San Juan, Guatemala

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Ministry profile

Developing healthy communities requires more than doctors and nurses curing ailments. Dr. Jose Israel Hernandez’s passion for ministry in San Juan, Guatemala, is geared toward community development.

Hernandez had been in a private practice clinic, but desired to have a larger impact in Guatemala. He began working with the Luke Society in a ministry called Acción Médica Integral San Lucas in San Pedro la Laguna in 2003. The ministry was formed on Hernandez’s vision for better community health.

He and his wife, Gengly, began the ministry by speaking to church members and students and providing techniques for proper hygiene, handling natural disasters and preventing diseases.

The ministry, which has since moved to San Juan, works closely with local churches to develop leaders who encourage residents in their faith while integrating health education, training and other techniques.


Dr. Jose Israel Hernandez

Director profile

Dr. Jose Israel Hernandez lives in a part of the world where natural disasters are common. He has been a motivating influence to members of his community to be proactive in the prevention of disease and damage from hurricanes, floods, mudslides and other natural disasters. He is a confident, flexible and methodical Christian leader. The Partnership Ministry Team for Acción Médica Integral San Lucas is Paul and Susan Soper and Peter and Ann Dieleman.

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Guatemala Facts


Population: 14.9 million

Size: 108,889 sq. km, or slightly smaller than Pennsylvania

Capital: Guatemala City

Borders: Mexico to the north and west; Belize, Honduras and El Salvador to the east; Pacific Ocean to the south.

Religious groups: Roman Catholic; Protestant; indigenous Mayan beliefs

Primary language: Spanish

Literacy (age 15+): 81.5%

Physician density: 0.9 doctors per 1,000 people.

Population below international poverty line: 54.0%

Life expectancy: 72.0 years

Infant mortality rate: 22.7 deaths per 1,000 live births.

Major exports: Sugar, coffee, petroleum, apparel, bananas, fruits, vegetables, precious stones and metals

Climate: Tropical; hot and humid in the lowlands; cooler in the highlands.

Terrain: Mostly mountainous with narrow coastal plains.