June 29-July 6 2013: Tegucigalpa- El Hogar Orphanage

Honduras 2013: Mission to Serve

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Rachel, a 2013 PNME Mission Education Scholarship recipient has exciting news!

“I will be leaving to teach first grade in Juticalpa, Honduras, in August and am excited for what the future holds. Without my initial trip to Honduras and the assistance of the PNME grant this could not have been possible.

The picture of several children is the group that I specifically interviewed on what it means to be healthy. Overall, visiting Honduras and El Hogar was an amazing opportunity and I cannot wait to share my experience with the world.”

The El Hogar Orphanage in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, was founded in 1979 by the Episcopal Diocese of Honduras. Grounded in traditional Christian principles, the Orphanage strives to provide a stable, nurturing home for abandoned and orphaned children. With assistance from various volunteers and staff members, children are given the necessary tools to overcome tremendous challenges and achieve a well-balanced life.
During the week of June 29 to July 6 of this year, the Canon for Youth Ministry will visit the El Hogar Orphanage, and assist dedicated staff members in their mission to care for Honduras’ forgotten children. Under the direction of the Reverend Canon Wes Wubbenhorst, and mission project manager The Right Reverend Lloyd Allen, our seven day trip will consist of spending quality time with the 120 children that reside at the El Hogar Orphanage. My ultimate goal is to not only gain a deeper understanding of the work of the Episcopal Church of Honduras in Tegucigalpa, but to also develop a profound appreciation for the work specifically done that addresses the needs of children.

I am interested in studying the correlation between religion and health care specifically with children in Honduras. I would like to understand the connection between a strong spiritual foundation and physical well-being, and to what extent a child’s spiritual health has on his or her physical health. My goal is to help the children grow in their spirituality, and help them to understand that a healthy, well-balanced lifestyle begins with a healthy spiritual core.
As a health management major at Howard University, I have always had a passion in public health specifically on a global scale. Through my work as a health disparities intern for the American Cancer Society, I have witnessed the positive impact that faith based resources have played in the prevention and awareness of cancer in low socioeconomic areas in the United States alone. I wish to expand my work and provide the children of El Hogar Orphanage with the same opportunities and materials to educate them on the importance of a healthy lifestyle despite certain adversities.

One of the main responsibilities the church has is to facilitate spiritual growth. In communities with significant numbers of impoverished families, survival becomes the first priority. Individuals are less likely to invest in their spiritual needs before satisfying their immediate need for food, water, and shelter. The church must realize the growing disconnect between physical and spiritual health.
In the 21st century, the church has made significant improvements in this particular area of concentration, but has failed to achieve the results that communities desperately need. If the church can successfully communicate that they are committed to investing in their communities’ well-being both spiritually and physically, the church will notice a shift in their overall perception. Administering public health programs will not only address various health care issues, but also reinforce the relationship between the church and their community.
The work of the Episcopal Church of Honduras done in the Tegucigalpa community is a component of my trip that I would like to extensively study. From their strengths to weaknesses, it is the perfect opportunity to see how they address public health issues in their community. Furthermore, I would like to implement daily activities and materials, and create an open dialogue with the children at El Hogar Orphanage. By doing this and more, I hope to leave a lasting impression on the importance of living a healthy lifestyle both pleasing to themselves and God.

As a 22 year old adult, I find myself longing for a spiritual awakening. I was exposed to church and Sunday school at an early age and grew up with a strong and unwavering belief in God. However, how I perceive society’s relationship with God in 2013 has led me to have an epiphany. Only recently have I become curious about how much of an impact the church has in their respective communities. Although there are many factors that play a pivotal role in this relationship, the church nevertheless holds a substantial amount of power between a person and their relationship with God.
I believe that a plethora of issues plaguing our society could be alleviated with the church’s assistance. Fully maximizing the potential of the church and its influence in the community begins by having a presence in children and addressing important factors such as healthcare. As society’s future leaders of tomorrow, focusing on the health and well-being of children is not only pivotal in their development, but our responsibility as a society. With my research findings, I plan to present and communicate to various churches, communities, and organizations the importance of reemphasizing the church’s work towards public health in their respective communities.

Sincerely, R.