by Sean Mullen
Yesterday I had the great privilege of saying Mass for the local church here. I was not expecting to be called on in this way, but there were two deacons and no priest available, so they asked me to, when I allowed that I might be able to make my way through the Mass in broken Spanish. A very patient congregation put up with my horrendous pronunciation, balanced, I hope, by a prayerful attitude.
Toda , our first full day running the clinic, we saw nearly 120 patients, and worked out our system of treatment. We are so glad to have with us again this time, young students from St. John's Episcopal School in Puerto Cortes, serving as interpreters. They are hard working, smart, and indispensable!
So many of the people we see - children and adults - suffer primarily from poverty and the many hard realities that come with it, including a substantial measure of ill health. Treating poverty sometimes looks entirely mundane. We dispense a lot of Tylenol, Aspirin, TUMS, Vitamins, etc to deal with every day maladies. But today our doctors also treated a young infant with a very dangerous birth defect, a woman with uncontrolled diabetes, and a family who traveled six hours partly by boat, to reach our clinic.
Tomorrow we will return to the single-room clinic, and we expect to see a significant number of patients again. We are trying to be careful to avoid the mosquitoes. The daily downpours of rain don't interfere with our work much. The heat and humidity are pretty constant. We are grateful for all who support us, and for one another.
The Gospel reading on Sunday here in Honduras included the last line of Matthew 10, which I think was omitted in the reading used at Saint Mark's, and probably elsewhere. Jesus says, "whoever gives to one of these little ones even a cup of cold water because he is a disciple, truly, I say to you, he shall not lose his reward." In my few words to the local congregation, I highlighted these words, and I tried to say to them ( I hope I did!) that i believe we have been called to provide a cup of cold water to each other. They have made sure we have water to drink, and we are bringing what we hope is another kind of water to them - the water of care and healing. There is always irony on a mission trip like this when we realize that we are being cared for, even as we try to care for those who have so much less than we do, and so much less than they need.