Westmont Magazine At Home in Honduras
Sheree Lynch ’95 had no interest in building a water system in Honduras during the summer of 1993, but her roommate insisted she attend a meeting about the project. “I’ve wanted to be a medical missionary since I was 5,” she says. “I didn’t want to dig trenches.”
Although she went to the session reluctantly, Sheree came away determined to participate. For six weeks that summer she worked on the water project. When the Westmont team left the rural community, she stayed. “I volunteered at La Clinica El Buen Pastor of the Luke Society, and it was one of the most challenging experiences of my life,” she says. “God planted a love in my heart for the people of Honduras.”
Now the supervising physician at the same clinic, Sheree lives close to the village she first visited in 1993. During her junior and senior years at Westmont, she led groups back to Honduras and coordinated additional water projects. “I always stayed when the team left, returning to school with 24 hours or less to get ready for the next semester,” she says. “I felt more at home with each passing day. The peace in my heart could only be born of God.”
Despite a substantial scholarship to another school, Sheree chose to come to Westmont to participate in the medical/dental team for Potter’s Clay, the student outreach to Ensenada, Mexico. “I can’t imagine what my life would be like had I not made that decision,” she says.
After graduating with a degree in biology, she spent six months working at the clinic in Honduras. “During that time, I became sure this was where God was calling me to serve for the rest of my life,” she says. “No one really believed me, least of all the Honduran family with whom I lived!”
Enrolling at Loma Linda Medical School in Southern California, she focused on training that would help her be most effective in Honduras — and she traveled there as often as she could. She completed her residency in family practice at Kaiser Woodland Hills.
A month later she moved to Honduras to begin two years of unpaid government work, a requirement for practicing medicine in the country. “God was faithful and allowed me to complete that service in a health center in the same town as our clinic,” she says. “It was a grueling two years, but I am thankful for the relationships I built with the community and individual families.” She received a license to practice medicine in Honduras in 2005 and maintains her license and board certification as a U.S. physician as well.
Three full-time doctors work at the clinic: Sheree, the director, a pediatrician, and a general physcian. Patients begin arriving about 6 a.m. and stand in line to be seen, sometimes for hours. “The work is endless but rewarding,” she says. “I feel privileged to do what I do each day.”
Sheree cares for cardiac patients and works with children who need to go to the United States for surgery. She has learned to do echocardiograms for children, and the clinic has invested in an echocardiogram machine, the only one of its kind in the country. “It is a daily challenge with 25 children waiting for surgery,” she says. “We have lost four this year. It’s heart-breaking at times, but when a child I was able to save gives me a big hug, it is worth it.”