Meet the Needs

The difference being made in healthcare in Honduras is amazing, and much of it is due to the needs seen by those serving in Honduras. Missionaries Larry and Angie Overholt have been instrumental in changing the way Honduras meets the medical needs of its people. Read this exciting article from the Spring 2017 issue of The Ohio State University College of Nursing’s Transformations in Nursing & Health magazine. Learn how God is using the Overholts and other missionaries to fulfill a great need.

Creating a school of nursing in Honduras

Two emerita professors and an alumna of the College of Nursing succeed in establishing a new high school of nursing in this Central American nation.

By Jennifer Grabmeier

The idea to revolutionize nursing education in Honduras could be a version of an old adage: Visit a community with high-quality nursing care once a year and its people will benefit for a day; teach high-quality nursing to a community, and their health will improve for lifetimes.

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Photo credit: Overholts

Two emeriti professors from the College of Nursing and an alumna and her fellow Buckeye husband turned that thought into a new nursing school that is the first of its kind in Honduras. It is also an exciting new chapter in the College of Nursing’s ongoing outreach to this Central American country, which started with student study abroad trips in 2000.

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Photo credit: Overholts

Ann Overholt, FNP, ’00, ’05 MS, proposed that first trip to faculty to meet the public health requirement for her BSN. Overholt and her husband, Larry (’79, ’05 MS in agricultural extension education), had lived in Honduras for 18 years working as missionaries and had returned to Ohio State to further their education.

Professor Emerita Kathleen Stone, PhD, RN, FAAN, ’72, agreed to go with her and another student, and after the Overholts returned to Honduras, Stone continued taking students to the southernmost state of Choluteca, where the Overholts live. Professor Emerita Elizabeth Barker, PhD, joined the program when she came to Ohio State in 2003.

The study abroad trips, which included physicians, nurses, pharmacists and Spanish majors who served as translators focused on residents in remote rural areas. Eventually, however, the organizers realized visiting the area once a year was not enough.

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Photo credit: Overholts

“Every year for 17 years we’ve had the College of Nursing outreach and it was great, but over the years we realized we weren’t really changing anything,” said Angie Overholt. “Every year we gave out medicines, but we weren’t really impacting long-term change in their health care. We talked about putting our efforts into training the nurses.”

In Honduras, which has 8.1 million people, there are roughly 8,300 nurses—5,600 of whom are in fact nurse’s aides with only a sixth-grade education. “They are the ones who go out and run the clinics and work in the hospital,” said Stone. “They are the go-to people for nursing.” The other 2,700 nurses are educated at the university level and serve as administrators.

MORE: To read the rest of this article, click the link below.

ACT: Thank you for praying for this ministry, and please continue to pray for impact as school continues. May lives be changed for God’s glory!

https://nursing.osu.edu/assets/Transformations_SP17-web.pdf

Prayer Lifeline Spreads Light during Spiritual Warfare in Honduras

This month’s #GoGrowChange theme of sunshine is all about the importance of prayer support. This story by Tim Rickel, vice president of International Ministries, makes it evident why there is such a great need for prayer. 

Photo credit: Tim Rickel

I sat behind the wheel of my truck, heart pounding. As soon as I felt the right rear dual tire slip off the road and start to slip down the six-foot drop to the stream bed next to the road, I hit the brakes and stopped the truck. How had this happened?

The F-350 was tilted at a crazy angle—left front tire off the ground. I gingerly got out to survey the situation. A large clump of grass was all that prevented the truck from going over the edge and likely flipping upside down into the stream below. In the next few minutes, what had happened would come into clear focus. This was spiritual warfare!

I was on the island of Roatán, Honduras, right in front of the clinic where people were seen for medical care throughout the week and where a church was being born. We were building a house across the valley, and that’s where the events leading up to this accident began. I was working that morning with three young men, and I needed a chain that was back at the clinic to pull start our Jeep that had a dead battery that morning. To save time, and because the chain was heavy, I drove the truck over to pick up the chain. Just as I was getting into the truck to return, there were my three workers walking down the road toward town! What were they doing? So instead of turning right and going back over to the house, I turned left to catch up to them and ask them why they were walking off the job. As they came back into view, one of the three turned and looked back at me and then turned and kept walking down a small side path; they were gone. I slammed on the brakes and threw the truck in reverse. Forget it! As I backed up along the familiar lane to the spot where I could turn back around, the wheel suddenly dropped off the roadway. I hadn’t realized it, but the night before the government road grader had graded the road, leveling off clumps of dirt that had formed a sort of curb on the drop-off side of the narrow road. That was the first time that road had been graded in the seven years we had been in Roatán.

I now had to walk over to the house to get some rope and plan how I was going to extricate my heavy truck. When I got to the house, there were my three workers! I asked them how they had gotten back up to the house; they looked at me like I was crazy.

“We’ve been here working. Where’s the truck?” was their response.

And as in other occasions in this small village of 1,500 souls, where the message of Christ was unknown and where we just had a fledgling church starting, I could definitely see how the enemy of our soul was trying to defeat us using every trick at his disposal. Nothing in my Christian background had prepared me for the spiritual warfare we faced in Roatán. When things would get to a certain point and we needed help, we would call WGM headquarters and ask for a request to be put on Prayer Lifeline. This was before email when the only way to get the Lifeline was by calling an 800 number. Every time, we would feel the oppression lift right around noon on Tuesday when the new Lifeline requests were being recorded. It was like the soldier on the frontlines of battle calling in an airstrike on an enemy position.

I was able to use ropes and a jack to winch the truck back up onto the road that morning, tying off to some coconut trees across the road. But the real help came the next Tuesday when the Lifeline went live. Prayer is still the main weapon in our arsenal against the enemy. Satan would like us to forget that.

ACT: Missions work can be dangerous, and the enemy is always on the prowl. We are God’s army, and we can make a difference today! Will you take up arms and join the Prayer Lifeline team (www.wgm.org/lifeline) to support those under attack and on the front lines?

Looking Over the Wall

A little missionary girl in Honduras walks up to a wall dividing her family’s property from a monastery. She climbs up a ladder to see what all the chanting is about and a monk spots her. Read what happens next in this latest Mission Central blog post.

Monthly excerpt from The Best of the Story
By Burnis Bushong, Retiree

 “But they had heard only, That he which persecuted us in times past now preacheth the faith which once he destroyed. And they glorified God in me.” Galatians 1:23-24

The WGM ministry in Honduras was started by missionaries working with the California Yearly Meeting of Friends. The first congregation was established in Tegucigalpa next door to a Catholic monastery. As was the custom in Central America, the house bordered the street with no front yard. The entire property was isolated from neighbors by high adobe walls. Frequently, the missionary family heard the young monks as they worshiped on the other side of the wall.

Little Dorothy Cammack, daughter of the founder of the work, was curious. She thought to herself, “I wonder what goes on in that big building? What does their patio look like?” A patio was a big back yard and frequently the center of household activities. Dorothy became so curious, in fact, that she placed a ladder against the wall, climbed to the top, and cautiously peered down into the neighbors’ patio. It was inevitable that, after several attempts to see what was happening next door, one of the young monks spotted her peeping over the wall. Soon a friendship developed. There were several visits together at the top of the wall, and the conversation quite often included their Christian beliefs.

The young priest, Rafael, finished his studies and soon became second in the local Catholic hierarchy, next to the bishop himself. In this position, he wrote many articles condemning the Protestants. He was transferred to Panama. While riding on a train, he talked extensively with an evangelical missionary. This led to his conversion, and like the apostle Paul, his life turned around. He became an evangelical evangelist.

Rafael returned to the WGM chapel in Tegucigalpa as an evangelist. In one of his messages, he related how he first heard the gospel message from the little missionary girl who preached to him over the wall.

ACT: Make sure your children or grandchildren are seeing Christian beliefs modeled and taught. You never know how God will use His little ones.

“I Am Grateful for Hurricane Mitch!”

By Larry Overholt, Honduras

In the storms of life, things can become negative and seem like a complete downward spiral of hopelessness. In this story, taken from the January/February 2009 issue of The Call, missionary Larry Overholt shares how God took a man at the end of his rope and gave him hope in the aftermath of Hurricane Mitch.

Prior to first arriving in Choluteca (population 120,000) in September 2000, Angie and I had wondered how we would ever get started in ministry in a new area of the country. We had served 18 years with the long-established ministry at Escuela El Sembrador (School of the Sower), a boarding school for underprivileged Honduran boys, and moving to a brand-new area with no established ministry was a bit scary to us. Besides starting a completely new ministry for World Gospel Mission and Honduran Holiness Church, the other challenge we faced had to do with the fact that the southern region of Honduras was still suffering the aftereffects of Hurricane Mitch. It was almost like everyone was going though post-traumatic stress disorder. Large numbers of youth were still not back in classes. The regional economy, supported largely by shrimp farming and cantaloupe and watermelon production, had not recovered. Large numbers of the population were still unemployed. Along the river, the city was still cluttered with the ruins that had been destroyed by the flooding. We had no idea where to start working.

The first day we arrived in Choluteca with our belongings to unload, we were met by several people from the recently established congregation. One man was Chacho. He was a 30-year-old ox cart operator with a sixth-grade education who made a living hauling sand and gravel from the river for construction projects. Chacho helped us unload our belongings from the truck and trailer and moved boxes into the house we were renting. The following day he did his own work with the ox cart in the early morning and showed up for breakfast at 7:30 a.m. He continued day after day, making himself useful in the following days grabbing a machete and cleaning up around the yard. There was a lot to do since the property had never been fully remodeled from when it had six feet of water during Mitch.

Chacho was so helpful we hired him full time to work with me. Chacho naturally shared his testimony with me as we got to know him. At the time of Hurricane Mitch, Chacho had been living a rough life. As a husband he exhibited a “machismo” attitude and would stay out drinking at night without telling his wife were he was. Looking back, Chacho feels he was already an alcoholic. He and his wife, Patti, had one son at the time.

Chacho, Patti, and their small son had escaped the flooding with only the clothes on their backs. Chacho went back for his oxen and swam out of the river holding onto the tail of one of them. Chacho told me how they moved from one shelter to another and finally found a church building where they could stay. They were wet and cold and had little to eat. When they did manage to get a piece of chicken, they even ate the bones. Chacho told me that the most difficult part was having to tell their young son that they had no way to buy him juice when he cried for it.

Chacho and his family left the church after a week, seeking another shelter. Chacho says that he felt guilty because the pastor caught him smoking inside the church. He was also resisting the preaching.

Eventually, when he was able to get back to the community where he had lived, Chacho found that there was nothing left of his house except one post. He was able to gather a few pieces of lumber and had enough materials to put up a small shelter. When relief items began to arrive a few days later, Chacho met Pastor Alejandro, who was disbursing food and clothing that had been donated through World Gospel Mission and Honduran Holiness Church. His wife, Patti, was one of the first converts of the future church. Chacho resisted the gospel.

Soon after Hurricane Mitch, Patti became extremely ill and miscarried during her pregnancy. Chacho explained that she was admitted to the hospital due to complications, and the doctors gave him very little reason for hope that she would recover. Patti went into a coma and Chacho cried out to God one evening as he left the hospital. He said, “God, if you are out there, will you save my wife? I will follow you.” That evening he went home to his small shelter and his small son. As Chacho lay awake all night he kept thinking of the pistol that he had under his pillow. As he lay there contemplating suicide, he came to a very clear sense that his son very well could be an orphan in the morning. Chacho felt God’s presence and comfort as he decided that whatever happened, he would continue on.

That morning he got up and milked his father’s cows and headed to the hospital early. As he walked into the hospital ward, he was amazed to see his wife sitting up on the side of the bed. Chacho says that was the moment he was saved. Patti’s first words were, “Chacho, as soon as I am able, we are going to church together.”

Chacho cannot tell his testimony without tears flowing down his cheeks. There was no church building at that time, just a pastor’s house. During his first-ever church service, Chacho responded publicly to God’s invitation to accept Him as his personal Savior. I could not relate to Chacho when he said he was grateful for Hurricane Mitch. Many people suffered from the hurricane, but Chacho wonders if he ever would have responded to the gospel message if it had not been for Mitch.

Chacho has continually been faithful in all areas of his life. He studied electricity and finished his junior high education. Though Patti cannot give birth to any more children, God has miraculously provided them with a beautiful adopted daughter. But that is another story.

ACT: Do you know someone in pain and in need of a brother or sister to come alongside them and provide something tangible that they need right now? Do what you can to help that person today while the Holy Spirit is prompting you, because who knows what tomorrow brings.