My thoughts and experiences from the recent mission trip to Honduras: I will admit the trip was at times exhausting, but the passion that we saw in our fellow Christians in Honduras was enough for us to press on. We spent hours in travel, not just in flight, but more in drive time. The group of 13 traveled in three trucks, and we were often carrying additional passengers from Mission Lazarus or the Limon community. It was an interesting experience, to say the least, winding up, down, and around the mountains, on sometimes very rocky roads.
On Sunday morning, we were off to church at the Limon Church of Christ. I think we were all a little nervous, but at the same time, we were very excited. Although the building was not plush like our building at Holly Hill, the atmosphere was welcoming. The people there were eager to have visitors, especially such a large group. We spread out in different rows of seats and were instantly making friends of the young children. Communication was fun and challenging. The service there was much like what we experience each Sunday. The singing and praise to God was a blessing to witness. They have such enthusiasm and love, you can feel it. We witnessed two baptisms at the end of services. After church, we were hugged by most of the congregation and thanked for coming. We went to try to encourage them, and yet we were the ones who felt blessed and encouraged.
After church, we went to eat at a restaurant at the beach. Well, what can I say? I ate fish and shrimp. When I say fish, I mean it was the whole fish laying on the plate, teeth and all. I was trying to be adventurous. I learned my lesson, along with several others in the group. Aaron Stratton, Tim Lampley, and Lyndsay Best were also sick. After being sick all night, I awoke hoping to make it through the day without a decent toilet. As many of you have heard, I got dizzy and passed out, probably from dehydration. Beth Crockett and Angela Best came to my rescue though, so it was not so bad. No one wanted to miss the day’s plans, so we just refused to let it get us down. I wasn’t there, but a group came back from food delivery and was buzzing about Tim passing out on someone’s front porch while he was praying. He was all right, but talk about an interesting trip! We laugh about it now!
On Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, we had food deliveries for 2-3 hours in the community of Limon. We piled into trucks, with interns from Mission Lazarus who would do their best at interpreting, and took food to families in need. Digna, the preacher’s wife, Alberto, and several ladies from church went with us as well. We sang in English, and they sang in Spanish. The guys (Aaron, Tony Crockett, Tim, Keaton Pearce, Kurgan Quissenberry, and Derrick “Big D” Taylor (better known as “De Grande”) took turns praying in English, and then Alberto or someone would pray in Spanish. We had several songs which we sing (Thank you Lord, This is the Day) that they also sing, so we would often sing in English and Spanish. Wow!! We began learning parts of the songs in Spanish. The people were so grateful for the food, and also for us traveling such a long distance to show God’s love. As I heard Tony say to the interpreter several times, please tell them “they are blessing us”. Yes, the housing is rough, mostly concrete blocks and some stick houses, with open windows, sometimes dirt floors, and cooking over wood. The whole area is dirty, and the smells are bad. Although they have little materially, these Christians are very spiritual and give glory to God for their blessings.
After food deliveries, each day we had Vacation Bible School with the children at the school that is on the church grounds. We had already met several children from church, but it didn’t take long and we were making so many friends. The children were so loving and sweet. They enjoy getting their picture made and would surround you to play and take their picture.
The VBS skits had to be changed a little, but the kids seemed to really enjoy it, especially when Moses parted the Red Sea, and then fell in on Pharaoh. Ariel Lane, Tony and I were selected to read the parts for the skits in Spanish. That was fun! Well, it was interesting, anyway! We had crafts and various activities for the children to enjoy as well. The guys really enjoyed playing soccer with the boys from the school. We were a little worried because of the language barrier; however, we tried to learn as much as we could to communicate. At the end of each day, when the kids were asked questions about the Bible story, it was exciting to see so many kids answering the questions.
Wednesday night, after a quick dinner at Wendy’s in Choluteca, we went back to church in Limon for a four hour gospel meeting. In one of the skits, they reenacted Christ being beaten and lead to the cross, then nailed and hung to die. I think even David Rogers was impressed. This is a church which believes in prayer and praise to God, so they pray often and joyously clap and sing. Before, during and after church services, we were all literally surrounded by the children we had met during the week, all seeking love and attention. Ishmael, the preacher, introduced us to the congregation, thanked us for coming, and thanked God for sending us and prayed for us. We witnessed three more baptisms and then said our goodbyes with many hugs, thanks, and well wishes. I’ll never forget it!
On Thursday morning, eight of us went horseback riding on the ranch, with a tour led by Cameron, the Project Director at Mission Lazarus. Once again, WOW! I actually managed a horse up and down hills, through the woods and brush, and through creeks. I am so glad I didn’t change my mind about going. We were all laughing and enjoying the adventure. After the riding tour, we met Meredith, the RN and Director of Health, at the office for a walking tour of the grounds and heard more about the refugees living on the ranch. The refugees are children, often siblings, who have been taken from parents by the government, like social services here. Mission Lazarus is given custody of the children. The children are educated and given daily responsibilities on the ranch to help them develop a sense of self worth. With so many Honduran children in need of homes, the mission is hoping to add more children.
Thursday afternoon we said goodbye to the interns and the ranch. We were on our way to Tegucigalpa for the flight home on Friday. This was an adventure in itself. We had a caravan of four trucks driving four hours to the city. Once again, we were winding around mountains, sometimes in the rain, with crazy driving. To put it mildly, we were all relieved to finally get to the hotel.
Thanks to everyone who greeted us at the airport, even though the flight was delayed and we didn’t make it in until around 11:30pm! We had a long day of travel and were all happy to be home. We realize we are spoiled, but we were ready for the comforts of home.
I’ve left out so much, but I share my experience in hope that several of you will get excited and decide to go next year. I pray that I will be blessed to go again next year, and that my husband, Gregg, and our oldest sons, Aaron and Jacob, will be able to go, too. Spencer, Samuel and Savannah will have to wait a little longer. God may also show my family a way for all of us to go together.
Gracias a Dios (Thank God) y (and) Dios Le Bendiga (God Bless You)!
REACH is the focus of our midweek blog. Christ’s Great Commission is for His people to “go” into the world, spreading His gospel. This includes all aspects of the good news, both teaching the Word, as well as showing the benevolence toward others that Christ showed through His living example. These blogs will highlight opportunities at Holly Hill for us to REACH into the world around us and make a difference for Christ.