"This is where I felt I could best be used by the Lord," Dr. Jefferson McKenney
says when asked, "Why Honduras?"
Four years ago Jeff McKenney
practice as a general surgeon and headed to Honduras to open a medical clinic and chapel near the village of Balfate.He
is now joined by other missionaries who administer to the medical and spiritual needs of patients in a country where the per capita income is $660 a year.
More staff and more money are needed as the new 60-bed hospital readies for a January opening that will offer more surgeries, patient visits and emergencies than his
outpatient clinic can handle.With those needs in mind, a handful of South Mississippians calling themselves the Hospital Loma de Luz Benefit Committee
are holding a Nov. 19 fund-raising.
...McKenney created Cornerstone Foundation in 1992, because he knew his life's calling is medical missions.
The missionary families who live there home-school their children, although Mrs. McKenney
has started a school for Hondurans, who seldom go beyond third grade.
preaches, builds, does surgery on Tuesdays and Thursday and clinics on Mondays Wednesdays and Fridays, and he
is on call 24 hours.He
sings and plays the guitar and the flute.He
was on the backhoe when we got there."McKenney
, 48, was reared in a military family that traveled a lot in his
was 12 when his
father retired and moved to a Kentucky farm.That's when he
became a Christian and knew he
was destined for medical mission work.McKenney
attended medical school on a Navy scholarship and married Rosanne, a nurse and school teacher who is the daughter of missionaries in Italy.They did mission work together whenever they could.
After the military, McKenney
went into a surgical partnership in Biloxi.
"On a trip to Belize some years ago, Jeff
was talking to a missionary about areas in need and the man pointed to a place on the map in Honduras," said McKenney's sister, Sally Mahoney, who lives in Kentucky and handles Cornerstone's publicity.
had always enjoyed Latin American people and he
spent a number of years visiting different countries in Central America.He
was trying to get a feel for the need for a hospital in a place that didn't have existing health care.He
remembered what the missionary had told him years earlier and went to Honduras."McKenney
found the exact spot the missionary had pointed to, and surprisingly the land was for sale.
...Dr. Jeff McKenney
wife Rosanne brought their children, Gabe, Hanna and Nate, to Honduras when they moved there to open Hospital Loma de Luz.For 10 years McKenney had practiced general surgery in Biloxi.
...What: Benefit and silent auction for Hospital Loma de Luz, a Christian mission hospital started in Honduras by Biloxi physician Jeff McKenney.