JACKSON, Tenn. – Feb. 23, 2011 – When Houston Wyatt arrived in Belize in January as part of a mission trip, it was the first time he had ever left the United States.
“We went to help those people in any way we could,” said Wyatt, a third-year pharmacy student at Union University. “We were helped just as much as they were, as far as seeing how they live and how grateful and humble they were about the situation they were in.”
Wyatt was one of 35 people from the Union School of Pharmacy who traveled to Hattieville, Belize, to do a variety of ministry and healthcare work among the impoverished there. The group included 25 students and 10 faculty, staff and community partners.
“Our students went into schools every day in the surrounding villages and did lessons on diabetes, hypertension, nutrition and exercise,” said Josh Clarke, admissions coordinator for the School of Pharmacy.
Clarke pointed out that diabetes and hypertension are two leading causes of death in Belize.
After working among residents and at schools during the day, the team led services at a local church in the evening, with Clarke and Doug Duncan, a pharmacist from Dyer, Tenn., sharing the preaching duties and pharmacy students giving testimonies and leading in worship.
Following the services, the group held a health fair, in which team members checked blood pressure and blood sugar and provided information about prevention and treatment of diabetes and hypertension.
Clarke told about one local pastor named Floyd who asked for prayer because of his church members had just died, partially because of hypertension. The night the pharmacy team visited his church, “the community came out in droves … because they knew they needed help,” Clarke said.
“Not only was this a really cool picture for the importance of healthcare in that area,” Clarke said. “It was a great picture of the urgency of the gospel, because we’re not promised tomorrow. We’re not promised the next few minutes.”
Ashley Pugh, a first-year pharmacy student at Union, said the trip proved to be a blessing to her, even as she was a blessing to others.
“It was kind of like a best-of-both-worlds mission trip,” Pugh said. “We got to use things we had already learned in pharmacy school, but we got to do a lot of traditional ministry as well.”