virginia) became aware of the vibrant Orthodox mission in the NW highlands of Guatemala and the southern state of Chiapas in Mexico amongst the largely rural and Mayan population. Our initial visit of a couple of parishioners supporting one of the regular spring and fall medical missions, in November 2018, was informative, inspiring and highly useful/successful in the expanded medical and dental care provided for a week to augment the smaller but year-round care provided by the Fr Giron Medical Clinic (e. 2015) in Aguacate, Guatemala. This has evolved into a regular DC-regional support of especially the medical aspects of the mission there, with repeat and new medical team participants for the upcoming March 2020 medical mission (three of the twelve recruited from DC region, adding to the Holy Cross Pittsburgh volunteers)’ plus increased Guatemala mission visibility/outreach to many of the two dozen Orthodox parishes in the greater Washington DC area. We hope and pray to continue our growth in partnership with OCMC, Holy Cross, the mission and peoples of Guatemala and Chiapas, for years to come.

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