Wayland mission team combining evangelism and medicine in trip to Honduras

February 22, 2013

PLAINVIEW — A group of Wayland Baptist University students, faculty members and alumni will have an opportunity in March to gain valuable experience in missions while demonstrating God’s love through evangelism and medicine.

According to Wayland Professor of Biological Sciences and Chemistry Dr. Adam Reinhart, who also serves as the university’s pre-health director, he will take a team of 12 people, including seven students to an area approximately 30-45 miles northeast of the Honduran capitol of Tegucigalpa from March 11-18. Over that one-week period, the team will conduct several medical clinics, do some construction work at an orphanage and visit an international school. Team members also will do Gospel presentations and teach children’s Bible stories to those who are seeking help through the clinics.

Reinhart said the trip is being done in cooperation with his friend, Joe Denton, who is a missionary in the area and the clinics will be operated by local doctors.

“They’re more established and know what to look for and are better equipped to treat people there,” Reinhart explained.

The group will be bringing in some general medical supplies, although it is limited in what it can bring in because of customs concerns. Reinhart also explained that the American dollar will buy more medicine in Honduras than it will in the United States.

Given that fact, he said what the team really needs is for people to make monetary donations that will enable them to buy the necessary prescription medication once they get in country.

In general, he said, one of his focuses is helping supply prenatal vitamins.

“There’s a huge need for prenatal vitamins, especially prenatal vitamins that have a lot of folic acid,” he said. “The amount of medicine we can buy once we’re there, in terms of vitamin supplies, and stuff like that, we can make a big impact on lowering the potential rates of birth defects in that one little area we’re going to.”

He added that anyone interested in donating to help with the purchase of medicine should contact team member Amy Rendon at 806-291-3602 or by email at rendona@wbu.edu.

As far as the team members’ actual roles in the medical clinics, Reinhart said they will help with general triage-type work, prescreening patients and getting vital signs that will be passed along to the doctors.

Many of the students who are participating in the trip are preparing for careers in the health industry, Reinhart said, adding that the best time for them to get a taste of medical mission work is as undergrads.

“Once people are in medical school or dental school it makes it very difficult for them to leave that to even do a short-term mission trip,” he said.

Two of those students are Jarrett Ross and Jessica Kenneson. Ross, a senior from Tulia, is studying molecular biology and chemistry and Kenneson is a sophomore from Wiggins, Colo who is studying the same fields. Both have an interest in the medical field and Ross has been accepted into the medical school at Texas Tech, although he doesn’t know what his specialty will be.

He is excited about the trip and agreed that now is the time to go on a medical mission trip.

“I feel that meeting someone’s physical needs is a gateway to helping meet their spiritual needs. I feel that is my calling,” he said as he talked about the upcoming trip.

Kenneson is interested in medical research and she was a late-comer to the team, approaching Dr. Reinhart on the last day of sign-ups. She had seen posters about the trip but didn’t commit to participating until she attended a presentation by Wayland alumni Dr. John Blevins in which he talked about his own medical mission trip to Africa.

“I love mission trips,” she said with a smile. “I’ve always wanted to go and apply my passion for science to missions and medical mission trips make that possible . . . and it’s fun.”

In both cases, that is the kind of enthusiasm that gets Reinhart excited.

“The side of the trip that impacts our students the most,” he said, “is just giving (them) a more global perspective of what God’s doing around the world. Everything doesn’t look like it does here and people around the world face different kinds of challenges that we don’t experience in this part of the world.

“It’s really a good way for God to get ahold of somebody and really increase the amount of ministry they’re doing here. If you want to take the surest, shortest way to take somebody from a pew-sitter to really being involved in ministry, send them on a short-term mission trip,” he said.