Honduras Veterinary Mission Team

Like good stewards of the manifold grace of God, serve one another with whatever gift each of you has received. 1 Peter 4:10

Sharing of self, using our gifts to help others, reaching out to neighbors and developing relationships, sharing our faith by words and actions with the support of prayerful “senders”………that is what mission means to me.

I was blessed again with the opportunity this past January to be part of an enthusiastic short-term mission team to Danli, Honduras.  While we were billed as a “veterinary team”, less than half of us were veterinarians.  The rest were there to offer their assistance however possible.  Randy Doutt and myself from St. John’s, Franklin joined a team composed of  7 veterinarians, 1 vet technician, and 8 helpers (willing laymen, spouses and 1 teenager).  We had all volunteered to work with SAMS (http://samsusa.org/) missionary Jeannie Loving to supplement some of the spotty veterinary services in the church communities where she serves.  Veterinarians were recruited by Christian Veterinary Mission (https://cvmusa.org/), an inter-denominational mission group.   We were joined by several individuals willing to help in any way that they could, and their efforts were invaluable to the success of the mission.  The “helpers” led devotions, prepared team lunches, lassoed cattle, carried supplies, sorted and loaded equipment and medications, performed crowd control, and helped with the construction of a newly planted church.  With the addition of 3 local drivers and 2 student interpreters from St. Mary’s Episcopal School in Tegucigalpa we were a large enough group to split into two work teams.

We began each day with a morning devotion, followed by breakfast and then traveled to one of the more rural communities near Danli.  One of our teams would care primarily for livestock while the other was mainly engaged with pet animals.  (note: “pet” has a totally different connotation in a poor, rural, third-world area than the image of a pampered, American house pet).  Animals were driven, dragged, and carried to our work areas throughout the day.  During our stay we were able to provide medical or surgical services to over 1800 animals.  Some of the men also spent a few days working alongside local villagers to construct a newly planted church in a previously unserved community.

Perhaps more enduring than the animal care are the relationships that our team has built. We work primarily in villages where the Diocese of Honduras has a church presence so we are supporting the work of the local missionary and clergy.  Many areas are used to seeing mission groups swoop in once and never return, but the people that we have worked with have learned to know us and we them because we have returned to the same location annually over several years.  Because we have been consistent over time we have developed friendships and trust.

One of the highlights of our 10-day mission is always having the opportunity to participate in Sunday church services alongside the local people that we have been serving.  This past year we received communion together with the new congregation of Iglesia de Santa Maria Magdalena.  We worshiped in the same open-air community center where we had spayed dogs just a few days before.  Following the church service, the community proudly led us to the foundation of their new church, which some of our team had helped to construct and which they hope to complete before we return next January.

Surely one of the blessings of this outreach endeavor was in the participants working hard each day to totally use all of their gifts and knowledge and strength for the benefit of their Honduran neighbors.  This is one case where the cliché was absolutely true:  We did receive much more than we gave.

Dan Paulo and his wife Kathy are members of St. John’s, Franklin. Dan is a retired veterinarian who has long been interested in mission, and has made multiple mission trips to Honduras, as well as Haiti, Bolivia, Ethiopia, Mongolia, and Nigeria. 

 

Daughters of the King: Mission Trip to Honduras

God gave me an idea and a nudge at a meeting of the Daughters of the King Province III board last year.  I should invite those present to join me on a mission to Honduras.  Carol White from the Diocese of Southern Virginia accepted the invitation followed by Joyce Frenz from my own chapter at St. John’s, Franklin.  It wasn’t long before her husband Randall, a Lutheran pastor, signed on as well.  We had a team!

I now marvel at the path we took to get to Danli, Honduras.  We were four individuals answering a call but really not sure what God was calling us to do.  We sometimes wandered off the path and I was reminded of Proverbs 3:5-6, Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.

A mission trip was not new to me – I had accompanied my husband numerous times on his veterinary mission trips, but this time I would be leading a team with a very different mission.  Lord, what would you have me do?  My husband’s veterinary team was working with SAMS missionary Jeannie Loving, who just happened to be a Daughter of the King.  We communicated with her and after much correspondence, prayer, and a shared daily devotional, God guided us to a plan: a quiet day, a Bible study, and a service project.  It was a very ambitious plan that would require money for materials, interpreters, and in-country transportation for us and the participants.  We applied for and received a generous grant from the National Daughters of the King Self-Denial Fund to cover those expenses.  God gave us the plan and provided the means.  Now we had to trust Him to show us the how.

Ten months later, February 10, 2017, we finally arrived in Honduras.   The first task was to organize our service project.  Our plan was to assemble and distribute mother/baby kits to the public health clinics.  In Honduras, any woman going to the hospital or clinic to deliver her baby is required to bring with her a shirt, cap, socks, receiving blanket and two diapers for the baby and two sanitary napkins and an adult diaper for her.  Many families earn an average of only $20 a month and it can be a real hardship to procure these items.  We had brought with us more than 200 each of baby onesies, hats and pairs of socks donated by individuals in the US.  With the help of local Daughters, we packed all the required items in a 2 ½ gallon zip lock bag.  We included a card written in Spanish stating this kit was from Honduran and US Daughters of the King who were praying for the mother and baby.  These same Daughters accompanied us to the clinics to deliver the kits.  At one clinic, the doctor in charge clapped his hands and exclaimed he was so thrilled it gave him goosebumps.  He ushered us into a room where two very young women had just delivered babies.  We prayed with the new mothers and handed each of them a kit.  Priceless.

Extra baby items and cash to purchase diapers, etc. were left with the local Daughters of the King so they could continue with this project.

Meanwhile Pastor Randall met with ten women for a Bible study.   They came from four different Episcopal churches and some had ridden about an hour on a non-air-conditioned bus  to get there.  They were attentive, inquisitive and faithful in attendance.  We left extra study books for these women to lead Bible studies in their home parishes.

The main event was our Quiet Day which was attended by more than 50 women and about a dozen children.  The morning program was a series of songs and scripture readings with intervals of silent meditation.  After lunch, we opened with a guided meditation followed by a service to admit nine new Daughters of the King to the Order.  A celebration of Holy Eucharist closed out a beautiful, spirit filled day.  It was a great day in the Kingdom!

I had a vision but I never envisioned the power of the Holy Spirit working in and through us.  We hope by reading this you will be inspired to step out in faith to do a mission at home or abroad.

Kathy Paulo is a member of St. John’s Episcopal Church in Franklin, PA, and has been a member of the Daughters of the King since 2005. 

St. John’s Franklin Hosts Mission Team from Middleham and St. Peters Episcopal Parish Lusby, Maryland

Middleham and St Peters Parish sent a mission team of 11 adults and 5 youths to live at St. John’s Franklin from July 12th to 11709618_481594032015694_2988476908830460694_nJuly 19th. St. Johns facilitated a partnership between the ecumenical group Mustard Seed Ministries of Venango County to rehab a house in Polk, Pa which was given to the local Ministerium by Polk Center. The intent is to use this house for transitional housing to help the disadvantage have a home till they can improve their economic position.

Father David Showers is rector at Middleham and St. Peters Parish 50 miles south of Washington D.C. and states that his congregation has been involved in mission work for more than 20 years. Father David said “They started doing missions with the Lakota Sioux Native American reservations in South Dakota, then going to help after Hurricane Katrina and several recent trips to West Virginia.” When the West Virginia trip did not materialize this year Pastor Erin Betz Shank, a daughter of St. John’s and assistant rector at Middleham, suggested that they come and stay at St. John’s and work with Mustard Seed Ministries.

The Mission team gutted the house in Polk doing intensive plumbing, rewiring, painting, installing new kitchen cabinets, 11731701_481466638695100_767802984925171630_obathroom fixtures and laid a new floor. Jim Yoe the mission team leader states that the team consists of two Priests Father David Showers and Father Skip Steiner, a doctor, an aeronautical engineer, a general contractor, a nuclear engineer, nurses and teacher. He continues that the real joy is passing the tradition to the youth. Kayla Jedry, 17, is the head of Middleham Youth Ministry and on her third mission trip. Kayla is a natural, Yoe states “ She leads the worship services and makes sure everyone’s working and gainfully employed” Kayla replies saying “I’ve learned how to use the nail gun and power saw, it’s a learning experience because we all learn different things we can take back and use at home.”

Several other youth mission team members had great experiences. Emily Carpenter, 13, says, “ We get along really well, I go to church with these people every Sunday but don’t really talk to them. And on this trip I got to know them. And I realize they are 11742754_481467085361722_1017505242233842835_namazing people who really want to help the community and give to people in need of protection and shelter.“ Abbi and Evan Leaf are on their first mission trip. “It’s been really fun,” Abbi said. “And I like being able to drill stuff to the wall, that was fun, my only other experience was helping my mom. You just see what other people do, pick up a tool and do it. This is really awesome helping people.”

Father David and Karl Garland run a five star kitchen in St. John’s kitchen, sending wonderful cooking aromas throughout the church with people sleeping in every corner of the Parish Hall. There was good food, good work and good fellowship. Emily Carpenter sums up the whole experience, saying, “That God is all around us an I am really grateful for the opportunity.”

St. Johns has hosted mission groups for the previous five years from Ohio, Connecticut, Oklahoma and our own diocese and have done numerous projects to help the low-income folks in our county.

David Betz, Member of St. John’s, Franklin and a postulant in the ordination process