A lesson in missionary life
From Bethany Barkdoll
The mission has, for the past three months, been very gracious in hosting myself (Bethany Barkdoll) while I experienced a new culture, helped in the clinic and at the house, and learned what life is like for a missionary family here in Honduras.
Mission life is never boring. While here, we have had several tropical storms, power outages, septic problems, sickness, etc. I have learned in many ways to simply ‘make do’ with the basic things in life.
However, with all that said, there are things about living here that are very enjoyable and positive. First of all, the weather here and the scenery of the mountains of Honduras are incomparably beautiful. Also, learning to live more simply has been somewhat relaxing; in many ways, there’s less to worry about. In addition to this, I have loved learning the language, meeting new people, worshiping in Spanish, and getting fruit drinks from Super Jugos a fruit juice chain here in Honduras!
In the past three months, I have had the pleasure of working at the clinic. There are always interesting things to see at the clinic, whether it be stitches to put in, extra fingers to take off, or large abscesses to be drained. I have learned such great skills as taking blood pressure and listening to lungs, which I have done regularly at the clinic. This month, we’ve had two baby girls who developed pneumonia and who we had to take down to the hospital. From my observation, the clinic is a very helpful aspect to the ministry here. These people are able to get medical help that they can actually afford to pay.
Toby has been continuing to teach Bible classes with the young men. It’s exciting to see these boys get-ting excited about learning the Word. Sometimes the teachings in the Bible go against the culture here, or maybe what the boys’ families are teaching them. However, they remain interested in learning what God says in His Word. They also really seem to admire and respect Toby; he is a great example for them, and treats them like sons.
The staff down here are really helpful and a beneficial part of the ministry. They are all very trustworthy people and willing to assist as well as discuss any problems that might be occurring. They have very good and open relationships with the Hills.
Certain aspects of the culture here are very different from what I’m used to, and can be quite shocking to encounter. There are many mothers who come into the clinic who are my age or younger (I’m currently 19). Many of these mothers begin liv-ing with a man (and also having children) around the age of 14 or so. This aspect of the culture is especially fascinating for me, because of how different it is from the United States.
Taking blood pressure at the clinic
With Aracely, a staff member of the mission and a dear friend
Bethany Barkdoll came to Honduras in August with her father, Dr. Dan Barkdoll, and her brother, Daniel. Dr. Barkdoll lead a medical brigade in the Merendon Mountain with Amy. Daniel came to visit his biological family in Honduras since being adopted by the Barkdoll’s. Bethany stayed on with the Hill’s for three months after her dad and brother returned home, to experience first hand missionary life in another culture. This newsletter was written by Bethany about her experiences in Honduras.
Also, the culture here allows for a lot of deception, so many times it’s hard to know who you can trust- even in the church. There is much spiritual warfare that goes on here. Dissensions in the church, rumors, and gossip are prevalent. Satan sometimes uses these kinds of confusions, or confusion of language, to cause grief among the people here.
I have been able to sympathize with the Hill chil-dren while I’m here. I have an easier time understanding how missionary kids live sort of double lives- having fam-ily and friends in both the U.S. and in the country in which they live. Cassandra, Sarah, and Jonathan often tell me about their family members who live in the States, but are also very well adjusted to living in Honduras- playing with their friends and speaking Spanish. I also (though I love living here) look forward to going back to the States! It’s easier for me to sym-pathize with missionary kids since I’ve been here. There is a definite pull between their two worlds and I can see how it would be easy to feel that you don’t necessarily belong in either country. However, the experiences gained by being an missionary kid seem to me to be quite invaluable.
I believe that the mission work here in Honduras is important and necessary. The people who come to the clinic would really not have anywhere else they could go to find cheap medicine or help. Maybe I have a somewhat biased opinion, be-cause I know that my brother Daniel would probably not be alive if it wasn’t for this clinic. Also, I believe that Toby’s work with the young men is very important, especially in this culture where men are not being taught according to the Bible. I am very blessed that I could have this time to be a part of this ministry. These are just a few of the things I am learning about mission life and culture. It has been an