No mission team is ever just alike, and this one is no exception. I learned a lot from our experience, but all perspective aside...what made this missions opportunity stand out to me was the team's relatively natural sense of altruism. How rewarding it is to see a team in unfamiliar circumstances with unfamiliar people working on such equal terms!
For all intensive purposes this medical and educational mission was also an exploratory mission. Dr. Tom Camp, Brian Price, James Iverson, Lauren Watkins, and Mary “Butterfly” Capps of Alabama and Mississippi joined forces with Brent Brady, Doris Brady, and Dr. Delmer Montoya of Honduras and Byron Morales of Colombia to build relationships across Honduras. This post serves to introduce the week. More detailed accounts will follow.
1.) Together We Can Do Anything
Without a doubt this team helped meet the needs of three communities in the La Esperanza area. Under the joint group effort the team worked to meet the needs of around 500 community members with active and preventative medical concerns. Doctors Camp and Montoya with the assistance of EMT Brian Price interviewed patients while team efficiency expert James Iverson and I ran the mobile pharmacy. Lauren Watkins documented the medical clinics through photography and interviews while Byron Morales met with local leaders to identify local needs and capacity for future AHMEN-SIFAT workshops in the area. Of course not a single one of these three much-needed clinics would have been possible without the dedication of our in-country AHMEN representatives Doris and Brent Brady. Furthermore, this team would have never been able to function so seamlessly without the clown ministry of Mary “Butterfly” Capps. The combination of so many strengths for a common purpose is always truly amazing to watch and a captivating trait of this team.
|Laughter is the best medicine!|
Beyond the medical aspect of the team's goals in La Esperanza was its success in building relationships with local community leaders. Brent and Doris Brady opened up this area for AHMEN teams through their relationship with entrepreneurs Ron and Ernesto Turner. Byron Morales of SIFAT helped to provide a palate for future cooperation between AHMEN, SIFAT, CARE, and Save The Children. We also worked alongside a very special and empowered group of women from Ron and Ernesto Turner's local hydroelectric company. Gaby and Nadia Pineda, Mirsha Monterroso, Sindi and Sayli Vasquez stand to become future community leaders with their continued devotion to local volunteership and coordinated development. This solid base of partnerships has come together with just a year's attention, and it will be exciting to watch it grow stronger into 2012.
|From Left to Right: Dr. Delmer, Michael, James, and Brian|
Once we left the medical component of our trip behind in La Esperanza, our team moved forward with educational efforts in Utila. For two days our team followed Butterfly through the neglected areas of the island to the public school and on to the local health clinic. Smiles were abundant and hope was in the air for a population living in poverty just out of sight to the thousands of vacationing tourists. We made balloon swords and animals with the children of Camponado and Campolacho before arriving at the local public school to deliver over 200 books to the school's library. Fruitful talks with the school's English teacher inspired plans for a 2012 Utila Education Team to lead mini educational workshops for adults and children. On our final day, Butterfly led the team to the Centro de Salud to donate all leftover medicines to Dr. Mayorquin and his goal to improve health standards across Utila. Though in most cases educational success remains unidentifiable for years into the future, this team helped pave the way for a stronger bridge to realizing the potential for educational transformation in Utila.
|Doctors Mayorquin and Camp building bridges|
Finally, our team worked with the women of Shalom to understand how we can all learn to communicate as partners in the development of a healthier, more sustainable Honduras. Dr. Camp, Brian, Lauren, James, and I divided into five small groups and held mini communications workshops with everyone in Shalom. Butterfly introduced each section of the workshop with a short skit before each group leader led discussion of the “Who, What, When, Where, Why, and Hows” of communication. With a main goal of helping improve communication efforts between AHMEN and Shalom, we instead ended our final day in the mission field with 20 new friends...not a bad trade if I say so myself!
|From Middle to Left: Ana, Michael Yaqui, Danelia, Mery|
Witnessing UMVIM's motto of “Christian Love In Action” through so many coexisting channels is reward enough. Knowing that this team helped clear the way for several new sustainably-directed mission opportunities is more than I could ask for from one trip. I want to think everyone who prayed, donated, cried, bled, and poured sweat to make this team possible. Accomplishments and mistakes both inform future success, and their combination with open hearts and minds will continue to pave the way for the type of change Jesus desires.
Thank you for everyone involved in making this missions opportunity a success!
¡Que les vaya bien!