EL TABLON, HONDURAS — She
wiped her face with her cream colored blouse but the tears kept coming.
She sat sideways in the
white plastic chair to face Larry Doyle, who held her hand and prayed with her
while she waited with her grandchildren for their medicine.
She is a Christian, but her
son, who is dying of cancer, is not. Doyle blinked away a few tears himself
after their prayer.
One by one families came
through the doors of Iglesia Bautista Restauracion and waited in line to see
the doctor. Some walked miles to get to the free clinic. Some children enjoyed
saying “ah” for the doctor and having him listen to their heartbeat.
Others, like Jared, seemed
frightened at all the excitement. Jared buried his head in his mom’s shoulder
and she held his shirt up while the doctor pressed the stethoscope against his
Respiratory problems are one
of the most common causes for clinic visits. Many came to be treated for
illnesses caused by parasites, a result of dirty drinking water.
In Honduras, a poor country
of 6.6 million, 80 percent of illnesses could be prevented if clean drinking
water was accessible.
Nearly 1.1 billion in the
world do not have clean drinking water and according to the World Health
Organization one quarter of the world’s population lives in developing
countries with water shortages.
Doyle and a Deep Impact team
of North Carolina Baptists did their best to comfort. One rubbed a little
girl’s back as she sat in her mother’s lap and tried to receive a breathing
treatment through a nebulizer.
She gently waved the tube
back and forth under the girl’s nose so she could inhale the medicine, trying
to help soothe her and end her screaming and squirming. Doyle moved around the
room, talking with those in line and helping explain how to take their
The free medical clinic is
one of six mission projects carried out by Deep Impact participants in
Tegucigalpa, Honduras. High school and college students and youth leaders from
across North Carolina spent a week in July ministering in rural areas in the
country’s capital city. Deep Impact began 13 years ago at the North Carolina
Baptist Assembly at Fort Caswell in Brunswick County, and in Tegucigalpa. This
is the third year Deep Impact expanded to include camp weeks at other
locations. Deep Impact events were also held in Red Springs, Greensboro,
Shelby, Fruitland and Eastern Canada.
Doyle, a former missionary
in Ecuador and now director of missions for Piedmont Baptist Association, has
been to Honduras with Deep Impact several times, helping build the very church
where the clinic was held. He and his wife also were on-site coordinators for N.C.
Baptist Men the year following Hurricane Mitch.
Doyle said Benjamin, the
pastor of Restauracion, told him how the clinic provided opportunity to get to
know the people in his community. The church’s evangelism coordinator, Rosa,
certainly took advantage of the clinic.
Thursday was the largest
turnout with 157 patients, and Rosa shared the gospel several times with people
waiting to see the doctor. “This clinic lets people know we care about them,”
Sometimes the Deep Impact
team provided medical solutions that seemed too easy.
Doctors “prescribed” simple
over-the-counter cough medicine and vitamins. Or pain reliever for a woman
whose shoulder hurt sharply when she bent over to scrub her clothes.
But, for the people living
in the village of El Tablon, nothing is as easy as it should be. They cannot
run to the pharmacy for basic items to treat a cough or an ear infection
because they have no money. It’s hard to avoid water-borne disease when all the
laundry, bathing and drinking water is contaminated.
Rob Williams remembers the
first time he saw parasites on someone’s skin. Williams, a physician’s
assistant from Faith Baptist Church, came to Honduras in 2001 and worked in the
Williams has learned to
treat things he doesn’t see in his Faith office, such as parasites and scorpion
stings. “I came back this year for the same reason I came on the first trip,”
he said. “I am reminded that God has blessed me far beyond what I deserve.”
Williams worked alongside
Antonio, a Honduran doctor who has worked in years past with North Carolina
Antonio lives in Tegucigalpa
and decided to become a doctor when he saw so many people hurting in his city.
“They broke my heart,” he
said. “I had to do something.”
One couple came back later
in the week to get medicine for their son who has Hepatitis. Doyle prayed with
the couple and when he finished, the dad was in tears. “I knew he was hurting,”
Doyle said. Doyle shared the gospel and the boy’s parents prayed to receive
Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and Savior. For the people Deep Impact
ministered to through the medical clinic, little “somethings” added up to
(EDITOR’S NOTE — Lilley is a
researcher and writer for the Baptist State Convention. More stories and photos coming soon.)