December was filled with lots of family, friends and fun. I returned to the states mid-December to visit family for the Holidays. Needless to say, it was a blast getting to hang out with my family. We had game nights, movie nights, and we ate A LOT! I'm pretty sure we had about five Christmas dinners before it was over haha :) What can I say, we are from the south!
While I was away spending time with my family in the states, we had a container full of medical supplies/equipment that arrived in Honduras. Brandi, the Younger's, and myself were all in the states, which meant that Dr. Martin and his family were the only ones there to receive the container. They were able to recruit some guys from the village to come down and help unload that thing. The container was dropped off right in front of the hospital and all of the boxes were unloaded into the courtyard. Brandi and I had a lot of work waiting for us back at the hospital!
January came along and it was time for me to head back down to Honduras to begin the new year of teams and visitors. Once we arrived, our duties were to figure out what everything was in those boxes and try to put them away out of the courtyard. In the midst of our "war with boxes", we were also preparing for our Las Minas Christmas/Back to School Bash for about 600 kids in a village four hours away from us. On our container, Samaritan's Purse sent us Care Packs. Inside those care packs, there was notebooks, pencils, rulers, erasers, stickers, etc. Things that a child would need to start school. We were able to put a care pack in each of the 600 gifts for those kids!!!
Toward the end of January, we were able to take those 600 gifts to the village of Las Minas and distribute them. As we were arriving, there we more than 600 people, including parents and children, waiting for us. It took a few minutes to get everyone organized by grades and gender. Once we were finished giving away gifts to those wonderful children, we stayed to give consult to our patients there. We stayed overnight in the clinic, sleeping in our hammocks and enjoying the peaceful night with no electricity. The next day, we gave consult again during the morning and were on our way home to Rio Viejo by lunch time.
February rolled around we were getting ready to welcome our first team of the season from Florida, along with beginning our first ever school blitz. During a school blitz, we provide each student with vitamins, de-worm them and we do a quick reminder that they should remember to wash their hands and brush their teeth. We also used this time to cover each school and community in prayer for the beginning or their school year.
We began our school Blitz here in Rio Viejo and the village of Paraiso. For the students in Rio Viejo, we had extra Christmas bags and school care packs left from our outreach in Las Minas. So, each student in Rio Viejo received a Christmas gift and a care pack to start out the year. In the village of El Paraiso, every student also received a care pack along with vitamins and de-worming. It's was so amazing to see how excited these kids were to receive these packs and vitamins!
Now it was about time for the Across the Globe team to be here. Before they arrived, we had to make sure that everything was in order. You could call it, Spring Cleaning!! Basically, we went through the buildings on the whole property making sure that everything was clean, dusted and put in order for the season to begin. We were also remodeling some things in our dorm. It looks FANTASTIC by the way. You guys should come down and see the cool things that are happening down here!!! :)
The team arrived February 15th. We spent the week with Across the Globe, hosting medical brigades and participating in the school blitz. That week, we reached more than 500 patients and more than 300 students!!! Come on Jesus!!!
We finished out the month of February with the Senecal Family, who stayed a week longer than their team. Mr. Doug, a Physician's Assistant, worked in the clinic Monday-Wednesday and his awesome wife, Lauren, helped us in organizing the mountain of scrubs that we had just gotten from the container. They also helped us reach more children on Thursday and Friday by doing more school visits in Yaruca, El Pital, El Naranjo and Las Mangas.
March was also filled with lots of work and FUN! The first weekend in March, Dr. Martin, Mrs. Wendy, Rachel, Brandi and I, traveled to Siguatepeke for a 3 day missionary retreat. We were able to participate in bible sessions, worship and fellowship with more that 240 missionaries from all over Honduras. It was a great weekend getaway.
On our way back from Siguatepeke, we stopped in San Pedro Sula to pick up Dr. Bunch, a Cardiologist, and his daughter to spend the week with us in Rio Viejo. These guys were from Fairhope, Alabama. During this week, we were able to pull our our new EKG machine and run some tests on our hypertensive patients. We also broke out one of our cardiac monitors from the back so that Dr. Bunch could show us how to use it. Now, we are set up to run EKG's! We have been using our machine weekly performing tests. We hope to continue to do this and get a baseline EKG for all of our patients with high blood pressure.
Dr. Bunch and his daughter left on Friday and our next team from Bay Community Church arrived on Saturday afternoon. These guys were awesome. They were a group of thirteen people, some medical and some non-medical, who came to serve with complete enthusiasm. This week, we held medical brigades and continued working on our school blitz. These guys helped us see more than 300 patients and 281 students!!!
BCC left the following Saturday. The next week, we had no group, but our patient days were FILLED with people. Each day we had more than 30 people at consult.
The next week, our roofing crew came from Alabama. They consisted of Mr. Tim, Mr. Bryan and Pastor Steven Metcalf! These guys came to assist Mark in putting a roof on two buildings. They were the most hard working guys! They pulled 12 hour days out in the hot sun. Now, King George, our new bus, has a place to be parked. I have to say, it was pretty cool having Pastor Steven here in Honduras. He is the first person to come down that is connected to me. He had a blast and is hoping to come back soon and bring a team down! I can't wait to have him back!!
As of right now, we don't have any visitors/teams here. However, this weekend, we are hosting an important guy from Texas. He will be here a few days to scout out our Operating Room in hopes of helping us with obtaining the rest of the equipment that is needed to make the OR functional. We are also hoping to get the OR and Labor and Delivery Ward certified and operational soon. Please be with us in prayer as he is here. Pray that God's will be done and that divine appointments are set up in order to get this OR and L & D ward up and running.
The next few weeks are filled with projects and working on finishing up our school blitz. We are hoping to have a 100% first visit rating this year. We are only two schools away from our goal! We love our schools, which consists of nearly 1,500 students and 87 teachers. We are praying that God work through them to reach their communities and that they will continue being educated into their high school years. I'm believing that these students can become spiritual leaders!
Now that we are all caught up on what has happened these past few months, here is a slideshow to show you guys in pictures what has been going on around here. Thank you for continuously supporting and praying for me. I pray that God bless you a hundred fold!!