Category Archives: POI Trips

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.


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

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

A Life Changing Trip


  “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.


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

I’m a Coward… Now what?

Mekel Harris, Ph.D., Author


So it’s been an interesting week thus far.  I’m on the heels of a recent trip to Tegucigalpa, Honduras, where I served children and families in need alongside others from my church, as part of a group missions trip.

Since returning to the United States, several people have asked, “Was the experience fun?,” and my response has been an unenthusiastic, “No, not really.”

Don’t get me wrong!

Of course, I enjoyed some fun moments, interacting with beautiful kindergartners and sixth grade students at a community outreach program.

Here’s one photo that captures the joy I experienced with “my little ones” on one of our last days in Honduras …


There I am, smack dab in the middle of 14 joy-filled Honduran babies who will forever be etched in my spirit.  And believe me … we celebrated many fun moments, playing Telephone, Duck-Duck-Goose, and Jesus Jenga throughout the week!

Yet, “fun” doesn’t fully capture my sentiment about the trip at all.  Four days later, I am still wrestling to offer a thoughtful and accurate description of my time in Tegucigalpa.

Yesterday, a friend called me brave for making the trek to Honduras.  “Brave?” I thought.  For what?

When I asked my friend to clarify his use of the term, he deferred to the courage involved in traveling outside of one’s comfort zone.  In particular, he described the bravery needed to offer support to others in a third-world country.

Honestly, his response baffled me to some degree.  On the one hand, I know that it takes  cojones (“balls,” for you non-Spanish-speaking folks) to enter a foreign land and attempt to integrate within a short period of time.  At the same time, I wouldn’t describe service to those we perceive as less fortunate than ourselves as brave, regardless of the setting.

I would describe it as necessary.  A fulfillment of God’s command.  Christ-like.

To frame deference to others as “brave” cheapens our charge to embody God’s great commission.  And frankly, it makes our submission about us, thereby minimizing the beauty of it all.

Here’s what comes to my mind when I think of bravery …


Both of these are photos that I captured at a municipal dump site in Tegucigalpa.  Our missions team traveled there to serve food and water, as well as share the gospel, with hungry souls.  Not only is it a dumping ground for trash, but it is also a place of residence for over 1,000 Hondurans.  Amidst the garbage, foul stench in the air, looming and determined flies, and swarming vultures, people call this home.

“Brave” is waking up each day to boldly confront the reality of your poverty.

“Brave” is gazing into your children’s eyes, knowing that what you have to offer is utterly insufficient to meet their needs.

“Brave” is making outward eye contact with a well-meaning servant when you are riddled with inner shame.

“Brave” is reaching out to offer food given to you to those who served you in the first place.

Oh, I encountered bravery in Honduras, indeed!  I encountered it, however, in places that I would not have anticipated.

I certainly didn’t experience it when I looked in the mirror each morning and night!

There, much to my surprise at first, I came face-to-face with the fact that I’m a coward.

  • cow·ard (noun): a person who lacks the courage to do or endure dangerous or unpleasant things.

A common thread I discovered among the people in Tegucigalpa was endurance in the face of challenging circumstances.

I realized that what I’ve considered stamina in the face of stressful life situations pales in comparison to what those who reside in the municipal dump face on a daily basis.  I realized that the beautiful kindergarten faces I peered into, while honest, do not convey the full story of the children’s lives.  I realized that bravery in life resides not in the doing, but in the enduring.

Traveling to Honduras helped me not only identify my cowardly ways, but also ask God the question: “Now, what?”

I see that it’s not enough to simply travel to another country and serve, as well intentioned as it may be.  The real work begins after you return home and are forced to confront yourself in the mirror.

Will you do and endure those things that are unpleasant?  Will you acknowledge your cowardice in the short-term, yet make bravery your goal for the long haul?

My short answers:  yes and yes.

I have no idea how I will materialize doing and enduring now that I am back in the United States.  Each day since returning home, I have prayed that the Lord will illuminate my next steps and make clear my charge to fulfill His great commission.

So, I leave you with more questions than answers this time, my friend.  I pray that you, too, ask and respond to the hard questions, as well as wait patiently for the Father’s reply.

Do.  Endure.  Submit.  Be brave.