7
Sep

Church team holds sewing clinic in Honduras – Oak Ridger

First United Methodist Church Oak Ridge has sent out 65 adult mission teams since they started its missions program in 2003. At the request of the pastors of the two Talanga, Honduras churches that FUMCOR is in partnership with (Talanga Central and Diez de Septiembre) Team Leader Jim Henry recruited a “Sewing Clinic” team this year.

First United Methodist Church Oak Ridge has sent out 65 adult mission teams since they started its missions program in 2003. At the request of the pastors of the two Talanga, Honduras churches that FUMCOR is in partnership with (Talanga Central and Diez de Septiembre) Team Leader Jim Henry recruited a “Sewing Clinic” team this year.

The FUMCOR Sewing Clinic team leader was Eleanor Wistrom. A plea was made to the congregation for fabric and notions. The machines were purchased in Honduras and were waiting for the team when they arrived.

Eleanor said, “We were nervous about becoming comfortable with the machines and communicating effectively. Our translator was magnificent at responding to our calls for assistance with translation and learning the machines’ mechanics (because the manual was only in Spanish). The students’ enthusiasm for learning was overwhelming and very rewarding.”

Most of the students had never worked on a sewing machine; one student had sewn on a treadle machine. There was a teenage boy who wanted to become a tailor, the mother of three who wanted to become a seamstress and all of the students wanted to be able to sew for themselves and family and sell handmade articles to supplement their income.

The FUMCOR team left them with four machines, three tables on which to work, patterns and fabric. The new seamstresses are now meeting twice a week to sew together and were to sell their products for the first time at the Mother’s Day Bazaar.

In addition to the Sewing Clinic, the 21-member team held a Medical Clinic, a Vision Clinic, a Children’s Oral Health Clinic and constructed a Sunday School classroom.

The Medical Team of four doctors, a nurse practitioner, three nurses and a pharmacist was led by physician Jim Henry. They treated more than 550 patients, filled over 2,000 prescriptions and treated over 350 patients for parasites.

Approximately 40 percent of the patients they saw were under the age of 12 and most were healthy children. Approximately 60 percent were adults and most of them were in relatively good health. While there were patients with varying complaints related to arthritis, respiratory and gastrointestinal (GI) illnesses, almost 60 percent of the adults seen suffered from Type II diabetes, hypertension or both.

Teams from the Oak Ridge church have been going to the same area for several years and have tried to pattern their medications after the local formulary. However, there are not enough missionary teams going to this area to sustain year-round care for patients with chronic diseases. This is compounded by the apparent lack of good management at the local government clinic.

The Vision Team, led by Maxine Schultz had six missioners and three translators. The team saw 223 patients. All patients were screened for pterygium formation with 93 out 223 patients having the start of a pterygium in one or both eyes. This is defined on dictionary.com as “an abnormal triangular mass of thickened conjunctiva extending over the cornea and interfering with vision.”­

All patients over 50 were screened for glaucoma, macular degeneration, and cataracts. The team used both prescription glasses (from the Lion’s Club country-wide program) and reading glasses to help with each person’s vision. Since cataract surgery is difficult to obtain in Honduras, pinhole glasses were used to help persons with severe cataracts or severe myopia. The team also utilized some new type of “Adjustable Eye Glasses” which helped several patients who had very different readings between their two eyes. All patients left the clinic with eye drops to reduce eye irritation and for protection from the sun, hats and sunglasses. The hats and sunglasses were donated by the FUMC congregation and friends.

Ron Battle led the Children’s Oral Health Clinic classes. His team held two classes/sessions per day — one in the morning and one in the afternoon. There were 25 children in each session. The children were instructed on how to properly brush their teeth and once their teeth were clean, fluoride was applied. In addition to teaching and treating the 200 children, each child was given a toothbrush and a tube of toothpaste.

The primary task of the Construction Team, led by Bill Henry, was to stucco the inside and outside walls of the Diez de Septiembre Sunday school addition, which the team constructed last year. The main construction material in Honduras is concrete and bricks. The first day the team started by sifting three loads of gravel that had been dug from the river bed below Talanga and delivered by oxcart to the site. They were able to complete the outside and inside walls by the end of the work week.

The 65 humanitarian mission teams from FUMCOR have served in more than 30 locations in four countries. In addition to the activities discussed above, the church has also performed: psychological counseling, pastor training, community gardening, vented stove construction, community health assessments, disaster relief kit verification, Vacation Bible Schools, and reconstruction of storm-damaged homes in Kentucky, Mississippi, New York and Tennessee. More than 1,050 missioners have participated in these projects and programs.

FUMCOR mission teams have had many members from surrounding states and some from as far away as Albuquerque, New Mexico. Many religious denominations have participated in the FUMCOR mission programm including Hindus, Buddhists, Mormons, Catholics, Baptists, Lutherans and people who do not attend a church.

If you are interested in serving, just contact the pastoral staff at the church.

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