2009-05-16 / Top News

Ste. Anne's Group Makes Mission Trip to Honduras

By Ryan Schlehuber

At left: Tim Leeper of Mackinac Island interacts with Honduran children at an orphanage in the country's capital of Tegucigalpa. Mr. Leeper was one of 40 people to travel to Honduras on a mission trip with Ste. Anne's Church of Mackinac Island March 27 through April 3. (Photograph courtesy of Rick Linn) At left: Tim Leeper of Mackinac Island interacts with Honduran children at an orphanage in the country's capital of Tegucigalpa. Mr. Leeper was one of 40 people to travel to Honduras on a mission trip with Ste. Anne's Church of Mackinac Island March 27 through April 3. (Photograph courtesy of Rick Linn) A group of 40 people, including more than a dozen residents of Mackinac Island and St. Ignace, participated in a mission to the Sociedad Amigo de los Ninos orphanage in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, from Friday, March 27, to Friday, April 3, providing medical and landscaping services to residents there.

This was the second visit in two years that Ste. Anne's Church on Mackinac Island and Brother Jim Boynton have coordinated.

"The reason I do this is to expose people from North America to the Third World reality," he said. "The U.S. isn't the only way that people live. The poverty level we have here just doesn't compare with the Third World."

He added that the threat of war, revolution, or crime in Honduras, the second-poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, is low, which allows him to take along students, as well.

"Especially with the Island, the kids there see so many people from different countries working there," he said. "These kids that go on this trip get an idea where some of the workers come from."

The mission group consisted of three doctors, two dentists, two electricians, bilingualists, an ophthalmologist, a veterinarian, and several volunteers who provided assistance in both the clinical stations at the orphanage for families and in four brigades that scoured nearby villages, vaccinating animals, helping build new fences, light poles, and repairing small electrical and mechanical equipment for residents and businesses.

The group, which included friends from across the country and from Mexico, Guatemala, and Belize, interacted with local people, from babies to the elderly.

"We had people of all ages for the clinics," said Rick Linn of Mackinac Island, an emergency medical technician who also was a member of the 2007 Honduras mission. "We treated many children and adults. We even had a man who was 102 years old."

Many of the children were treated for parasites and skin conditions, and several were provided with donated prescription eyeglasses, he said.

Electricians Dennis Hannon, Br. Boynton's brother-in-law of the Detroit area, Dan Chase of Grand Rapids, with assistance from group volunteers, helped install and rewire eight light poles and even rewired a bakery.

Joni Grogan of Moran, who an emergency medical technician for Allied EMS, was awestruck by the whole experience. It was her first time on a mission trip.

"This is something I felt like I wanted to do all my life. It was my time to go," said Ms. Grogan about the mission. "I thought it was a great experience, and it definitely was a different world there."

Ms. Grogan assisted on one of the brigades, assisting in vaccinating several animals, including cows, horses, donkeys, dogs, and cats, and also helped dentists at the clinic station at the orphanage.

"Although these people have nothing like we have here, even not having the basic necessities such as electricity or clean water, they are very close to their families and their faith in God is strong," said Ms. Grogan. "Overall, they are happy, sweet people."

Tim Leeper of Mackinac Island said it was the best week of his life.This was his first trip, and his daughter, Arial, a senor in high school on the Island, was making her second trip.

"You really get taken aback by how poor these people are and how very kind and gracious they are," said Mr. Leeper, who was able to assist in almost every station the mission provided.

Mr. Linn was able to take in more of what he experienced during his visit two years ago.

"I love going on these mission trips because I love the people there," he said.

He didn't like the heat, however.

"Even the locals were complaining about it," he said of temperatures rising beyond 100 degrees at times.

The group stayed at apartments near the orphanage and, they said, were treated to wonderful meals and local music and entertainment during their stay.

"Their food is pretty similar to an American cuisine," said Mr. Linn, "with chicken and steamed vegetables, for example. The only difference I noticed was that they served soft tortillas rather than bread."

Br. Boynton hopes the Honduras mission trip will continue for the next few years without him, as he prepares for a three-year reassignment to Haiti this fall. He will be traveling through Asia most of this summer, visiting Indonesia, Nepal, and India.

"I think the mission trip can go on, especially with organizers like Val Porter and my mother, Patty Boynton," he said. "They were a big part of organizing this trip."

Both Mrs. Porter of Cheboygan and Mrs. Boynton of St. Ignace were members of the mission group.

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