During my years as a practicing dentist, I took several mission trips to provide clinical dentistry for the poor around the world. I traveled to the Marshall Islands, Mexico, Costa Rica, and up the Amazon River. Shortly after I retired, Westminster Presbyterian Church was organizing a mission trip to La Entrada, Honduras. I thought it would be a trip, much like the others—I would spend a week helping those in need, then return home and go about my normal life. But, God had something very different in mind.
While in Honduras, I witnessed poverty such as I had never seen before. We were working at a school and could only treat the children attending that school. During the week, people were begging for help, but I wasn’t allowed to help them. That tore at my heart.
At the end of that week, a barbecue was being prepared at the school as a thank you for the work we had done. When I entered the gate of the school compound, someone came to me and said they needed my help. A man had stepped on a board, which had a rusty nail protruding and the nail went through his shoe into his foot. As I was attending to his problem, I could smell the meat cooking and hear the children playing and laughing.
When I finished taking care of the man, I stood up and turned around to face 125-150 men, women, and children on the outside of a chain-link fence staring at the food being prepared. I recognized many of the faces that had asked for help during the week.
I was taken aback by what I was seeing and I couldn’t eat much at all that evening. I returned to the hotel to get some rest before leaving early the next morning. But, I couldn’t sleep. The image of what I had seen would not go away. I kept envisioning how we could help these poor people.
When I returned to West Chester, I brought together some people and told them about the vision of a clinic that I had while in Honduras. When I asked if they thought the vision was possible, they said, “Yes!”
Today—through God’s grace; the generosity of those who have donated money, equipment, and supplies; and the selflessness of those who have shared their time and skills to help those who have less in this small corner of Honduras—that vision is now a reality.