They set out to change the world, but in so doing, they themselves were changed. This is the story of 11 passionate nursing students who traveled to Honduras for the Senior Intercultural Mission Service in Nursing Class mission experience.
Each year in the senior year of the BSN pre-licensure program, students take a course on intercultural mission service. The objective of this course is to show students in a practical way how they could use their nursing practice for mission purposes. In December of 2017, the students along with two nursing faculty and one translator embarked on a mission to make a difference in Honduras.
There were several elements to this service endeavor. The students participated in clinical service at the local hospital. There they learned that nurses can make big differences even with little resources. The students were moved by the recurring theme nicely worded by Dr. Montez, the medical director, “We don’t have much, but we have our hands and our faith.” The students participated with local physicians in mobile clinics taking health care to remote villages where residents had a hard time getting to the community clinics.
In addition to service at the hospital, students participated in a Vacation Day Camp for children in the area. At these day camps, the students taught principles of good health. These vibrant classes provided evidence based, age appropriate health principles combined with fun activities to reinforce the concepts. One such example of this was the use of a colorful parachute to play games to underscore the importance of “eating the rainbow” of various colored fruits and vegetables each day.
The third dimension of this mission experience was that of networking and mentoring children at the local Reach International Orphanage. They formed many lasting relationships where they were able to share the love of Jesus to these children in a tangible way.
The students all hoped to make a difference during this trip. Their impact on the hospital, community, and children will not quickly be forgotten. However, we all learned that when we seek to serve others, we ourselves are blessed the most. The students shared several ways in which they were personally impacted by the experience, but two threads were repeated many times in the student’s shared reflections. The students shared that they gained a new appreciation for resources and that as nurses we can be more grateful for our resources and use them to do the greatest good. Most significantly, the students were able to experience firsthand the restoration to the image of God in the people and children of Honduras.