Mission trip

Dr. Dennis Tweedy, of Austin, talks to a patient during a Honduras Good Works mission trip last month.

Courtesy photo

Donald Hopkins visited his Honduran family during a mission trip to the region of El Paraiso.

Looking back, Hopkins said he wonders how 64 volunteers were able to help thousands of patients in just one week.

The volunteers traveled to a mountainous region of the country from July 17 to 24 during Honduras Good Works’ medical mission and provided services to more than 3,070 people.

“That’s what kept me going for all these years,” Hopkins said. “Helping people is its own reward.”

Drs. Donald and Bobbi Hopkins founded the nonprofit in 2009 after spending 10 years doing mission work in the country. They are members of St. Christopher’s Episcopal Church in Killeen, which sponsors Honduras Good Works.

“Every time we go it’s different,” Bobbi said.

This year, the group educated teachers about the importance of nutrients as part of the nonprofit’s vitamin project. The group leaves a 365-day supply of vitamins for children every year.

Bobbi said one of the best parts of the nonprofit is that they visit the same region annually, which allows them to see the impact they make toward improving Hondurans’ lives.

“Some of the villages we go to have no medical (care) at all,” Bobbi said. “We know that without us they would not get that medicine. They either don’t have access or money to buy it.”

When the group went last year, one mother said her son was so exhausted due to anemia, an iron deficiency, that he couldn’t go to school. But this year, the boy was able to go to school, gaining education that is vital to improving his family’s lifestyle.

Lisa Able, a nurse from Temple, went on the trip for the first time this year and said it was an eye-opener.

“I don’t think you could ever imagine the poverty that you see down there,” said Able, adding she felt spiritually guided to serve. “We have luxury here (but) the basic things over there they do without.”

Able said nurses saw anywhere from 150 to 300 patients at each clinic daily.

“It was awesome. It was very rewarding,” she said. “Some of the simplest things they were so thankful for, things that you and I can buy at the dollar store, like reading glasses. ... They would get so excited at the fact that they could read again.”

Able plans to go back next year and said the exposure to the country broadened her horizons and her more culturally sensitive.

“It’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience,” she said. “They’re very modest. (I appreciate) how simple their lives are and how much it means to them (that we are there).”

Contact Sarah Rafique at srafique@kdhnews.com or (254) 501-7549. Follow her on Twitter at KDHreporter.

I'm the education reporter at the Killeen Daily Herald. Follow me on Twitter at https://twitter.com/SarahRafique

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