We experienced another great trip to Loma de Luz Hospital in Balfate, Colón, Honduras. Our friends, Jayme and Sandy, and their 4 kids came with us this year. They live in North Carolina and we are good friends from our Washington DC days. Jayme owns a business that sells car parts and worked on some cars while he was in Honduras. Sandy is an elementary school teacher and she led some VBS activities with Raquel in five of the villages with the Riley family, who are long term missionaries in Honduras. We ended up bringing the maximum 8 large suitcases of supplies again despite trying to bring less this year. We had requests for crutches and sunglasses before leaving and ended up bringing 32 collapsible crutches and 104 sunglasses along with some computer cords, a baby monitor, a GI endoscope bulb, a QBC (blood) machine and some school books and supplies (and more!). The first week was awesome with all 10 of us there to help out. We left on the ferry on Saturday, July 8th, and no one got sick. We got two weeks’ worth of groceries and then some Little Caesar’s pizza for the ride home. Ben (helpful teenage missionary) was our escort for groceries. Dave (technology missionary & more) took our baggage, but his truck broke down so he had to get a rental vehicle to drive home. There are often transportation adventures in Honduras.
While we were at Loma de Luz, a team from another church moved the playground we bought from donations in a previous year. The playground needed to be moved to make room for some new missionary housing up the hill, above the hospital. Now the kids of families at the clinic and hospital can play on the equipment located in front of the clinic instead of closer to the missionary houses. Below is the refurbished and relocated playground in process.
There are examples all around at Loma de Luz showing the generosity of others. Everything there has been built from the donations of caring people in the USA. Our generous friends and family (you on this email) have helped pay for many items at Loma de Luz, including soccer field fencing, wheelchairs, crutches, refrigerators, couches, digital x-ray, scanner, and many patients who couldn’t pay for their discounted medical care, along with many more items. This year we matched your donations and were able to donate $4330 toward getting another classroom ready at the El Camino Bilingual School (picture below) started by Loma de Luz. The school will now have 2 kindergarten classrooms and classes through 5th grade. They are in need of more teachers and teachers’ aides, so pass the word along if you know of a teacher wanting to have the experience of a lifetime serving and teaching in the countryside of Honduras (no Spanish needed). Thank you so much for your generosity and care for people in Honduras and your support of us on these mission adventures.
You can read more below about the details of our 2 weeks in Honduras.
Our friend, Jayme, worked on over 10 cars and is really quite skilled at all things vehicle related. He got two cars and a little three wheel truck going when all three were not working upon arrival and he improved many other cars. He brought down some shocks for missionary Dave's car as well. Sandy, Raquel, and the kids went with the Rileys and did VBS every weekday the first week we were there. They had 50-70 kids and many parents there each day as they taught them about Lazarus and played a lot of games. They went to the towns of Balfate, San Luis, Lucinda, Maradiaga, and Margarita and spread Jesus’ love to over 350 kids that week. They did bubbles, face painting, and a relay game where you wrap up a kid like Lazarus with toilet paper. The kids had fun breaking out of the paper.
In the hospital the first week, Bryan saw people with diabetes, prostate problems, chest pains, colds, asthma, stomach pains, allergies, and thyroid issues. Dr. Peter, an amazing emergency doctor who serves down there, helped Bryan cut out a lipoma (growth). Bryan admitted a lady to the hospital with a necrotic (dead) right foot from diabetes for a below knee amputation. He also admitted another lady for an amputation of what they think is an osteosarcoma (cancerous tumor). She is only 24 years old. Below is the x-ray. She will need to get chemotherapy in the capital city, Tegucigalpa, so we continue to pray for her.
Bryan saw another young man that had a bone fracture two years ago and it got infected. He has a pathological fracture now and can't walk. Dr. Jeff, the surgeon who started this hospital, is going to try to fix it so he can walk again.
We met David, who is the director of security from Samaritan's Purse, while he was visiting Loma de Luz. While we were warming up to play ultimate frisbee he partially tore his Achilles' tendon that was weak because he had used some ciprofloxacin for a recent GI bug he got in Haiti. Bryan immobilized and iced it, and used two of the crutches we brought down and a boot for immobilization. Dr. Peter and Dr. Isaac did some ultrasounds with me the next day. Here is a picture showing some of the fluid and inflammation around his Achilles' tendon.
We were sad to say goodbye to our friends from North Carolina after a week of serving and creating a lifetime of memories together. We had such a great experience together and are looking for more people to serve with us in the future. Please talk to us if you are interested in joining us or going there on your own.
Over the weekend we went to the Bejucal waterfall which is our favorite. Bryan and Dr. Ryan crawled up the left side through the jungle to get to the top of the waterfall area. After that Jaden, Clay and Bryan did Jiu Jitsu for a second time with Dr. Peter and a bunch of Honduran boys. The new QBC machine Christine (lab manager) had us bring down is working. We took time to find the storage locations & deliver the many medicines, braces, arm slings, gauze, ortho glass, adult diapers, and eye glasses (among other things) that we brought with us. We even brought down a thermometer, BP cuff, and an oxygen regulator that got put to use. We had some amazing donations from a group called Matter in the Minneapolis area.
During our second week in Honduras, Raquel used her computer talents to work on the Loma de Luz website: http://www.crstone.org/ named for their American non-profit, The Cornerstone Foundation. She also helped implement a process to scan in documents in the clinic check-in area and have the workers put the electronic documents into the EMR (electronic medical record) or computerized patient charts.
Here are a few of Bryan’s notes from his second week in clinic (read on for more details).
“On Monday in clinic I saw a family with their father who had dementia and had not been verbal for the past 6 months and had stopped eating food. We determined he could still drink and I found him some Nestle shakes he could drink. I even called and talked to his sister in the USA and we talked about what to do if he stops eating. The family said he is a Christian and he would be going to heaven as we talked about the future. I prayed with him and his family and I look forward to seeing him with his new mind and body some day in heaven.
On Tuesday I taught a bunch of the doctors how to use the new auto sensing VPAP machine and set up the other machine we brought down to be in BiPAP mode. Both of these machines will help patients that need help breathing. It is going to be really useful to have the automated one in the ED (more commonly known as the ER) to help their COPD and heart failure patients. The auto adjusting machines are much easier to use and better tolerated by the patients because they automatically adjust the settings. We also got a large oxygen regulator to Dave Fields and I wrote up some of the issues with their EMR and workflows for Dave and Dr. Isaac.
On Wednesday I saw a few patients with blood pressure issues, back pain, diabetes and thyroid issues as well as a patient with 6 months of diarrhea with positive C. Diff, parasites, and colitis (many intestinal problems) that had not responded to treatments. We got him some new medicines and lined up a more detailed treatment plan.
On Thursday it was a slow clinic day but I saw a patient with a stable thyroid nodule that I ultrasounded myself. I was also able to let a mom know she was pregnant and celebrate with her. On Thursday night Dr. Peter had his Jiu Jitsu ministry so I helped cover his call and saw three patients in the ED. One had panic attacks with palpitations. Another one had biliary colic and was 4 months pregnant. The third one had an STD and/or pyelonephritis.
On Friday morning I helped in clinic while Raquel taught employees how to scan papers into the EMR. Dr. Peter helped me do an ultrasound for a woman that has a new DVT and I started her on Coumadin.
It was another amazing trip full of grateful patients and amazing missionary doctors and nurses. It is a blessing to be part of God's work in Honduras.”
We returned from Honduras challenged to live a life more in service to Jesus. We try to give what we can while we are there but always return receiving more than expected. The American missionaries and Hondurans give us great joy to be a part of their lives. Their lives are harder but simpler, and more focused on living intentionally while bringing Jesus’ light and love everywhere.
Thank you for praying, giving, and caring about us.
Raquel, Bryan, Jaden & Clay Jarabek