We are involved in four primary areas of service:
1) Medical and Dental Services
Medical care is a key focus for HUSA. The Mayan people of Chiapas are often treated as second-class citizens, even by government agencies. Many of the people do not speak Spanish or have limited Spanish competency. They are therefore often fearful and reluctant to seek services from government operated medical clinics. Additionally, the terrain of Chiapas is mountainous and the people are impoverished making travel difficult and unaffordable for many living in the villages. As a result, the people most often receive poor and inconsistent medical services or wait until their condition is so grave that little or nothing can be done to help them.
HUSA seeks to bring quality medical care to the people of Chiapas in an atmosphere of trust and Christian compassion. Medical mission teams from the US regularly travel to the area and hold one or two week medical caravans. Patients are treated at no charge and translators are always available who speak their native language. Some of our medical clinics are held at the Manos de Cristo clinic in Ocosingo, while others venture into the rural villages of the region in an attempt to bring the care to the people and increase access.
In 2012 construction of a clinic, Manos de Cristo (Hands of Christ), was completed in the town of Ocosingo. A celebration of dedication was held with prayers raised and songs sung in Tzeltal, Spanish and English. In the fall of 2013, the clinic hired its first full time physician Dr. Gerardo Cruz Gomez, a local from Ocosingo, who graduated from medical school in nearby city of Tuxtla-Gutierrez. The clinic also welcomed its first full time nurse, Lydia Jiminez Demeza. The clinic is now open all year in an effort to provide continuity of care for those with chronic illness. In addition to providing direct patient care, we are involved in ongoing training and support of mid-level providers, often called barefoot doctors, who then provide basic medical care in the outlying villages.
2) Construction Trips and Assistance
3) Mission Trip Organization and Support
The opportunity for personal cross-cultural relationships is foundational to our ministry. For most of us, our passion for the people of Chiapas was first ignited by a mission trip experience there. We believe that mission experiences done well, with openness, cultural humility and an eye toward long term relationships, can be transformative. Mission experiences can be medical or construction.
Although HUSA does not directly plan and sponsor mission trips to Chiapas, we do work closely with church groups to help make their mission trip experience more meaningful and effective. We provide assistance in scheduling, planning and preparing the group before they leave. We then provide experienced people to meet the group when they arrive in Chiapas, make all arrangements for transportation, food and housing while there and work along side them in ministry. We can also assist individuals in joining other groups in mission if they do not have a group of their own.
LINK Read more about our Construction Mission Trips
4) Education and Leadership Development
5) Missionary Support
Our missionaries in Chiapas are a vital part of our ministry. They help to guide our work based on an understanding of the needs of the people in the region. They also insure that the mission is carried out in an effective, meaningful and transparent way.
Pablo and Jan Feliciano Cruz have been serving in Chiapas since 1984. Pablo is a native of the Tzeltal people group from Southern Mexico. Jan is originallyfrom Grand Rapids, Michigan. Pablo and Jan met at Kyper College (formerly Reformed Bible College), married in September 1984, and moved to make their home in the mountains of Chiapas. They have dedicated their lives to develop and serve 2 Bible Schools and launching a seminary in Villarhermosa (in Tobasco). In 2002, Pablo was called by the Tzeltal Synod to return to the mountains of Chiapas to develop and start the medical clinic. Since that time, they have been serving the Tzeltal Synod and have been supported by donors and churches in the U.S. through Hebron USA.