Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I; send me.” Isaiah 6:8
For some, mission work is part of the Christian DNA. Whether at home or abroad, many apply their talents, training, and skill in an effort to help others.
However, for some, like Dr. Christopher Holloway at TriStar Family Practice at the Crossings, there’s a deeper connection to missionary work.
His work has taken him around the world – Nigeria, Jamaica, and Honduras – and he’s developed a particular affinity for Honduras.
While he did his residency in Richmond he had the opportunity to work with people battling inner city poverty. However, he began his overseas mission work a few years ago. In 2009, he took a trip to Nigeria, which he said was seven or eight days.
“It was a multi-specialty trip that took us to one of the premier medical institutions there,” Holloway said. They offered critiques and advice to help local physicians improve, and Holloway said he saw between 300 and 500 patients every day, working from first light until dark.
However, it is Honduras that has captured his heart.
“I love to do it,” Holloway said, of his travels to Honduras. “It’s doing what we love without the bureaucracy.”
He said the challenges to practicing medicine in Honduras are quite different than in the U.S.
They see hundreds of patients while in Honduras, operating in the northern city of San Pedro Sula.
“We are doing all we can, taking all we can,” Holloway said, but added that Honduras is essentially a bankrupt country and stated that Honduras is not making major changes in the country’s infrastructure, including medical infrastructure.
He said Honduras has a lack of basic supplies, health education, and providers.
“We offer a little education, some medical supplies,” he said. He also said he has focused on establishing strong relationships in Honduras that allow him to continue working.
As an example, he said there is a leadership team in Honduras who are native to the area.
“They prep the area, organizing an itinerary and making patients aware,” he said. “All we need to do is show up. It is like a clinic.”
While they provide supplies to the various nations where he works, Holloway called it a band aid. “We’ll give medicine, but it will run out. The system is a problem.”
He said the differences in healthcare in the U.S. and these other nations is striking.
“If you are acutely ill, you show up at the ER,” he said. “We have clinics. There’s something in place to help everyone.”
In other countries, Holloway said, there is no program available if you do not have financial resources.
“No income equals no health care,” he said.
More than anything, Holloway said he is blessed by the support he receives.
A local registered nurse, Loida Rodriguez, whom he said is absolutely a marvel when it comes to helping making the mission trips successful.
He is also grateful to TriStar for their support.
“TriStar is amazing,” he said. “They are always giving me time and prayers. I’m so grateful.”
Up next is a trip to Jamaica with Joy Church International. That will happen in June. Holloway said he is also considering a trip to India, or maybe Africa, but he keeps coming back to Honduras.
“Honduras is where my heart is,” he said.