Local PA returns to Guatemala for medical mission


Staff Reporter

Big Horn Clinic physician assistant Kristi Bonnel-Phillips of Basin recently returned, for the second time, from a four-day mission trip to Guatemala where she assisted Guatemalans with their health issues. She said she spent time in Guatemala City, Los Amates and other remote towns in Guatemala.

Bonnel-Phillips said she began her trip at a Guatemala City orphanage where she saw 24 orphans. She said the orphans were very healthy and well taken care of. She added the woman who was taking care of them also ran a home for alcoholics and a lunch program that provided lunches every day. She said she was an amazing woman.

Her favorite experiences on this trip were from the time spent in the orphanage.

Bonnel-Phillips was traveling with the Timberline Church – Assembly of God. According to Bonnel-Phillips the church goes on one medical mission a year, as well as building and other service missions a year, all over the world.

She was one of 23 medical professionals to travel to Guatemala this trip, along with six interpreters. She said there were doctors, nurse practitioners, pharmacist, optometrist and dentists.

According to Bonnel-Phillips, the most common illnesses were gastritis, arthritis and head and neck pain. The medical team saw about 200 patients a day.

She plans to go on another mission but is unsure when. She said, “It is a very rewarding experience. On the last day there we turned off the main paved road on to a dirt road. We traveled into the jungle in a bus and a bumpy dirt road.” She added she was able to see a lot of different things, such as a banana plantation.

Bonnel-Phillips said her main purpose in going on this mission is she believes you need to act on faith and do good things, not just say that you will. She said her main goal was just to let them know that someone cares. Her goal was not to cure big diseases but to make their day a little