By Pastor Megan Crouch, Linda Stark, Jamie Royalty, Dr. Erika Dianis, Julie Hyatt and Connie Lenkowski
To many of us, Zoom meetings are boring and routine. However, some Zoom gatherings are truly a blessing. On June 18, 2022, The North/West Lower Michigan Synod’s Honduras Team met via Zoom with 15 volunteers of the Health for Life project in Honduras for a two hour “Getting to Know You” meeting. We met face to face and talked about why they were volunteers for ICLH. Nidia, the coordinator of the project in Honduras, said, “I personally appreciate the time dedicated to the event as well as its preparation and anticipation. Contact via Zoom with the project representatives is very helpful and exciting for us. There was a lot of participation from all the volunteers, which makes me understand that they are committed to the project.”
Nidia and the volunteers opened the meeting with a devotion about Jesus being our example for helping others. We introduced our Michigan Team and then each volunteer took the microphone and told us about their interest in Health for Life. They shared that they liked to take care of others; they valued teaching and learning. They see need in their communities but have no health centers or doctors to help; they want to help. Most of the volunteers were new to the program including one girl who was the daughter of a long-time volunteer.
Nidia had shared a lesson with the volunteers earlier on diabetes and hypertension. She requested that we follow-up with a review of the information. Along with the review, our nurse, Jamie Royalty, included information on diet and foot care. We were told that the feedback from the volunteers was very positive. Nidia said, “The volunteers were very excited about the meeting and communicated that they would like to continue having virtual meetings with us.”
During a final discussion we talked about how we can help now – from a distance. Usually, when a team goes to Honduras they take along supplies to help the volunteers with their care of their neighbors. We often take things like blood pressure cuffs, blood sugar testing strips, bandages and first aid kits. After 3 years of no visits, it is not surprising that they need all of these items.
Pastor Megan Crouch closed our time together with a devotion about serving our neighbor. She said that we should love and help our neighbor but that does not mean that we can always heal them or fix their problems. Sometimes it is being there for them and caring about them that means the most. A beautiful message for the Michigan Team and the Honduran volunteers.
We were blessed to have a volunteer with the Michigan Team who helped with translating the conversation. Flor Garcia graciously and capably kept the conversation going in both English and Spanish.
We are thankful for Zoom and the ability to visit with our partners in the Lutheran Church of Honduras. It is truly a blessing to know that the work we began together in Health for Life has continued over the last 3 years and that the program is always growing and changing. We thank God for our Honduran partners and the work that they do.