Saturday, October 13, 2007

Conference on Honduras = Day 3

To begin with, I am writing this blog on a screen written entirely in spanish and on a keyboard that has different keys (allowing for accent marks, etc.). This will be a challenge.

The three days of conference have been terrific and have shown us that we are pretty much right in line with what others are doing mission-wise. Typically there was 2 hours of 20 minute sessions of speakers with 20 minutes of follow'up questions following each panel. One question asked was "Is it better to send money or supplies (so that they money ends up in the economy of the receiving country)....the answer was equivocal. Some Hondurans said send money, others said No because you do not know where the money ends up. So the final answer (several of us decided) was: It depends on whether you trust the people at the other end. Certainly this matches our own experience.

Today we met Diane Karper from Christian Veterinary Missions who knows Kelly Crowdis well --- it{s a really small world. Kelly is one of our contacts in Haiti doing missionary work there with CVM and she always participates in our medical clinics. It was fun to find the connection. Diane and her husband work closely with the village of Guadaloupe Canary near Trujillo and have invited us to come visit.

Also we noticed that some people at the conference were talking about what THEY do and what THEY bring, rather than how they are working with the people of the country. However, more importnatly many more people talked about how they were asking the people of the country what they needed and responding to that need rather than coming in and telling the people what they thought they needed.

There were many (mostly) faith'based missions here, primarily Episcopal from Texas, but a smattering of many other faiths including buddisht and hindu. The people spoke unashamedly of God.

We heard a rather colorful account of how an American student from Idaho had the experience of feeling something in his pants that ended up being a giant roundworm exiting his rear end one evening. this has evolved into a mission for his current life of decreasing parasites in the young children of Honduras. He determined that he picked up his parasite in mexico, but the elimination of parasites has now become his passion.

Rotary Club International was present and we heard lots of good information about water filtration systems for homes and matching grants that might be available through Rotary. We will talk with Mark about that. The guy that was there gave us lots of good information. He collected 300 lempiras from the crowd (about $10) which was donated to a local AIDS mission.

The woman running the HIV-AIDS mission had brought 6 kids with her that presented yesterday; they are all orphaned by AIDS. This morning they gave up their breakfast, added the $10 to the money they saved and went out and bought a week{s worth of local groceries for a local family living with AIDS. Their stories were heart'breaking.

Today was ALL about medical missions. Paul and I have to digest a lot of that information and we{ll post more on it later in the week. We learned a lot, picked up good materials and contacts and will begin to make some more plans for MSM based on waht we learned. }

Right now, I want to post this before I lose it in cyberspace.

More later.

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