By: Rebecca “Becky” Sparks, Volunteer
One of the dilemmas that we consider as part of a group who regularly go to Honduras is whether sending monetary support of the same amount would have a greater effect than our presence. It is one thing I consider since I am not medically trained or speak Spanish. I go simply to “support”…and the question of the possibility of better “support” is always a consideration.
** Note, I routinely finance others who can fill the language and medical roles. Those are roles that are important to me.
This year, I shared an experience with several others that emphasized that in our willingness to go, God uses us in ways we cannot fathom.
In one of the villages, our pace had been steady, but as things were drawing to an end, a village nurse approached us with a request to visit a woman in her home. Of course, we always jump at the opportunity for a “Home Visit”, and Josefina, Dr. Brenda, and I accompanied her the home. (We had been informed that the patient had been sent home from the hospital in Tegucigalpa with the response that “there is nothing that can be done for her in Tegucigalpa”.)
We entered the house and were met by her sisters and her mother. They escorted us to the room where our patient was…a dark room…and she was curled up on the bed almost in a knot from the pain she was experiencing. Dr. Brenda did an exam while Josefina and I discussed with the village nurse and the family the woman’s situation. We learned in conversing with them that there had been a fair amount of trauma in the family, including the untimely death of a young member. Ultimately, we all were advised by Dr. Brenda that there was a mass of some sort in her abdomen, and that her family could take her back to the hospital in Tegucigalpa, or that they could do their best to care for her in her home. Josefina encouraged the woman to open her heart to God’s love and purpose, Brenda gave her some Phenergan for comfort, and we all prayed for her “healing”…however that was to occur. The nurse was given some instructions, the family was thanked for their extraordinary care of this very special woman, and we all shared prayer, hugs and tears as we left and made our way back to the clinic. We all had a sense that her time on earth was short, but that she had already expressed thanks for the comfort that she was experiencing in the short visit.
We were advised 2 days later that she had passed.
This made an impact on the 3 of us who had visited with her, and on our whole team. We did not realize the impact it had made on the larger village until the night of our combined Eucharist.
After the service was complete, Fr. Dagoberto got up and thanked the Team for coming, but said he wanted to make note of a way that God had opened hearts and illustrated His love in this woman’s life. He told all of us that because of some of her behavior and practices she had been “shunned” by many in the village. Because we had simply gone and ministered to her body and spirit, and to her caregivers, it seems that this had gotten attention within the church…and was serving as an example of care to the community. All we did was simply go and serve. God, unbeknownst to us, was bringing family back into relationship with their community and showing all of us what it means to “just care and do”.