Friday, September 2, 2011

An Arm for Marcelino

Marcelino is a Kekchi national missionary. We have known him for a while, but since he works on the other side of Petén and in the northern part of Alta Verapaz, we have never worked with him before.
{He is on the left talking with Pastor Mateo (from La Ceiba) and Domingo}

Jimmy knows him from the KBI modules and pastors' meetings. He has been a missionary for 11 years and before that he was a pastor for 17 years. He accepted Christ in '72 and was ordained in '86. He has 3 kids and 8 grandkids. In '97 he was traveling in a vehicle and had his right arm hanging out the window when the driver side-swiped another truck. This caused him to lose his right arm from his shoulder down. He was 50 years old when this happened.
{Marcelino is on the far right pictured with Pastor Grover for a KBI module back in '09}

A few months back Pastor Mateo (pictured above), the current legal representative of the pastors' association, asked Jimmy if he knew of a way they could get Marcelino an arm. Marcelino doesn't speak much Spanish and didn't have a way to find out about a prosthetic arm when it happened 14 years ago. He and his family were also very scared that it would involve another painful surgery and that he would lose more bone. There aren't any doctors who work in prosthetics around Petén, but through some other missionaries Jimmy was able to get in contact with a doctor in Guatemala City who would provide a prosthetic arm at cost. Still we had to get Marcelino to go to Guatemala City. Guatemala City is a scary sounding place to people who don't live there. It is spoken of around here like you are really taking your life in your hands by going to that violent place! I understand... I prefer Petén too!

Well it worked out that we were due to go back this past week for another appointment to check on our baby. Marcelino's kids did not want him traveling there by himself, so one of his brothers traveled with him. They both rode a bus and met us there.

Jimmy got an appointment for him on Wednesday. Anything Marcelino didn't understand from the doctor's Spanish he would tell Jimmy, "Just make the decision, I trust you." I thought that was really sweet. I cannot imagine all that was going through Marcelino's mind. His last experience with doctors had to have been very traumatic and painful, so he must have been experiencing a lot of anxiety walking into this office.
The doctor was very nice. He explained everything and even showed Marcelino a video of how his new arm would work. Marcelino was relieved that it would just strap on rather than involve another surgery.
The doctor measured Marcelino for an arm and took a mold of his shoulder. The arm will be made specifically for him.
This is what it will look like:
It will also have a glove that fits over the hand piece that will look like an actual hand. Among other things, he will be able to open and close the hand in order to pick things up using different movements from his other shoulder. It will take some time to get used to, but it will change his life.

Marcelino seemed very surprised after the whole experience. I think the prosthetic offers him much more than what he was expecting. Jimmy said he walked out of the office and thanked him with tears in his eyes.

The new arm at the doctor's cost is $3,000. Jimmy will be presenting this need at the Kekchi pastor's meeting this Wednesday to see if their churches can help raise part of the money. If any of you would like to give money towards Marcelino's new arm, we have set up this Paypal account specifically for this need. Just click on the link below. (Note: This donation is not tax deductible, but ALL of the money we receive will go directly to pay for Marcelino's arm.)

Update: As of Monday the 6th, 20% of the $3,000 has been raised.

CRAZY ITEM OF THE DAY: The other day Silas had done something super naughty and messy. He knew he was in trouble. I had left their room to start cleaning it up. He knew he was going to get in trouble when I got back. We are at a point now where he thinks he can charm his way out of anything. It doesn't work, but he always tries it... he's good at it too. This is how I found him when I came back in. He was sitting real still...
He knew he wasn't completely hidden, but he knew he was cute! He is a little bit rotten.


  1. Haha! I think it's wonderful that your kids *think* they are spoiled, but they're not! (ie, don't get away with anything). Love it!

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. Thanks, our boys provide constant entertainment!


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