Saturday, July 30, 2011

Honduras Mission Thoughts from Heather and Marcia

Heather says: I’m so appreciative of being able to go to Honduras. When I first got there it was not what I expected at all, I was ready to turn around and go home. But once we got to the village and I was able to interact with all the people and kids it was so worth it and before I knew it, it was time to say goodbye and come home. I found that the teenagers there were lucky to go to school. Many my age were already parents themselves.  I woke up early on the first day and milked the cows on the ranch where we stayed.  It was alot of fun.  We also awoke to the sight of beautiful white horses grazing right outside our window. I am so glad I was able to have this experience; it really makes me appreciate everything I have.

Marcia’s thoughts: Many people have asked “Why do you do what you do?” or even better “Why do you return to Honduras?”. The team has pondered this question in evening devotions as well. What we agree on is the call is so strong, it is difficult to resist. Ever since my first experience in global mission, I knew I had put off this call for the last time. Reaching people across the world in relationship building experiences is how I feel we are called to unite in Christ’s love. Though we all may have different cultures and different skin color, we are all one to the Holy One that created us. The boundaries that separate us in social status, religious worship practices, and different cultural practices are removed when we step out of our comfort zone and meet others where they are. I do not go to Honduras to “give them a better life” they enrich my life by reaffirming the fact that there is something to learn out of simplicity in living. Our efforts do bring resources to improve the conditions of their homes and assist in small ways by bringing medical supplies that they don’t have access to. We do not go there, however, to change their way of life. The people of Olancho do not have the material privileges that many of us do; but they are rich in their love of Christ and seem happy in the daily mantra. Their pride in themselves is evident in the cleanliness of their clothes (even though I know they do not have washing machines and every home you go to has clothes hanging on the line from daily chores of cleaning). Even a simple task of cooking dinner that we complain of after a long day of work, for them takes extra efforts because the fire has to be the right temperature, the meat if they have it is fresh because there is no refrigeration, the prep is long and tedious with only a machete as the common household tool instead of a food processor and water must be boiled to prevent illness from exposure of bacteria in the river source where it is hauled from. In all this, they smile eagerly when we ask questions, take pictures, and join them in daily life. One thing I noticed, the children grow up very quickly. Either out of necessity, when parents leave the home in search of jobs or by the lure of “a better life” in America or because education is only required up to the 6th grade. Only the sponsored or financially capable children are able to continue their education past 5th grade if they pass entrance exams. That only leaves getting married and pregnant an option since jobs are sparse. So you rarely see “adults” playing with the children. It’s almost as if, their childhood was cut short and they forget to “play”. So when we bring out bubbles, jump ropes, a Frisbee or tennis ball – the joy that lights up the face of that child is a memory that lasts forever embedded in my heart. The team decided that next year, we should try to integrate the young and the older people with a “Field Day” to encourage the parents to play with their children in participation games like wheel barrow races, three legged races, and other team games. The other reason I go back year after year is the connection with the Holy Spirit that I get when I get back to nature. When I leave behind the chaos and noise of the busy schedule we have in America. I am reminded how it must have been for the disciples leaving all they had, following Jesus often to an unknown land of danger and despair; eating with lepers, healing the sick, casting out demons, and filling hungry souls with His love. This mission has created a spirit within me that I hope will expand to helping others not just down the street, or just Honduras, but to anywhere the Lord leads me. When the light of the truth about Jesus illuminates us, it is our duty to shine that light to help others. Our witness for Christ should be public, not hidden. We should not keep the benefits for ourselves alone but pass them on to others.

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