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First Baptist of Thomson makes a difference in Honduras

This is Part 2 of a story recounting the First Baptist Church of Thomson's mission trip to Honduras May 29 through June 5. The experiences gained in helping the village of Las Trojas pointed most of the team members toward a closer relationship with God and a people who needed their efforts.


The group of First Baptist missionaries.

The team of 14 from the McDuffie County area went to the village in central Honduras, the second largest city in Central America. The group was some 1,500 miles from the comforts of the place they call home. The team sought to aid a village of 600 with labor and instruction.

Team members included Marjorie Barnett, James Bloodworth (Bon Air), Charles Groover, Billy Hadden, Britt Hammond, Carroll Hughes, Parker Land, Susan Land, Jerry McClung (Cordele), Michael McGahee, Julia Palmer (Washington), Robert Petrie, Mary Sudlow and Foster Wylie.

During their venture, the crew finished 19 concrete floors, cemented in 5 latrines, left material to vent 32 chimneys, saw 300 people in the medical clinic, 115 people through the eye clinic and 170 people at a dentist station.

Dr. Carroll Hughes -- a veteran

Dr. Hughes has been a dentist in our community for many years. He was on the medical team. Hughes has been on nine of the 10 mission trips First Baptist has taken.

Mission Trip
 • Part 1: Group spreads gospel to Las Trojas through community work


"We went to the same village we went to last year. It gave us a chance to rekindle friendships and that was nice. We adopted the village, meaning we worked to build and helped subsidize some of the construction costs," he said.

"We sat up outside. The villagers put up a little tarp for us and we gave exams. While it got pretty hot in the daytime, the nights were nice near the edge of the mountains where we stayed in dormitories," he said.

Dr. Hughes said the excursion was a chance for him to show others the love of Jesus.

"I went to portray the love of Jesus Christ to these people. We have a banner we carry that says in Spanish we come in the name of Jesus Christ. God loves all. We just went to show He loves them and loves them through us and the abilities we have to help them."

While the village is pretty isolated, Dr. Hughes said the people were not. The villagers were very friendly. When we arrived on the truck, they would not let us move our own things. It was like they were driven to help us.

"The first day there, we carried some toys," he said. "We gave the youngsters a couple of Frisbees. They played with them all day. When it came time for us to leave in the afternoon, they came back and wanted to give them back to us. "We said 'No, those are yours. You keep them," they were so happy."

Foster Wylie -- a rookie

Mr. Wylie, owner of Curtis Funeral Home, was on the construction team. He helped pour flooring for family homes. For years, he wanted to go. This year, he went.

He chuckles when he thinks of one of his journal entries for the trip.

"I wrote one word - "cemento,' which is the Spanish word for cement," he said. "I mixed cement every day at the village from 8 in the morning until 4 in the afternoon. We had no such thing as Quick Crete."


Foster Wylie (far right) twirls a jump rope for village kids.

"On the last day, we poured a big floor for a kindergarten school. Six of 20 villagers and us did in one hour, what we were told by our guide would take close to 20 hours. It was phenomenal," he said.

Wylie has experience with cement based on vaults made for his funeral business. But in Honduras, the work is basic.

"I've mixed a lot of cement in my life. But there, we mixed cement on the bare ground. There were no wheelbarrows or mixers. The end result was as good as or better than what we do over here. I was and am still amazed."

Wylie said the trip stood out third in his living experiences, preceded first by his marriage to his wife Pat, and second, her clean bill of health from cancer in 2003.

"I told someone I was going there expecting to help the people and that was one of the dumbest statements I have ever made," he said. "It was I who came away changed. You see, they didn't need to be changed. In their Christian lifestyle, though we deem it to be poverty, but they- like the Apostle Paul- are content with which they have. They love you for who you are. There is nothing attached. It is free. On Jacob's ladder they are on the ninth of 10 rungs and I am on the second. They blessed me far more than I blessed them."

And then there was a young boy Wiley befriended early in the trip.


Dr. Jerry McClung (left) and Dr. Carroll Hughes work on a patient.

"The first day there I made eye contact with a 6-year-old boy," he said as his eyes became a bit misty at the recollection. "His name was Alfredo and he and I, we bonded. It was plain and simple. I couldn't talk his language and he couldn't mine, but it was there. A lot of times when I would sit near the school, he would sit beside me. I had bought a big inflatable soccer ball. The big kids had their regular soccer balls, but the kids Alfredo's age didn't. I made a point to give it to Alfredo. They loved playing with it.

When it came time to part company with the villagers, Mr. Wiley sought out his new friend.

"When I left, I wanted to give him something. I had a straw hat to keep the sun off. When we went to leave, we walked among the villagers to tell them bye. Alfredo was not there near the truck when I got ready to leave, but I got an idea. Billy Hadden has a straw hat he gave to a four-year-old and the same thing struck me. If I could find Alfredo, my hat would be his. As I got on the truck, I whispered a prayer about Alfredo, asking where he was. I had no more said it to myself and he appeared. I hollered for him to come over and I laid down on the floor of the truck and handed him my straw hat. So while most of the men and older boys in the village had baseball hats. Two little boys had straw hats from men in Thomson, Georgia."

His voice cracking as he quietly looked at his hands resting on his desk; Mr. Wylie said it was a quiet ride from the village on the last day.


Jim Bloodworth (left) talks with a child while Mike McGahee fills a bottle.

"I knew I wasn't going to the village again for a long time," he said. While I was happy because I was going home, it was a sad feeling knowing I wasn't going to get up the next morning and help those people. I can't wait for the chance to go back."

Web posted on Thursday, July 8, 2004

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