A letter from Joel Chan to Community United Methodist Church, Crofton, dated April 28, 2014.
Hi- My name is Joel Chan, and I am 28 years old. I live in Quetzaltenango, Guatemala. I worked in the construction area and mostly as a mason’s helper. On November 2, 2012 I had a very bad accident. That day I left very early to go to work since we had to make the steel structure for an upstairs patio we were going to pour the concrete for. My co-worker did not notice that on the sidewalk were a mother and her baby, passing below us. He tossed a steel rod to me and I had to reach out to grab it, so it did not fall on the people below. I reached to grab and balance the steel rod, but the steel made contact with some high-tension electrical lines, and the electricity went through my body. I was taken to the hospital and spent a month there. The doctors did everything they could to save my arms, but they were very damaged and impossible to save. So the doctors decided to amputate both of my arms. For my family this was a terrible thing. I was the one to work and earn money for the family to eat and survive. My youngest child was only 2 years old. Our family is very poor and we have very little. Right now there is little I can do to help the family and no way to earn enough money. A friend of mine gives me a little bit of money tocarry sacks on my back using a head strap. My wife is now washing other people’s clothes by hand to earn a little bit of money. Thank God we have been able to move forward a little bit at a time. I met people from your Guatemala Mission Team this year and thanks to God they brought us to Transitions, to see if it was possible to have prosthetic arms made. Today I came back to Transitions and they took my measurements and casts of my stumps. I am so grateful for the great help. I would never have been able to pay for my new arms. God will bless those helping me double what they are giving me. I am now thinking about how my life will be with this new chance.I know God will help me and my family.