Pat joins Bay Presbyterian Church

for her 1st mission trip

    Years ago, while I was still teaching, I had found out that my eye doctor, Dr. Tom Kelly, went on mission trips to Guatemala, giving eye exams and recycling old glasses.  He was excited to know that I spoke Spanish, but since the trips were in January and March, we were both disappointed that I couldn’t be of help.  After I retired in June 2004, I left numerous messages in his office that I was available, but never heard anything.

    In October 2008, I was in his office picking up some contact lenses for Cristina and again left him a note, indicating that I still wanted to help out on the trip(s) if possible.  He called me at home that same night, telling me to contact a Tim McMillan.  Tim asked if I could attend a meeting the very next night, which I did.  The only reason there was an available spot was because a previous person had had to cancel, opening up the hole for me.

    I asked our local paper to do an article about me going there, indicating that I was collecting eyeglasses, school items, and basic travel-size toiletries items.  The drop-off was the local UPS store.  The donations were overwhelming.

    I got to know some of the people going from attending the rest of the meetings, but was unable to attend the one where Tom Kelly was training us to give the eye exams.  Thus, I was pretty apprehensive going into this trip blind (pardon the pun), barely knowing the people and definitely NOT knowing how to examine eyes.


    Below are links to the people and places of Guatemala that warmly welcomed our non-licensed help into their communities.  The Guatemalans are a stoic people, very friendly and social, and extremely obedient and humble.  They would simply stand outside our buildings for hours, waiting their turn, and once called, would stand and wait silently while we searched for the best fit for them; they always made a point of thanking and blessing us before they left. 

    It truly was an experience of a lifetime for me, and the moment I returned, I called Tim to see if I could go next year.  He has me on the January and March 2010 teams. Speaking Spanish is indeed the key to serving the most people.

Inchehuex, Eye Clinic and town

Jacaltenango, our first eye clinic

Tzisbaj: eye clinic and village

Huitzobal: eye clinic & village


Habitat for Humanity house being built for Gladis

outside our hotel El Buen Samaritano in Jacaltenango

All our medical teams on our first day

less than 1/2 of what I collected