Friday, July 28 – Dental Brigade Day 2

Breakfast was once again at 7:00am and we left for the church at 7:45.

We were able to get started right away today as we were more prepared when we arrived. Robb took the first three patients into the clinic while all of the other patients that had already arrived were directed into the worship center where I welcomed everyone and shared the gospel with them.

Today Robb asked Nathan and me to paint the security bars on the windows of the church. They had been poorly painted in the not-too-distant past but they had become quite peeled and were beginning to rust. There was also paint on all of the windows due to no prep being performed prior to the last paint job. We spent the day, with the help of some of the Montoya family and the interns, hand-sanding the bars and applying primer. We finished priming just in time to pull the tape and paper and re-install the windows before the rains came.

Today was a very difficult day for a few on the team, particularly one member that will remain unnamed out of respect. One little child had to be held down by parents and others in the clinic while he screamed and cried – it was very emotional for some of the team. The clinic went all day again and we left around 5:30pm.

It has been quite warm each day with rain coming in the late afternoon. When it rains it pours. The MEDA compound is about 5 miles from the church and the Expedition we are riding in has no windshield wipers so it was an interesting drive home.

Today we saw 37 patients. Once again I don’t have a count of the type of dental procedures that were performed or the number of people that came to the church. It was once again quite busy –  it is a great outreach to the community. This seems to be a very active and faithful church.

Fortunately we have been able to get to bed at a reasonable hour each evening. Our accommodations are wonderful – very comfortable rooms, running hot and cold water, great food prepared by hard-working cooks, and a very nice atmosphere to relax and pray.

Thursday, July 27 – Dental Brigade Day 1

Everyone awoke rested this morning – our accommodations are quite comfortable. We met for breakfast at 7:00am. Our meal consisted of pancakes, eggs, bacon, refried beans, cereal, avacado, fresh fruit, orange juice and coffee. We prayed and received a Bible verse of the day from Pastor Joe from 2 Timothy then departed for the church in two vehicles.

It was a 15 minute drive to the church and we began seeing patients a little after 8:30am. Conner, Kiyo, Wendy. Jessica and Joe were our sterilization team. Talia and Melissa were assisting the Dentists and Vicki. Nathan, Sophia and I were assigned to evangelism and management/organization of the team. David, of course, was our dentist, along with two other Honduran dentists (both related to families in the church).

Many people showed up that had not been pre-screened and scheduled so they were turned away and asked to return Saturday. Our brigade was originally scheduled for two days but with the additional needs we decided to continue for 1/2 day Saturday.

We found evangelism to be difficult (one-on-one conversations using an interpreter) but we were able to distribute tracts and some of the local team were able to converse with the locals. I found that my Spanish (speaking in particular) has certainly decreased in the past few years with no need to use it. Everyone likes the curved illusion cards and the kids come up and ask for more of them for their brothers and sisters.

There are a couple other families that live at MEDA (the seminary where we are staying) with fathers that teach and run the seminary. Several of their children and a couple American college interns are also at the church with us this week to help however they can.

David began seeing patients at about 9:00am. One six year old boy had five extractions done early in the day. He found that the light on the dentist chair was not sufficient so Nathan held a flashlight for 4-5 hours. Talia was outside with some of the interns and local missionary kids teaching the kids how to brush their teeth. She has a large toothbrush and display mouth and they have several blown-up laminated pictures of good and bad teeth and good and bad snacks.

Melissa has interest in dentistry for a possible career choice so she worked to assist David and Vicki for most of the day. She was cleaning, rinsing and vacuuming mouths, along with anything else Vicki asked her to do. I could tell she was having a great time.

For the last couple hours of the day I switched places with Nathan and held the light for David and Talia took the place of Melissa, rinsing and clearing mouths. It was fascinating to watch teeth being repaired and filled from the other side of the chair. David makes it look so simple.

We worked until 6:00pm and between the three dentists we cared for 38 patients. Unfortunately I don’t have a count of the number of extractions or fillings but in most cases the doctors took care of two problems per patient.

July 26 – Wednesday – Travel Day

Susan drove Melissa, Jessica, Nathan and me to the airport and we met the rest of the team at the gate at 10:45pm. Our Spirit Airlines flight left at 12:38am. This is the first time any of us have flown Spirit – they are a cut rate airline that prides themselves on cheap fares. They cut out a lot of expected amenities in order to keep their rates low. It’s simply an overnight flight so it wouldn’t seem that it would be a big deal but the first thing we noticed is the seats have less padding and they don’t recline at all. Nathan and I were fortunate to be able to sleep the entire flight with the assistance of my doctor but I woke up with really sore buns several times during the flight. Unfortunately the rest of the team barely slept. We arrived in Houston around 6:00am and had some breakfast and lethargic fellowship for a few hours before departing for San Pedro Sula, Honduras.
We arrived around 11:30am and were met at the airport by our supported missionaries, Robb and Sherri Kensinger, alongside whom we will be serving this week. After the two hour drive to Siguatepegue we arrived at the MEDA compound where we will be staying. It is a very nice seminary campus that provides pastoral training for pastors in Central America. Pastors come for two weeks, 8 times per year. They take 8 modules per year and after four years receive their Masters in Divinity degree. We have 5 rooms for the 12 on our team.
After dropping our bags and getting organized we went to the church where we will be holding our dental brigade and VBS this week in order to organize and plan for the next few days. There were a few bugs to work out and, after everyone understood was briefed and prepared we returned to MEDA for dinner and some instruction about the week from Robb.
Everyone was exhausted from a long night and day of travel so we all retired about 8:00pm.

Returning to Honduras

It's been six years since I was in Honduras. I'm very excited to be returning as part of a team of twelve of my family from LHBC to the country of my first mission trip in 2007. A big part of my heart is in this country. Although I won't see the people with whom I served many years ago I'm certain the warm hearts of the Honduran people will make it feel like home. I'm very excited to see what God will do through all of us as we hold a dental clinic for the people of Siguatepeque, host a Vacation Bible School, play our hand bells in the local schools and other means of community outreach. Much more detailed information will come over the next few days. Please watch my big and subscribe if you haven't already, I will keep you updated as often and as completely as possible.