Heart for Honduras
The people of Honduras have a place in the hearts of folks in the Dallas diocese with many taking mission trips this year to the impoverished South American country. St. Luke’s in Dallas, Epiphany in Richardson, Christ Church in Dallas and others have all traveled to bring hope and good works to the country.
This year marked St. Luke’s 21st trip to Honduras with 29 missioners participating in a medical mission of doctors and dentists. The Rt. Rev. Lloyd E. Allen, bishop of Honduras provided guidance to those teams coming to help. Medical doctors, dentists and dental assistants treated hundreds of patients during the eight-day trip. Those patients treated were also given medications including a year-supply for those with diabetes or hypertension, said the Rev. David Petrash, Canon Pastor of the Dallas diocese, who participated in the mission. “Each person who saw a doctor or dentist paid a small fee, which was used to repair the local Anglican church, San Fernando Rey,” Petrash said. “Over the last six years, this church has received new indoor plumbing, new front doors, a new roof, air conditioning, and paint. Still lacking is floor tile for the Parish Hall, which we hope to complete this year.”
Each morning as Hondurans gathered to register for medical services, the team prayed the daily devotion morning prayers with them in Spanish. Before and after seeing the doctor or dentist, the recipient and the service providers prayed together. Throughout the week the following Bible verse from Matthew 25 summed up the trip, Petrash said. “And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’”
Epiphany in Richardson and Christ Church in Dallas teamed up earlier this year and also traveled to Honduras on mission. Two churches going together was both practical and spiritually rewarding, said Epiphany parishioner Paula O’Neill. “It was great,” she said. “It alleviates the pressure of one church doing the work all by themselves. It was one of the most spiritually uplifting events of my life.”
The 21 missioners built concrete steps to a church that would provide an easier way for worshipers to get to the parish. “Honduras is mountainous and people were slipping and sliding to get up the hill so we built concrete steps for them,” O’Neill said. The Rev. Fabian Villalobos, rector of Christ Church, and his wife DeeAnn participated in the mission. “It was a wonderful trip,” DeeAnn said. “We were blessed to be able to be able to go on this mission.”
The Rev. Mike Michie, former rector of St. Andrew’s in McKinney and current Staff Officer for Church Planting Infrastructure for the Episcopal Church said the focus on Honduras mission trips tracks with the national church’s plans for Anglican growth in that country. “We are working closely with Bishop Allen, who has a missional focus and a heart for his people. I’m particularly excited about his plan to reach the Lencas tribe in a remote, mountainous location in Honduras,” Michie said. “The support from St. Luke’s, Epiphany and Christ Church, when put together with the resources from the Episcopal Church are crucial to reaching these people for Christ.”