Highlights, Regrets, and Miracles
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!
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!
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!