During our devotional on Monday night, the topic was suffering and how we can help without pitying or insulting people. Nury, FOB’s director in Honduras, is philosophical when she says "suffering is relative. The more you know, the more you want, the more you suffer."
People here have illnesses and Third World living conditions, but many of them seem happy for the most part. They love their families. Some of the men and fathers in some communities aren't around much, but in others they are the parent who brings children to clinic. There is a high percentage of teen pregnancy, but it is part of the culture to have many children and to start young, whether we understand or approve. This trip reinforces to me that we are all created in His image and we are equal in His eyes. We must meet people where they are and love and care for them. There is no place for judgment.
Community educator Pascuala teaches that education is most important so that people can provide better for their families. Pascuala is very eager to continue sex education in the communities so that girls can delay pregnancy and men can take responsibility.
So much of what led each of us to this trip is connectional--many of us were approached by a friend who saw a quality or skill or spiritual gift in them that would be a good fit for this type of mission work. Most missioners take a week of vacation and pay their own way to participate in this mission work. Here is a little bit about the volunteers with us on this Reveille team:
Mary Michael is a pediatrician on her third trip. On the first two she took first her oldest, Richard, and then her daughter, Claire. She loves caring for children as a pediatrician and since so much of the work is child based this is a perfect fit for her. All of her children speak Spanish. Her youngest, Michael, is a high school sophomore accompanying her now.
Michael has been assisting in all areas of the clinic and his Spanish skills have been handy.
Janet is a nurse practitioner on her sixth trip to Honduras. Mary Michael invited her to go. Their children have been friends since preschool. Janet brought her two sons on previous trips.
This is John's sixth trip. He is our team leader and has been trained to use the vision clinic refractor, which measures vision and suggests a range of reading glasses and prescription glasses that will correct the vision. John says, "Imagine trying to thread a needle if you can't see clearly. Just being able to perform those types of simple tasks is the gift that an inexpensive pair of glasses can offer."
John’s youngest child, Matt, is also on this trip, and is assisting us with translating.
Previously, John took his oldest, Anna, who is joining us again. Anna is a junior at University of South Carolina and also speaks Spanish. Will John’s younger daughter Cate be next?
Kim is on her first mission trip. She had taken Disciple 1 Bible Study class with our team leader, John. She wanted to attend with her daughter, Kate, and this was a good time for her to go.
Kate was attracted to the medical aspect of the trip since she is interested in medicine as a career. She also speaks Spanish and assists with translation where possible. She will attend University of Virginia.
Claire is our dentist on her sixth visit to Honduras. A nurse friend from Reveille approached her and said there was a need for dentists on these missions. She realized it was a good time in her career to go.
Claire's daughter, Katie (Kiki), is a second year medical student at Einstein School of Medicine in New York. She is interested in other health systems and the timing of this trip was perfect for her. This is her second trip with FOB.
Katie C. wanted to attend an international mission trip and has enjoyed the chance to speak Spanish with the people. She especially loves the children. She will study Spanish at University of Virginia.
Mary (yours truly) has a lifelong interest in medicine and wellness and jumped at the chance to go when my daughter, Katie, signed up. I had heard about the experience from several Sunday School class members, all of whom urged me to go. I also believe that we are Jesus's hands and feet on this earth and we need to do what he would do if he were physically present among us.
Cary is a colorectal surgeon on his third trip. His older sons have each accompanied him.
He brought Sarah Kate, his 13-year-old daughter. Sarah Kate wanted to part of the family tradition of serving.
Harvey is a third year student at Virginia Tech. He speaks Spanish, and has traveled twice to Guatemala and to El Salvador. He will be interning with the NBC Olympics news team stationed in Brazil in just a couple of weeks!
Mikaela is an ICU nurse from Greensboro, N.C. She has been on mission trips before but wanted to use her skills on a medical trip. Her mother's friend learned of FOB from a friend who had participated in a mission. She is a graduate of Gardner-Webb College. We are blessed to have her fun-loving and caring spirt on our team.
You are part of the team, too!
Thank you for your continuing support of us and of Friends of Barnabas!