Health Teams International in Honduras
A Health Teams International team went to Honduras July 8 – 22, 2012, for our 3d time at the invitation of our same host family. They are a large prominent 3 generation family who started a church in Honduras’s capital of Tegucigalpa with the same purpose as Health Teams International and that is to reach the unreached with the Good News of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. One of the family members is a pastor, another a M.D., another, an international Spanish speaking Evangelist, and another is married to the Secretary of the Honduran Army. They are the most loving and helpful people I have ever met. Grandma, 85 years old, cooked the whole team safe, delicious, home made suppers every night and we ate in her home.
We had 18 team members from all over the U.S. which included 7 medical, 5 optical, 4 dental, 1 evangelist and 1 helper. For six team members this was their first international health care mission. One of the newcomers was Emily Million a dental hygienist who just graduated in May. This was the first hygienist I have ever had who worked full time doing dental hygiene. Not only did she do oral hygiene instruction but she scaled teeth, placed sealants and did fluoride treatments. One day when she had an exceptional good translator she treated 45 patients and led 10 of them to become Christians. She had the longest line in our clinic. She treated all of them a little helping each of them a little and making all of them very happy.
Even though we had different denominational backgrounds when it comes to reaching the unreached with the Good News of Jesus Christ we could all easily work together and we had a great unified team that worked together fantastically and I am sure we all made some life lasting good personal friends. Already a frequent comment is I hope to see you next summer.
We worked in rural areas of great poverty in 3 different areas. Honduras is listed as having the poorest health care in the Western Hemisphere. Appointment cards had been given out to selected patients 2 to 3 months before we arrived. If it was not done this way we would have had a massive riot of poor people all wanting free health care and we would have had big problems. On our 5th day in one area our Army soldiers, who were always with us, along with the local police had to turn a large group of people away who had heard about our free health care but did not have appointment cards, but all worked well.
The most important fact was we saw several hundred unreached people ask to become Christians and they invited Jesus into their heart and life. Praise the Lord!
That was our primary purpose as it has eternal results and benefits. We also left some 20 pastors in the areas to follow up on these new Christians. We handed out over 2500 thirty page booklets that simply explained how to become a Christian and we challenged them to share Jesus with their family and friends so they could go to heaven someday also. Most were very interested in doing that. We handed out 250 New Testaments, mainly to new Christians that didn’t have a Bible and we also handed out numerous complete Bibles.
We treated between 3100 and 3200 people patients in our medical, dental, optical, and prayer clinics. Medical and dental patients got free medications that they needed and our optical patients got free glasses. Most patients had never seen a dentist and as a result we extracted hundreds of aching infected teeth.
There were two parts to our optical clinic. Tillie and Gretchen, who had been with us before, fit reader glasses so these people could read again. They fit about 1000 pair of readers and sun glasses.
My grandsons, Marcus and Micah, along with Judy, fit about 500 prescription glasses including bifocals, astigmatism and problems seeing distances as well as not being able to see up close when the two eyes required different strength lenses. This was done with the help of Kendall Optometry Ministries. Holland Kendall developed a computerized program, trained us, and loaned us an auto refractor, laptop computer, prescription glasses, and a computer program he developed so my teenage grandsons and Judy could operate the auto refractor and computer and fairly accurately fit prescription glasses. Our optical program made a lot of people with poor eyesight instantly very happy when all of a sudden they could see again. It actually changed many people’s lives. Now they could go back to school, get a job, or do many things they couldn’t do without seeing adequately. Something they felt that would never happen to them again in their life time. Praise the Lord.
One thing happened on this mission that was uniquely different than anything that happened on any of the other 42 missions I have led. We had Rocky, one of our U.S. team members and Louis, one of our hosts who is an International Spanish Evangelist who were both given powers from the Holy Spirit to divinely heal people.
We saw 110 people divinely healed of various physical problems. They worked well with the other health care providers. When one of the health care providers diagnosed a patient that was crippled, had hearing, vision, or other problems that they couldn’t successfully treat they would send them to the prayer clinic where Rocky and Louis prayed over them and many times they were healed in addition to becoming new Christians. Praise the Lord.
I don’t completely understand why some Christians are blessed to be able to heal people with prayer where as myself and others don’t have that God given ability. A simple personal example: Marcus, my 16 year old grandson woke up with a severe headache one morning. It lasted through devotions, breakfast, and our 2 hour ride through the mountains to our clinic. While setting up the optical clinic, Rocky walked by and Marcus mentioned to him that he had a severe headache that he couldn’t get rid of. Rocky stopped and asked Marcus if he could pray for him. After one or two minutes of prayer Marcus said his headache was completely gone and it never returned.
Micah, my 14 year old grandson, who is a solid Christian said in our morning devotions our last morning, “Before I came on this mission I didn’t believe that divine healings were still occurring today, but after seeing so many healings with my own eyes, I am now a believer that God is still performing miracle divine healings today”.
With our U.S. team mates, translators, many helpers directing patients and keeping them in line, as well as our army solders, drivers, and local pastors as well as someone to cook lunch for all our locals, we had a daily combined team of about 50 people. (Our U.S. team mates brought our own light, safe lunch snacks from the U.S.) This mission is not something we could have done alone without the planning, leadership, and help of a lot of committed Christian people. This was truly the family of God all working together.
When all was said and done, each team member personally thanked me for the opportunity to be able to serve our Lord as part of this mission. I personally felt very rewarded.
Ones life will soon be past and only what is done for Christ will last.
Peace and Joy in Jesus Christ
Richard E. Charlick DDS MS Author
Pres/CEO Health Teams International
Assoc. Prof. Emeritus U. of Mich. Dental School
– By Adam Bates