Clinica Medica Salvatore Update for 2019

Clinica Medica Salvatore Update for 2019

March 5 – 9, Fred & Cindy Gossman and Pastor Carolyn traveled to Guatemala to serve with Dr. Erick & Cynthia Estrada, who operate a full-time medical clinic, Clinica Medica Salvatore in El Cortijo.  There is a staff of two medical doctors, a dentist, several nurses and a pharmacy tech/office administrator.  Two days each week, Erick & Cynthia take the clinic “on the road” to small villages around Guatemala which do not have access to medical care.  Our first day we drove about 2 hours to the village of La Reyna, at the base of the Fuego volcano which erupted last summer.  La Reyna was particularly hard-hit, suffering many deaths and weeks of digging out from volcanic ash and debris.  The clinic was set up in the local church, and the two doctors treated 63 patients, many of them mothers and young children.  Fred, Cindy & Carolyn were the pharmacy dispensers, locating & counting the proper medications for each prescription from Dr. Erick.  We were then privileged to pray for each patient and his/her family.  It was a long, hot, very dusty day, but we were blessed to witness so many patients being helped.

One patient in La Reyna was a grandmother, Julia Gonzalez, caring for five young grandchildren whose parents were killed in the Fuego eruption.  In addition to diabetes, she needed two breathing treatments and had been diagnosed with breast cancer the previous month.  The cancer is treatable, but Julia will need to stay in Guatemala City with Erick & Cynthia during treatment.

The next day was to be a full day at the Clinica, but at breakfast, we learned plans had changed.  Cynthia & Erick felt led by the Holy Spirit to go back to La Reyna to help Julia.  We located her home in the tiny village, and brought several boxes of fortified rice, as well as additional medications.  Julia lives in two-rooms: one with an open-fire cooking area plus all the family’s clothes & goods, and the other a small bedroom with wall-to-wall mattresses, where Julia, her husband who is blind and deaf, and the five grandchildren sleep.  Yet with all these burdens, Julia’s attitude is amazing.  We shared many smiles, hugs and tears as we visited her and prayed with her.  We all felt moved to find a way to build a new house for Julia’s family, to include an inside bathroom, kitchen with vented stove, and three bedrooms.  Erick’s contractor who is building the surgery wing onto the clinic can build it for approximately $2,000.  We began a fundraising campaign for the Julia Gonzalez House.  To date, we have raised $5,990 from many generous people at VPC and Ohio friends of the Gossman’s.  The VPC Missions Committee approved the project and that any amount over and above the costs of the house will go towards Julia’s cancer treatments.  Donations are still being accepted.

At the Clinica, in addition to treating patients, three days a week the staff cook & serve hot lunches for about 125 local grade-school children who had been found to be malnourished.  After lunch, they help with homework projects and have a short Bible lesson. 

There are many other aspects of Erick & Cynthia’s ministry which bless people in a multitude of ways.  They have huge servant hearts!  We were humbled by their love for the Lord and for the Guatemalan people.  They seem to seek out people who need help, and then find ways to help them.   In addition to their biological children, they have had several foster children.  Each evening the family prepares dinner for as many as 15-20 people.  One evening as we were gathering for dinner, we were quietly told about Olga.  That afternoon on the way to the store Cynthia and one of her sons saw a woman on the street corner crying.  On the way home, they saw she was still there.  They went to her and asked if they could help.  Olga is married with a 7-year-old daughter who lived in a village 7 hours away.  Her husband had come to Guatemala City for work, sent word to her to sell what little they had and come join him.  She left her daughter with relatives and found her husband, who told her to go away, he never wanted to see her again.  That’s when Cynthia found her – no home, no money, no job, and an abusive husband who turned her away.  Cynthia brought her home, gave her a bath and clean clothes, and set her to help prepare dinner that night.  There were about 20 of us at the table that evening!  The next day, Erick & Cynthia arranged for Olga to bring her daughter to live at Erick’s mother’s home next door, do cooking & cleaning and help around the house.  She is just one of many people who have been blessed by the Estrada family’s love.

It’s often said that mission trips bless the workers more than the missionaries we go to help.  That certainly was the case for us!  We thank God for the Estradas and their example of service to the Lord.

UPDATE April 15: Cynthia just informed us that the cost of the house, including stove and water filter, plus the cancer surgery will cost about $6000.  If needed, chemo or radiation will cost an additional amount. Also, over the weekend Julia’s home living/cooking area collapsed so construction needs to commence immediately.  

If you want to help, please send check to VPC & reference “Guatemala Julia’s house” ASAP.  Dios les bendiga!