Category Archives: Stories

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

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 …

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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 …

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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.