You know those people who, when you meet them, you instantly click with them? Renee and Seth McLaughlin were some of those people for us. We met them halfway through our week in Honduras and immediately wished we lived in the same area, because we knew we would be good and easy friends. Seth was kind enough to take us to the local coffee shop, where we had some much needed time to cull through photos, translate some interviews, and just find rest in a familiar environment. While we sat and chatted over lunch, we swapped stories and had a great time getting to know Seth. He then took us to his home where his beautiful wife, Renee, had been stuck all week, three months pregnant and on bedrest. Their home was cozy, light, and airy - just my taste - and I loved getting to know Renee over a glass of wine and popcorn (I'm telling ya - my kinda people!)
Renee and Seth are both originally from the Midwest and moved to Atlanta after college and their wedding. They lived in Atlanta for eight years before moving overseas. Renee worked as a Physician Assistant in Cardiothoracic Surgery and Seth as an Assistant Pastor at All Souls Fellowship. They each had interests in missions with regards to their separate fields, and heard about Honduras through an MTW recruiter. After taking a short trip to La Ceiba, they knew they would return one day to stay!
Now, the McLaughlins have been in La Ceiba for a little over two years. Seth is currently directing the Bible Institute and Resource Center of La Ceiba, which provides educational resources and training to churches throughout northern Honduras. These churches are desperately lacking resources, so Seth is working with other team La Ceiba MTW missionaries to offer spiritual classes for church leaders and to build up a theological library in Spanish. Though the Center is only in the initial stages of its development, the goal is to see this Resource Center providing access to every willing church and leader in their region of Honduras.
Meanwhile, Renee has been providing care at the rural medical clinic and is working towards opening a downtown medical clinic and lab in 2017. Because I've always been fascinated by the medical field, I loved learning more from Renee about working as a PA in Honduras. She says that she loves the resilience of the Latin culture, even amongst the gangs, poverty, drugs and violence. "People carry on with strength, people have a pride and belief in Honduras that is incredibly beautiful and contagious. " She loves the medical team she works with and their unified vision of bringing restoration, hope, and healing to her patients and the community. "They are incredibly sweet, caring, and grateful, and it has been so rewarding to build a bond and relationship with them over the last couple years."
I also asked Renee about the challenges of working in the medical field in a third world country - I can't imagine trying to provide a high level of care with such limited resources. Renee agreed, "it can feel like working with your hands tied behind your back. But it is also incredibly challenging in a good way. You are forced to think creatively, you are forced to use basic diagnostic skills because patients cannot afford many of the tests and exams that are needed or they are simply not available here. It is also wonderfully rewarding as you are able to build an incredible relationship with your patients, spend time with them, show them hope. You have the ability to empower them through providing quality care, while also showing that you truly care about them and their well-being.
"It is very powerful to watch the transformation happen to your patients as you show them Christ’s love through sharing your medical gifts and abilities with them."
Renee and Seth have an adorable four-year-old named Gavin and another baby boy on the way! The newest McLaughlin is due in December, so please pray for a healthy and safe pregnancy and delivery. They would also love your prayers as they raise two little boys in a different culture, as well as for wisdom, trust and resources for the continued challenge of funding the medical clinics and Bible Institute.
You can follow their story and read their own sweet words at www.mclaughlinhonduras.com/blog! I hope you enjoy this intimate and fun in-home lifestyle session as much as we do!