It's a First, Not a Last!

I honestly had no idea what to expect before my first missionary journey. It was far more difficult yet far more rewarding than I thought it would be. During our first team meeting I was told that I was going to be a dental assistant. Keep in mind I am 20 years old, on my first service trip, and barely floss. I have seen more of the human mouth than I ever hoped, but with that came the warmest smiles that were able to give me butterflies. The expression “it’s like pulling teeth” had nothing on the Honduran people: they were tough as nails. I witnessed one of TerraMica’s dentists, Marlon, pull out dozens of teeth, two tumors, and still receive nothing but gratitude from every single person. There was one patient who couldn’t have been more than 8 years old and had two of his teeth pulled. He was the happiest little boy I have ever seen. Even though I couldn’t speak Spanish with him, he had the biggest smile every time I looked at him. Watching this happy little boy arrive and leave by himself because he was an orphan was by far the hardest part of the trip, and that says a lot because I showered with the same water that an eight inch fish lived in! Even though I couldn’t speak to him because of the language barrier, it was during those moments that I felt the Holy Spirit most. I was given the chance to be God’s hands and feet by holding his hand during his painful procedure, and giving him love and attention.

The thing that I will remember most from this trip is the people. I will never forget the reaction of pure gratitude that I received from the Honduran people that we helped. It was so evident that they really needed our care, and that because of the efforts of the team, they are now able to live happier, healthier lives. We were also given the opportunity to stay with a local host family, who showed us nothing but love and friendship. It was there that we shared laughs, food, music, and a little karaoke. My favorite part of the trip was when our team got together with some locals and played a soccer game. We were horrible, at one point I could tell that one little boy let me have the ball out of pure pity, but that’s not why it was my favorite part. I love it because I felt the most connected to the people that lived there when playing a game of soccer with them. This was because I was able to interact with them without language. Being able to share laughs and play a game with people who don’t share the same language or culture was incredible, and a feeling that I won’t forget.

It was amazing to see the love within the Body of Christ through the men and women on our team toughing it out in humidity that’s like inhaling water, rain, and heat. In addition, we were sleeping in tents next to a pig, a cow, dogs, a rooster, parrots, a spider monkey, and bugs. Yet despite these elements, we got up early to work tirelessly in a small clinic nonstop just so we could be a blessing to God’s children. This love we share and can share in Christ is the sole reason that I will do again in a heartbeat.

-- by Jenna Starnes, TerraMica volunteer