What a great week it was hosting Pastor Brandon Hawley and his team from I Heart Church in Mt. Hope, West Virginia! With there being no electricity when they arrived Saturday evening, they realized from the start that a week like no other was at hand.  How did they handle it? Like champions.

After breakfast Sunday morning, everyone gathered upstairs at the dorm for a great City Hope Church service.  Lunch was had (I mean, who doesn’t love sandwiches?), and after a little afternoon of relaxing and getting all of the brigade totes ready to go for the week, the team was off to pass out brigade flyers up the mountain to tell everyone when we were coming to them. 

On Monday, clinic was held at our home base in Rio Viejo.  With the team, we had two additional providers, a number of other medical personnel, and others that were always there ready to help wherever and whenever they could.  The day went by quite smoothly as everyone worked hard to get the job done. Of course, a nice tour of the new property and a hot dinner was just what they needed to end the day. 

Tuesday’s clinic took us to Urraco, where we held our medical brigade at the Give Hope to Kids orphanage.  With the trucks and trailer fully loaded, we were ready for the day’s adventure. A pot of coffee was brewed for us, and with that extra little push, we were able to see all of the house families at the orphanage, as well as every other villager that wanted to be seen.  After all of the medical needs were taken care of, the team went on a tour of the orphanage. Then, it was back down the mountain to prepare for the next day and spend a little time at the river.  

Wednesday was a Jungle Bus party to the village of El Pital.  We saw patients, watched the kids enjoy a nice soccer game with some of the team members, and then jumped in the section of the river behind the school we were at.  It was a much-enjoyed time had by all after a long day’s work, and the kids that came to the brigade loved that we stayed to swim with them.  

After getting back to the campus, we were able to get ready for dinner and welcome four very special guests to the jungle— Pastor …… from Italy and pastors from our sending church, City Hope Church in Alabama, Pastor and Mrs. Jerry Taylor.  We were honored to have them come join us for the remainder of the week and show them a little bit of our mission.  

Thursday, we did what we are truly called to do—go to them.  We packed our backpacks and enjoyed a beautiful hike to the village of El Paraiso, which translates to “paradise,” and if you saw the gorgeous views there were, you would understand why.  Before the start of the brigade, we gathered all of the children outside and had each pastor pray over them and their future. This is what ministry really is all about and what we strive for—the health, hope, and healing of others.  It was a wonderful day, and the weather cooperated perfectly for the hike.  

Upon returning to Rio Viejo, everyone gathered their groups together and put the final touches on their lip sync performance.  After a busy week of brigades, this is always the night looked forward. It is the night everyone can completely unwind and have as much fun as they allow themselves to have.  We announced the winners, prepared the team of what was to come for the next couple of days, and everyone packed all of their things to prepare for the next morning’s early departure. 

Friday was their fun day in the city, and since the weather did not completely cooperate, the team could choose to either zipline or simply hang out on the beach.  Everyone came back from their activity full of adrenaline and hunger, so afterwards, they were able to enjoy a nice dinner at our favorite restaurant in La Ceiba. We then went to our hotel to have our final debriefing meeting where everyone shared about their experiences of the week.  It was then time for some rest, as Saturday morning was a full day of “see you later’s” and “nice to meet you’s” as everyone headed back to their respected places. 

We were so grateful to have this wonderful team and special guests come join us for such a fun-filled week in the jungle!