Friday, June 27, 2014


If I had to describe the last few days and last few weeks in one word, it would have to be the word SADNESS. My heart is heavy with all the heartache around me. Where do I begin?

The week before last, I was notified that one of the little boys (Julio) who was sent for cancer treatment passed away. He wasn't responding well to the treatment, and had a stroke that he never woke up from. I can only imagine the grief of his mother and his family. It breaks my heart.

That same day, I found out that Yajaira, Calix's little cousin who I took to San Pedro for the cancer foundation, is stage 4. The Wilms tumor that she has that is typically very easy to treat, has spread to other parts of her body. She may be inoperable. One of our doctors here recently (a couple of days ago) told me they should just take her home to die. (What do you do when someone tells you this in the cafeteria and you can't break out in tears)
For a week and a half, we were taking care of a patient and her 4 kids. Her family went to our church. 2 of the kids were at the children's center (we brought them there to help the family out) and 2 with her in the hospital. The 12 year old was watching her mom and helping her with whatever she needed and watching the 2 year old baby who was still breastfeeding at the time. I went in with another missionary last Tuesday to do a CT scan bc the pain she was having in her head wasn't getting better and was not calmed by any medications. The CT scan showed swelling in the brain. That day was really hard and we started to see her decline that day. Her body became limp and she had slurred speech and we had trouble getting her back in the car. She digressed from that day until she passed away on Saturday night. Sunday we had the funeral at the church and buried her that evening. It was a very sad day, but grateful to the Lord that she had professed faith in Jesus Christ.

On Tuesday, I had run up to the hospital on my day off to see if I could see our little cancer patient, Osiris who was supposed to come in for a Chemo injection. When looking for her, a bus pulled up to the front of the hospital with a guy who looked like he had fallen off the bus. There was blood everywhere. They quickly brought a gurney and rolled him to the ER. The question to the driver was...did you run over him? He was in such shock...he couldn't really answer. He said I don't know...I think maybe. He had in fact been run over and had  a crushed pelvis and some crushed organs that caused lots of internal bleeding. We did lots of X-rays and blood work that day and ended up giving him 6 units of blood. We pretty much completely replaced his blood volume. I had to call in all of my lab staff to help because there was so much work with this one patient.He went to surgery about 5 hours after arriving to stop the bleeding. He is doing well, thus far. Please continue to pray for him. He has a very long road to recovery. He is from the same community as the following story.

Wednesday, just seemed like a normal day...until we got a call that a fishing boat had sank and many from our local community were on it. There were 6 young men that went out on that boat, they left Saturday and planned to be back in 6 months with some money to provide for their families. Work is very scarce here. There are very few jobs. Many live off the land. Many leave to find work in other places. Many go out to sea to fish. Why? Because there aren't many other options. Many tried to convince them not to go. Many were young and it was their first trip out to sea. It was a hard decision they made to go. They agonized over making the decision, and then after they had made it.
When the call came on Wednesday, there were several rumors saying all were ok, then one that said only 7 had made it to the islands that we can see across the ocean call the Cayos Cochinos. The second of the 2 turned out to be the truth. The 7 were soon brought to the mainland and questioned by the Navy and coast guard who were out looking for other survivors at this point. Only one of the 7 was one of the 6 that left from our community. That left 5 young men still missing from our community and 4 from other surrounding communities. According to the testimony of the survivors, the boat went down so fast, that those who were down below sleeping (the 9), would not have had time to get out. However, they are still declared missing, not anything further as of yet.

We had a prayer service led by the local pastors last night in Lucinda. It was a very emotional time, but very good for us to rally together as a community to give hugs, show love, and pray for one another. Sometimes all you can do is hold someone and let them cry when there is so much sadness. You try to encourage them that God is good and He knows best and that His will is perfect. However, in such circumstances, the way seems so narrow, and the tunnel seems so small that the light will never appear. Several families are suffering double loss, because the community is so small. Some have lost brothers and also sons. Some have lost nephews and also brothers in law. 5 men from one community involves just about every family in the community in one form or another. 
The navy has supposedly found the ship and they were supposed to be trying to dive it last night. We will probably find out today or tomorrow for sure how many people were still on board. Many of the loved ones still have so much hope that some of them escaped from the bunks down below...and so we hope with them until we have reason not to.
I knew 3 of the 5 young men who are among the missing from the local community. So, while we are sad for their disappearance and probable death, we cling to the Lord as our strength and our fortress.

My soul, wait in silence for God only,
For my hope is from Him.
He only is my rock and my salvation,
My stronghold; I shall not be shaken.
On God my salvation and my glory rest;
The rock of my strength, my refuge is in God.
Trust in Him at all times, O people;
Pour out your heart before Him; 
God is a refuge for us.
Psalm 62:5-8

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Sunday School classroom dedication

Today we dedicated our 3rd Sunday School classroom and it was ready for use. It only took one week to build it, but not without lots of help. This is the class for our preschoolers and kindergartners. They got to enjoy their new classroom today without the teachers having to worry about if the roof was going to fall on top of them.
All gathered around to dedicate the new classroom.

Rigo reading scripture before we prayed to dedicate the class.

A fun picture from my porch this afternoon!

4 of the kids from the children's center ready to go on a trip!

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Public hospital

So, I want to record my first experience in the public hospital. When we arrived at the Pediatric emergency room, it was just a small waiting room with several desks for doctors to see patients. The line was on a bench and that was how you were seen. If you arrive around lunch time, forget being seen for at least 2 hours. If it's a true emergency, you will probably die before anyone gets around to seeing you. They have many medical students all over the hospital to help, but they all have to be supervised in what they do, even-though they are a huge help since there is such a lack of personnel. They lack so much staffing for as many patients as they see. If you don't know how the system works, you can be yelled at easily by the secretary, and even called a liar.
When they brought us to see the oncologist, the medical student took us through the actual pediatric ER where all the patients were. Yajaira started crying hysterically as I wanted to as well. There were so many kids on ventilators, someone breathing for them, tubes going everywhere and screaming constantly. They only accept 3 children in the pediatric ICU, so the rest are admitted to the emergency room, where they have way less than ICU type care. Also, the pediatric unit upstairs was full as well as the cancer ward. So many sick kids that sometimes they are 3 to a bed. 3 sick kids in one bed!!! Horrible! The doctors start the IVs, draw blood for labs, etc. They have like 2 nurses for about 30 inpatient kids in the ER. This is where they wanted to admit Yajaira to keep her overnight. I am so glad we got to take her home. I think just the stress of being there would have made her even more sick.
The general ER overflow is in the hallway that goes to the lab and X-ray area. If you have a bed, it surely doesn't have sheets or a pillow. If you don't want to sleep on a plastic bed mat, you have to bring your own sheet. There are many sick patients and just not enough staff or space to attend to them.
So, my perception of the public hospitals was that the healthcare was free. This is not the case. If you are poor, this is where you go, but it is not free. Many things that the doctors order require money, and sometimes lots. Any hardware for orthopedic surgeries, you could  pay up to $1000 for. An x-ray we had done cost like $2.50. The CT scan they ordered costs about $70. They had one done in La Ceiba at a private hospital and it was like $225, so it's significantly cheaper, but not free. Medications that the hospital doesn't have, you have to purchase.  Honduras doesn't have many medications right now, including no medication in the entire country to treat Tuberculosis, so patients are having to buy more than usual.
So, many people bring their family members from far away (3-4 hours) to the hospital and they admit them. Only one person can stay with the family member on the ward, so everyone else lives outside sleeping on cardboard boxes or straw mats under the trees until their loved one is release from the hospital and they can take them home. Many of the bathroom stalls have no doors, and sometimes the shower stalls also. You can't find toilet paper or soap anywhere, so if you have to go to the bathroom, you better bring your own.
If there is a woman in labor, only she can go into the hospital, mothers, and husbands, etc have to wait outside to see the list of deliveries to see when their wife delivered and their child was born.
There are guards at every entrance and they only let people in if you have a specific reason to be there. I didn't have any problems with the guards thankfully and they let me in usually whenever I asked.
With Yajaira being associated now with the Children's cancer foundation, her Chemo drugs will be free and they will also help her with bus fares, and testing. It's a wonderful program that I am so happy to see that it exists. This is truly a wonderful gift to the children of Honduras.
This is just a small glimpse of what I saw that past week. I am sure it doesn't even begin to touch the reality of what is.