Friday, February 3, 2012

Columbus Medical Mission Team Returning to Nicaragua
(for more information go to

By Shelly Burke, Editor

The Columbus Medical Mission team is partnering with Valley Christian Fellowship of Shasta through Global Passion Ministries of Redding, CA, to team up with a group of surgeons and staff to provide surgical and medical services to people who have minimal or no access to healthcare. The team will be treating people in Puerto Cabezas, Nicaragua. The trip will take place February 9-23, 2012. (For more information about conditions in Nicaragua, see the December issue of the Nebraska Family Times.)

Members of the Columbus team include Dean & Carolyn Athey, Karl & Sue Tillinghast, Jody Dreifurst, Sherilyn Haswell, and Melissa Shemek. Team members will assist with surgeries and trouble-shoot and repair equipment in and around the hospital. Several members of the team have been on mission trips before. The Columbus team will be working side by side with the California team, which  includes two surgeons and an anesthesiologist as well as recovery room nurses and children’s ministry staff.

The ENT (ear, nose, and throat) surgeons will be performing tonsillectomies, ear, thyroid, and nasal surgeries, and repairing cleft lips. General surgeons will be repairing hernias and doing abdominal surgeries.

During the trip in 2011 more than 300 local people were seen in the clinic; since the trip is longer this year, more people will be seen and treated and over 100 surgeries will be performed.

Supplies are very limited in Puerto Cabezas, so the team must take surgical gloves, medications, surgical supplies, and so on. They must also buy gasoline for generators that provide power when the electricity goes out, which can happen several times every day. The team also pays local people to act as interpreters, nurses, surgical techs, and a nurse anesthetist.  

Dean and Carolyn Athey have been on two previous trips to Nicaragua and look forward to their third trip. According to Carolyn, “We have received so much more from these trips than what we have given. It is a rewarding and life-changing experience to serve people who have nothing and where health care is almost non-existent. We are so lucky to live where we do!”

Carolyn anticipates seeing people they’ve met on previous trips. “When we returned for our second trip, it was fun to recognize people and see how they looked forward to our trip and appreciate that we cared enough to come back.”
Please keep the Columbus Medical Mission Team in your prayers as they prepare to leave next week!  The Mission Team is almost completely packed for their trip, which begins Feb. 9th. Monetary donations are needed; the team will need to buy fuel for generators that provide power to the operating rooms when the electricity goes out, which can happen several times a day. The team also pays local nurses, surgical techs, and a nurse anesthetist and local people also act as interpreters.

To make a donation, make your check out to the Columbus Medical Mission Team and mail it to Atheys, 3471 E. 14th Ave., Columbus, NE 68601. For more information about the trip, call (402) 276-0638 or (402) 276-0640 or go to the blog at The team will update the blog while they’re in Nicaragua, and the Nebraska Family Times will print a follow-up article in the April issue of the paper. Please keep the Medical Mission Team in your prayers as they travel, treat people, and spread God’s love and His Word! 

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