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Dental Mission Trip – Albania – Honduras

The Adventures of Team D.E.E.T.

(Dental Expeditionary Team)

Dental Trip to Tegucigalpa, HondurasArriving in Tegucigalpa, Honduras! The Military walking around with M-16’s gave it a real homey feel.

First impressions:

A poster in Spanish with a cute picture of a cow foaming at the mouth(?).
Members from the local church enthusiastically greeting us as we arrived.
Old school buses, with no exhaust system, being the common form of public transportation. The local church owned the one we used all week.
People walking up and asking for “one dollar”, probably the only English they knew.
Abject poverty and shopping malls within a mile of each other.

Our Team of physicians, pharmacists, dentists and translators arrived in Honduras for a 9-day stay near the capital city of Tegucigalpa.

My wife, our son and I worked in a makeshift dental clinic and saw a huge number of children.

The children were incredibly poor yet as polite and thankful as anyone I have ever met. Malnutrition was a major problem, particularly among the children. This often led to serious dental problems which have been left untreated.

During our stay, we visited the homes of the people in Tegucigalpa. We were amazed by the condition of the houses. It took a great effort just to walk down the streets and paths to the homes where people lived.

During our stay, we also visited an orphanage and children’s hospital which were both overwhelmed by the needs of the population.

My son, Ken, worked with a construction crew to rebuild a widow’s home which was literally on the side of a mountain. Her husband had recently been killed in a robbery and she was left alone with three small children. The local church was helping by bringing her food as she was literally penniless.

Amidst the poverty and devastation, it was encouraging to see the local church flourishing and growing daily. We were blessed to witness several baptisms while we were there.

This truly was an adventure we will never forget. A short visit to a third world country makes one realize how blessed a people we really are and how fortunate we are to live in this great country.

Hands of Hope Mission Trip to Albania

My wife, Rena, and I partnered with Hands of Hope on a medical/dental mission trip to Albania in May of 2013.This was their first excursion to this country as it had only recently been opened to visitors. Albania had a long history with communism following WWII and recently had become an Islamic state. We did not find out until after our trip that there were people smuggled into our clinic who were under a “blood feud”. This is their cultural equivalent of our history’s Hatfields and McCoys.

These feuds go back over a hundred years and generations of the same families.

If a member of a family involved in a blood feud is caught out in public by the other family, they will be shot on the spot. The local law enforcement agencies mostly turn a blind eye to these tragedies that can involve family members as young as 17. These feuds come from a combination of religious, organized crime, family honor and revenge roots with no real chance of them being resolved.

There are local Christian groups which help these people who are trapped, literally, in their homes for years by bringing food and other aid as they can. They are risking their lives as they can become targets by helping these families. The week before we arrived, a grandfather and his teen-age grand-daughter were killed as they were taking out the trash from their home.

It is a tragedy of such a scale that it’s hard to wrap our heads around it.

Our group was able, in a small way, to aid these people with medical and dental services and tell them about Christ and a better way.

A wonderful and enthusiastic lady who ministers to the church there tells how her husband was murdered one year ago as he stepped outside of the church where he ministered.

No matter how many problems we might face here, it is truly a blessing to live in the United States!