Jesus Christ, the Man for Others, We, your children, make our prayer: Give us grace to love as brothers All whose burdens we can share (From hymn Father, Lord of all Creation)
Bill Curry’s medical brigade was here last week. As always it was wonderful. Hundreds of people were seen by the US and Honduran doctors. They left with bags filled with meds we take for granted that are completely inaccessible to them – Tylenol, cough drops, tums, worm pills (well, OK, we don’t take them often in the US!) and more. Babies were held, children hugged, little old men proposed to (by me, much to the delight of the little old ladies present!) thousands of stickers stuck to hands and shirts, countless smiles exchanged. A great time was had by all.
In my blog I often write about events from the Northamerican point of view – what an experience meant to us/me. This time I want to present an event from a Honduran’s point of view, with some artistic license on my part…
“I got up early this morning. Yesterday was the anniversary of my daughter’s death. She would have been 28. I still look for her to walk in the door. I can hear her laugh. I think I see her out of the corner of my eye. I turn quickly to call out to her but she isn’t there. It breaks my heart all over again. With a heavy heart I put on my orange vest and grabbed my broom to go to work sweeping streets. I guess this government program is good, although it doesn’t pay much and often they don’t pay us for months. I don’t have any other work so every day I sweep and hope in the hot sun and driving rain. I heard about a clinic happening in a church. I stopped by to see a doctor. They gave me a number but it was at the end of a long line. I can’t be away from work that long. Just as I was about to leave, a woman called me to the door of the clinic and said, “Come in. We’ll take you right now.” I was surprised. I am used to being at the end of the line. Soon it was my turn to see the doctor. He smiled at me and said something in English that sounded nice. The Honduran lady translated everything he said. I was telling him about my aches and pains when suddenly my daughter came into my head. I couldn’t help myself and started to cry. I explained to them what had happened. The doctor stopped what he was doing and listened to me. I could see tears in his eyes. This northamerican doctor came from so far away to be in my little village and he stopped to listen to me. Then the lady from the door appeared and they all began to pray for me. They put their hands on me and prayed while I cried for my precious daughter. When we said amen, I felt different. As I stood to leave, the doctor hugged me. My clothes were so dirty and his were so clean but he hugged me. My heart still hurts for my daughter but I feel lighter somehow. I left with a bag full of medicine but so much more. Is this what Jesus meant when He said He will always be with us?”
While medicine happened last week, it was love that flowed through the clinics each day. From little Jenny who greeted us as the vans pulled into her impoverished village, to the elderly woman who made us the most delicious semitas (sweet buns), to Dr. Jill, the optometrist, who saw almost every one of the 618 patients, to all the local volunteers, to the brigade team who gave of their time, talent and treasure, to the patient who told Dr. Bill that an angel in heaven sent him to shoot cortizone (painfully) in her knee, to every person who gave God's blessing to one another, to the grandpas waiting for hours in the hot sun to bring their grandchildren to see a doctor, to the Honduran translators (including Suzy's daughters) who go so far above and beyond the call of duty, and finally to Dr. Bill who gave his shoes to a member of my airport family.
There is a common denominator in all the LAMB teams. They come laden with crates and suitcases full of meds, clothes, school supplies, games, etc. but Love is what they bring.
"God, through us your love make known"
(From hymn Father, Lord of all Creation)
I was gazing lethargically out at the ocean when my attention became riveted to a young boy and his father. They approached a table nearby, and by the end of their interaction, I was left contemplating my trust, and confidence in my Heavenly Father.
The child pointed excitedly to a tiny, folded object in the bag strewn across the chair, and the father dutifully lifted it out. The boy gleefully clapped his hands, twirled, danced and skipped around in increasingly larger circles. I was fascinated, even though I still had no idea what the “reward” would be. The dad settled into the chair, raised the “reward” to his lips and began blowing with large breaths. Realization dawned …it was an inflatable object! I glanced at the young boy and he was not even looking at the dad – he was still rejoicing in anticipation of his “reward”. Meanwhile, daddy was rapidly heaving, huffing, and puffing without visible results. Many thoughts raced through my mind: He is not taking any recovery breaths; I hope he does not become “lightheaded”; I hope he does not have an underlying respiratory condition; I wonder how large that object will be; this is sure taking quite a while; the boy has no idea how much it costs to manually inflate this; look at the love of this father. All the while, the boy danced on in anticipation, not even glancing at the dad to observe the progress.
Finally, the inflatable object took shape and form. When it was fully inflated, the father interrupted the boy’s dance – he took him by the hand, presented the “reward” and led him to the water’s edge for the grand finale.
I smiled and wondered, really wondered – how many times did I trust my Heavenly Father with this childlike faith? How many times have I laid my request at his feet and danced or rejoiced as I waited for the “reward”? How many times did I fret about the “process / wait” as many doubts clouded my mind?
What I can truly say is this – I would love to have my Heavenly Father interrupt my rejoicing, so that he can lead me by the hand to the grand finale! I’m going to make an effort to gleefully dance like this boy danced…
A delay is not always bad. It has been approximately two weeks since my return to Honduras. With it has come many emotions: joy with returning to familiar faces and places, peace with my decision to return, mild concern about readjusting to the heat and humidity, and wonderment at the welcome I received from some of my previous students.
The first few days seemed “action packed”. My luggage was delayed until the next day, but thankfully it arrived safely and intact. Friday 18-Aug-2017 was the day of the tornado in Tela. I had returned home from school and sprawled haphazardly across the bed, as I replayed the day’s activities. I planned to stroll across to a nearby location to view the sunset and unwind after a hectic day, but for some unknown reason, I just could not readily spring up and bound out of the door as planned. Instead, I flowed into quiet thanksgiving and praise to God about my perception of blessings and favor that had unfolded for me in the recent days. I made a phone call to share my joy, and at the conclusion stated: “I’m going to head out now and view the sunset”.
I never got up… Instead, I was immediately startled by a sudden, large shadow moving rapidly across the window! I turned and realized that within an instant the sun had retreated and it was dusk outside – no gradual growing dark… instantly dusk. As I tried to process what I was witnessing through the window, my mind registered the sound of zinc sheets (from a roof) whirling outside and the simultaneous sound of what seemed to be a truck nearby or a distant train. A train? That sound was not right for this location – there were no trains! My immediate thought was to get on the floor, but before my muscles could even respond… as quickly as it started, the noise and swirling subsided.
I soon discovered it was a small tornado. However, the pictures made me sit upright and ushered me into more thanksgiving. Even though structural damage seemed minimal, I would have been sauntering down this very road, passing this very junction on my way to view the sunset if my original plan had unfolded. Taking a “praise break” – offering praise and thanksgiving to God had delayed “my plan” and kept me within the safe confines of my home. For that, I offered even more praise and thanksgiving. Indeed, a delay is not always bad!
Jack Melvin, SAMS Missionary in Honduras serves and cares for the people in his community. Recently he shared about a young girl and her opportunity to receive education.
After six months of searching, we have finally found a sign-language teacher for Angelita, who is 15 years old. Angelita is deaf and lives in the mountains, south of Tegucigalpa. Recently I asked for prayers about her doctor visit. At that time, we thought that with a hearing-aid she might be able to hear again. Unfortunately, the tests showed that she cannot hear the sound frequencies used in speech. Both the doctor and a missionary, who works with the deaf, advised us to have her learn sign-language. That way, she can communicate with others, become part of a community, and get an education or learn a trade.
Angelita’s brother joins along with some other neighbor friends. Lessons have become a community event!
Adding to our difficulties, the major two-lane highway to the Pacific Ocean, which is the only way to reach her community, has been under construction for this entire year. One lane is entirely shut down, leaving only the other lane for north-south traffic. Accordingly, one has to wait an hour each way, before one can pass. A trip, which one-way normally takes one hour, now can take as long as three hours. The problem for Angelita is that all the resources, such as schools, the Association of Deaf Persons, teachers, are in Tegucigalpa. We could not allow a teenage girl to travel that far alone under such conditions.
In spite of that, we finally found Doña Gaudelupe Villatoro, who lives close by. Although she has another job, she was willing to visit Angelita each Saturday and teach her sign language. She also teaches cosmetology, jewelry and sewing, all valuable skills to earn a living. Angelita would have a bleak life without any help. While the other kids are in school, she stays home to care for the toddlers and babies. As such, she would not have much of a future. But with an education and some assistance, everything opens up for her.
Right now, Angelita is studying with her cousin Johana, 12 years old, who lives in the same house. That way, she can practice and talk to someone else outside the classroom. They are already best of friends.
Please continue to pray for her and the whole family.
Mission: Empower the next generation through mentorship, discipleship, and education, to reach their maximum potential and lift themselves out of poverty.
Solution: 1. Encourage Spiritual growth by instilling Christian values and morals through spiritual retreats and outreach activities within the community. 2. Impart life skills and multicultural sensitivity, through bilingual education.
Next steps: 1. Build a team of prayer and financial partners 2. Return to the Honduran team for 2017-2018 year.
In the gospel of Matthew, Jesus says over and over, “the kingdom of heaven is like…” Do you ever wonder what the kingdom of heaven is like in our world today?
Last week the kingdom of heaven was like the annual Mt. Pleasant Presbyterian Church (MPPC) employee luncheon held to celebrate the hard working staff at our Children’s Home. It is always lovely, something the staff looks forward to.
This year, however, was different. The morning started with a disaster as I learned that there had been a misunderstanding about the date and almost none of the staff was there. I was in a panic, wondering how I would tell the team. In a moment of lucidity, I prayed, “Lord, please redeem this day.” Staff members, Samuel and Oneyda, got on the phone to call the local staff members to return for lunch. I found Mengui and asked him to go with me to invite our neighbors to join us. We went door to door up the dirt road next to our property inviting them (at the last minute) to lunch. We had no idea if they would come or how many people would attend the lunch. Shelley, the team leader, was so gracious when I finally confessed the mix-up. “The right number of people will be here.”
At noon, the church porch was set up and we waited. The on-duty staff appeared. One by one the local staff returned. Just as I was about to give up on the neighbors I looked out and saw the family who live by the gate approaching, all dressed up! Pretty soon, all the neighbors were there and we had to get an extra table! (Thanks Debbie and Steve!) As always, it was a great event with good food (thanks, Judith!,) good service (thanks MPPC servers!,) lots of fun (thanks Mengui, Georgia, and Dawn for dancing!,) fellowship (thanks Solo Por Hoy band!,) and,worship (thanks, Holy Spirit!) My prayer for redemption had been answered!
The right number of people were there!
What made this year special was the inclusion of our neighbors. What started out as a last minute effort to fill the tables has become the beginning of a new tradition. My favorite part of the lunch was seeing how happy the neighbors were to be included in the LAMB family and how happy everyone was to be together:
When you get a group of Hondurans together, for what ever purpose, inevitably, worship breaks out. Mengui and Angel took charge and led the impromptu but beautiful worship.
Mengui invited people to come up and receive prayer. Bienvenido‘s (who died about a month ago) mother came up along with “Abuelita,” the grandmother who lives next to our gate. Abuelita got down on her knees to receive our laying on of hands and prayer.
This luncheon is what the kingdom of God looks like.
And it sounds like this as American voices from Holy Spirit, two weeks ago, mingled with Honduran voices:
As you go, proclaim this message: ‘The kingdomof heaven has come near.’