Author Archives: Jerry Eickhoff

Be Still and Know

Foreward by Jerry Eickhoff

For 26 years HOI has been answering God’s call to strengthen communities in Latin America through long-term partnerships. The profound long term impact on the lives of the people we serve has been well documented. The long term impact, however, on the North Americans who serve as the catalytic agents of change is not as well known.

No two mission trips are ever the same; neither are the ways we encounter and hear from God. Sometimes God calls us to work, to get our hands dirty, to sweat, and to “make things happen”. Other times He calls us to listen, to be still, or to simply “be” in partnership with families,  communities, and each other in the places where He has been working long in advance of our arrival. One of the great lessons we’ve learned is that in every instance God has beat us to the scene.

The touching story of Anne Ostholthoff and her family speaks to God’s urging to “be still and know that He is God”. We know for a fact that God can communicate with us on our trips in ways that penetrate the fog of our hectic everyday lives here.  In that environment we don’t miss the message.

Please take a few minutes in quiet solitude to place yourself at the Ranch inside the gathering room adorned with Anne’s “Patchwork Painting” of life in Olancho, accented with whimsical cats and birds, and absorb what she shares from her heart. Please be in partnership and prayer with Bob, Joe, and Anne, and all that are with them on this difficult journey.  We are thankful that her trips to Honduras were a part of her communion with God. Her words add an air of reverence to the environment she helped create at Rancho el Paraiso, our base in Honduras.  “Be still and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” Psalm 46:11


BEING STILL AND  KNOW
by Anne Ostholhoff

PREFACE

God has been communicating with me in an amazing way since 2013 when He asked me to begin walking through a dark valley. (NOTE: Some of you know, others don’t, that my husband was contracted with cancer in 2013 and is living now to keep the tumors in his lungs from growing so we can have lots more time together. Additionally, this past November, his cancer moved to his brain requiring surgery). I’m compelled to finally document this experience with God as His amazingly personal outpouring of love to me is something I must share. Many have asked “how are you able to deal with this?” and I can truthfully say it is only because God is so obvious with His love and nearness right now – and in moments you’ll learn about in this story of how He steps up the messaging, fresh and surprisingly abrupt with yet another moment where He says “I’m here and I’m loving you no matter where you are.” The story proves that God is real, this story is woven over 20 years in amazing coincidence that can’t be coincidence. So here you go – this is a story of how God loves us all, and weaves His loving ways into our lives… at least my story of this reality.

THE STORY BEGINS BUT NO ONE KNOWS

It was 1994 and I was with a team of artist friends who joined me on a mission trip to the Honduras Outreach’s ranch in San Esteban, Honduras. Our task was to hand-­deliver the large mural created by elementary school students with me  in  Chicago  saying  “Hola! Nos Gusto Mucho Honduras!” (Hello, we  love you Honduras!) – to the town mayor… which we did in a small ceremony. We then were to work with the students in a series of 4‑5 schools to create individual drawings titled “What it’s like where I live” that we would  take  back  to  the  students  in  the  Cabrini  Green  neighborhood  where  I  worked.  These  were  in exchange for the drawings we delivered from the kids in Chicago that were created to the same theme. It was an “art exchange”. We shared photos of the kids in Chicago with those in the schools in Honduras and vice versa. It was lovely, and deeply moving to watch both groups of students’ eyes open as they shared an experience with children their same age from so far away and from such different circumstances – thatched roof huts vs. concrete public high-­rise housing.

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As part of our time at the ranch, my friend Jennifer and I also decided to see if there was an interest in our adding some artistic touches to the facility and perhaps paint a few things on the blank walls. We were given the freedom to paint whatever we liked – so I took the little foyer and painted all the walls a bright blue and in the center with a simple border painted a verse of scripture in Spanish; I then also painted a large grid “Patchwork Painting” on a wall and engaged some of the ranch hands and farmers, cooks and staff to paint their image of “How I Know God Loves Me” into their own unique square space. Jennifer painted little realistic sketch like paintings of animals all over the place…birds on top of window sills, a cat near the floor behind a door, surprises all around. We finished the trip and left for home with great memories, and mission accomplished with the schools.

 

A NEW STORY BEGINS

In 2014, our family signed up for a mission trip through our church (North Point Ministries) and planned to join the team going to Haiti.  However, a few weeks into the planning, we were asked if we would shift to the team going to Honduras as they needed another few families. We agreed. It was after a few weeks into this trip’s planning that we realized we would be going to the exact place I’d been years earlier – now called HOI, instead of Honduras Outreach, but it was the exact same organization (now expanded into other countries) and the name abbreviated. I met members of the exact same ministry team, we visited the exact same village and stayed at the same ranch facility! I could not believe that my husband and son were now returning with me to the very same place and experience some of the same things I did 20 years earlier!

The thread of the story of my heart being touched by God in an amazingly personal way starts here.

Before we left, we had two bits of unfortunate news: the first, that the cancer we thought was gone from Bob’s throat was actually back, this time in his lungs. When we would return to the US, he would have to have surgery and we’d start a new journey of treatments. The second, was that we would have 4 weeks in which to find a new home and move as the house we tried to buy went to another couple willing to pay a premium for serious construction issues we discovered during the inspection.

From left to right: Bob, Anne, and their son Joe

We arrived at HOI’s ranch in Honduras and I surveyed the facility with Bob and Joe. While there was much change and new additions for more space, there were still the very same rooms with our artworks — the scripture I’d painted on the wall, the large grid painting, the smaller animal illustrations were all in tact! Then, at the initial prayer meeting with the ranch staff in the simple courtyard, three men came up to me, took my hand and guided me to the room with the large painting. There they pointed to their artworks and helped me see, despite the language boundary, their own individual artworks – and then they pointed to me, through teary eyes and with smiling, weathered faces said they remembered – 20 years ago – painting with me! Bob and Joe were amazed and needless to say, I was overcome. God was here touching my heart for sure. But it gets even more obvious!

Each morning when at home I awaken early (4 am typically) for a conversation with God involving journaling and reading scripture, listening to Him prompt my heart and reading various other devotionals by Boyd Bailey, Ken Boa and Nancy DeMoss. Here on this trip, I’d planned to do the same and arranged for a borrowed key, that would allow me to sit in a rocker in the same room as the large artwork using my phone for a flashlight in the pre-­‐‑dawn  darkness. The first morning, as I wept to God about all we were now facing, I was directed to this Scripture “Be still and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations; I will be exalted in the earth” Psalm 46:10. This calmed me, spoke truth I could not deny and helped me hugely.

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The days passed and we were busy with trips to small villages, helping children to engage in artistic, fun experiences as our team worked with their teachers in the schools, and various construction projects — helping the townspeople build new additions to their homes, outdoor latrines and assist with other projects. We returned exhausted to the ranch but filled with the satisfaction of knowing we were helping to make a big difference. On one of these days, I walked through the hallway I’d painted and stood to notice the Scripture I’d painted in Spanish. For the first time this trip I noticed the verse was – yes – Psalm 46:10. I fell to my knees, cried openly and prayed such gratitude to God for talking to me so amazingly personally. Having me paint, by my own hand, 20 years ago in this far part of the world, the very Scripture He’d given to me a few days earlier to help me right now.

THE STORY BUILDS ON AND ON

So, we returned from the mission trip, found a temporary home in time, and began working through the challenges of Bob’s cancer. God continued as well to use this verse to speak to me at moments when I needed His encouragement most.

The first such experience was when I visited my friend Julie at her home in Serenbe. I had a reaction to her sincere question “How are you Anne?” that included tears – and of gratitude for our friendship, and in my moments of pouring out my heart I shared this story with her. She smiled and after we’d finished lunch, guided me to a path in the woods to walk down a path and sit on a bench and see what was on the ground in front of me. I did and saw “Be Still and Know”. Needless to say I was deeply moved by God’s hand once again – holding mine at a moment when I needed it most.

In late November, within a two day span I lost my job, learned that my step-­brother committed murder and suicide, and that Bob would have to have brain surgery as the cancer had shown up there now too. Many friends rallied around me and one asked me to her home for prayer (as did others too!), but in this case Camilla also ended up hearing this story, smiled and took me into her daughter’s room where just a few months prior she had purchased a plaque — large and beautifully painted on wood that read “Be Still and Know that I am God”.

In January, I was enjoying time with my friend Katie in her home for a conversation and prayer as well. We spoke then of our kids and how we longed for the wisdom to help them help themselves best in this society of media heavy bombardments. We shared concerns and agreed to pray for each other. As I left, I spied a small plaque in her window to the left of the door in the foyer with the same Psalm 46:10 scripture verse. I caught my breath, told her I’d share this story this way, got in my car and cried out in gratitude that God there again, was so very close to me, showing up when I needed encouragement.

In February, I was asked to shift dates at Whitefield School’s Middle School Bible Study class “Stone Works” where I was to share a 10-minute message about “perseverance.” Tyrone Johnson, the teacher, was starting a lesson on the difference between survival and endurance. It was amazing how my thoughts “dove-­tailed” into his message, clearly revealing the shift in schedule was God ordained. In fact, the connection we made was this: survival is tackling fearful situations alone; endurance is inviting God to stand with you as you  tackle a fearful situation together. Coach Johnson blessed me with his thoughts and in closing said these words: “We need to be still and know that God is in control, and listen to what God says to us to help us endure life’s hardships  and challenges”.

Finally, every morning I place on my bed a small pillow that my friend Terri gave to me over 8 years ago now that says “Be”. Amazing isn’t it?

So – I know God is for real, I know He holds me close and have proof in many other stories just like this one, of how He has woven threads through my life to demonstrate He’s been with me all along, and can show that to us if we are still.

I know He is God… and I share this remarkable story so that He is exalted.

AnneO
Anne Ostholthoff
anneostholt2@gmail.com

Visions for the Future, Major Initiatives Ahead

2016 promises to be a year full of exciting new initiatives and the continuation of ongoing effective ministries. Here is a sneak preview of what’s ahead:

Clean Water at Point of Consumption

There’s a tsunami of clean life-giving water coming! Following the initiatives of the St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church (Dunedin, FL) in Honduras and Comunidad Connect in Nicaragua, HOI has validated that the implementation of in-home water filter systems has a dramatic effect on the reduction of water-borne illnesses in our areas of operation. In response to this acquired knowledge, HOI has launched a major initiative partnering with groups and villages to implement a comprehensive hygiene education and filtered water program for hundreds of families in Honduras and Nicaragua. This effort will be jump-started by a generous grant from GlobalX, funded by the annual North Point Community Church “Be Rich” Campaign. Additional financial support will come from the recently launched Family Health Partnership program ($39 per month if you’d like to join) at HOI, and also from group community development support. The plan is to work with select mission teams to help provide education and materials for this effort. Local participants will commit financial resources and also invest time in training to learn the value of good hygiene, clean water consumption, and care and maintenance of their filters. Teams will help construct support tables and also assemble the filters and buckets for delivery. Our goal in 2016 is to install point of consumption filtration systems in at least 1000 homes. We have enlisted support from public health experts and the CDC to advise and monitor our program and results.

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Honduran family with a water filtration system in their home

Expanding corporate partnerships in Southern Honduras

HOI has executed a third corporate partnership in southern Honduras, joining forces with another outstanding corporate organization that wishes to help improve the lives of the people living in that area of the country. An agreement of mutual support was signed with the Chorotega Foundation, the faith based philanthropic arm of the Chorotega Credit Union in Choluteca that is dedicated to helping start and nurture small businesses in Honduras. Chorotega will assist HOI teams with the logistics of working in the South, and will help our local staff build relationships and partnerships with the people we’ll serve. We hope to send a few teams with our new partner in 2016, so if you’d like to be an early adopter, just let us know. These are wonderful people to work with, as are our initial two partners Agrolibano and LUFUSSA, so we know you will have very rewarding and impactful experiences. We still have room for about 7 more teams with our partners in southern Honduras for 2016 if you’d like to help us in that area.

Camila Reina, HOI Director of Development and Gov't Relations (Honduras); Jerry Eickhoff, HOI CEO; Jorge Nuñez, Chorotega

Camila Reina, HOI Director of Development and Gov’t Relations (Honduras); Jerry Eickhoff, HOI CEO; Jorge Nuñez, Chorotega

Increasing medical support in the South

One of our medical team partners will be making a trip to San Lorenzo and Choluteca in 2016. In addition to these professionals, HOI would like to increase its logistical support to the two major hospitals in the area, Hospital San Lorenzo (HSL), and The Hospital of the South (Hospital del Sur, HDS). HSL is a smaller, well run institution that is becoming a model for the country, due in large part to of the efforts of our partner Agrolibano Foundation and other corporate sponsors.

HDS, on the other hand, is a very large public hospital that is underfunded and in desperate need of additional resources and support. Although the corporate partners are also helping this large organization, they are in need of significantly more resources. Upon a recent visit the massive over-crowding, lack of supplies, and equipment were heartbreaking to witness. The maternity ward, for example, delivers on average about 6,600 babies per year.  As a result of the hospital’s poor conditions, it has become the norm for two women and their new born babies to share a bed with no sheets or pillows. There is also no potable water in the 250 bed hospital. HOI would like to play a catalytic role with local and international resources to help continue improvements at HDS so the health care professionals on staff can be much more effective serving the people of Choluteca.

Our goal is to help both of these hospitals initiate a combined MAP (map.org) medication shipment in early 2016. Agrolibano will arrange the financing fee for this shipment.
We would also like to work with MedShare (medshare.org) for a medical supplies and equipment shipment to the Hospital of the South. We plan to work with Honduran corporate sponsors and other supporters to make this a reality. We are currently working on inventory needs, internal controls, and accountability to ensure efficient implementation.

Expanded educational and sports programs and ministries

Due to the success of our elementary and middle school programs, and growing demand for higher education and skills training in our area of influence, HOI is investigating the feasibility and advisability of developing a high school and career academy near Rancho el Paraiso. The flame of learning has been ignited in Olancho and almost 100% of our Hope Middle School graduates now desire to continue their education beyond the 9th grade. Building on our early economic development successes motivated by our catalytic agent, Smoke Rise Baptist, HOI places a high priority on job creation for the people of Olancho. To that end, our initial thought is that any additional educational offerings should include skills and career training.

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Our evaluation will also consider the potential for a robust faith based athletic program that would be focused on soccer for boys and girls.  We are considering a sports and family life complex that would be used for the school activities, leagues, faith and skills coaching, Young Life, and community gatherings. This planning and review is in its initial stages and there are no determinations yet. However, we wanted each of you to know the types of initiatives we’re considering if you’d like to join us in the effort.

As a wonderful 2015 comes to a close, and an exciting 2016 looms in the future, I wish you all a blessed Holiday Season and a healthy and happy New Year. Thank you for your continued generous support and unceasing prayers.

God bless,

Jerry

Jerry

Jerry Eickhoff
CEO

Letter from the CEO: Feeling Thankful

 

This is the joy and “esperanza” of Christmas, a blessed miracle of the highest order.

In the case of HOI, the appearance of the heavenly hosts wasn’t so “sudden” but they appeared nonetheless, over a period of many years, and for that we are thankful. I saw a quote stating that special education teachers are angels disguised as extraordinary human beings. I believe this to be true, and the same can be said for all those who are dedicated servants of so many ministries like HOI.

2015 has been a year of remarkable advances in the lives of thousands of people in Honduras and Nicaragua, thanks be to God. The staff and partners of HOI are feeling great humility and appreciation for all of you who were a part of making these life-changing efforts a reality.

In Light of these blessings we’ve all received, I want to reflect on the year by highlighting a few, just a few, of the many supporters who have been the angels disguised as extraordinary humans. Knowing it is dangerous to mention only a few because there are so many, gratitude to ALL compels me to take the risk of omission.  I decided to identify a few sources of God’s love for our ministry and those we partner with in the villages of Honduras and Nicaragua. Our heartfelt thanks to:

• The graciousness of the people of Nicaragua and Honduras for accepting us into their homes and hearts as we struggle to discern and follow God’s will.

• The dozens of church partners and the over 1000 mission team members who are on point, on the ground, touching thousands of lives.

• All of our HOI staff members who are dedicated to spreading the light and hope of the Good News, and to helping create a path to improved health, education, and prosperity for all they encounter.

• Our quality partners: in Nicaragua, Comunidad Connect; and in Honduras, Agrolibano Foundation, LUFUSSA, and our new partner Chorotega Foundation.

• Our partnership with Young Life in Honduras, and our fantastic ministry team of Dani and Michael. What a blessing are they!

• The donors, supporters, sponsors, and participants of our events and special fundraising efforts.

• Our mentor and benevolent partner GlobalX.
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• The HAVE Foundation and the Wilderness Team, our generous Education partners.

• The Peugot Center for Engineering Service at the Lipscomb University, for providing the wonderful 104 foot long pedestrian bridge that unites our two school campuses over a busy highway.

• Our specialty teams of health care and dental professionals and veterinarians who administer healing services to people and animals alike to improve the overall health of the communities.

• The musicians, dance instructors, and artists who expand the horizons of the youth and adults they encounter.

• Our hundreds of financial supporters through The Way Forward Campaign, Pathway Scholarship partners, and the new Clean Water initiative of Family Health Partners.

• The team of investors who provided our new tractor and farm implements to allow for expanded agriculture production improving our sustainability.

• The leadership of our HOI Chairman Scott Luttrell (I’ll hear about this, but I rarely get to publically thank our Board) and the entire team of former and current Board Members of HOI for their unbounded generosity and investment of time and talent.

We reflect on the year with hearts full of gratitude for everyone who has prayed, supported, traveled and invested with us. Thank you and God bless you all.

Jerry

Jerry Eickhoff
CEO

In Memoriam – Dan Pattillo, Sr.

Letter from the CEO

In Memoriam- Dan Pattillo

November 25, 2015

 

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Dan Pattillo

It is with heavy hearts that we let you know that one of God’s mighty warriors, Dan Pattillo,  has gone on his last great mission trip. Dan died peacefully last night surrounded by family and his beloved wife Anne. He now is at peace with the Lord he served so generously and well.

Dan was a powerhouse developer in Atlanta for many years, and he became the driving force behind building the infrastructure of the HOI Ranch in Honduras. Through many trips, Dan and his team planned each of the buildings on the Ranch, shipped down all the materials and equipment necessary for construction, and then, as only Dan could do, working in concert with local and US volunteer labor, provided the “hands on” effort and expertise required to build each facility. Having these wonderful facilites has made it possible for us to host thousands of mission members over the past 26 years to partner with 35,000 residents in 130 villages. Dan and Anne also contributed the funds necessary to establish HOI’s award winning clinic in Olancho. Then he built it.

 

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Dan Pattillo Clinic

Anne and Dan Pattillo have left their mark of extreme generosity on people and organizations all over Atlanta, the United States, and the world; but, in no place did he have a bigger impact than Honduras Outreach, Inc. (HOI) and the country of Honduras. Literally thousands of people in this developing country are living healthier and happier lives because of the groundwork he selflessly laid over a 20 year period.

As Thanksgiving approaches, and I reflect upon our ministry in Central America, there is no person I am more thankful for than Dan Pattillo.The trips weren’t easy, the work hard, but the result and the reward were immeasurable. Dan never asked anyone to do anything he wasn’t prepared to do himself. It is the kind of selfless leadership by example that we need so desperately in today’s world. God bless Dan as he rests in Heaven, and  we pray God’s grace and peace for Anne and the family as they deal with this irreplaceable loss.

I also predict God and St. Peter will soon be hearing they’re “burning daylight”!

In His name,
Jerry

Letter from the CEO: Celebrating 25 Years of Miracles and Transformation

 

It seems like just yesterday that Archie Crenshaw, Joe Glenn and I were pulling a van over a muddy mountain trail in rural Honduras trying to get to the Tegucigalpa airport for our flight home. Twenty-five short years ago, that trip was the genesis of an organization that was to change thousands of lives, both North and Central American. I no longer question whether God told Archie to take me to Honduras, but I often wondered for years if he really called Archie to Honolulu!

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Now, twenty-five years later, HOI is celebrating its Silver Anniversary through a series of events in the Decatur and Atlanta area highlighted by a congratulatory visit from President Juan Orlando Hernandez and the First Lady of Honduras, along with a host of other Honduran government officials.  We will also honor four individuals who have supported our organization for many years in quiet, yet powerful, ways: David Allison, Joe Glenn, Barbara McCullough, and Ubaldo Ponce.  You are cordially invited to engage with us on Thursday, November 13, for this festive fundraiser and celebratory evening as we reflect upon our twenty-five years of transformation in Central America. www.hoi.org/rsvp

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HOI’s Rancho el Paraiso, in the Agalta Valley of Honduras, has been the backdrop to countless numbers of miracles over the last twenty-five years.  With God’s grace we continue to see people and communities transformed.  Young Life has established a prominent presence in the Valley and you can literally hear the sounds of joyous youth resonating through the hills.  Medical miracles continue to take place, not the least of which is the near elimination of infant mortality in the area. Recreational organized soccer for boys, girls, men and women is on the way to foster friendships and a greater sense of community. The HOI schools continue to transform the lives of children and give them a brighter hope for the future.  The school grounds themselves have received a face lift that reflects the robust academic environment that has been created and maintained, including a modern computer lab that will allow students to compete more equitably in the global marketplace.  These are but a few of the innumerable miracles we celebrate.

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Over the years, thousands of North Americans have joined in the effort to partner with the people who live in the 130 villages that surround our base in Honduras. Our faith-based approach to sustainable community and economic development, agriculture, education, and healthcare has stood the test of time, now becoming the model for our growth throughout the region. HOI has expanded to northern Nicaragua and southern Honduras to further the impact that began in the Agalta Valley. We are looking for many more teams that are eager to partner with the villagers in these areas, who long for a healthier and more economically sound life. Our mission is to help build up communities through sincere engagement with the people who live there and learning their needs and priorities.  We want to become catalysts of change by providing resources and helping to identify opportunities so residents will have the ability to create communities they are proud and want to remain in to raise their families. There is much work to be done, but HOI is fully committed to follow God’s will and help the transformation continue.

As we continue to look back and press forward, join us as we celebrate the past 25 years of progress and ENGAGE with us as HOI approaches the next 25 years. Help us recognize and honor what God is doing in all of our lives!

To register for the event, visit www.hoi.org/rsvp or email Caitlin McCormick at ljwilling@hoi.org

Blessings,

Jerry Eickhoff, CEO

Letter from the CEO: "Non-Toxic Charity"

 

Christ taught his followers to “feed the poor,” but He also taught His followers that they would accomplish “greater works” for the Kingdom.  Our goal is to accomplish these greater works by not only feeding the poor, but by empowering the poor to escape long-term poverty.  The concept of sustainability is often one that we North Americans struggle with, especially short-term volunteers.  We’re called to “give,” and give we do.  Yet sometimes our well-intentioned giving isn’t as healthy for the recipients as we would hope.

If we’ve learned anything in our 25 years of partnership with the people of Central America, it’s been that we need to help empower our friends while not creating a sense of dependence upon our generosity. That is why we require investment, both fiscal and physical, in each of our projects, by the recipients of our collective efforts. It’s also why we strive in every way possible to create economic opportunity and market-driven solutions to improve living conditions for the long term. While residents of the Agalta Valley are a long way from realizing our dreams of full self-support, together we’re making progress a little at a time.

We at HOI want each of you who so generously and enthusiastically join us in our work to fully understand our ultimate goals.  These are to share God’s truth while improving the quality of life through an environment of dignity and the reality of self sufficiency.

The more invested local people are in creating the solutions to their challenges, the more ownership they take, and the longer the positive results last. We’ve also learned that this balance generates the most transformation in our North American teams that serve with us. Knowing their efforts will help effect lasting change brings a wonderful sense of satisfaction.

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There has been much written in the past few years by effective and experienced Christian community development practitioners like Bob Lupton, author of “Toxic Charity,” on the best practices for short-term missions.  Occasionally the ideas presented initially seem to be at odds with our cause.  We study these books and publications objectively and carefully while engaging face-to-face with their authors to allow us to continually learn better ways to “help” those with whom we partner.

HOI is unique in that we commit to people and places for extended periods of time by utilizing short-term mission teams to implement our long-term strategies.  This gives us the opportunity to engage volunteer teams in very effective, targeted, and useful ways. This approach has produced documented unparalleled results.

In all that we do, including each new service that is introduced, the people we serve evaluate their own situations, develop their own priorities and plans, and then work with us for our catalytic support. The model we utilize requires investment by all parties with an eye towards sustainability.

A recent example of this is the exciting addition of the full service dental practice based at our campus in Olancho. This required considerable “seed capital” generosity by U.S. supporters which allowed HOI to construct, outfit, and staff a modern dental service for the thousands of people in the Valley who had never seen a dentist. The alleviation of pain and related health issues through this ministry is just one more life-altering way that God has used our supporters to great effect. Now our generous visiting dentists and dental technicians will be able to do more than just extract teeth. They will be able to share their expertise by providing additional training for our dental staff as well as practice preventive and restorative services for patients.

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 In order for this service to survive, however, we are charging fees to our patients on an “as able” basis. Those that can afford these very low fees will pay for services, but those who are unable to pay will not be turned away. Our medical staff in Honduras has suggested and developed this fee schedule and plan in order that over time, our dental services will pay for themselves and will not be dependent upon U.S. funding.

We ask our visiting North American dentists to work within this system so that patients understand the value of the treatment they receive. This encourages them to adopt dental hygiene habits that improve oral health, with all of its attendant benefits.  With this fee for service plan in place, one day when the last North American dentist leaves one of our locations many years from now, they can look back with pride on the fact that they worked themselves out of a job.  We can then move on to populations still waiting for life-changing oral health in other geographic areas.

As we shift more and more to this changing paradigm across all of the projects, services, and ministries we undertake, we ask that each of our volunteers keep the long-term impact of our actions in the forefront of our minds. Be on the lookout for ways to turn local activities into economic opportunities. At the end of the day, the only way to move from poverty to prosperity is through the creation of real jobs.

The following chart is a simple illustration that I saw on LinkedIn, and I think this is the “purpose” we’re all looking for, for ourselves and for those we work with in the mission field:

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Let’s pray that God leads each of us to contribute to the salvation, long-term health, and prosperity of our sisters and brothers all over the world.

Blessings,

Jerry Eickhoff, CEO