Thursday, March 12th 2020
The Sus Manos team had another fantastic day serving the people of Honduras. Today we visited Arenales, Gualala. This community has approximately 900 habitants divided into 240 families and was by far the largest village we served this week. There is no health center located in this town; the closest is about 6 miles away. This makes it extremely difficult for individuals whose main transportation is walking.
Upon arrival the staff and the team were greeted with a “WELCOME” sign and a choreographed dance by the children. Additionally, a lady by the name of Nydia made hand-woven straw sombreros that were presented as gifts to the team and staff. As we were setting up the clinics and getting ready for patients many of the children stood at the watering hole to fill their plastic jugs. This was quite significant and interesting to see since their main source of water comes from a spring located about 4 hours away.
The needs addressed in the clinic today included respiratory illnesses, skin and stomach related issues, hypertension, diabetes, and prenatal care. There were also several tooth extractions and fillings, along with eye exams where patients received diagnosis and referrals for anisometropia, aniseikonia, myopia, and astigmatisms.
While it was a long day, we still managed to have some time for playing monkey in the middle, dodge ball, and duck-duck-goose. Of course there was also the bubbles and finger nail painting which seemed to be a hit regardless of which community we were visiting.
As the team boarded the bus to go back to the Barnabas House, we received the news that this would be our last community we would serve on this trip. Friends of Barnabas made the decision to bring our team home early due to the spread of COVID 19. While we were excited about everything that took place today, many of the team members still felt bittersweet as we were only one community away from completing our mission goal.
Before arriving back at Alfredo’s house, we stopped at the half-way mark and had ice cream. We also took our team photo. After about an hour of down-time, the staff and the team went to a local restaurant for dinner. The night came to a close as Nurse Linda led our nightly devotion. The theme was “trusting God at all times” and the discussion was one that reminded us of God’s providence and will. Just as God had called the Sus Manos team to Honduras, God would also arrange the events of our day when we rise and begin our travel back to the US.
Friday, March 13th 2020
It was an early morning for the team as we prepared ourselves for a day of travel. There were no birds to wake us up this morning, and so we relied on the smells of the kitchen and our phone alarms to do the job. Every day since we have been here in Honduras, we have had some of the most delicious meals and beverages served by Albita & Karen.
Today was no different as the aromas filled the air. This makes our early morning start one that provides us with both physical and spiritual food as the nutrition is love-based. This was obvious as one of our team members handed off their agape cross to these ladies who have been Christ’s hands to us during our stay.
With the words from Linda’s devotion the night before still on our minds and hearts, we began our day. The idea that everyday provides many opportunities for us to learn and grow came as evidence as we landed in Dulles at a little after 9PM and made our way through customs. Returning back to the States many of us realized that there is mission work to be done here and we are still called to serve in alternative ways that may perhaps adapt to new formats and methods. Learning of the current church and school closings, as well as how the pandemic of COVID-19 had obviously gotten worse since we left, meant we were also returning as Sus Manos.
For many members of our team who serve in local congregations or in hospital settings, we end our time together with a similar question just as we began: How might we be Sus Manos (His Hands) upon our arrival home? For one member of the team, their comment was “I will strive to once again incarnate peace to the anxious beings God puts in my path. Regardless if it is Honduras or the USA, peace and love is a language that we all know and can benefit from. There’s nothing to it if we think with our hearts and are willing to serve God and put ourselves second.” Might you join us in that mission? We are hopeful that you will.