Missions Of Hope Honduras

MISSIONS OF HOPE is an extension of The Hope Chest for Women, Inc.  Twice a year, the Missions of Hope teams travel to Santa Barbara, Honduras. In that pueblo, God has opened several doors of ministry for us. We send surgical teams to work with the local hospital and family practice doctors to provide medical care in various area clinics. We assist the children and staff at the Hogar de Niños orphanage. We love on the children. We volunteer in the mission school. We make repairs to everything from buildings to bicycles. We are near completion of a Women’s Cancer Clinic. The donated diagnostic equipment used in our clinic will serve many thousands of women living in the mountains of Honduras.


Regardless of the time, money, and energy we invest in Honduras, we always come away feeling we have received the greater blessing. Hardly anything compares to seeing women’s tears of joy or relief either due to a favorable diagnosis, a successful surgery, or just because she knows someone cares. Our hearts overflow when a child hugs us as though they will never let go. Even in their poverty, the people of Honduras have made us rich.


If God puts this mission on your heart, please let me know.


If you have an interest in more information about our mission trips, contact Owen Lovejoy at 828-708-3017 or owenhopechestforwomen@gmail.com 

 

Next Honduras Trips

Our next two trips will be:
October 21-28, 2022
March 3-10, 2023

Contact Owen Lovejoy at owenhopechestforwomen@gmail.com

or 828-708-3017 with any questions.

 
 

Honduras Summer Mission Trip 2022

Reflections from three trip participants

My Adventure to Honduras


Dad has already accidentally run two red lights, motorcycles are cutting between

traffic, and now we’ve been sitting still in a traffic jam for two hours. My Dad tries to

take a short cut through a sugarcane field and we all have to pee really bad.


“Bienvenido” ( bien-ve-ni-tho)

Welcome to Honduras.


Even with all the crazy traffic and drivers. Riding in the back of a pickup truck is

allowed, even the police do it. We finally make it to Santa Barbara Honduras. We stay

at the “Hogar de Ninos” which translates to “home of the children”. This is where 60

orphaned children stay. Some of them have been abandoned. Some found living on the

streets. Others were dropped off by their parent because they couldn’t afford to take

care of them.


The next day is Sabbath. When I wake up and walk outside the kids all want to

hold my hands, and play games with me. They beg me to go to church with them, so

me and my dad head to church. When we get to church no one speaks English. There

was music. Sometimes I recognized the music but couldn’t understand the words they

sung.


After church I went to Sabbath school without my dad. They sang a few songs

and then read a story. A girl offered to translate for me. I told her yes, but later wished

I hadn’t. It was a little embarrassing to have the whole class staring at me. She even

translated the prayer for me at the end.


Later that afternoon I made a lot of friends. The kids were so happy and loving. They

were always smiling. Some girls like Angie and Carlita were by my side all the time.


Every time I left my room all my friends ran to me. Angie, Carlita, Hennessy,

Katia, Lala, and Ester. They always wanted to play games with me. They played games I

didn’t understand but they also played games I did know. Like hide and seek and red

light green light. Sometimes even when I was in my room the kids would knock on my

window and then hide when I looked. When I didn’t look they would come knock

again, it was funny. My best friend is Angie, she is a lot like me and she likes what I

like.


My dad and I had our own room with a bathroom, shower and air conditioning.

When we went in the shower there where geckos on the shower curtain and walls.

Sometimes we would see them cooling off on our air conditioner because it was 95

degrees during the middle of day.


We have a tall concrete wall with razor wire on top surrounding our property. There

is a guard at the gate - night and day - to let cars in. There are two guards that take

turns. The day guards name was Henry and the night guard was David. I took them

coffee every morning.


The kids go to school from 8:00 to 12:00, only 4 hours……Not fair!


When the kids are in school I would work on my math and spend time with my

dad. Dad was there to fix things. One time he fixed a truck, another time someone

asked him to fix a washing machine. It couldn’t be fixed so he bought a new one. He

would have to go to town to get the parts he needed for sinks, showers, toilets and

other things. Sometimes he would let me ride in the back of the pickup truck. The wind

is cool and it’s fun to ride in the back. There are a lot of speed bumps and when you hit

them the back of the truck bounces.


The sidewalks in town are very small. They are only as wide as one person so

when you meet someone on the side walk someone has to step into the very busy road

then get back on the side walk. The roads are very narrow in town and there is only

one lane and one way. We once saw two sheep eating something in the middle of the

road in town. When a car came they took off running down the road. It was very hot in

town.


My grandpa “Papa” also came on the trip. He and a group of seven other people

who came with us from North Carolina are doing surgeries on people with cancer. They

remove tumors and do other difficult operations that the people need. I went to the

hospital one day and saw a lot of people in beds with casts and bandages. I listened to

Papa talk to the other doctors about the operations. He speaks really good Spanish.

Once the kids got out of school at 12:00 I would play with them for the rest of

the day. Sometimes in the evening we would play soccer there. One day we went to a

park to play soccer the soccer field was small and had a fence around it with a roof. It

was like playing soccer in a Hockey court except no ice…very hot! Another day we took

every one to a water park. We rode in a small bus with 60 people. The bus broke down

only a mile down the road. My dad’s friend Saul came to help us with his box truck all

the kids went into the back of the box truck to ride to the water park. The police where

behind us twice but never pulled us over. Two of the police where in the back of their

own pickup truck holding machine guns.


When we got there we saw two water slides but only one was open. It was tall

and it dropped in to pool. Soon the other one opened, it was twisty and right beside

the tall one. I rode both of them. Then we walked over to a pool that had a big tub that

filled up and then dumped on your head. It was so powerful it would knock you into

the pool. There was another pool with water that was filled straight from the top of

the mountain. It was cold, but it felt good because it was so hot.


Every morning and night we ate together. The food was great. My favorite food

there was Baliadas. They were like giant soft tacos filled with beans, eggs, avocado and

a cream called Montequilla (mon-tay-key-ah). One time I ate 3 of them. The fruit was

different and tasted way better than the fruit we have here. At the stores the bags of

chips were very different. My favorite was Quesi (kay-see) Trix …they were so good.

The money was also very different it was called lempiras. A $500 lempira bill is actually $20.

On the last day we had little gift bags for the kids but had to take out all the tic

tacks because they didn’t want the kids teeth to break.


It was very sad to say good bye. I made so many friends and met so many happy

people. I would love to go back someday. There are so many projects like planting

their garden and fixing their pool that I would like to help fix…..

I love Honduras !!!

Layla Keaton, Age 10

Honduras Summer Mission Trip 2022

To be honest, I was not thrilled about going to Honduras for a mission trip. I had never flown, and I was not prepared for the cultural changes. This trip required me to make too many sacrifices. The biggest sacrifice being to leave America—the best country in the world. Who would want to leave here?


In a way, I felt forced to go, not necessarily by my family, by God. I could not say no; it was too big of an opportunity, and one that does not come often. Yet, months

before the trip, I had prearranged my summer to be able to attend. Why? I did not know, but God did. And, eventually, he showed me.

A few weeks before the trip, I began to lose faith; I did not feel spiritually equipped for this “mission.” I thought I did not have anything to offer. But God’s strength never fails, and a couple days before our departure I broke down in tears. I realized I had strayed from God’s path. And as a result, I had only received misery. At that moment, I chose to have an optimistic attitude and trust in the Lord. Like always, His love prevailed. He resurrected me and renewed my faith.


Upon arrival in Honduras, I observed immense poverty and quickly became aware of my blessings. On the way to the orphanage, we passed many run down homes, which in America we would belittle someone for or view as “useless.” They look like the slightest gust of wind would blow them down. But despite their condition, they still serve two purposes: as one’s home and business. Chickens, dogs, cats, horses and cows freely roam the road and are severely malnourished. If driving and road regulations have been established, you would never know because people drive as their heart desires. The roads have huge potholes, and some have even become nonexistent. 


Whenever we arrived at Casa de David, kids swarmed our vans and poured out their love for us. It was the most special welcome I have ever witnessed and experienced. Within only two hours, I was sitting outside having a Spanish lesson with the children. Some of the kids, specifically the younger girls, appeared shy at first. They would stand beside each other, some hiding behind the other, and just smile. You could tell they longed for a relationship with you, which was soon developed.

The children become attached very quickly and show great affection; they love to hold your hand and give hugs. I often wondered why the kids have so little yet love so much, and we have so much yet love so little. If we had little, would we have more love to give? I explored this question a lot. For most of us, myself included, we would like to say yes, but in all honesty, we would probably be unhappy.


During my week at the Casa, I felt the most content I have been in

years. I had underestimated this trip and God’s work, but it gave me a new perspective of life and love that one day I might relive. 

The saddest part of the week was having to say goodbye. My eyes tear up every-time I think about it. On Thursday morning, we were standing outside, and all the kids started walking towards us. They took us into their arms and expressed their gratitude. I could hardly catch my breath for the uncontrollable amount of tears pouring down my face. So I continued to hug the children in silence, hoping to see them again soon.

Throughout the week, there was one boy I had not spoken to much, but we exchanged a smile every-time we passed each other. On that morning, he came and put his arm around me and stood with me as I cried. Neither of us spoke,

but his presence comforted me. Right then, God showed me the power of a smile and that our actions mean as much or even more than our words. I thought I had nothing to offer, but I did: my actions and existence. And I received an offering as well, along with unforgettable people and memories. God is our way maker, miracle worker, promise keeper and light in the darkness. And even when we do not see it, feel it or believe it, He is working. America might be the best country. But is it too much to sacrifice for

God? Have we been living such a luxurious life that we cannot spend a week in a less fortunate environment, without complaining? Before staying in Honduras, I would have answered yes to both of those questions, but now I give an immediate no. 


I thank God so much for this opportunity because it has changed my life for the better. This trip was exactly what I needed and at exactly the right time. I know now why God wanted me to go and that He has perfect timing. I hope to return soon, maybe even longer than a week one day. God has shown me my work is not finished. This is only the beginning, and the rest is yet to come.


God’s peace,

Violet Allen

Honduras Trip July 2022

The 15-passenger van drove for 2 hours down the dry, rocky road from San Pedro Sula to “Casa de David” in Santa Barbra, which would be our home in Honduras for the next week. I lay my head in my Mom’s lap, trying to sneak in a nap after waking up at 3 a.m. to catch the plane. Suddenly, the van hit a pothole! The bump caused my whole body to bounce up off the seat and land on the floor of the van. Ouch!

Upon arriving at Casa de David/House of David, about 25 kids rushed to greet us with smiles, laugher and lots of “Holas.” We were given a tour of the house. The downstairs consisted of a kitchen, rooms for the male volunteers to sleep and an empty room where we later played games and handed out gifts. Half of the upstairs was where the female volunteers slept and the other half is where the younger girls live. Next to Casa de David was another similar house where all the boys lived, and down the street a little way was the Hogar de Ninos/Children’s Home, where the older girls live.


On this trip, I felt as though everyone was my friend. However, during my stay I did make some really close friends like Ever, Hector, Ester, Carlita, Angie, Isaias and Marissa. They loved playing games like chess, jump rope, hopscotch, rock-paper-scissors, soccer and Uno. They also liked coloring, painting and crafts.

One day, we went to a water park nearby. It was really fun, but not something I’d expect in Honduras. There were two slides open-a twisty green one and a steep blue one. The stairs leading up to the blue one were very sketchy, but it didn’t slow the kids down one bit.


Another day, we went to an enclosed soccer field, where the kids showed off their football (soccer) skills and the volunteers tried to keep up. It was still extremely hot! The average high for Honduras is 90 degrees so our air conditioned bedrooms were a wonderful treat at the end of each day.


Another one of my friends was a young woman named Marbella. She grew up at the Hogar and was now in college studying to be a med tech. She was on break, so she came to be a translator for us. She was kind and funny. She loved playing Uno and would play late into the night with me and other volunteers. We would pop popcorn and laugh sometimes a little too loud. Marbella and I would also wash and dry dishes after meals. She was a hard worker.


Our breakfast usually included eggs, toast, cereal and fresh fruit, but sometimes the kitchen “team-of-the-day” spiced it up with some originality. Lunch was “serve yourself,” and dinner was always delicious. My favorite dish was Baliadas, a tortilla filled with scrambled eggs, cheese, beans, avocado and mantequilla. Another night, everyone went over to the Hogar andhad “pizza.” Well… it was more like bread with seasoning, mushrooms, olives and corn. It may sound weird, but it tasted like a taco and it was pretty tasty!

The most moving experience on the trip for me was the worship we had one evening gathered all together on our front porch. We sat in a circle and Daniel, who looked after the boys and was a great barber, played his guitar and led the kids singing in Spanish. It was beautiful. One of the little boys, Ever, sat in my lap and I rubbed his tired head. He was so cute! Isaias was mischievous and giggling in my ear the whole time. It was a life-changing moment seeing everyone worshiping together. Even though I couldn’t speak Spanish I felt very connected to the kids.

On the morning of our departure, Ester clung to my leg. Hector had big tears in his eyes and Ever was unusually quiet. I felt a deep sadness in leaving, but an even deeper joy for having come. Our trip to Honduras certainly touched many lives, I know mine has certainly been changed.

By Zoie Keaton, Age 14

 
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Helping the People of Honduras

Although Santa Barbara differs little from other towns in Latin America, it has become a place of great importance to a small group of U.S. citizens. The Hope Chest for Women, a non-profit organization in Western North Carolina, has been actively involved in the lives of Santa Barbara’s populace for twelve years.  Missions of Hope is our international outreach program that strives to bring access to care for breast and gynecologic cancer patients in rural Honduras.


Our teams, led by Dr. Nathan Williams, meet medical needs-some of them dire, to diagnose and operate on simple to complex female cancer cases. Another focus is to love on orphans at the Hogar de Niños orphanage, assist in the mission school, and help with construction projects at the orphanage.  Like most mission ventures, the needs surpass our ability to meet them.

We continually look for willing hearts and hands to partner with us in this labor of love. Doctors, nurses, construction workers and kid-lovers are greatly needed. Your involvement can make a tremendous difference, sometimes a life-and-death difference, to the people of Honduras.


Please contact Owen Lovejoy, owenhopechestforwomen@gmail.com, if you are interested in joining our group or would like more information.


The colonial town of Santa Barbara is located in West Central Honduras (see map below). Santa Barbara does not differ much from most other pueblos of its size in Honduras, or in Latin America for that matter. The town is rich in history. Small shops and restaurants share space with outdoor fruit and vegetable markets along the downtown streets. Row-upon-row of vendors sell mangoes, oranges, bananas, pineapple, avocados, papaya and other native, seasonal fruits and veggies. In spite of the town’s charm, most folk are poor, at least by our standards. They work hard and innovate just to get by.

Medical Outreach Mission Trip

Our teams include medical professionals, translators, and other volunteers. We see patients at clinics, follow up with surgery when needed, give medical check-ups to the children at the orphanage, and more. On our last trip (March, 2016), around 75 women were seen in the clinic and 16 surgeries were completed by two of our surgeons.

In Honduras they really need better permanent diagnostic technology and visiting trained medical specialists. On our medical mission trips there is a real need for urologists, dermatologists, dentists, ophthalmologist, internal medicine and ER doctors, physical therapists and other surgical technicians and specialists. Spanish speaking translators are also needed to assist the medical team.

The Hogar de Niños


We are drawn to Santa Barbara for reasons other than medical missions. At the Hogar de Niños (Home for Children), located on the outskirts of Santa Barbara, young children tend to steal your heart. Reach International is the sponsor agency for the Hogar de Niños. However it is both Hondurans and U.S. volunteers that staff the orphanage. Daina Riley from Asheville, NC is the current director of the Hogar.


The orphanage is home to nearly 60 children who are orphaned or abandoned by parents too poor to take care of them. The children attend a mission-sponsored elementary school.  The school has built such an excellent reputation that over 200 children from surrounding area pay to attend. The Secondary School (Colegio) has around 300 students, many of them also from the local community.