Friday, January 4, 2013
And we’re off! The Haven Universe team consisting of Dr. CT, Chip, Kelly Gordon, and Beth Ruwet embarked on a seven-day mission trip to Honduras. We departed Washington, D.C. early in the morning arriving in San Pedro Sula around noon. Upon arrival at the airport local friends greeted us. Following lunch and a fruitful connection between CT and a local psychiatrist, we headed to Copan Ruinas. Three hours away from San Pedro, Copan is a rural mountainside town famous for its Mayan ruins. The drive was an eye opening experience for one team member who had not yet been to a developing country. When we arrived in Copan we were warmly greeted by good friends and local community leaders. We were graciously hosted by a wonderful Honduran family.
Saturday, January 5, 2013
The sunny morning began with an early breakfast and trip to the open-air market for Kelly, Beth, and Chip as we purchased food and supplies to distribute to needy families in the Copan and Las Mesas areas. The foods were divided equally for distribution to the local people. Meanwhile, CT initiated the medical clinic inside our host home with the help of a bilingual Honduran medical student translator. The clinic consisted of current local patients that Dr. CT has been following for the past 3 years as well as new patients. After lunch Chip, Kelly, and Beth piled into the truck with 15 local
church youth members and began handing out the food bags to needy families. The youth were a great help with Spanish translation to the families. The families were thrilled and told us how the food was a blessing from God. We talked and prayed with each family then made our way to the next house until all the bags were distributed. Then we headed back to Copan Ruinas to return the favor and help the youth sell barbeque in the square. We took time to walk around and explore the town with its little shops, food stands, and street vendors. Later that evening, we visited the home of a special young man with autism who we have been treating. He was very interactive and full of smiles. The day ended with a walk back to our host home for a good night’s sleep before an early morning drive to Las Mesas the next day.
Sunday January 6, 2013
The morning came early. We headed to Las Mesas—a tiny mountaintop village about 40 minutes away. Chip and CT have spent much time in Las Mesas on previous trips so they were both excited to return. Further, Las Mesas was the site of Haven Universe’s medical clinic last summer. CT has many patients in this area that he still follows for psychiatric treatment. Upon arrival in Las Mesas, CT and his translator went straight to work seeing patients while Beth, Chip, and Kelly headed to church to help with the local service. Both Chip and Kelly were invited to speak at the service, and we all enjoyed a time of worship together.
Afterwards, the team mobilized to Barequerte—a community about 15 minutes further up the mountain from Las Mesas. We spent the next couple hours going house-to-house delivering food and God’s love to those who were in need. Many families invited us into their homes and warmly shared their hospitality with us. After all the food had been handed out, the team journeyed back down the mountain to Las Mesas where lunch was awaiting. Meanwhile, CT continued seeing patients. After lunch, Chip, Beth, and a local friend accompanied by some Honduran guides and children hiked through the coffee plants to the top of “Pineapple Mountain” (a peak near Las Mesas providing a breathtaking view of the surrounding area). After sliding back down the mountain, we all munched on some sugarcane while waiting for CT to finish with his last patient.
We then packed into the pickups and headed down the mountain stopping about halfway to see the Las Mesas church leader’s mother who had pneumonia. CT concluded she needed medicine immediately—medicine only available in Copan–so the team rushed there to pick it up. After zipping down the mountain we made it to the Copan pharmacy. As dusk was settling in, Chip and Beth, accompanied by the local pastor, rushed the medicine back to Las Mesas.
Unfortunately during the journey darkness set in and the front wheel of our pickup got stuck in a ditch! This is not an uncommon occurrence in Honduras. After recruiting some help from men at the local pool hall, our truck was freed and we were on our way. Another exciting day, complete with surprises, in Honduras.
Monday, January 7, 2013
This was our last day in Copan. CT continued to treat patients and wrap up the clinic. We met a family of orphans who lived in the woods outside of Copan three young boys were sick with chicken pox. While CT spent the morning seeing patients, Chip, Kelly, and Beth went shopping for food and medicine for them. After the supplies were procured the team met up with CT and his translator and headed over to the orphan’s shack for delivery. In order to get there, we had to park the truck about a ¼ mile away and walk across a creek through the jungle. The orphans were ecstatic to see us and to receive the food and medicine. We spent the next hour talking to them, playing with the kids, and praying. Afterwards, the team headed back to Copan for lunch. Then split up again. CT went back to seeing patients. Kelly spent time with youth from the local church. Chip and Beth went to see the Mayan ruins—an insightful activity for first timers to Copan. About 1500 years old, the ruins remain authentically preserved and in amazingly good condition.
Upon completion of the ruin tour, Chip and Beth went shopping for dinner—Carne Asada (Honduran BBQ). Since it was our last night in Copan, we joined with local friends for a feast and fellowship. Everyone ate and enjoyed a time of worship. Afterwards it was off to bed as morning was sure to come quickly for our trek back to San Pedro Sula.
Tuesday, January 8, 2013
This morning we arose early, even before the roosters crowed. We had a long journey back to San Pedro Sula (SPS) and wanted to hit the ground running. Accompanying us on the journey were our Honduran cook and a local friend. With Chip and CT driving, we made good time between Copan and SPS arriving around 9:30am. Our first SPS destination was Mujeres Adolescentes (a center for abused young women). We were scheduled to meet a team from Orphan Helpers (a non-profit that has partnered with HU in Honduras) for a quick tour of the center and some time with the girls.
Unfortunately, when we arrived at the gate, we read a proclamation hanging on the center’s gate explaining the current strike of the center’s worker’s. local workers. The strike delayed our admission into the center. Eventually, we were able to get in. A local psychiatrist joined CT in the center and worked with staff to provide medical attention to some of the girls in need. This was an amazing thing since HU had been trying to help facilitate arrangement of quality care to the girls.
Following lunch we met visited Good Samaritan, a Catholic residential center for adults with severe complex neurological disabilities, to consult on some of the patients. CT and the local psychiatrist evaluated and treated patients while the rest of the team interacted with the residents.
After spending a few hours at Good Samaritan and running some quick errands around town, we met friends for dinner and then headed to bed for a much needed rest.
Wednesday, January 9, 2013
Morning came too soon on Wednesday as we got up and ate breakfast at our hotel followed by a devotional time. After loading up and checking out, we were off! First stop: the Genesis Center. This center, run by Orphan Helpers, is a large complex in the process of renovation. It currently hosts the Orphan Helpers staff. After more networking with the Orphan Helpers team from the US (who were also on location at the time), we were off to Nueva Esperanza—a government run orphanage in San Pedro Sula. We spent the morning visiting with the orphans, feeding and playing with them and sharing God’s love. The orphanage is extremely understaffed so the workers appreciate any help they can get! After spending a few hours there, it was time to move on to our next destination.
We drove to Puerto Cortes, a port side city about an hour’s drive from San Pedro. Upon arrival, we met up with Brian, Executive Director of Cocal Gracias (another non-profit that HU has partnered with in Honduras) and his wife Rina. They gave us a tour of Ministero La Voz, a trade school that CG runs in a neighborhood just outside of Cortes. After our tour we helped
Brian and Rina hand out tickets to the people in the surrounding neighborhood for a medical clinic that CG would be sponsoring the next week. After all the tickets were handed out, we went to visit a very special friend—a quadriplegic eighteen year old that HU and various partners have been supporting for the past few years. This young man has been completely bed ridden for the past five years after becoming paralyzed from a soccer accident. We were able to sing, pray, and encourage him and his family while also bringing them some much needed medical supplies.
Next, we settled into our hotel and met Brian’s family for dinner. They treated us to an authentic Honduran meal at a roadside café in town. Everyone slept very well that night in preparation for another exciting day.
Thursday, January 10, 2013
The morning started out early—as usual. The team got up and enjoyed breakfast at our hotel overlooking the Caribbean Sea. Today we were heading to Agua Calientes—a mountainside community about forty minutes away from Puerto Cortes. Getting there was an adventure winding around many bumpy, curvy roads and through creeks. After arriving, we visited the home of a local pastor’s family—a home built by Cocal Gracias and the community. We learned that Cocal Gracias is in the process of building another house located just down the road on the creek. Currently in the excavation stage, the house will serve as a place to launch missionaries. The HU team spent the afternoon assisting to carry rocks and river sand to be used to build two retaining walls on the property before the main structure can be erected. The area itself is beautiful. Located alongside the creek beside the jungle of coconut trees.
After spending the day in Agua Caliente, the HU team returned to our hotel in Cortes, cleaned up, and spent the evening with Brian and his family. While the women prepared an authentic Honduran meal for us (Baledas), Chip and Brian worked on some Cocal Gracias related business. After a time of fellowship with our hosts, we bid them good night and returned to our hotel for our final night in Honduras.
Friday, January 11, 2013
Today we returned home. After enjoying our last breakfast overlooking the ocean, the team packed up and headed out. We stopped by Brian and Rina’s house to bid them farewell as well as to meet Brian’s pastor. After a short time relating and saying our final goodbyes, the team was off to San Pedro Sula to catch our afternoon flight. We arrived at the airport in plenty of time with no significant issues or delays. While waiting for the plane we spent the time reflecting on God’s amazing work in growing relationships and providing for the local Honduran people. We reveled in our newly found friendships and thanked God for all He had done. Our thoughts were focused on God and what He had in store for our next great adventure to Honduras in summer 2013.