We are blessed to touch so many lives, both of those we go out to serve and also those who volunteer and themselves are impacted in positive and transforming ways. Please take a few moments to read a few of the stories from those whose lives HWIP has touched, hopefully they will touch you too.

Volunteer Story - Cristian Del Carpio, MD FACC

Thank you

After a few years I got to spend a few days doing what I felt I was originally supposed to do. Help the poor. Sometimes in our lives we lose focus and become worried on things that for us may matter at a time, but in a wider view are indeed superfluous.

By helping the ones who had nobody to lend a hand, I regained some focus. This experience serves not just as a benefit for the people we treat but also for ourselves as doctors and caregivers. It puts us into perspective on how much we are blessed indeed.

I also could see in those thankful broken smiles how the lord acts. There people were so thankful and happy just because someone could hear them and try to do something for them even if it was small... when you have nothing, something becomes a lot. Comparing to the states, when you have it all, a lot becomes very little...

We had help of medical students, eager to learn and apply their knowledge. Their help was invaluable to us. The sisters, who allowed us to use their home to take care of others, in the true spirit of Mother Theresa.

At last this was a wonderful experience, for me and everyone involved. I realize this may be just a few drops of water in the desert.... but for those who received it might have made a difference in their lives, as it did in ours.

Spanish version:

Algunas reflexiones de nuestra reciente visita al Peru. Después de unos años, pasé unos días haciendo lo que creía que originalmente debía hacer. Ayudar a los pobres. A veces en nuestras vidas perdemos el foco y nos preocupamos por cosas sin importancia, cuando hay tanto por hacer.

Al ayudar a los que no tenían a nadie, recuperé algo de este sentido en mi vida. Esta experiencia sirve solo cómo un beneficio para las personas que tratamos, sino también para nosotros mismos como médicos, enfermeras y personal médico. Nos pone en perspectiva sobre cuánto hemos sido bendecidos.

También pude ver en esas sonrisas agradecidas y rotas cómo actúa el Señor. Los pacientes estaban tan agradecidos y felices solo porque alguien podía escucharlos y trataba de hacer algo por ellos, incluso si esto era pequeño ... cuando no tienes nada, incluso lo poco se vuelve mucho, algo muy diferente comparado con los Estados Unidos.

Tuvimos ayuda de estudiantes de medicina, ansiosos por aprender y aplicar sus conocimientos. Su ayuda fue invaluable para nosotros. Estamos muy agradecidos también con las hermanas, que nos permitieron usar su hogar para cuidar a los demás, en el verdadero espíritu de Madre Teresa.

En fin, esta fue una experiencia maravillosa, para mí y para todos los involucrados. Me doy cuenta de que esto puede ser solo unas gotas de agua en el desierto ... pero para aquellos que la recibieron podría haber hecho una diferencia en sus vidas, como lo hizo en la nuestra.

En fin, esta fue una experiencia maravillosa, para mí y para todos los involucrados. Me doy cuenta de que esto puede ser solo unas gotas de agua en el desierto ... pero para aquellos que la recibieron podría haber hecho una diferencia en sus vidas, como lo hizo en la nuestra.

Volunteer Story - Millie Chang, M.D.

My experience with HWIP...

Peru is a developing country with a fantastic cultural background, wonderful landscapes and delicious typical food that can make any person feel like heaven. Unfortunately, as a developing country, the situation in provision of healthcare is neglected and many people are poor and need our help to get basic medical attention. Being a medical physician in Peru can be very hard sometimes, because you wish to do so much more than what is in your hands but eventually you understand and learn that just by talking to them you are doing a lot. Working with HWIP gave me the opportunity to give back to my community. Not only by helping people in need but also comfort them and bringing a little bit of joy in their day. I have met a wonderful team, but even more especially great people with a very beautiful soul that spreads the word of God and heals with their touch. I am very thankful having this opportunity and I would love to join them again. It was very gratifying doing this for my community and also sharing this with these wonderful people.

Summary of general medical findings:

I have probably seen around 20-30 people each day I helped with HWIP. The most frequent chief complaint was pain. There were many elderly people in the group of patients that live with osteoporosis or arthritis and they cannot see a specialist because they cannot afford for one. The only help we could provide was some pain medications and emphasize them to see a specialist that can offer long term relief and follow better their disease.

I had the opportunity to meet an old lady that had fever, chills, and complained about urinary symptoms for 2 weeks. When I examined her I got scared, because she had renal percussion positive (a sign that is sensitive for pyelonephritis) and with two weeks of evolution, I imagined that maybe she could have an abscess in her kidneys, so she had to go to the hospital immediately. When I told her that she must go to the hospital, she started to cry and told me that she didn't want to go to the hospital because she had no money and nobody could take her to the hospital, she lived by herself. I felt hopeless. I ask one of the doctors what we could do for this lady, because I knew that if we just told her to go to the hospital, she wouldn't go. We decided to give her a strong treatment (empiric treatment because a urine analysis will be expensive for her) and make the follow up next week with the doctor of the center.

Also, I have seen patients with chronic diseases such as hypertension and diabetes mellitus. I sent them to Dr. Codari so he could examine them and decide the best treatment for them. Also these patients had the opportunity for an echocardiogram exam to see if there was any other pathology in their heart. Luckily, most of the patients' echocardiograms where normal.

Personal Story - Zelijka

Fourteen years ago we accidentally met the wonderful people that help us today. I still remember that day when they knocked on the door of my family. I do not remember what the date was, but it was autumn. Our parish priest brought to our house people who had come from America. Nothing we did brought them to us. I did not understand, because until then I did not know them. But not long before that day my husband went to the nuns and to sister Janja and prayed for help. We faced the winter that was in front of us without a working stove that heated our house. My children were still small at that time and we were afraid that we would have to spend the winter without a furnace. Janja (pronounced Yan-ya) told my husband that God would will help us. And thanks to her and her generosity visited us with some wonderful people who were willing to help in every way. Our pastor introduced us to our temporary home, or in a house that was not ours. In this house we stayed friendly. In the kitchen these people saw a firewood stove that was in very poor condition. At that moment they were ready to help.

Walter, an alien who until then I did not know asked me to go with them to buy the furnace. And so it was. These wonderful people showed me and my husband the utmost care. But that was not all. They decided to buy a large amount of food for my family. They even gave me the money to meet our basic needs. God's miracle was that we were introduced to HWIP, Walter and his family and friends, who have all helped make our life bearable. My husband and I had two daughters and one son at that time, so our family has 5 family members. Then, and today, only my husband is employed. He works as a gardener, and I'm a housewife. However, today our lives are much different. In the meantime, I gave birth to two more sons. My family is now richer for two more lives, thanks to God. But some things have not changed. Thanks to the pastor, as due to our struggle for our children, he gave us a portion of the land on which we started to make our family house. We did not have the funds to start making our home, so my husband had to borrow to get started making our family home. All the torment we fought. When we built the house, we immediately moved into it. We managed to do a single-story house with two rooms. And it is in that house we now live.

It has been a bit hard but we managed to build one more floor, but lack of funding has not allowed us to finish the second floor, so it is still vacant. So my family has lived for 10 years in a house with two rooms. It's a bit tight for a family of seven, but we have got used to this life. We are not yet able to improve our way of life. In the meantime, our daughters completed primary and secondary education, but was unable to continue their education, because they do not have money to pay for their college. Today we educate only three sons who are in primary school. Mr. Walter Miller and HWIP help us whenever he can. This man with a big heart, is very important to me and my family. Almost every year, when he comes to Medjugorje he visits my family. He came to our house with many of his friends who are also willing to help. He always brought us a large amount of food and thus helps me and my husband take care of what our children eat. We saw him last year in March, and then we have been helped more than enough. My oldest daughter has graduated from high school, and he gave the money to be help pay for graduation and prom night. But that's not all, this man is still helping us, no matter how ill he has personally been. My family tries to help him by our prayers and faith in God. We are hoping for his recovery and of course his next visit, because we all want to see Walter.

While not able to come to Bosnia and Herzegovina we stay in contact with him using social media networks. It is very important to us that we hear about how his health is doing, because this man likes me and our family and his help all these 14 years has meant more than we can ever fully explain. He helped us more than enough. Hardly anyone these days seems willing to do good things without expecting anything in return, especially for people who do they not know. The only thing we can do for him is prayer. Prayer to God that this good man will soon heal and visit us. We are grateful to God for having sent us this man who was willing to help and to facilitate the life of my family for 14 years.