Since arriving in Honduras I have been struck by how incredibly comfortable I have felt in this foreign country. Now having been here for four full days, I understand why. It’s the sense of community embodied by the FOBF team from the time we were greeted at the airport to the family style breakfast we had this morning. We started out the day with a reminder of what’s important and that is we are all in this together. Each of us have different backgrounds, but we find ourselves in the same place with the same mission, and that is to serve the mountain communities of Honduras.
Out of curiosity, I looked up the definition of community and found this: a group of people living in the same place or having a particular characteristic in common. I think what really struck me most today as we ventured to the San Antonio community was the sense of hope each of the families had. Hope that despite life’s circumstances, there is an opportunity for better health and a better future.
Amidst this hope, our team did find despair. Nurse Flo gave her cross away to a man whose wife had left him with three young boys. The youngest, only a toddler, had to go to work with him in the fields each day, and the father expressed feelings of depression. Sensing his sadness Flo offered him a word of prayer and her cross. In this moment, I saw hope.
Dr. Marvin met a woman who visited the clinic with three orphaned children. She too had met adversity and wanted nothing more than to support her three new children. Touched by her story, Dr. Marvin gave her his cross. In that interaction, I saw hope.
Our two team members, Nurse Sue and Scott worked in the dental clinic today with the highest volume of patients so far this week. A woman and three of her children arrived as the mother needed extractions taken. Her face was expressionless and so were her children’s. Despite team member engagement, the family member’s faces remained expressionless. Scott nudged Sue to give the woman a hug, which the mother accepted. In that moment, there was hope.
Among the moments of hope, there were also moments of joy. Today, 196 people were served in the general clinic including mothers with multiple children who walked for over a half hour to receive care. Virginia, our team member who knows no joy like holding a little child, brought joy to so many people’s faces as she lifted, played with, and loved on all babies within reach. It was as if she had always been a part of the San Antonio community.
And I am learning that this is what it’s all about. This is my first mission trip with Friends of Barnabas, and I am in awe of how the team sets the example for establishing a familial sense of community and how it then translates into how the mission’s team interacts with each mountain community. From this experience, I have learned a few simple but powerful things: Listen to people in their time of need. Offer a word of prayer. Embrace each joy-filled moment. And most importantly, love without abandon. It’s truly a lovely way to define community.