We were nearing the end of our first day of work at La Barranca, a tiny village in the Sierra Madres of Guatemala. It had been a tiring day and we had overcome many obstacles just to have a working clinic. All the equipment had to be taken by hand up a rough trail to reach the clinic building, which had no electricity so we had to run an extension cord from another source. One of our portable dental units had been misplaced by the airline. The clinic was small and not well ventilated, but we had managed to make it work and as the afternoon wore on we were all ready to finish our work and enjoy some rest.
Dr. Glen Bruenjes had already treated several patients that day, doing many fillings under difficult conditions. When he saw that his next patient was a boy of about six years of age, he thought, “Oh boy, just what I don’t want right now is a scared crying child.” But the boys’ attitude quickly allayed Glen’s fears. He smiled, laughed and put his complete trust in Dr. Bruenjes’ skilled hands. By the time the work was done, a bond had developed between them, a bond that Glen chose to commemorate by presenting a “regalo” (gift) of his team cross to the young man.
As the week passed, many of the team members also made a “regalo” of their team cross to people with whom they felt a strong connection – a teenage boy, two sisters, our team’s interpreter, our driver and others – to celebrate that we all share in the “agua viva” (living water) of Christ’s love.
Sometimes all it takes is just a simple smile and unconditional trust to remind us that we are all God’s children.
MARC SHELLUM | TEAM LEADER