By Bob Schultz
OAK RIDGE, Tenn. (June 8, 2016) -- First United Methodist Church of Oak Ridge has sent 64 adult mission teams into the world to serve with those in need since 2003. Nineteen of these teams have worked in Honduras; ten of these teams have served the two churches in Talanga.
All of the Talanga teams have been multi-disciplined teams. Their services and skill sets include: Medical, vision, VBS, children’s oral health, construction, counseling, and clean water for the home. To many on the team, the experience has become somewhat routine but to a "newbie" it is always an exciting experience. One of the new people this year was Joel Shor. Below are his reflections:
“I had heard that the airport in Tegucigalpa, capital of Honduras, was the most dangerous in the world owing to its short runway. I could not really say but it seemed as if we just cleared the houses near the airport when we landed, and skidded to a stop near the other end of the runway. Many of us clapped for the pilot.
The customs and immigration were like none other in the world I had seen. They seemed genuinely happy to greet us, and one lady actually taught me a few words of Spanish. I speak a very weak Spanish but she appreciated my trying and was patient with it. Her attitude was one that I encountered many times.
We travelled about an hour from the capital to the city of Talanga, which I was told, was about the same population as Oak Ridge. I had also read that the mayor and police chief of the city had just been arrested, but I doubt that many people in Talanga were aware that they even had a mayor. I worked in construction of a new Sunday school room and the installation of ventilation fans at the Iglesia Metodista Diez de Septiembre. Fans, as one can imagine, are extremely important in Honduras.
I also worked with Steve and Lou Ann Cristy on water purification (Clean Water for the Home). Water is taken from a nearby river in a cistern truck and sold to residents. It is far from pure. They have distributed over 1,100 filters and taught people in Honduras to purify their water with a micro pore filters system.
People brought their systems to the mission to be repaired and I helped Steve with more than 60 people. Unfortunately when I tried to speak Spanish, most Hondurans would burst out laughing since I often used the wrong word. For example, thinking I was describing the bottle we were using, I instead used the word that meant a large cat. To my ears, they sounded similar. At least I brought some fun to everyone with my mistakes. Even speaking a small amount of Spanish was helpful.
A very moving part of the trip was the dedication of a memorial plaque at both churches in Talanga in memory of Donna Henry who had participated in many missions to Honduras and who will always be remembered. It was a great experience.”