“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.
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.
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