Honduras Medical Mission Trip 2011

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August 5, 2011 Honduras Day 9

Our verse for today came from First Corinthians 12:12 concerning the unity of believers in Christ.  While speaking about the believers in Christ, this message of this passage was similar to our team/family this past week, where everyone had a role to play.  Each position was equally important and necessary for the full and effective functioning of the group.  The doctors were no more important than the pharmacists, eye and ear checkers, or crowd control persons.  Without all of these jobs filled, we could not have seen approximately 1,450 patients this past week, and could not have served so many people and communities.

We packed the bus, and learned patience waiting in line after line to get checked in and processed for the flight, which then left late (it had too much passenger and cargo weight, so had to burn off fuel for 30 minutes so we were at the proper safe weight for take-off).  Then when it arrived, we sat on the tarmac waiting for a gate to open.  After standing in line for customs and finding our luggage, we missed dinner as we rushed to get our connecting flight to Buffalo in time.  We all made it home, safe and sound, except for Dr. John’s duffle bag, so we pray that this is found and returned to him speedily.

Thank you all so much for following our adventures this week, and for thinking and praying for our success.  And thank you to everyone who donated items and money to team members.  And finally thanks you to all the team members, who contributed so much and worked so well together.

If you want to learn more about the Hope Center, you can check the web site of our sending organization, Storehouse Mission Support, at storehousemission.org .  The web site will be updated soon to give details of the upcoming fundraising Golf Tournament and Banquet that you may be interested in.

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August  4, 2011 Honduras Day 8

Our verse of the day was Colossians 3:23, encouraging us all to do our work heartily as “until the Lord.”  And we did work hard at the prison, where half the team saw 90 guards and prison workers while the other half saw 86 prisoners.

Prior to entering the cell block, we obtained our entry documents at the administration building. Team member Tom Love, a retired NY State corrections officer, presented the director of all prisons with a NY State corrections department uniform patch, tie tack and lapel pin.  He was very pleased, and our entry was easier than in the past.

We noticed that the prison had changed this year.  Family members of the inmates are now allowed into the cell block area, including women and children, some of whom we saw as patients.  We also saw inmates we knew from previous years, and they remembered us, too.  They were encouraged to know that outsiders thought enough to return multiple times to visit them and bring assistance.

We had our last dinner at a local restaurant with typical Honduran food, and then returned to the Hope Center to start packing for our return tomorrow.

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August  3, 2011 Honduras Day 7

The story of the Prodigal Son shows us a loving father who lets his son make mistakes yet receives him back fully and unconditionally after the results of poor choices take effect.  Our families on earth and God in heaven can provide the same security in our lives, if we allow. 

Clinic today was in the church next door to the Hope Center, which made for an easier day, since we did not need to load the bus and travel a distance before starting work.  This was fortuitous because several of our team members came down with intestinal symptoms, so the easier day allowed them to rest and recover.  By dinner time, everyone was back in action.

Clinic was notable for patients with more head lice than any other previous clinic.  There was a young girl confined to a wheelchair because of hydrocephalus and spina-bifida, yet had a beautiful smile, and was so happy just to receive a princess toothbrush from us.  While clinic was in session, the painting crew returned to the school to finish painting the classrooms.

We saw 263 patients, and finished early enough to do more souvenir shopping.  We then had a special dinner at a fine restaurant owned by the family of Diego, one of our translators.  Over desert, we each shared one lesson and one person that made an impact on us from the trip.  Everyone agreed that we have had life changing experiences.

Tomorrow, our last clinic day, will be at the Prison.

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August 2, 2011 Honduras Day 6

Dr. John gave our message today, and spoke about the family heritage of Jesus, which included four women.  Each one had unusual circumstances, yet God used each one in special ways, which encourages us to know that God can use each of us, if we let Him.

A small group went to the Church building where the school is located and painted 2 classrooms.  The main group went to the Church of “Sister Rosa,” an 84 year old woman who started and runs a church in a needy neighborhood in the city of Tegucigalpa.  It was up a steep hill with very narrow streets, so the bus could not get there.  We had to carry all of our supplies up to the site, which was very small.  After getting organized, we were able to see 221 patients. 

One interesting case included a man shot in the head several years ago, which left him partially paralyzed.  Despite being told he would never walk again, he says he prayed until he could walk, and attributes his healing to God, but is no longer attending church.  But because of his visit to our clinic day, and the care he was given, he said he would try to come to Rosa’s church.  Another unusual case was a 2 year old with a stone stuck in his nostril that we were able to remove. 

After clinic finished, the team went to the national park “Picacho,” which is on a mountain overlooking the city, with a large statue of Jesus also overlooking the city.  The views were beautiful and the park peaceful.  Everyone returned to the Hope Center, a sharing time with the Jurka’s and Carett’s (all who run the ministry here in Honduras) where they shared about what they do here, their heart for ministry, and why they remain on the mission field.

Tomorrow we will be doing clinic in the small village church next to the Hope Center.

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August 1, 2011 Honduras Day 5

Today we discussed team work, and pitching in to help our team/family until all the work is done, as the nation of Israel family tribes did in the Old Testament, helping each other until all the promised land was settled.  We needed this kind of approach today as we split into 3 groups—one visiting the rain forest, and the other two going to separate locations for clinic, all located up in the rain forest of La Tigra mountain.  And by the way, it did rain on and off all day, which is what you expect I the rain forest.

The first location was in a church near an old family friend of the Jurkas, where 163 patients were seen.  This team then joined the second group where the patient volume (283 people) was much higher.  This location was at the home of the 4 year old girl with a terminal heart defect we met on our very first trip in 1996.  After that trip, we brought her to Buffalo for curative surgery, and have been checking on her as often as we can since then.  Now, 15 year later, she is married with an 18 month old son, and living a normal life.

The patient flow today was heavy, with many sick children requiring antibiotics.  One young woman with a raspy voice was found to have an enlarged thyroid gland and was advised to seek medical care in the city because we could not provide the necessary testing.  There were several interesting rashes and skin lesions as well.  On our return from the mountain to the city, we stopped to make a geriatric house call on a 91-year-old bed ridden man and his wife.

After clinic, we returned for dinner at the Hope Center, then an invigorating game of “Never Have I Ever” (you will have to ask the team member you know to explain this), and the preparation for tomorrow’s clinic in a church on the outskirts of the city.

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July 31, 2011 Honduras Day 4

Today was a day of rest.  We talked further about forgiveness, as we pray in the Lord’s prayer “to forgive us as we forgive others”.  Then we attended church with a lively worship time and a challenging message from Mark 10 about letting go of the things in our lives that keep us from fully following God.

After Church, while the McCune family spent the afternoon with Mary Beth’s fiancé Fernando’s family, the rest of the team had a picnic lunch at the pleasant village of Santa Lucia where there was a pretty view and some souvenir shopping.  Afterwards, everyone met up at the Valley of Angels for more shopping and dinner at a local restaurant. 

We returned to the Hope Center to prepare for our next adventure tomorrow up in the rain forest.

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July 30, 2011 Honduras Day 3

This morning we discussed the Old Testament story of Joseph in Genesis 37, which is an example of a dysfunctional family and sibling rivalry.  But because Joseph was a righteous man who did not hold grudges and forgave his brothers, God was able to use Joseph over time to bring reconciliation to his family together.

We headed out to a remote village called Ciudad Espana (City of Spain) that was formed after the terrible hurricane in 1998 to resettle people displaced by the storm.  We travelled off the main highway up a small road, so steep at one point, that we had to leave the bus (to reduce its weight) and walk up the hill in order for the bus to continue.

Today was different from other clinic sites in that we saw many elderly patients, some in homemade wheelchairs, being taken care of by family members.  We also saw more people with ears plugged with wax than ever, and found the ear cleansing station busy all day long.  We also saw many disabled people, including an amputee, a stroke victim, and some seizure patients.  Like yesterday, there were several opportunities to help patients work through personal issues, including a woman with agoraphobia, who felt freed up enough that she came back later to the clinic a second time just to prove she could leave her house.

Today was very busy, with many more patients than we could physically see.  We were able to personally care for 280 patients, and then dispense Vitamins and Worm medicine to another 60 patients.  Tomorrow will be a day off, including church in the morning, a picnic lunch and souvenir shopping.

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July 29, 2011 Honduras Day # 2

Every morning at breakfast we have a devotional message, and our theme for this week is:  Family and the Family of God.  We looked at Jesus’s family with Mary and Joseph, and how the actions of his parents provided protection, guidance, provision, support, love and nurturing.  We also realized that our own family experiences, and certainly many of the people we will serve this week, may have difficult dynamics, but even so, through the love of God (our loving Father), we can all experience love in the Family of God.  Our goal this week is to bring the love of God to people in need through our medical care, smiles, hugs, and personal interactions.

Today we worked in a neighborhood close to our main church building on the outskirts of Tegucigalpa.  The location was small, and difficult to work in, so we had some doctor stations outside.  For our first day, it was slow, seeing 163 patients, but this allowed the team to learn all the jobs needed in the clinic. 

The people were poor but fairly well nourished.  There were lots of coughs and colds, back aches, headaches and various stomach ailments.  Although they were well nourished, their dental hygiene was terrible, and many people, children and adults, had multiple huge dental cavities, which we can’t treat, but we did give out lots of the toothbrushes and tooth paste tubes donated to the team this year.  We also fitted many people with reading glasses and sun glasses.

One young woman in particular seen today had minor physical complaints, but was resistant to speak (through the translator) about what was really troubling her.  Several of the ladies spent a lot of time with her, expressing love, and eventually she opened up about her family problems.  As she did, she became visibly calmer, and left with smiles.  The team had reached our goal with this patient, both physically and emotionally.

After we completed the clinic, while most of the team visited the local mall, the medical practitioners had the opportunity to tour the public hospital and to meet with the leaders of a Honduran charity that works to provide medical care to children with hydrocephalus.  We met some of the kids in the hospital, and their stories are sad in that without the charity at work, they would have no hope for the future.

The pictures today show some of our team in action.  Tomorrow we will be going to an area away from the city, and it will be interesting to see the differences at a rural location.

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Honduras Day #1    July 28, 2011 

After a 4 AM airport check in, our flights were on time and we arrived with all of our luggage and belongings.  Except for the customs officers going through all our packed meds checking for expiration dates (we passed), we ate lunch at a local fried chicken restaurant then head  to the Hope Center to unpack, settle in, prepare coloring packs, dispense liquid cough meds, and pack worm medicines.  Everyone pitched in and was ready for an early bedtime after a long day.

In the pictures, you will see our arrival at the airport (they had us deplane onto the tarmac and walk around several jets to enter the building), loading the school bus we are using for transportation, meeting the Hope Center kid in front of the center, and preparing supplies.

Tomorrow we will be going to a city neighborhood near the church to work in an area where the gang families of the prisoners we see every year live.

Honduras Medical Mission 2011

Check this Blog Site everyday to follow the steps of the Honduras Medical Mission Trip 2011. 

The trip is sponosred by the charity, Storehouse Mission Support.  For more information, you can check the website at www.storehousemission.org.

The group is composed of 21 volunteers, including the following positions:  Doctor, Nurse, Pharmacist, Psychologist, Physical Therapist, and Support people.  We will keep you up-to-date while we are gone.  Thanks for checking!