This blog post is part of a series recounting the trips of volunteers to the clinic in Ahuas, Honduras.
For the 75th anniversary of the ministry in Ahuas, Honduras, past team members were asked to share about this very worthwhile ministry and its eternal impact to the underserved Miskito people. I’d like to share a glimpse of the impact it has on those like myself, who travel on a mission trip to serve.
Hi, my name is Lisa Renn, and I had the privilege of participating in a medical mission trip to The Clinica Evangelica Morava Ahuas, in Feburary 2020. While I had been on a couple of mission trips many years ago, I had always desired to participate on a medical mission trip. You see, it was while I was on a mission trip with several of my junior high/high school children that I felt God placed a call for me to become a nurse, despite a history of getting sick during Lamaze classes or in high school biology class at the sight of blood. I remember saying out loud, “Who me, God you’ve got the wrong person!” but at the ripe old age of 42 years old, I had completed nursing school, passed my nursing boards, and began working in the medical-surgical ICU.
I was a nurse for 14 years before everything fell into place to go and serve. Though I have a strong faith, I had no affiliation with the Moravian Church. A flyer was posted in the nurses’ lounge, and I answered the call.
We brought with us donated suitcases filled with medical supplies, (14 in all, I believe) in addition to our own gear. I went with 2 other RN’s I worked within the ICU, both of whom had previously served on medical mission trips, one to Haiti and the other a veteran of Ahuas. I had no idea what to expect and was totally outside of my comfort zone! As we sat in that 6 seater plane to fly from La Ceiba to Ahuas, on takeoff, one of my team members said, “Jesus, take the wheel!” I couldn’t have said it better myself.
Inclement weather kept the pilot flying by visuals, and we would not be able to take anything beyond a small purse or backpack that sat on our lap. I am not a cream puff, and despite having done multi-day/overnight hikes to Machu Picchu, Patagonia, and to the top of Kilimanjaro, I am a planner and organizer, and manage my anxiety by being prepared – and here I was leaving my personal gear behind, such as bug spray, permethrin-treated clothing to help repel potential malaria biting insects, etc. and it was unknown as to when our gear would finally arrive – for me, it was unnerving, to say the least. Me thinking, “Did You really have to bring me all this way to die?” And the clear response of, “Do you trust Me or your gear?” WOW! Don’t you just love these little mental conversations with God? I’ll just sit in this back seat and be quiet now.
And I chose to trust Him…as I stitched up a young man’s abdomen in surgery (for the first time), all the while whispering a prayer, “Please don’t let him hate me when he is older for an awful scar!” And then seeing his incision the next day on hospital rounds and it was healing and its edges lined up well – Wow! We are fearfully and incredibly designed by our Creator!
As you might have guessed, I am someone who constantly keeps moving, priding myself on planning and fitting it all into a busy over-scheduled calendar. I’ve been described by some people as “An adrenaline junkie”. But then God gets me away, and the speed of life slows to what feels like a stop, for this Western-minded ICU nurse and that’s when you hear that still small voice, “Be still and know that I am God,” and that would be the theme of 2020 for me. The COVID pandemic, no travel, personal health issues resulting in surgery, unable to exercise or even work, and recognizing all the things I do to mask anxiety, and yet resounding through it all was, “Be still and know I am God.”
It is a humbling experience to be on a mission trip, to see such joy of the people there, recognizing how much I may complain about our first world problems – it puts things in perspective.
I know from past mission experience that our one motivation to go on a mission trip is to help others, however, I knew that a byproduct of mission trips is that it profoundly changes those who go, especially me. I believe I received so much more while there than I could ever give to the Miskito people.
Please consider praying for this ministry, for the people who serve and are served, donating your skills and time through volunteering, and donating your finances to continue this life-giving ministry.
Grace and blessing to you all.