Doing ‘wonderful things’ for God
bringing hope & healing to Honduras
On Sunday, February 1, 2015, Salvation Army personnel gathered in prayer and worship in the slums of San Pedro Sula, Honduras.
They were Honduran Salvation Army soldiers, officers, and doctors from the USA Eastern Territory, as well as nurses and other support personnel from the Latin America North Territory. Their earnest praying marked the start of a weeklong medical mission, which, for the past 18 years, has provided much–needed surgical procedures and pharmaceuticals for children and adults living in impoverished areas.
Soldier Sara Flores welcomed guests to the corps. “As the daughter of Army officials, I have been part of many different corps,” Flores said. “But I have felt so happy in each one of them because they have all been my home.” She asked the visitors from the United States to consider making the San Pedro Sula Corps their “home.”
Majors Federico L. and Marie C. Larrinaga, USA Eastern territorial director and assistant director of Hispanic Ministries, led the Honduras team for the first time. They acknowledged each member of the medical team.
“Our purpose when we get together like this, no matter where we are, is to worship Him, to honor Him,” said Major Federico Larrinaga. “But this week, it’s something even more. This brigade comes to be a ministry of physical and holistic healing.”
Lt. Colonel Tito Paredes, commander of the Latin America North Territory, thanked everyone for bringing hope to Honduras. He said that the Salvation Army’s medical teams were stronger when combined.
“Mother Teresa used to say, ‘You can do certain things I cannot do. I can do certain things that you cannot do. Together, we can do wonderful things for God,’” Paredes said.
Paredes awarded a plaque of recognition to doctors Norman, Russell, and Cliff Raymond, brothers whose Raymond Foundation has provided humanitarian services to the people of Honduras for two decades. Demonstrating the Raymond family’s many talents, the brothers performed, a cappella, a rendition of the hymn “Let Us Break Bread Together.”
Major Richard Shaftstall, a retired officer from Erie, Pa., also received recognition for his participation and generosity toward the Honduran people. Fluent in Spanish, Shaftstall had led the medical team in previous years. Still nursing an injury from a fall the day before, he was grateful for the opportunity to again be in Honduras.
“I didn’t know if I would be here this year, but God said ‘yes,’” said Shaftstall. “It’s a pleasure to see Honduras and all of you.”
This event was the first to be held at the Army’s corps in San Pedro Sula. It had been a residence, with the garage as its sanctuary. Lieutenant Sarai Almendares, the first Honduran–born Salvation Army officer in the region, said, “This brigade will help The Salvation Army grow. When people come to us during these missionary trips, they witness the love and concern that comes with the medical help. The community is grateful. Now we have an official place in which to welcome them.”
by Hugo Bravo