Getting ready for our 9th mission trip to Honduras.
|Honduras, Central America|
What in the World are we doing in Honduras?
We have been going to Honduras since 2006 with a doing a medical brigade with an organization called World Gospel Outreach based in Tegucigalpa Honduras. The teams would stay for a week of activities including two separate brigades in the city of Tegucigalpa.
The Brigade Week.
|People lining up to be seen at the brigade|
Providing Dental Care
|Washing and Delidcng Hair|
A New Opportunity.
A few years back, our brigade leader from World Gospel Outreach asked if we would be interested in doing our brigade out of the city. In this instance, we would travel to a local town remote from the mission house and stay in a local motel with out Honduran interpreters and other Honduran professionals accompanying us. My wife and I agreed to try this adventure.
|Our Motel in El Triunfo|
Holy Week. .. "Semana Santa".
The decision to do so also surrounded Semana Santa or Holy Week. This is the week starting with Palm Sunday, leading up to Good Friday, and Easter Sunday. Latin American countries are predominantly Catholic in faith, and Semana Santa is one of the most celebrated times of the year. In Honduras during Holy Week, there are many traditional events including the reenactment of Jesus taking a cross and walking to His Crucifiction in several communities. Many local artists have also made a tradition of creating colorful sawdust carpets for the participants (actors) to walk on to "soften the walk for Jesus". The entire week of Semana Santa is virtually a national holiday. Most businesses, transportation companies, government offices reaturaunts and shops close for the week. Many of the residents head for the beaches.
|Semana Santa Event|
A Little Different Brigade Routine.
Running a normal brigade during this week would not work due to the inability of the interpreters and others to get to and from the brigade sites. A trip to an isolated small community however is quite possible during this week. Our brigade leader had contacts in the southern Honduran community of El Triunfo and was able to arrange for our accommodations. In 2011 we took our first trip to this community and visited 3 churches. We left on Sunday arriving in the afternoon and began our week. We were able to participate in 2 church services that week as well as visit an island on our last day as a treat. We returned in 2012 to visit the same community and visit 4 churches. In addition we were able to participate in street evangelism.
Why We Wanted to go back to this Community.
There are so many churches and areas needing medical attention, that scheduling a return trip to the exact same site with the exact same team is unlikely.Typically we never see the same pastors or local residents when we return for brigades year after year. The El Triunfo trip allows us to visit the same churches, pastors and residents. We are able to build trust and relationships with the people of the community which is special for those of us who return every year to serve.
America is so blessed.
Americans are in the top 5% of wealthy people of the world, and in as such we need to share
If you ever have the opportunity to serve on a short term mission trip, you will be blessed as much as you bless those whom you serve. I urge you to seek an opportunity to take a mission trip and see how most of your brothers and sisters live. I love leading teams to Honduras ans seeing how hand in hand we connect with our brothers and sisters at a soul level. the health changes that we can provide are often temporary, but the soul changes and hope for a future as a child of God are priceless. In addition I get to watch in awe as north Americans return home changed on the inside with a resolve not to let the experience fade away. I believe from the bottom of my heart that the ripple effect of all of these miracles can transform generations.
We are called.
After all this is what Christians are called to do in the great commission. In other parts of the bible, there is a distinct call to serve the less fortunate. In fact the bible speaks about taking care of the poor over and over.
What do I do?
I am a dentist and as such I along with a few Honduran dentists, and dental students provide simple dental care and emergency care to hundreds of patients during the brigade week. Due to the poor diet, poor hygiene, and limited access to care, most Hondurans have raging tooth decay. Often we have to ask which tooth or teeth hurt the most, and only attend to a very few of the dental problems a typical Honduran may have. The three most common procedures provided are cleanings, fillings and extractions. Replacement of missing teeth at a brigade is not possible since the brigade is only at one location for 2 days and the lines are too long to provide that kind of extended free service.
Who can go on a Medical Brigade?
Anyone age 14 or over in decent health who can arrange the transportation and funding for the trip may be eligible If you are not a Christian, you must check with the team leaders as you turn in you application to see if they are willing to take you along as this is central to the mission of the brigade. I have brought non-Christians before, but I will only allow them to participate in certain activities.
What if My church is not planning to do something like a Medical Brigade
You can join another brigade. Contact WGO and let them know when you would be available and they can help you coordinate a trip with another team. My first brigade was a combined effort between my church and another local church. We had not met the team from the other church until the day of our trip. Several of our brigades were combination teams from all over the United States. Eventually we were able to build up enough local interest that we began to lead our own teams.
What are the various activities that I may be doing during a brigade?
If you are a health care professional you most likely will be using your profession to serve the people. If you do not have this skill set, you are still needed in children's areas, or as an assistant to the doctors, helping in pharmacy, or in evangelism. If your brigade is able to you may be asked to help place a cement floor for one of the local Hondurans (many people live in shacks on dirt floors).
Other Options with WGO
WGO also has need of people who can do construction and people in the trades are often needed to build homes at Rancho Ebenezer and other projects. WGO is occasionally on the lookout for individuals with teaching skills and other public health skills to come on staff. In addition, many times a young adult can do an apprenticeship with WGO for up to a fee months helping out at the mission house and on brigades.
What does it take to prepare for a Medical Brigade?
WGO often runs two brigades at at time and scheduling a team often begins one year in advance.
There is quite a bit of background work going on to make sure that ta brigade has the right number of interpreters, and other Honduran professionals to supplement and supply the North American team. Months ahead fundraising for the trip and supplies , medicine, vitamins, are collected and packed. Making sure all applications are in, money collected and passports in order, airline tickets purchased in advanced takes some planning. WGO is very helpful in providing information packet for the team leaders to help coordinate these activities.
About World Gospel OutreachFounded about 30 years ago, World Gospel Outreach is a non-denominational Christian based organization headquartered in Tegucigalpa, Honduras. They coordinate medical brigade mission trips year round with churches and schools principally in North America. WGO also runs a housing facility where teams help raise displaced Honduran children in a traditional family setting. In addition, a facility called the Bridge House helps the "graduates" of Rancho Ebenexer re-enter Honduran life. Here they can look for employment or continue ont to college preparing to for life as bilingual, healthy, Christian young adults.
With this advantage, these Hondurans can thrive and become future leaders of this beautiful country
WGO exists to do three things well.
1. To serve and reach the poor. for Christ.
2. To provide care for displaced or abandoned children.
3. To provide opportunities for the North American Church to experience the joy that comes through serving.