Part of the "Missions Family:" Medical Volunteers Serving in Honduras

August 23, 2016 • Honduras
Dr. Bohl Performing Surgery at Hospital Loma de Luz in Honduras
Dr. Bohl Performing Surgery at Hospital Loma de Luz in Honduras

Hospital Loma de Luz has become a second home for a husband-and-wife medical team from North Carolina.

Like many mission hospitals overseas, Hospital Loma de Luz in Honduras could not function without short-term doctors who donate their time and expertise to care for patients and relieve overworked staff.

Among those dedicated medical volunteers are Dr. Dan and Brigid Bohl from Edenton, North Carolina. Dan is a urologist. Brigid is an advanced practice nurse. The couple returned in July for their eighth service trip to Honduras through World Medical Mission since 2014.

Less than a decade ago, the Bohls were enjoying flourishing medical careers in Ohio. With their children grown and their retirement approaching, they felt it was time to make major life changes—and shift their focus to mission work.

Dr. Dan and Bridget Bohl.

Dr. Dan and Bridget Bohl

“We decided that we would have greater value by serving in a different capacity, and we began to serve the international community with medical missions,” said Dan. “We are blessed to have good health and remaining talents, and we feel obligated to put our capabilities to good use.”

Dan and Brigid relocated to the Atlantic coast and started a small-town urology practice, donating their income to charities or to cover expenses for mission trips. They traveled on short-term stints with a missions organization to Ethiopia, Ecuador, Bolivia, and the Dominican Republic, and organized medical mission trips to Haiti through their church.

After attending a Prescription for Renewal conference a few years ago, the couple began serving with World Medical Mission in Honduras. They believed their work would be most effective if they served multiple times in a single location.

“We came to recognize that we were being led exactly to the place where Dan’s skills could be best utilized,” added Brigid. “Hospital Loma de Luz offered the possibility of a sustainable urology program in an area of need. Prayers could not have been more fully answered.”

Maintaining their own medical practice and finding time to go overseas has been something of a juggling act. “Our greatest challenge is coverage when we are away. This is the reason we have been limiting our mission projects to only one week,” Dan explained.

When they are in Honduras, Dan performs operations and teaches techniques to general surgeons at Loma de Luz. Brigid manages the urologic operating room, assisting Dan as a circulating nurse and overseeing endoscopic instrument care and preparation. She also helps with patient evaluations.

Loma de Luz is a 50-bed hospital perched on a bluff overlooking the Caribbean Sea. The name means “Hill of Light,” and those treated inside its corridors experience both qualified medical care and the love of Jesus Christ.

Hospital Loma de Luz

Hospital Loma de Luz

Brigid readily admits her conversational Spanish is “not very good,” but with the aid of an interpreter she is able to share her faith with patients. “I have told them that Dan and I are here because Jesus loves them and we love them. When patients are discharged, I hug them and tell them ‘vaya con Dios, mi amigo.’ They all understand and smile. Many say they will pray for us and ask that God will allow us to return to Honduras. I have learned that by practicing medicine and showing love, I can be an advocate for the Lord.”

“I have learned that by practicing medicine and showing love, I can be an advocate for the Lord.”

Being a light for Christ makes the travails of mission life worthwhile, and for Brigid that includes the oppressive tropical heat, pesky mosquitoes, and “barking” geckos that jump out of the kitchen cupboards in their guest quarters.

Always an optimist, Brigid quips, “The geckos are a good thing. They eat the mosquitoes.”

What brings the Bohls back to Honduras three or four times a year are the relationships they build with patients, staff, and other missionary doctors. They view their work as a service to the full-time physicians who devote their lives to caring for people who cannot repay them.

Rural community near Hospital Loma de Luz

Rural community near Hospital Loma de Luz

“After this many projects at Loma de Luz, Brigid and I feel like part of the missions family,” Dan said. “Among our greatest pleasures is the opportunity to work with these wonderful and committed missionaries.”

Summer activities add to an already packed schedule, but this dynamic duo has no plans to slow down. There’s the annual family getaway with the children and grandchildren, the urology practice, and, of course, the week at Hospital Loma de Luz.

The Bohls simply see medical missions as a way to give back for all that their heavenly Father has done for them. Wherever they go in the world, they experience constant reminders of His presence and provision. “Sometimes we visit the beautiful waterfront near our home and watch the osprey fly overhead,” said Brigid. “We know that we are blessed, and we recognize that none of this is possible without our loving God.”