I will not forget that face, the face of the 85-year-old Honduran man wearing a cowboy hat, white button-up shirt and a bright green jacket. His visage wrinkled and weathered by decades of subsistence farming in the rugged mountains of Honduras. The teeth he had left decaying and few. His eyes red and tearful. His hands and voice trembling.
As I interviewed this patient on the day of my 13th wedding anniversary, I learned that his wife of 64 years had passed away a mere four months before our encounter. He was not sleeping. He was not eating. He was losing weight. This once stoic farmer was breaking down before my eyes.
My mind ran through the formulary of free medication we had available in the pharmacy area. There was nothing that would help him sleep. Nothing to help him relax. Nothing to improve his appetite. I didn’t know what I could do
to help calm his nerves and bring some healing to his bereavement.
I tried to find the Honduran doctor serving with us for a cure, but I knew she could not provide any solution.
As I thought about how to help him, I scanned the one room church in which we were working, the stone walls of which were constructed by hand by its pastor. I witnessed God’s hands and feet providing relief from months of severe dental pain, restoring vision for those who have not seen well for years with the gift of glasses, and telling children God’s message of love for them. Then I saw our new Honduran friends acting as translators and fellow members of The Woodlands UMC hand in hand with locals, sharing the message of salvation that provides eternal life and healing, and I realized that was the remedy I was looking for.
I turned to my patient and spoke with him about God being the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow. We spoke of his wife being healed and waiting for him in heaven where they will be reunited. I prayed with him for peace, healing and God’s calming presence in his life. I prayed that I, too, would stay as dedicated to my wonderful wife as he had for 64 years, and that four months after God takes her home, that I, too, would miss her deeply. He got up from his chair and smiled. God provided the healing.
The story of God’s love raining down on the people of Tegucigalpa, Honduras through His servants played out over four days. More than 1600 patients were seen in the medical area, receiving almost $16,000 in medications. Seven hundred Hondurans received new vision from new corrective lenses and sunglasses. Almost 300 were seen in the dental area. Two families who were raising their children on dirt floors — and after a storm, muddy ones — received cement floors. Hundreds of children received the simple yet extravagant gift of having their hair washed.
Most importantly, God’s redeeming message of forgiveness, salvation, and grace was shared with every Honduran who walked through the doors of those churches through the evangelism teams. We were able use our medicines to cure their ills, but He was able to use us to heal their hearts. And to Him be the glory.
This story first originally appeared in The Point, Fall 2013 edition.