STUDENTS GIVE AND RECEIVE DURING CHRISTMAS BREAK
A medical brigade or mission trip to Honduras is never predictable – and, as two dozen college students discovered recently, unexpected blessings can flow for both residents and visitors.
The College of Pharmacy students from Lipscomb University in Nashville, Tenn., spent part of their winter break: working on latrines and water storage projects in three different rural areas; celebrating Christmas with 300 children in 2 different villages; bringing food packages to needy families; and helping patients and local doctors consult on medications.
Many of the students had been to Honduras with Predisan before. John Deason, who helped lead the group on this trip, was making his fourth visit. He says his most challenging times are at CEDECO, Predisan’s work center in the mountains and the home base for visiting service groups. This time, the group stayed overnight at CEDECO and visited nearby communities in Agua Caliente and Capapan with medical brigades.
“Never am I more exhausted on the trip, but that is where I find my greatest joy,” he says. “It is so rewarding helping those living in such remote poverty. I would do it a thousand times over if I could.”
For Jay Dorris, who was visiting the country for his third consecutive Christmas break trip, the trip reminded him of how, sometimes, healthcare issues can be universal, and it increased his appreciation for the clinic staff’s work, their accuracy and organization, even in remote communities.
“For me, the most impactful moments of these trips involve seeing and taking care of patients,” he says. While there are differences, “at their core, many problems we address in Catacamas are the same as in Nashville, Tennessee.”
Lauren Vantrease says her two trips to Honduras have given her an appreciation of the country through the eyes of its people.”I knew going into Honduras that it was a poor country and in need of our help, but upon meeting several Hondurans, I realized they are actually very rich,” Lauren says. “Everyone at the Christmas celebrations and mobile clinics were extremely patient, kind, thankful, and filled with God.”
The most inspired person on this trip for Lauren was a school teacher at one of the celebrations. “She thanked us at the end and told us that we were proof God existed, and she could never thank us enough for giving hope to those children.”
Jay: “During our night at CEDECO, we had the opportunity to join our team with Predisan members for an evening of worship together. Hearing the same songs lifted before God in both English and Spanish reminded me of the unity that exists in Christ. That evening of worship and other moments throughout the week grew my faith and showed me an example of glorifying God as part of your vocational calling.
From this trip, I take away the experiences that change how I take care of patients in the United States. As with past years, I will return to school with the realization of the resources God has given me to serve others. I also return with renewed perspective and passion for loving God and others through the practice of pharmacy. “
John: “My take-away is this: No matter where I go or what I do, I am called to serve God in all things. My life is nothing without him. In my service He provides friends to help in all situations be it from my group or in the places I visit. We are all God’s children as we are all together one. What greater joy is there to help each other grow closer to Christ?”
Lauren: “Every year after returning from Honduras, my faith is stronger. Seeing the joy and faith that Hondurans have always lights a fire within my heart for God. I am so lucky to witness and be included in this each year. I am so thankful for being able to serve using my medical knowledge but also by bringing hope to these people. ”