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Your Generosity in Action

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Have you ever felt your life was like watching a movie—not quite real and sometimes a little hard to believe? That’s what living in Honduras is like.

As I look back over my journey, everything that led me to where I am today—Centro Medico Monte Sinai (Mount Sinai Medical Center)—seems surreal.

I cut my missionary teeth on stories of Irian Jaya, Gabon, and Thailand. My mentors, friends, and leaders encouraged me to pursue the dream God placed in my heart to serve as a medical missionary. When most kindergartners dreamed of being firefighters, astronauts, or ballet dancers, I dreamed of faraway lands and healing the sick.

No one was surprised when, during my sophomore year of college, I announced I was spending the summer in Honduras. After 10 years of volunteering on summer breaks, international study semesters, and occasional Christmas breaks, Honduras and a small clinic in Eastern Olancho had my heart.

From my first days in Honduras, the Lord prepared even the little details that made it possible for me to call it home. Matthew 19:29–30 encouraged me: “And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or fields for my sake will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life.” And as I said goodbye to my family in the States, I was received with open arms by my family in Honduras.

OPENED AND CLOSED DOORS

As I began my full-time service in 2003 with a nonprofit ministry and marketplace ministries, my dream was tested. Knowing the language is one thing; learning to live in another culture is harder still.

But navigating a new system of government and health care was beyond anything I could have prepared for. A lawyer walked away with my money before completing my residency process. Then I entered a lottery to see where I would serve for free for two years to be a licensed physician in Honduras. Treating 60 patients a day and delivering babies at night with nothing more than a pair of gloves and water was normal. I was often praying my patients would make it to the hospital in an ambulance traveling over the improvised wood plank that replaced the bridge that was washed out in the hurricane five years before. The refining fire had begun. But the Lord knew what I needed.

He continued to open new doors for me to serve the Honduran people. My love for cardiology grew as I was trained in echocardiography, opening the door for more than 50 children to be sent to the United States to receive life-saving open heart surgery. I am still amazed when a teenager enters my clinic and asks, “Do you remember me? You helped me have my heart surgery when I was two years old.”

I was also trained in many other medical disciplines that were far beyond the scope of my training as a family practitioner. I felt I had found my home and imagined I would spend the rest of my life there. But the Lord had more twists and turns coming just around the next bend.

In 2009 I had come to believe I would serve the Lord and the people of Honduras indefinitely as a single missionary. I have never been so surprised as when I met my husband, an anesthesiologist and Honduran national trained in Guatemala. We knew from the start our lives would be anything but ordinary as my first trip to visit his family found us in the midst of a military coup. Only a few years after our marriage my world was turned up- side down when the nonprofit where I had served for nearly 20 years felt our visions no longer aligned.

DREAM BIG

Have you ever fallen out of a boat or lost your footing on a bridge? It seems like you will never stop falling. That’s how I felt. I had been so sure this was where God had called me to serve, but even when we are rocked, Jesus is always reaching out His arm to catch us.

My husband and I began ministering at a family-owned clinic. The Alliance marketplace ministries team continued to walk with me and held me up when all the unexpected turns left me searching. Several years passed as we prayed and wondered what God’s plan was in the waiting. We were approached by supporters who asked us what we would do if finances were not an obstacle. In the waiting we had stopped dreaming, but now we were challenged to dream big.

And so, a new dream was born—build a Christian-based medical center. It was not enough to just provide quality health care. We wanted patients to feel the Lord’s presence and His healing. Mount Sinai, where the glory of the Lord settled before His people, seemed the most fitting name. We wanted Mount Sinai Medical Center to be a place where the Lord could be found.

As construction began, we had to learn to be architects, contractors, administrators, and business owners—all while continuing to practice medicine and raise our two young children. Thankfully, the Lord provided the army to do it all. Before long, our medical center consisted of five inpatient rooms, five outpatient clinics, two operating rooms, labor and delivery, X-ray, a laboratory, a pharmacy, and a 24-hour emergency room.

MIRACLE IN A PANDEMIC

Four years later we are more than a year into the first pandemic in a century. We lived through coups, the loss of loved ones, financial uncertainty, and even personal illness—but we had never faced the fear and uncertainty presented by the pandemic.

I clearly remember sitting our staff of 30 in front of administration one day after the country went on complete lockdown. The fear was palpable as we spoke of potential cuts in salary to ride out the storm. Our staff unanimously agreed, if necessary. The clinic had been entirely self-sustaining outside of construction and equipment donations, so this was truly uncharted territory.

There have been days of deep heartache, but we have seen the Lord’s hand. As some businesses closed, Mount Sinai grew. All government hospitals were closed to out- patient care and non-emergency surgeries, and we were one of the few clinics that could offer both surgery and inpatient care for non-COVID illnesses. We found the need to build on eight additional inpatient rooms and five more outpatient offices, which we were able to do with the support of our donors. And we finally realized our dream of building a prayer chapel in the center of our inpatient wing. Through all the uncertainty God performed a miracle, allowing our clinic to provide steady work for our staff throughout the pandemic.

GRATITUDE FOR THE JOURNEY

Today I am living the dream the Lord gave me. Of course, none of this—providing affordable health care to Hondurans, purchasing medical equipment, expanding the clinic to treat more patients, and receiving ongoing medical education—would have been possible without the support of our donors. Many have been with me from the beginning, helping me move to Honduras in the first place.

In short, our donors’ generosity has allowed my call- ing and dream to become a reality—to be the Lord’s hands and feet in Honduras. My story is their story. And I am deeply grateful.

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