It's been a while since I blogged, finally got access to a computer! Here goes nothin...
Honduras Medical Mission is always an exciting week. I approached it, however, with a bit of trepidation in my heart. I was on Sabbatical, and this felt like going back to work too early, like the workaholic who can't stay away from the office because he's convinced the place will fall apart without him. I had planned to do my Sabbatical research in Tegucigalpa before the mission began, but due to the events in my last blog such was not possible. We arrived just an hour before the rest of the team and wiped out. Mercy was granted for us to take our truck to the college where we stay and get there early! Ah....sleep!
The next day, however, it did feel like work, so I did something about it. I found the other clergy person on board, the Rev. Pat Richie, deacon from "down east" in the Diocese and began delegating. Between her and a couple of others I had opened up for myself a chance to sit back, watch and relax a bit while carrying my load with the mission. It worked fine until the very last day.
That day I was scheduled to go to Oropoli. Oropoli has a reputation among those of the Mission who have been there. Crowd control is always a problem, you have to watch your haircut lest someone try to lift it, people always want more medicines than we have, and people will do most anything to get them. Such is the reputation that the dean of the convocation who decides where we go and where we don't go, the Rev. Dagoberto Chacon, had not wanted to send us there. The local lay pastor, like in Jesus' parable of the unfruitful fig tree, had begged one more year on a trial basis. He hoped that somehow against hope it might prove able to turn over a new leaf.
It wasn't. The day was exactly as we had expected, in some respects worse. Among misgivings that somehow we were complicit in holding self-fulfilling profecies in our heads, we battled against the aggressive, deceitful crowd as we tried at the same time somehow to share with them the love of Christ in the form of medical attention and medicines. We finally closed up shop early and headed out, as much due to having run out of medicines as patience.#
So how does this contribute to the happy glow we normally associate with those who return from the Honduras\Mission? Well, for some I am sure it tarnished the shine a little, but it need not have. All we have to do is remember that our greatest advances are usually granted (certainly not achieved) in the midst of what often feels like the greatest failures and disappointments. We gave out medicines, but we learned patience. We gave out care and we received an awareness of just how desparate a people can be. We gave out time and received instead time to reflect, time to consider how God loves us sometimes in spite of what we think of ourselves.
Once again we received more than we gave. Hmmm.....