Honduras 1997 and 1998

Dr. Williams first became involved in medical missions in 1997 and 1998 when he traveled with the International Mission Board to help provide medical relief to remote sections of Honduras. Having worked as a medical assistant in a surgeon’s practice and the emergency room, Mr. Williams was already familiar with the basics of physical exams. During this trip, the mission team set up a home base at a compound in Olanchito, Honduras. From there, they set out on backpacking trips to visit remote jungle villages inhabited by Mestizo Indians. Some days, they were fortunate enough to have burros to help carry the load. Other days, they carried the supplies by backpack. Being semi-fluent in Spanish, one of his main jobs was to translate medication prescriptions and instruct patients on how to take the medications.

Dr. Williams recounts one incident when they were driving by truck to the trailhead. A gang of roughly 8 armed men came out of the jungle to stop the mission caravan of two trucks and a van. The first truck caught the men off guard. The local missionary who was driving the first truck radioed back to the other two vehicles to tell them, “don’t stop for these guys. Keep driving”. The van flew by the gang as they were assembling. Dr. Williams was sitting on the back tailgate of the last truck with his close friend, Dr. Matt Davis. By this time, the gang had assembled across the road in front of this truck. Not familiar with instances like this, the driver of the third truck slowed almost to a stop but then heard a radio call from the lead truck driver, “Don’t stop! Floor it and drive right through them!” The driver pressed on the gas and the men scattered.

“As we passed them, they threw rocks and hit the truck with machetes.” Drs. Williams and Davis jumped in the back of the pickup bed under the protection of the truck topper. “Rocks were coming under the cap and hitting us in the bed.” We just kept going. As it turns out, the gang was intent on robbing the vehicle and supplies. “If we would’ve stopped and avoided being kidnapped, it would’ve left us stranded in the middle of the mountainous jungles.”