November Focus: Honduras
(From the United Methodist Volunteers in Mission Newsletter)
Fourteen years ago a group of twelve from Jasper, Alabama traveled to Limon, Honduras to serve as short-term mission volunteers. Each year following that trip, the team grew exponentially. Eventually the first team broke into many teams. The group incorporated into Alabama Honduran Medical Education Network (AHMEN), serving under the auspices of UMVIM. This year thirteen teams served. They are estimating over 15 teams will be serving in 2012. Each team has a general medical component, as that is the basic tenant from which they operate. However, their reach has expanded to eye care, dental services, sewing and woodworking schools, a refuge home for at-risk teenage girls, many feeding kitchens for orphans and widows, a program to supply shoes to children, the creation of fifteen libraries, the construction of schools and community centers, veterinarian services, and most recently clean-water efforts through bio-sand filtration systems. AHMEN is now collaborating with Servants in Faith and Technology (SIFAT) on an initiative to train community health agents in issues of empowerment, environment and economy. Dr. Byron Morales is directing over fifty community agents who have committed to three years of quarterly workshops. Examples of the types of workshops include: vision testing, clean water and the prevention of parasites, importance of checking blood pressure and maintaining good health practices, and safety of children. Here is a video of Byron leading the "Welcome" with three different community agents offering a greeting in Spanish, Garifuna and Moskitia languages. Casey Farrington offered the greeting in English. For more information about this specific ministry, please email Michael Franklin.
In August I was given the opportunity to serve on an AHMEN team and I immediately recruited my brother to join me on this journey. Entering into this commitment was extremely nerve-racking because neither he nor I have a background with medicine. However, AHMEN is fortunate to have one of the best salesmen I have ever met as their biggest cheerleader: retired doctor, Tom Camp. Tom was on the first team to Limon and has since traveled to Honduras at least three times a year. In a recent conversation, Tom noted, "I go 'cause I like it...no...I go 'cause I love it." He was gifted with the ability to persuade in love, to encourage, to pass on confidence to everyone he encounters. Multiple times on our trip, Tom would note that he didn't put this team of volunteers together but that "God formed this team." The teams begin, continue and end with prayer.
The United Methodist Church has several missionaries serving in Honduras: David and Cynthia Ceballos are serving as missionaries with the General Board of Global Ministries in charge of the UMC Mission Initiative in Honduras. David said, "My call to mission came through participation in several Volunteer-in-Mission trips...I came to the realization that I could be most effective in cross-cultural ministry. I also came to the conviction that I would rather utilize my grace gifts where there is not an abundance of Christian resources." Ronald Davidson is serving as a missionary with the General Board of Global Ministries as the coordinator for volunteers in mission through the UMC Mission Initiative. "Arrangements for housing, transportation and food are made prior to teams' arrival. We do all this to help to fulfill the motto, 'Christian Love in Action,' of the United Methodist Volunteers in Mission." Videos from my trip in August: 1. Each day in Cosuna, Pastor Nahum and his daughter would sing and lead worship. Here is a link to that video. 2. While on the journey to Cosuna, we stopped so Dr. Camp could tell a story about the caverns over the river. 3. On one leg of the journey to Reista, we traveled by a motorized boat. This is a video of the sunset. 4.While in Honduras, I had the opportunity to share a room with Marlene, a Honduran lady whose joy is contagious. Here is a link to a video of Marlene leading a group of girls in singing and dancing. I hope it makes you smile. Interested in serving? Please email me and I will be happy to help answer any questions or connect you to more information. Cristin Farrington, Communication Director United Methodist Volunteers in Mission, SEJ firstname.lastname@example.org UMVIM, SEJ United Methodist Volunteers in Mission
(Picture of Casey Farrington taken by Jon David Schein, August 2011)
Also in Honduras, UMVIM works with the Carolina Honduras Health Clinic. This group works in the Limón region of Honduras offering free medical, dental and optometric services. Here is a view from the clinic.