In the Bible, Barnabas was known as the Encourager. He was also known for being a servant who went out to serve the orphans and the widows. Friends of Barnabas got its name from the idea that the role of the volunteers was to serve the poor, orphans, and widows, and encourage everyone that they encountered by showing them the love of God.
This week the SOVA Team worked to embody our role as "Friends of Barnabas"- striving to encourage each other and the communities that we served. Today was our last day working in the communities, and I think that what we saw today gave us all a little bit of encouragement in return. Gongora was a first time community for Friends of Barnabas, meaning that we were the first medical team to visit this community. While we saw some of our sickest and poorest families of the week, we also saw a community that wanted to get better. We went into the day expecting an early finish because the community had a small population of just 200 people. However, we were surprised to find that 173 people showed up to the clinic. It was amazing to see a community that truly wanted to improve its health.
At the very beginning of this week we had a discussion about how our team was a bit nontraditional, being thrown together somewhat quickly and consisting of members from various different states, many of whom had never met prior to arriving at the airport. We arrived as strangers, we spent the week working together united as a team, and tomorrow we will leave as a family. We faced many challenges this week yet were able to encourage each other and push through to see God's work be done in these communities. In total, our general medical clinic saw 925 patients, with 686 receiving vitamins, 510 people receiving deworming treatments, and 203 fluoride treatments provided to children. Almost 600 people received vision exams and glasses as needed, and 204 diseased teeth were extracted. 8 children were admitted to the Extended Care Program to receive more intensive ongoing medical care. Many wooden crosses are now floating around in the rural mountain communities of Honduras, and each one represents two lives that were touched this week, the life of the team member giving the cross and the life of the community member receiving it.
Tomorrow, most of our team members will head to the airport to begin the journey home. We ask for your prayers for safe travels home for our team, and your patience as we all adjust to the return to "normal life." We also ask for your continued prayers for some very challenging, ongoing situations being faced by various team members, Honduran friends, and the people we met in the communities this week. We want to extend a big "thank you" to all of you who have supported us this week, whether financially, emotionally, or through prayer. We got to see the Holy Spirit working in so many amazing ways this week, and your support played a big part in that. Our team fulfilled just a very small role in the mission of Friends of Barnabas and in God's great mission here in Honduras, and we will all watch eagerly to see the work that He does next.