Well not sure where to start so I’ll just start from beginning.
I heard about 147 in June 2016 while on Twitter! I follow Thomas Rhett and he posted something about it. After reading online, the 147 story really spoke to me; Jesus, Food, Water, Shelter, Medicine and Serving. I prayed about it over the next few months thinking doing a trip like this is out of the realm of possibility. I reached out to Ty Hasty (who, on a side note I love but we will get to him later) via email. He responded and said we would love to have you.
After a few months of emailing back and forth a medical trip to Honduras came up for Feb 2017. I decided I’m all in but I had to get my wife on board. Without her I knew that going on a trip like this is not something you can talk about you have to experience it together; So after a few weeks she decide she would go too. I have to give her a ton of credit because we have 3 small kids at home and the dates were the same week my youngest son turns 1!
There was one point in early January, after I had paid our money, my wife decided not to go. I actually emailed Ty and told him we couldn’t make it. Thankfully, he never responded and he tells me he never received it. There is not doubt in my mind God intercepted this email.
Leading up to the last few weeks of the trip I was nervous. After all we knew not a single person and I’ve only talked to Ty over the phone. But I felt that Jesus just kept saying go, trust and believe and He will take care of the rest.
We met the team in Atlanta and first impression was wow everyone is nice (not the kind of nice like hey we are being nice because we have to but a genuine interest in getting to know us).
As we landed in San Pedro Sula, I felt calm and excited. We were met by Raul. He was enthusiastic and excited to see us all and I quickly bonded with him. He’s been heavily involved in 147 since the beginning and he would serve as our local guide/translator/protector/friend/mentor/Christian brother for the rest of the week.
The first day we went to a local village. These people had been displaced from their homes from a hurricane many years ago. The 147 team found out about this 5 years ago and decided to help! The team has helped build these people a school, church, playgrounds and now has clean drinking well water! It was amazing to see the locals so excited to see our team. After looking around for likely an hour and seeing the all the children’s faces I knew I was in the right spot.
The next morning we would be getting the chance to actively serve.
While getting ready that morning my wife and I were anxious. After all this was our first medical trip ever!! My wife was going to serve along side the Honduran dentist and I would see patients.
When we arrived at our first village their was people everywhere waiting in line to be seen for medical care. These people often go years without ever seeing a medical person. The
We dispatched quickly into three units: pharmacy, dental and medicine.
As we started to see patients there was happiness and hope in their faces. They were very thankful and the hugs were plenty! All this was being done in the name of Jesus. We were just there to serve and that day as a team we saw over 200 patients. Some patients we obviously remember more and one elderly man who could barely hear was fitted with a hearing aid for the first time. His smile said it all when he was fitted and could hear clearly for the first time in many years. Those are the little moments that you remember the most and the crazy thing it turns into many small little moments over the next few days that I will forever carry with me.
I could not write this blog without at least writing about some characters in our van rides. Van rides become popular and a way to really bond with your group. Van rides to the sites were about 45 min to 1 hour. To say the least they were bumpy, sometimes hot and jammed pack with people ready to serve but it also led to some interesting conversation and stories.
The driver, Raul, who I spoke of earlier, simply put don’t mess with him. His an MMA fighter and he packs heat. Enough said.
Then their was Dr Ben. He was our steady doctor all week. Never complaining and truth be known seeing the lion share of patients. He was a servant all week. He didn’t get enough credit but great guy who was a steady rock for our team.
Also on the van rides, was awesome Nashville girl named Ally. She was a younger nurse and came down with another family. She couldn’t have been nicer to my wife and me. She served like crazy during the week triaging patients for us and filter the sick vs non sick. Never complaining just serving.
The next couple was Dr Steve and his wife Dianne (aka Granny D) who was also a nurse. On a side note, she actually had no grandkids I just thought she did and well she let me know about it the rest of the week. They had been on multiple trips before and immediately I felt at ease with them. Dr Steve showed us the ropes. I found him sharp, engaging and fairly young looking for his stated age. He had jet black hair and swore he didn’t dye it. We quickly bonded from our non stop talking. Dr Steve was our leader on the medicine side and was a bright doctor that no doubt loved to serve Honduran people through his medical gift. His wife, Granny D, was awesome. She was like a mix of pitbull, honey badger and bante rooster. The conversations in the van somehow always turned to her age and non grandkids. Obviously this was all in good humor and she was a great sport about it. While getting to work along side someone over 4 days you get to know someone and she was no different. She was steady and a work horse in triage. I’m absolutely positive that she spent more TIME with patients and their families then anyone one else in the building (along with her translator Dr Lester).
Last but not least in the van was my wife. She was a true servant in the greatest sense. She had no medical background but was assigned to the dentist cleaning supplies and helping wherever she could. She did this without much fanfare and never wavered. I can honestly say our marriage is stronger after this week. We have said on more than one occasion that this was probably the best week we have had in our life. (Im not trying to overstate this). Going on a family vacation is great but doing a mission trip together will forge a marriage together they way God designed it.
Over the next few days our schedule was busy and with non stop patients. Each village bringing with its own set of challenges but also a new set of opportunities to serve Jesus.
We have this 147 bracelet that was given to us when we first arrived. It has Matthew 25:40 on written on the side of it. ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ This kind of sums up the entire week.
Also, I couldnt leave this blog without giving a shout out to Ty Hasty. He is our group leader. He organizes the plane schedules, hotels, rental cars, translators, food, medicine supplies, daily schedules and village sites for over 20 people. And that’s just the stuff I know about. This is a tough job and he handles it well.
Simply put, the ultimate servant.
Lastly, I hope that my wife and I have the opportunity to serve again. We will miss the people of Honduras and our new found friends.
Until next time…