Missionary Encounter Leads to Life-Saving Surgery

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Imagine not being able to sit in a chair or lay in a bed when you go to sleep at night.
Such was the case for Guatemala native Fernando Popking, who had a malignant, 10-pound tumor attached to his hip.

The soccer ball-sized growth prevented the 37-year-old from living a normal life and kept him out of work for months. But when doctors on a medical mission trip visited Popking's town - that quickly changed.

"Poor guy had a broomstick as his cane, and just sort of hobbled along, couldn't provide for his family. He had five young children. It was just one of those things where you had to help him," said Anthony Taylor of Synergy Medical, who was part of the missions team.

"The skills that we've been given, have been given to us for a purpose, from God," Covenant HealthCare's Dr. Anthony deBary said.

A few months after encountering the team, Popking was on a plane for the U.S. where doctors performed a successful surgery to remove the tumor without charge.
"To see him now, getting around and smiling and happy, is pretty rewarding," Debari said.

"I think he's got a special place in all of our hearts who helped him out with this, and at the end of the day I think I've learned more from him than he's probably learned from this entire experience," Taylor said.

Popking, meanwhile, has nothing but words of gratitude for the medical missionaries that helped save his life.

"God is going to help them," he said. "They did a great job, for me, for my health."

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