Sunday, December 29, 2013

Prayers for Guatemala - Week Two

Image from Feed a Child
Each week I am posting prayer concerns for the Faith in Practice/Providence Health International surgical mission trip to Retalhuleu, Guatemala, February 28-March 8.  This week's prayers are focused on the post-operative nurses on the team.  These nurses care for patients after surgery, monitoring the patients to insure the best recovery results.  When I watch nurses in the PACU at Providence Hood River Memorial Hospital, I marvel at their ability to absorb, analyze, and react to so many bits of information coming at them from monitors, vitals, and observation.  They do all this within a context of treating each patient with compassion and love, making them feel like they are the only patient in recovery.  These are the skilled and caring nurses for whom we pray for this week.  

Additionally this week, we highlight the needs of the children of Guatemala.  According to the World Bank, Guatemala has the third-highest rate of chronic malnutrition, or stunted growth, (54%). (Click on link for more information.) In one village, sixty-seven of the 112 under-fives suffer from chronic malnutrition.  Part of the problem in Guatemala is that more than 65% of arable land is own by 3% of private landowners.  Most of the crops - coffee, sugar cane, and bananas - are exported, leaving precious little for sustainable crops. Other contributing factors include the cost of primary education and seeking medical treatment, often miles away in one of the larger cities.  The combination means that over half of Guatemala's children are undernourished.  We pray that the government of Guatemala continues to make strides towards eliminating child malnutrition.  We pray that we consider what our appetite for coffee, bananas, and sugar does for local economies and children.

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