Saturday, February 1, 2014

Highlights, Regrets, and Miracles

Margaret Morford

Tegucigalpa, Honduras


It is Thursday and I am very tired…but it is a good kind of tired.  No one got deadly sick on this trip, although some of our team saw patients between bouts of sickness.  God opened so many opportunities for us to serve and we were fortunate to be present for the numerous miracles He performed on this trip. 

Saturday – Los Flores

On the way to Los Flores (the first clinic day), our bus driver, Henry, stopped half way up a mountain side on a dirt road.  He’d looked at his gages and realized he had lost the pressure in the brakes.  Most people don’t notice those types of things until they press on the brakes and realize they don’t have any. If he hadn’t casually reviewed his dash board, we would have discovered we had no brakes coming down the other side of the mountain.  Thank you for all the prayers regarding our safety.  Truly God’s intervention!


At Los Flores, three of our team members walked up the hill past the dental clinic to the local market (la pulperia – think 7-11 in a closet).  One of them was Pat Towery, who is quit tall and muscled.  They met an elderly lady along the way (we think at least 80) who was not even 5 feet tall and thin as a rail.  Some pretty aggressive dogs pursued them on the way up the hill.  When Pat and his group exited the pulperia, she was waiting with a huge stick to walk them back and fend off the dogs because she was so grateful for the care she had gotten in the village.  Try to picture Pat with his tiny protector looking after him!

Sunday – Cofradia

In addition to the huge clinic we held here, where local churches brought in busloads of people, Deb Duty held a women’s group for the local women teaching them a biblical perspective on self-image.  This is her second year to do this and more women came this year than last year.  There is a great need for this as the role of rural women is very hard here.  Doug Duty held the first men’s group and discussed helping you wife (not a normal concept for Honduran men) and serving your local church.  All the attendees were eager to learn more scripture and Deb and Doug filled them up!


Monday – Guimaca

If you haven’t figured out by now, this was the largest and longest clinic we had.  While we saw 692 patients, we were unable to see about 125 people, who had come from the mountains.  They were unable to get in line until 11:00 in the morning because of how far they had to travel.  (The line had started forming about 6:00 that morning.)  They stood in the sun all day hoping for a chance to see someone and we had to turn them away when we finally closed the gate at 5:15 PM in order to finish by 7:30 that night.  Several women begged at the gates for care for their children and Deb Duty continued to administer parasite medicine through the bars to everyone that wanted it.  Despite how tired we were that memory continues to haunt us all.

Tuesday- Los Charcos

We were blessed to have on our team Donna Trotter and Todd Warren who work in physical therapy and orthopedics back home.  This year we held two physical therapy clinics where Donna and Todd left our group and did intensive work with 31 handicapped patients we encountered.  Los Charcos has a beautiful facility that is very clean and staffed by very caring people, but who have no training at all in how to help their patients.  Donna and Todd found them very willing to learn and provided some on-going instructions for how to help their patients.  God provided exactly what was missing and what they needed on this trip.


We give out hundreds of pounds of food in each village.  Here we encountered two teenage girls (15 and 17 years old) each with a baby each.  They arrived after we had run through the food.  Doug Woods approached some of the team members and they emptied their back packs of all the meals and snacks they had brought with them for the day.  We were able to send the girls home with two grocery sacks full of food.  If you are thinking loaves and fishes, we were too!
We experience a small miracle there and then an even bigger one later on that night.  When we had run out of the supply of vitamin packets we had brought for the day, we found one more person badly in need of them.  Everyone scoured the boxes praying diligently for one more packet, but nothing was there.   Shortly afterwards, Pat Towery looked down on the ground and found one vitamin packet just lying there that no one had seen.

 The vitamin team told us that night that they had given out almost the entire week’s supply of vitamins and expected to run out within the first two hours of the final clinic day.  Dr. Ponce told us that he had plenty of vitamins which he would bring tomorrow. He made a special trip back to Tegucigalpa (about an hour and a half round trip).  Praise God!  They were packed in bulk.  So for those of you that packed pills with us, try to imagine packing pills bumping along on a school bus driving on a dirt road through the mountains!

 Wednesday – La Labranza

This was the site of our biggest miracle.  We had not been back to this community in 12 years, but suddenly they made a request for us to come.  We arrived to do our usual clinic.  Late in the afternoon, a young woman came with her baby, who was severely dehydrated and somewhat unresponsive.  She had walked an hour and a half carrying her 16 month old baby to get her some care.  We happen to have two medical professionals on our team that specialize in babies and children.  They managed to get two IV lines into the child in order to put 20 plus bottles of saline.  I was told by one of the nurses that it is almost impossible to get an IV into a dehydrated infant, much less two of them!  Susan Davis, one of the infant specialists, told the group later that she was only able to do this because she had some very special catheters that she found in her backpack – which she normally wouldn’t have packed - that she didn’t remember packing!  We took up a collection to pay for bus rides for the entire family to/from the nearest hospital (2 hours away), as well as to buy food for the family.  We transported them to the nearest bus stop and we are awaiting news of the child’s condition even as we are leaving Honduras.  We will post the outcome on this blog as soon as we know.  All the medical professionals agree that the baby was in severe distress and probably would have died in the next day or so.  Only God could bring together so many things that had to work so perfectly in order to intervene in this baby’s life!

We are now at the airport in Tegucigalpa WAITing to go home.  Everyone is upbeat, but ready to go.  However, as we bid goodbye to all our local translator and helpers, you can hear the words over and over, “See you next year!”  So I will close by thanking those of you at home that donated, volunteered, sponsored, pill packed, wrote us encouraging notes along the way and most important of all, prayed for us throughout this journey, “THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU!  See you next year!”


Notes from a Newbie: We don’t have any more Newbies.  They are all veterans of their first mission trip to Honduras!

Here I Am Lord, Send Me

Bart Perkey

Tegucigalpa, Honduras


Medical and dental mission trips like those sponsored by Luke 9:2 Ministries are possible because everyday Christians make the decision to leave their families and jobs for a week and travel to Honduras. During that week, they eat different foods, sleep in small bunk beds with snoring “strangers,” and take showers in a concrete stall that are often cold.  They will travel an hour or two one way to a day-long clinic on a mechanically fragile school bus with seats built for children.  They will stand or sit for long hours talking to people they do not know, who speak a different language, all while being careful not to ingest a drop of contaminated water when doing everyday tasks like brushing their teeth. 

For today’s blog, I asked four of this year’s team members why they do it.  

Pat Towrey, a computer specialist from a Kentucky big box discount store, came this year with his teenage daughter, Bekah.  He and Becka, along with a few of the medical people, left the Monday clinic for a short drive across town to treat a group of special needs children and adults.  Pat delighted in watching Becka’s when they arrived.  His heart filled with emotion as he watched Becka without hesitation “loving on these children.” A dad and his daughter got to creat a life-long memory of serving the Lord together.
Janet Gerard, an experienced RN from Oregon, flew all night via Houston to meet up with the team at the airport in Honduras.  Nearing the end of a very long day (692 patients!), a young mother with two children came to Janet’s medical station.  After she finished the medical screening, she sensed something else had brought this woman to the clinic.  She asked her, “Is something else going on at home?”   Through tears, she was able to tell this American stranger and her Honduran interrupter that her husband was cheating on her and she was scared of getting a disease and being left alone and destitute.  Janet talked with her about how to protect herself from venereal disease.  After translating Janet’s advice, the young Honduran translator kept talking.  Janet asked this 16 year-old, high school senior what he had said.  He told the woman that she first needed a relationship with God and then He would send her a good man.  This hurting, scared woman came seeking comfort and the gospel was shared.

Margaret Morford, a management consultant from Nashville, talked to me about learning a whole new level of gratitude on this trip.  As she tells it in her own words, “We had one dental patient – a ten-year-old girl, who needed two very infected molars removed.  We could only deaden her so much because severe infection makes the anesthetic less effective.  Despite the stress and pain she experienced and all the cotton I packed in her bleeding mouth, she got up out of the chair, put her arms around my waist and hugged me.  I need to focus more on the positive in my life and not the negative.”

Greg Schmidt, an automobile salesman from Nashville, works with the dental team as well, holding the flashlight for injections and extractions – doing whatever is needed to assist the dental professionals.  Greg says, “I absolutely love taking what is usually a nervous situation and turning it into a fun and pleasurable one.  Sometimes a simple touch on the arm or a hug around the neck makes all things better!  Even though we go away to be the hands and feet of Jesus Christ to people in a foreign land, to somehow change their lives for the better, it seems that I am the one that comes away changed.  God convicts my heart to look at other people in a more caring and loving way.  He reminds me that we are ALL family and that He is all our Fathers.”

These are just a sample of the everyday Christians who come away from Honduras with joy in their hearts because they said “yes” when the opportunity came.

Notes from a Newbie: (Patty White)

The countryside is gorgeous with the mountains and beautiful wild flowers.  The people I encountered are loving, kind, and hard-working.  They don’t have the conveniences we have.  We saw them washing clothes by hand in a creek, plowing the fields with oxen and weeding with a hoe.

The Luke 9:2 Ministry is very organized and everything went smoothly.  It is amazing that we could see almost 3,000 patients with so little equipment.  Even though there were bumps in the road (literally and figuratively!), God took care of all of our needs.  Our loving God is the same everywhere.

At the end of the third day (our longest clinic), my back was tired and I was tired.  I stood to stretch and shouted out, “Glory!”  Raising my hands high in the air, I then shouted “Hallelujah!”  Several of the Honduran people, who had finished getting their glasses, gave me a hug, a kiss and a “God bless you.”  Then one said, “I hope I will see you again.”  I told her, “You will.  I’ll see you in heaven.”  This started a chain of events with the next four or five telling me, “I’ll see you in heaven, too!”  What a beautiful picture that will be!

God is everywhere when you least expect Him to give me strength and He shows up just when I need Him.





James Jones

Los Charcos, Honduras




When Susan Nally approached me about writing the blog post for today, I was a little nervous to say yes. I haven’t written anything since my college days, which was around the year 2000 and none of your business. But even as I cautiously said yes, I wondered what in the world I would write about. As I should have known, God gave me the words and the blog wrote itself as the day drew near, then came, and went.


After our marathon day in Guimaca, everyone was worn down and tired. Beth Ann, the fearless leader of our medical team who is four months pregnant, finally gave in to our requests to take a day off since she has been eating, sleeping, and working for two. That meant that someone needed to head up the medical team in Los Charcos. Beth Ann approached me on Monday night and asked me to be in charge of the medical team.  My first thought was “Ok, God, I asked you to give me something to write about in the blog and you sure answered that prayer fast.” I immediately expected to be very nervous about today, but for some reason I had a calm feeling all night and again in the morning. As I should have known, God is in control at all times.


Los Charcos means “puddles” in Spanish. I didn’t know that until after we arrived back from our day there. When I asked Jose, one of our interpreters, what it meant, he had a hard time translating it to English and simply told me “It’s what fills up holes.” Again, unbeknownst to me at the time, this was God speaking directly to me. At the time, I didn’t understand what God was saying, but after I found out the real meaning of Los Charcos, I realized that God was saying that in our lives, He is what fills up our holes. Our mission team comes from all walks of life and all types of places across the United States. We all have holes that need to be filled. Speaking from experience, I have attempted to fill those holes with things other than God. What I’m sure you have all realized, God is the only thing that can fill these holes in our lives. And He sure did today.

The first hole that God filled for me was that feeling of nervousness and fear about having to lead the medical team after only two years as a translator (that title for myself is very lightly given as I speak what my brother Adam and I call “caveman Spanish”) and one year of medical experience with Luke 9:2 Ministries. However, as I said before, I had a calm feeling the moment Beth Ann approached me about leading the team. God was my puddle.


The second hole was having the worn out, exhausted feeling that I and many, if not all, of the members of our team had this morning. We had gotten home at almost ten o’clock at night, eaten a quick, yet delicious, dinner, and headed straight to bed. Since we had an hour and a half trip to Los Charcos, we had to get up and eat breakfast early again and get on the road. Just as I started to think about how long and difficult the day would be, Caleb and Michelle started to lead us in our morning worship and God started speaking again. We started to sing the song “You Are My All in All.”  Although all of the words spoke directly to me, three phrases immediately filled up the hole of exhaustion. “You are my strength when I am weak”, “Lord, to give up I’d be a fool”, and especially, “When I am dry You fill my cup” were like one of Brother Doug Duty’s quad expresso’s to my soul. God quickly reminded me that I had nothing to fear, He was there to be my puddle, to fill all of the holes in my life.

I could continue on and on about the holes in my life and the ways God has filled them and became Los Charcos, my puddles. Let me end this blog post with how today went. Without Beth Ann being present at the clinic, I feared that I would not have an answer to someone’s question, or I wouldn’t be able to get everything running smoothly as our previous days had been. What I here, but one thing is clear it was about God, our team, and our purpose. After about two hours of working, I took a small break and kind of stood back and looked at how our clinic was running. Even though Beth Ann wasn’t physically present, I saw her years of hard work and planning right in front of my eyes. We were functioning like a well-oiled machine. Everyone knew their role, everyone knew who to go to with questions, and everything went unbelievably smooth. We have many team members who do not work in primary care at their jobs at home. But you wouldn’t know that if you saw them today. They were incredible! They were awesome! God was working. God was in control. God filled our holes. God was, and is, our Los Charcos.

Notes from a Newbie: (Tanya Carter)

As I reflect on the trip thus far, I am truly amazed by the gratitude of the Honduran people.  We are able to do so little for them – just temporary fixes for mostly chronic problems.  We will never know the impact we made here, but one thing is clear, there will be a permanent imprint on my heart from this trip, by these beautiful people.  I’ve truly fallen in love with this country, and though I am leaving, a tiny piece of my heart will remain eagerly waiting for me to return.  I am so humbled that God could use me in a small way on this trip.