Joy, Hope and Health

Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer – Romans 12:12

IMG_1861One of the blessings of our recent trip to Honduras was getting to see a lady named Maria who embodies this verse.  This is the third time I’ve cared for her, which is unusual for short-term missions.  She has severe diabetes and has had one leg amputated. On our first trip she had a serious infection in her remaining foot and I believe it is a miracle from God that her foot was healed.  It was a joy to see her with a healed foot on my last visit.  On our current visit she shared with me that she had had a heart attack a few months ago.  She said she is alive because she never gives up and lives everyday to the Lord.  She told me about a friend of hers who recently died.  He had a lot of illness like her, but he got tired of being sick and going to doctors, so he quit going. He had given up.  He’s dead now.

It reminded me how important hope and joy are in the recovery of patients.  Proverbs 15:13 says “a happy heart makes the face cheerful, but heartache crushes the spirit.”   Maria’s positive attitude and faith in the Lord sustains her despite her difficult circumstances.  The last time I visited, I wrote about Maria’s joy. Her joy sustained her in difficult circumstances. As the Psalmist says:

Why are you downcast O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.” Psalm 43:5

She continues to praise the Lord and that joy sustains her spirit and also her body.  Someday her body  will give out and she’ll go to see her Lord. Then her joy will be complete. But in the meantime, she lives for Him and inspires those like me who meet her and are better for having met her.

Medical Team Returns from Honduras

Medical Team – Honduras

IMG_1931 Our team of twelve from the US and 2 from Mexico ministered with our partner Ivan Galindo Paz and his church in Puerto Castilla and surround villages.  We were able to care for 1060 people, providing primary medical care, dental care, preventive fluoride treatments and health education and evangelism.  We were blessed to work with a great partner church.  Pastor Ivan’s church is a great example of how the local church works when it is working right.  Eighteen volunteers helped our team, doing everything from registration, obtaining vital signs, crowd control, evangelism, health education, translation and nursing care.  They served joyfully even though the days were long and many of them had to take time away from jobs and family to be a part of this. I wonder if a local church in the US could pull off an outreach IMG_1935requiring such commitment and dedication from it’s church members.

We spent a day and a half in their home church in Puerto Castilla, then visited needy villages of Dos Bocas, Santa Fe and Miramontes.  Our team included 6 nurses, 3 dentists, 2 physicians 2 translators and a pharmacy assistant.  Beyond the numbers of patients we treated, I think of our impact on certain IMG_1868individuals with specific needs that God had ordained for our team to meet.  We were able to care for patients such as Axel, a little boy who was having a severe asthma attack, Yulami, a lady with a severe diabetic foot infection and Jorge, man with a severe hand infection due to a dog bite.  Some of these patients had little access to other care or the ability to get the medicines that they needed. We pray that our presence will not only make a difference in their lives medically, but that they will build relationships with the local churches and pastors that they met as a result of the medical clinics. The best part of all was knowing that we did have several patients accept the invitation to follow Jesus!