Loving Well

I recently watched a trailer for an upcoming documentary “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?” which explores the life of Mr Rogers and his television show “Mr Rogers’ Neighborhood”. Fred Rogers states, “Love is at the root of everything…all learning, all relationships, love or the lack of it.”

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There is great truth in this statement. As Christians, we know our primary task is to love. Jesus Christ made that very clear in Matthew 22:37-40 when he said that the greatest commandment is, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind,” and then followed it up with a second commandment: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”

I’ve seen this love displayed in the lives of our POI staff. Love is what connects us deeply to others. Over and over I heard stories of how the staff love our children well. It is their love that binds hearts, gives a sense of belonging, inspires great acts of sacrifice and courage, and cultivates emotional healing. Their love is demonstrated by acts of compassion, care, and comfort, and it holds the secret to extending the influence and reality of God to the communities where they serve.

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One story stands out in my mind…
Let me introduce you to Sandy, a nine year old student that attends our center in Crucitas. Sandy and I became friends quickly as she braided and played with my hair one afternoon. This particular morning, Sandy had been taken by our staff to get her hair cut. Her mother refused to wash her hair because she had head lice and thought it was disgusting. Her case is so severe she has areas on her scalp that are infected. I watched as our staff gently washed her scalp. This precious one grimaced and cried out occasionally in pain. Another teacher gently rubbed her back to calm her as the other continued to wash and massage her scalp.

Much to our surprise, Sandy fell asleep while standing over the pila. But, the story doesn’t end here. Our teachers went to her home that afternoon and washed all their bedding, towels and clothes. Yes, I cried as I watched this scene unfold. I cried for the pain this precious one was experiencing. I cried because she didn’t want to go to school that afternoon in fear of being bullied. Instead, she chose to stay where it was a “safe place”. She stayed where she knew she would be accepted, valued and loved…the POI Center. I cried because our staff love well.

I Peter 4:8 tells us, “Love each other deeply (love well), because love covers over a multitude of sins.”

“The essence of God is to love and be loved. He is the One who crafted love and made us with a deep hunger and need to be cherished.” -Sally Clarkson

I’ve pondered on these thoughts for the last few days…
“Measure your life by how well you have loved. In the moment that you love well, you are the most like Jesus.” -Sally Clarkson

“Loving well is the best and most profound act of life.” -Sally Clarkson

What can we learn from Mister Rogers?

“The greatest thing we can do is to help somebody know they are loved and capable of loving.” -Fred Rogers

IMG_9100Contributed by: Ruth Hamilton, Co-founder of Point of Impact Global

 

I Can Only Say “Thank You!”

Behold, I will bring to it health and healing, and I will heal them and reveal to them abundance of prosperity and security.” Jeremiah 33: 6

The largest and most important hospital in my country is the Hospital Escuela Universitario. It was founded in November 1978 in the capital city, Tegucigalpa. Patients of all ages, from all areas of the country and from all ethnic groups, come here referred from regional hospitals. They come with diversity of pathologies looking for an answer, a relief to their disease. For the longest time it was the hospital of the poorest ones but with time, and with Honduras being the second to last country in Latin America in human development, Hospital Escuela Universitario has become the hospital of everyone regardless of social class.

Old, without any rebuilding in the last 40 years, dirty, lacking supplies, equipment and medicines – far from the standards of first world hospitals urgently needs help. The little interest in strengthening our weak health system shown from those who for years have ruled us and the corruption which is like a cancer, have the hospital as a patient with a chronic terminal illness. At many times I have felt burdened and frustrated but with desire to help even without knowing exactly how and when. But I waited expectantly for the answer of God that always arrives at the perfect time.

During an informal conversation (that God already knew) the Christmas of 2016 with a friend, Amber Rose King, who is also a nurse at St. Jude Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee. Through out the years she has become someone reliable and faithful to POI and has demonstrated its love and commitment to our ministry in Honduras, she is one of our best ambassadors. After twenty minutes of talking and sharing ideas she said, “Let’s do it”.

She became the brain and the spark that ignited the development of the medical brigade. And that is how we started the planning of the first medical brigade of laparoscopic pediatric surgery that was going to be helping at the aforementioned hospital. God was gracious to allow POI to become the link between the head of the pediatric surgery ward and the team of Doctors and nurses that arrived on February 11th, 2018.

We prayed and planned this week for more than a year. Amazing isn’t it?! God surprised us once again.
Twenty-four children arrived with their parents from different parts of the country, all of low-income households who had been on a waiting list. They had been waiting with a phone in their hand to get the call, the call that would give them the good news that their kid was going to have free surgery. Free because the price of their surgery had been paid by a group of nine wonderful people who anonymously, without any publicity, without expectations of something on return, had decided to come and serve children of my country, they willingly had become the hands and feet of Christ.

At night after a very long and tiring day they shared a cup of coffee and dinner with the dozens of relatives of the hospital patients, these relatives sleep in the hallways and outside of the hospital. They wait to hear from their hospitalized relative or wait for an appointment for the next day.

The team also provided medical attention in our clinics, washed hair and removed lice from the heads of our children in two of our projects, and took lunch to the municipal dump. But above all, they wrote a new page of service and love to our neighbor in the story of the ministry POI has. And I will say it again because it is great news, 24 pediatric laparoscopic surgeries were done for the first time in the history of the Hospital Escuela Universitario in Tegucigalpa, Honduras.

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A story that in its first chapter touched directly and physically the lives of 24 children. And as a father, I can imagine the gratitude and peace of the parents of these children. Because of the successful surgery, the suffering that their child had, the one that caused them great concern because it was something they could not pay for because of their scarce economic resources, and because it was something out of their hands and couldn’t be solved, now it is all a memory that will be in their minds forever.

This is story that I am sure will be continued, that should be continued and a story where there is still room for you too because we want to add your name to this list.

Lastly but not least we would like to thank Eunice, Ying, Tina, Becky, Eddie, Katie, Rosanne, Beth, Ruth, and Amber Rose, for their wonderful service in Honduras.

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Praise the Lord!

“And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’” Matthew 25:40

Contributed by: Dr. Ivan Laínez, Director of Point of Impact Global

A Life Changing Trip

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  “If I then, the Lord and the Teacher, washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet.” John 13:14

 

Destiny3The day we arrived in Honduras we went to the city dump to share the gospel and serve food. I could never have imagined how harsh these living conditions were. Men, women, and even children spent their days in the hot weather with no food or water, scavenging for plastic to exchange for a small amount of money. And many of those people called the dump home. It was a sight I never imagined. The way their faces lit up when we drove up with food and water will never leave my mind.

During Bible school at the neighborhood of San Juan, my group was greeted with hundreds of hugs from these children who didn’t even know who we were. Hearing some of the stories about these children broke my heart. These kids are growing up in horrendous living conditions and have very little, but they acted like they had everything in the world. All I saw were smiles and pure joy from these kids when I was there. They showed me that happiness is not materialistic. I was shown love like it’s all these kids knew how to do. I received hug after hug and it felt amazing.

On the last day of Bible school, we passed out a juice box and a cookie to all of the children for snack. There was this one little boy in the back of class who didn’t touch his.  I asked him why he wasn’t eating and he replied, “Voy a llevarlo a casa a mi hermana”.  (I am bringing it home for my sister.) That was very sad for me to hear because this second grader was willing to give up his food so his little sister could eat when he got home.

Gaby3  We also did a lice clinic one of the days. There were almost 400 kids who were there to get deloused. I never thought I would be removing lice from kids heads before. But they were so thankful which made this experience worth it. Braiding the girl’s hair and painting their nails made them so happy, afterwards they were running around and showing everyone their new hairstyles.

One of the most impactful days for me was when we brought the Tubs of Love to the homes of the families of San Juan. Within the tubs, there was enough food for a family of 5-6 for a month, and they also received a bible with the tub.  When I walked into a home that had rusted tin sheets as walls and only two rooms, I saw two of the children I met at Bible school. I honestly had to hold back tears when I saw them sitting on the dirt floor of that house. Those two were some of the happiest children I’ve seen in my life. I never imagined what their home life looked like.

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Overall, I had an amazing trip and I wish I could thank every one of the children I encountered during the week. I just want them to know that they have impacted my life tremendously. I also want to thank the Point of Impact staff for being like a family away from home. I left a piece of my heart in Honduras but I returned to Minnesota with many new friends and memories that will last a lifetime This was such an amazing experience and I will be returning in the future.

 

Gabby, POI Mission Trip Participant, Summer 2017