Tuesday, June 2, 2009


Mont took Eric and I on the most amazing trip to Guatamala. "Sonrisas para Guatamala" (Smiles for Guatamala) was a week long medical mission that we were so happy to be apart of. A whole LDS chapel was turned into a work station where different stakes bused in pre-missionaries to get their mission papers ready. It was so fun to work with the Guatamans... they are amazing people... so nice... so humble... so faithful... and SO brave.

Every one that came in got THE WHOLE WORKS DONE! They got their blood work and TB tests, they got a missionary hair cut if needed and then got their photo taken for their mission papers...
They each got to pick two missionary ties.

Eye examinations was their next stop.

Then they went to diagnostics where they got their x-rays and exams to see what dental work needed to be done so they could qualify to go on a mission. These guys are waiting for that exam and showing off their papers.

While waiting for diagnostics, a wonderful lady who doesn't even speak Spanish prepared and memorized a presentation on dental hygiene en espanol! She talked about the importance of taking care of your teeth, having good breath, especially while sharing the gospel, and being a representative of the Lord.

Then the pre-missionaries got their teeth cleaned... I guess some were so built up with plaque that the correct term was "scaling".

Then they went to....
meaning, "dentistry" "or "dental surgery"
....This is where they got their cavities filled. There were also endotontist on the trip to do root canals.
All the pre-dental students shadowed and assisted two different doctors everyday. Eric's favorite person to assist was his friend, Dr. Hale.

Here is Eric and his fellow pre-dental students.

Just messing around.
Dr. Nord, an orthodontist, came on the trip and he made flippers everyday. Flippers are retainers made with fake teeth attached so when worn, front teeth don't appear to be missing.

Then the future missionaries' favorite part!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

After a long, exhausting, time spent getting dental work done, the Guatamalans get to go to oral surgery. See how excited our patient was?

This is Sister Tilley... she was a great help because she spoke some Spanish. Her most important job was to comfort our patients. She helped them through getting the injections and the hardest part was extracting the teeth while they are wide awake.

This is the oral surgery room. There were four stations.

Even with four oral surgeons, the line was always building up. But don't worry, we didn't leave anyone out. We stayed until 10:30pm or later until everyone had their extractions taken care of.

I was fortunate to assist Mont the whole trip because Eric was assisting in all the different areas of dentistry. I went on this trip not really knowing if the blood would bother me... luckily I was ok. Mont trained me on our first patient which was a really nice young man named, Henry. He was actually an RM who was volunteering. He came back a couple days later and presented us with these masks as a thank you gift. We were all so touched that he would spend the little money he had on these gifts. We were very humbled by his generous act.

It was so fun to assist my father-in-law.... especially when I got in the swing of things and when we were able to get into a routine. We bumped our headlights together quite a bit so Mont would tease and say, "You're already butting heads with your father-in-law!"

We always had a pre-dental student assigned to shadow us and translate for us. I started to get the hang of speaking the Spanish I needed to give them their pre-operative questions, and enough comforting phrases to get them through the surgery. It was really cool to communicate non-verbally also. It's amazing how much you can communicate through a smile, high-five, or a silly dance to cheer them up. They probably thought I was crazy sometimes but at least I was able to ease the nervousness.

Other doctors came by periodically to watch us work. Here is a progression of pictures to illustrate.

This is "Williams". He was one of the very few patients who didn't do so well under the knife. He was so scared and was not used to having any tools in his mouth. This made the surgery extremely hard. But we made it through. After Mont extracted his wisdom teeth, Eric comforted him the way he would comfort anyone after a traumatic surgery... lots of jokes, laughing, teasing, and goofing off:)

He wanted a picture with Mont and I after to show that we were still friends:)

I can't forget to include a very important work station that made this trip possible.

Here is our sterilization team.

Missionary fireside.


Eric got in trouble for climbing up this ruin. They had signs all over that read "NO SUBIR", meaning, "No Climbing". He just pretended that he didn't speak Spanish and Mont and I wouldn't claim him when the worker asked what group he belonged to. It was funny.

I love TEXTILES... so I was very interested in these women hand threading the weft through the stretched warp to make beautiful patterns.

A service project day!! All the doctors and students each were scheduled to go out on different days to participate in a service opportunity. They visited families, hospitals, orphanages, etc. On our day we got to go to a maternity hospital. Because of the "Swine Flew Epidemic Scare" we had to wear masks and had to be brief with the mother's and their newborns. It was still cool to give the mothers baby clothes and other essential items for a new mother to have.

We also got to travel to a little village and attend a sacrament meeting. After the meeting the leader of our group told the little kids that Santa had made a wrong turn and that we had presents for them.

I got to help take their family photos.

This is the leader of Smiles for Guatamala. He is presenting their family photo. It was a really cool experience because these families don't have cameras or family photos in their homes.

I wanted to go home with them, so I jumped in their truck right before they were leaving.

Shopping and bartering:)

Farewell to a few of our patients. I was suprised at how many girls had plans to go on a mission. Many of them already had their calls!

Packing up to leave.


KatieElizabeth said...

Very Cool! Nate and I did a medical mission last year to guatamala. It was amazing to see how these people live. Looks like you did a lot of good, way to go.

The ORR Family said...

You love globe trotting

Heather and Taylor said...

What an awesome experience!

Britney and Jaren Jensen said...

Wow looks like an amazing trip, and I must say Jill, you look like a #1 assistant!! I think Jaren should join you sometime in this amazing service project.

Michele Ringer said...

How fun!! I'm so jealous I got ditched on this trip. I call next time. Love you and miss you guys!