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Saturday, January 26, 2013

An Unexpected Journey: Day 2

Our goals for today are to visit and film two outerlying areas from Tocoa. Tony is leading us to clinics in Abisinia and La Esperanza. We are the same team from yesterday, and I intend on staying with the group this time!

Michael Franklin, Dr. Martín (Tocoa Municipality Minister of Health), Pastor Luna, Rev Dr. Tony Ponceti, and Antonio Martinez (City Council Chairman of Abisinia)

We first traveled uphill through the muddy, rutty road to Abisinia where Ton'ys ministry is laying plans to build a birthing center next door to the local centro de salud. This time of year is called the rainy season...And I finally know why. It has been raining since I landed on Wednesday. After making it up the mountainside and successfully fording through each subsequent stream, Tony improves our chances slowly from 10/90 to 40/60 to 80/100 until there was no chance we wouldn't make it.

Centro de Salud in Abisinia

Parasite Awareness
Tony and Crew discussing the birthing center
The centro de salud the crew filmed in Abisinia is one of the best I have ever seen. Dra. Erohina Gissel Galeana Hernandez and her staff of nurses were friendly, professional, and seeing patients when we arrived. The pharmacy was stocked; information posters filled the walls. I was impressed and probably in the way. The crew filmed a few interviews as Tony discussed plans for the birthing center with local community board member Antonio Martinez. I was happy to see such positivity in a completely unfamiliar part of Honduras.

Filming interviews in Abisinia

What I was really glad to see was Pastor Luna. In my previous blog I don't think I gave enough attention to Pastor Luna as equally important in the Tony/Luna dynamic duo that got the Christmas container through. 

Pastors Tony Ponceti and and Oscar Luna
This man has the most honest eyes and open heart. He kindly refuses reimbursement for the trouble he went through to help AHMEN help him lead his country toward a brighter future. It was great to finally meet the new friend in Honduras I had heard so much about recently.
Building relationships in La Esperanza
After some of the best soup I have ever eaten, we all traveled to La Esperanza.  La Esperanza means "hope" in Spanish, and although it is not the La Esperanza I usually visit, both embody the hope of Honduras. The videography team filmed a meeting Tony was having with eight pastors and two nurses at a recently-built clinic. In order to encourage ownership in the new community clinic, Tony told the pastors that their parishioners would receive reduced-cost medical care there. Patients who do not go through the church would be charged a normal rate. Tony also plans to challenge the churches to tithe toward paying the salaries of the clinic's nurses. In this way, the pastors would not only boost church participation but also improve the health of the community in the process.
Tony explaining how his ceramic water filter works

After the meeting was over, guess who showed back up with my favorite Honduran snackPastor Luna arrived with pastelitos and banana soda for everyone! One of my New Years resolutions was to not eat meat until Easter. Life is short, and I've never been good at abstinence of any kind. I had already given away the chicken in my chicken soup...Pastor Genia, I owe you a dollar!

When all was said and done, I learned a lot being a part of the Lifeway team. I visited new areas of a familiar country, met new friends, and learned of new ways AHMEN can partner with Honduras. I learned that Baptists weren't as strange as the preacher told me. They even interviewed me for the documentary, and for that, I say “thank you!”

The pastors of La Esperanza...and...Steve!
 Partnership is a funny thing. We all bake bread differently to feed the world, but there is no guarantee our own loaves will be eaten. Even in unity we have our own special interests.  Nonetheless, here's to 5 million people learning they can experience what God is doing in Honduras today with AHMEN!

Together, we are the difference.

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