Tag Archives: Honduras

REACH: Honduras Flooding and Mission Lazarus

We interrupt our usual REACH blog format to remind everyone about the flooding that is having a devastating effect on the people of Honduras and Mission Lazarus at this time. Let’s keep our family in Christ and all the residents of that area in our prayers and look for ways we may be of support and assistance as they recover from this disaster.

A reminder from Bryan:  If anyone is able to contribute funds (in any amount), you can click on the “Donate” link on the right-hand side of the Mission Lazarus blog.  They are going to need help buying food and supplies for the many that have lost their homes due to the flooding.  Pray fervently.

The Christian Chronicle reports on the flooding.

CNN iReport on the flooding.

The Mission Lazarus website also has a few photos and information on the flooding.


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.


Mission Lazarus in need of help!

Hi, everyone.  I wanted to post a quick update on Mission Lazarus that can’t wait for the next “Reach” posting date.  There has been MAJOR flooding in southern Honduras, and it looks like it isn’t going to slow down anytime soon.  Many are trapped, more look like they are going to lose their homes.  For more information, go read the latest posts on the Mission Lazarus blog – http://missionlazarus.tumblr.com.  If you scroll down through the first 3 or 4 pictures, you’ll see a post by Meredith, explaining what has happened, and the fact that it looks like they’re in for 48 more hours of rain.  They’re in dire need of prayers – which I know every one of us can offer – and, if anyone is able to contribute funds (in any amount), you can click on the “Donate” link on the right-hand side of their blog.  They are going to need help buying food and supplies for the many that have lost their homes due to the flooding.  Pray fervently.

Bryan Dill

REACH: Aaron Stratton Already Looking Forward To Honduras 2012

-Submitted by Aaron Stratton

To me, the Honduras mission trip was a blessing to be able to see what Honduras is like and how different it is from home. When we were in the Honduras airport, it seemed American, because it had a McDonald’s. We even met another group from Kentucky in the airport. But as we went into Tegucigalpa, it quickly changed. We started seeing the bad side of the city;  the houses in ruin, the glass and barbed wired covered fences, and rough looking people.

From Tegucigalpa we drove for four hours to get to Mission Lazarus in Jayacayan, which is between Choluteca and San Marcos. Mission Lazarus looked like a camp on the very top of a mountain.  We stayed in cabins, ate at the posada, and they even had a gift shop. The food was good and the view from where we were was amazing. The first night we went to this lookout called Pride Rock, but to get on Pride Rock you had to jump to it because the rock was maybe a foot out from the cliff. We could see the whole valley below. And right over this ridge of mountains was the Nicaraguan border, which was maybe five miles away from where we were staying.

Sunday was very interesting because we went to the church in Limon where we would be working all week. The neighborhood where the church is located is very poor, most all of the houses were tiny crumbling concrete shacks, and everywhere you would see little kids just walking in the streets heading to church. The church was a big open building surrounded by the buildings where they had the school.  The church and school buildings were surrounded by a tall fence.  We were warmly greeted by the preacher, Ishmael, as well as the children that went to church there. We noticed that the congregation had many children that also went to school there.

The church service was very long and enthusiastic. There was lots of singing and the people there would clap their hands through every song and stand through every song, so there would be points when we would be standing up for 30 minutes to a hour singing. The lesson was translated to English by Cameron, a person from Mission Lazarus, so we could understand it.

After church we then went to the beach to have lunch. We ate fish, but the fish was whole so we had to eat around the skeleton of the fish. We then headed back to the ranch for the day.

Monday we went back to the church to deliver food bags and put on the VBS for the children. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to go on the deliveries or participate in the VBS because I was sick. We’re not sure how I got sick, but I think it was the fish we ate Sunday because a few others in the group also got sick Monday.

Tuesday we went back to the church to deliver more food and have day two of VBS. I delivered food with my mom, Tony Crockett, and Erin the intern (also known as red shirt Sally). Delivering food was very different because we went into houses and saw how poor they were. They were concrete shacks surrounded by a fence sometimes with barbed wire, and inside were concrete rooms with curtains for doors and sometimes somebody did have a TV, but it wasn’t anything fancy. We would give them the food and then we would sing and they would sing in Spanish. And then either Tony or I would pray and then Alberto, a man from the church, would pray. I did get to participate in VBS Tuesday.  I played Aaron in the skits while Kurgan Quisenberry played Moses. It was a lot of fun getting to interact with children.  I probably played more soccer that week with the kids than I’ve played my whole life. The kids would just run and hug you and try to talk to you, even though we couldn’t understand anything they were saying, or play with you. And I’m pretty sure at some points some of the boys were making fun of me and my soccer skills, because I wasn’t very good at playing. After the VBS, we went back to the ranch for the night.

Wednesday we went and delivered food bags and had our last day of VBS. On food delivery that day we saw more of the community, we even went into some houses that were made of mud and sticks. We were all really sad Wednesday because it was our last day to see the kids at the school.  By Wednesday we all had our favorites, my favorite was a little girl named Amanda, Big D’s (Derrick Taylor) and Tim Lampley’s favorites were a little girl named Alejandra and her brother Kevin. And everybody’s favorites were these twins, David and Kevin, that were soccer stars. After we finished VBS we then prepared for the four-hour Gospel Meeting that night. We didn’t have enough time to go back to Mission Lazarus to eat, so we went to the Wendy’s in Choluteca. That was an experience because our translators had to order our food for us. After eating we went back to church for the Gospel Meeting.  The most interesting part was the skits that were done during the service.  Even not speaking Spanish, I was able to understand the meaning.  Afterwards, three people were baptized.  Then we said goodbye to everybody and went back to the ranch.

Thursday was probably the most fun day of the week for me. Our group went horseback riding on the ranch. It was my first time ever riding a horse. We were riding for an hour and we went on trails that went through rivers and went up to the carpentry shops. We got to see the kids make glasses from coke bottles, and a finished cabinet in the woodworking shop made out of “jungle wood”.  After we finished horseback riding, we got our things together and left for Tegucigalpa, where we stayed for the night so we could go to the airport easier the next day. Once we got to Tegucigalpa, the places and buildings started to look nicer. Our hotel we stayed at was a 5 star hotel, but was more like a 3 star to us. Once we got settled we went to the Chili’s across the street, which was just like an American Chili’s.  Some of the waiters even spoke some English. It was a great idea to go to Chili’s because it was something familiar to us and made us all more excited to go home.

The next day we headed to the airport where we then went on a three hour plane ride to Houston. Being in Houston was great, to hear people speak nothing but English and see American things. We then had a three hour layover to our next flight to Lexington. After a short flight delay, we got on our last plane ride of the day and headed home. We got into Lexington at 11:30 p.m. where we got our bags and went out to meet our friends and family.

Even after two weeks, the memories of Honduras are still fresh in my mind and I can’t wait to go back next year.  It was a great opportunity to see people that care more about God and living good Christian lives than in physical things.  It was also a blessing to see people, even little kids, excited and eager to learn about God.  They are tremendously blessed spiritually.  I think this should be a wake-up call to us, to ask ourselves what’s getting in the way of us wanting to learn about God and to teach people about God.  We need to think about this so that we may further develop our spiritual growth. 


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.

REACH: Becky Stratton Shares Honduras Memories & Photos

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. 

Becky and some of her new Honduran friends

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!

A Honduras Fish Dinner Features The Whole Fish!

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.

Digna with her husband, Ishmael, the preacher at the Limon congregation

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.

First day of VBS

 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.

The mural that David Rogers painted on the wall at the school in Limon

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!

Several ladies of the church with Digna, the minister's wife, and Alberto, who went on food deliveries with us.

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. 

Horseback riding through the Honduras hills

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.

REACH: Tony Crockett’s Honduras Journal

From July 23-29, several of our members went on a mission trip to Honduras to host Vacation Bible School at the Limon Church of Christ and also assist that congregation in other ways. Tony Crockett shares his memories of this life-changing trip.

Tony with one of the Alejandra's in Limon.

Mission Lazarus Trip – Jayacayan, Honduras 7/2011

Friday July 22

I just got home from work. I remember feeling very excited. It was my first real trip outside the U.S. I’ve been to Canada. No passport needed there, so where’s the excitement in that? I spent the evening packing different zip lock bags with bug repellant and snacks. I packed my bag and then try to go to sleep. My mind wouldn’t have anything to do with it; way too much to think about. I think I nodded off at midnight.

Saturday July 23

Wow! So, 2:30 a.m. really does come early!  I prayed that God would keep us safe and it was off to meet everyone at the Holly Hill church building.  We got to the building, piled into Robert Roach’s van and headed to Bluegrass Airport. We waited for what seemed like a day; it was maybe close to two hours. I remember thinking, “Man! I am old!” (compared to everyone else).

We got on the plane and it was a swing and a miss. My wife, Beth, and I were not sitting next to each other. Our first flight together and I’m staring at the back of her head. I thought this is a small price to pay for what we were about to experience. In the past I have honestly been uneasy about flying. I’ve gotten better over the years. In my late 20s, flying was like having a near-death experience. I now know that I have to let go of not being in control, sit back enjoy the view and let God fly the plane, so to speak.

With that mind set, I was for once excited about the flight and was at peace. I also remember taking off down the runway and absolutely loving the speed involved. The windows had water streaking passed them and I thought about how Thomas Merton called them “tears of joy” when he flew to the Far East. 

We landed in Houston and it was nearly a perfect flight. I think we had a half hour layover. It seemed like two minutes. Boarding the plane was very exhilarating! Finally, after 40 years of not going anywhere of true significance, this was it! When I got off the plane I would be in a different world. Even on this flight I was at peace. Even after watching the YouTube videos of the planes flying into Tegucigalpa.  I mean, it’s only the second most dangerous airport in the world to fly in to. What could go wrong, right?  The approach was anticlimactic to say the least. Yes, there was a decent turn inside the valley that aligned the plane with the runway. It really didn’t feel like as advertised on YouTube. Although there was some turbulence about 200 feet off the ground that added to the drama. 

Looking out of the window as we taxied down the runway, I was thinking, “We’re not in Kansas anymore, Toto”. The view was one of mountains with topography unlike anything I had ever seen before. Very green and grassy, with trees and shacks peppered throughout. Old rusted planes and buildings with corrugated metal roofs dotted the side of the runway and looked like if you sneezed in their direction they would collapse. We got off the plane; how can this be? It’s maybe all of 80 degrees and not nearly as humid as home. My first thought of Honduran weather was, “I like it!” We got inside the aeroporte, made it through customs and got our bags. We rendezvoused with Meredith. She is the Director of Health Services for Mission Lazarus. I thought how different the view was looking out the front of the airport and seeing a quagmire of electrical lines attached to one single pole. It looked like it had been bound and taken hostage. This pole was responsible for the electrical needs of a Church’s Chicken, Burger King and a Chinese resteraunte, from what I could derive. Judging by the lines running to it; it must have powered half of Tegucigalpa. Wild stuff, you just wouldn’t see in the States.

We ate lunch at where else but a McDonald’s in the airport.  It was fun trying to tell the gentleman taking our order what we wanted. He spoke some broken English, so it wasn’t as difficult as you would think. After lunch, David Rogers announced that we were not taking a bus to Mission Lazarus as previously planned. Rather we are taking three different small white trucks. Beth, Becky Stratton and I rode with Meredith. This was good as Meredith was our unofficial tour guide for the journey. The ride was absolutely awesome! It was so interesting to see a different country’s landscape. You couldn’t go a mile without seeing these little convenient type stores in the front of peoples “houses.” Coke or Pepsi will paint their logo on the front of the house for free, if they would exclusively sell their products. So you would see both logos plastered on houses EVERYWHERE!

There were houses built not five feet off the Pan-American Highway. They seemed so close that you could almost reach out and touch them. The remainder of the ride consisted of lots of twist and turns through the Sierra Madre Mountains.

At last, after three hours of driving we see the Mission Lazarus sign. The ride up to the Posada was one to remember. It was about a mile and a half up a mountainous gravel road with plenty of personality; lots of potholes and small ditches within the road. I think the pothole should be the official symbol of Honduras. That aside, I must admit I liked the ride.  I can’t say the same for Beth, Becky and Angela Best. From the next day on, we would all share a truck. It was hard for them because they didn’t know when the big bumps were coming. I quickly learned to forewarn them by saying “bump!” 

We got to the top of the mountain and there sat a rustic but very nice office/merchandise store with a front porch that spanned the entire length of the building. First impressions were good. We parked the trucks and walked past the office onto the campus. I honestly could not believe how beautiful it was. Brick lined pathways, very nice tropical landscaping and a huge outdoor building. This building had a wall of windows on the windward side, open air on the other side to take in the view of the valley below and a big fireplace at the opposite end. This was the Posada (lodge) although we called the entire campus the Posada. It was the social and dining hub for all the missionaries and staff. It was a really cool place to hang out because it was nestled on the edge of the mountain. The view there was very impressive.                   

The cabins we stayed in were similar or better than most camping cabins I have experienced. They were rustic with terra cotta floors, five bunk beds and the bathroom with running hot water and a flushing toilet – better than expected.  It had a red metal roof that was absolutely awesome when it rained.

We got settled and met back at the Posada in anticipation of our first meal (dinner). While waiting, a Mission Lazarus staffer told us about a view point above the camp. A bunch of us went up a semi-steep trail for about 300 yards to the top. It was one of the most impressive views I’ve ever seen; more on this later. We came back down and had dinner. This is camp food? Hardly! It was great! Dinner consisted of wood smoked grill chicken, rice, twice baked potatoes and freshly made tortillas. I couldn’t believe how good it was. At this point, I took all my preconceived notions of the mission trip and threw them out the window. We’re off to a really good start!

Sunday, July 24

Sunday morning was our first trip to the church in Limon for worship.  The people of Limon were very curious as we drove through their village. They all just stopped and stared at us as we drove by. Not in a negative way, more the way a kid looks at a plane in the air for the first time. The church was lavender and trimmed in purple with double doors and louvered windows on the east and west sides. The floor had Terrazzo tiles, everyone sat in metal folding chairs. The main entrance was on the south with nice landscaping. We got out of our trucks and Beth and I found our seats. A little girl that I would later find out was one of two adorable girls named Alejandra had set two chairs down from me. I got up to talked to Derrick Taylor  and when I returned to my seat I noticed she had placed herself in the chair next to mine. This melted my heart and she was dubbed my favorite for the remainder of our trip.

Their service was awesome! It was full of real passion for the Lord and genuine interest in each other. This makes sense because their lives are very simple and they are focused on faith and love. I couldn’t understand a word of what they were saying, but I didn’t need to. They were fantastic!

After service we headed to the Pacific Ocean for lunch. It was about an hour drive from Limon. Yet another great drive. We went through little villages, a shrimp farm, and sugar cane fields. We got to the restaurant and the view was extraordinary! The restaurant was built right on the shore of the Pacific Ocean. You could see El Salvador to the North and Nicaragua to the South. The food was great: fried fish, shrimp and plantains. We cruised back to the Posada.  David wanted us to make crafts for the kids to use as examples during VBS. Checked that off the list, hung out and waited for dinner. We ate and later on called it a day. 

Tuesday and Wednesday, July 26-27

I didn’t want to be in the way of six other men getting ready in the morning. So I made it a point to get up at 5:30 (7:30 EST, which was perfect!) and get out of the cabin before anyone else got up. I would fill my water bottle up with Café San Lazaro (their fresh ground coffee grown on the ranch) and then walked the 300 yards up to the previously mentioned trail to the top of one of the best views I have ever and will probably ever see. Words cannot do it justice. This view was an evident gift from God. Imagine sweeping views for 360 degrees of nothing but green mountains and fog rolling in over the tops with the sun’s rays streaking through. There was even a place to sit where a piece of limestone protruded up from the floor of the mountain top. It was perfect for sitting with my coffee and taking in the view. The temperature was even perfect as well. It was I’m guessing around 72 degrees with a nice breeze. I find myself recalling being up there almost on a daily basis. 

I would stay up there for about a half hour and then come down around 7:00. We would eat a great breakfast consisting of either eggs, hash browns, bacon and tortillas or bacon and something that required syrup. We would eat and then take-off for Limon.

The village of Limon consists of people that had their original homes wiped off the face of the planet when Hurricane Mitch stalled off the coast of Honduras on October 26, 1998.  It didn’t move inland until October 29th. The rain was unprecedented even by Central American standards. Mitch had sustained winds of 180 mph and left 5,273 dead, 11,085 missing and 427, 138 in shelters throughout Honduras. At the time, they were living on or near the Choluteca River, hence the relocation to the newly constructedvillage of Limon.

The Honduran government donated the land and I believe I was told other relief organizations built a majority of the homes in Limon. Most of them were concrete block 30 feet x 20 feet and concrete floors with many of them having corrugated metal roofs (some terra cotta as well) . They were spaced about 10 feet apart and there had to be what seemed like 300 of them. Some structures were not as well built as the brick ones. I recall one that was built out of two inch diameter sticks, about eight feet tall forced into the ground. They were spaced about four inches apart. Similar in size to the brick ones BUT this house was wrapped in black plastic sheathing. Essentially these poor people were living in a plastic oven thirteen degrees north of the Equator.

We would drive around Limon dropping off big white bags of dry food and a five pound bag of beans. This is when the severity of their lives became evident. People would cry because they were so happy to receive the food. We live in a country where all you have to do is look in your couch cushions for enough money for a Happy Meal. We truly do not know how good we have it. They were so happy to get the food and we were equally glad to give it to them. It was truly a great spiritual experience! I would always try to find a common denominator within their homes to talk about. I felt it was very important to actually connect with them as opposed to just dropping off the food and giving them a casual “oh yeah, God bless you”.  I wanted them to know that we were all children of God, put on this Earth to help each other, not just there to make ourselves feel good about what we were doing. We would sing a song in English and they would reciprocate in Spanish. Sometimes we would sing the same songs in the two languages which was very moving. We would each pray and the translators would assist. You could see the pain or joy in their eyes depending on the person. There was always one common theme, too many kids and not enough money to support them all; often times struck with a terrible illness; truly heartbreaking.

Our translators, Courtney and Mary Leigh, did a fantastic job conveying our thoughts. I know they had to be absolutely mentally worn out at the end of the day. They would translate for us in the morning and marshal an endless barrage of translation questions from us in the afternoon.

1:30 pm was show time for the kids. They were all absolutely adorable! They would walk in a line formation and sit on the church floor. I would look for Alejandra to walk in and she would smile and wave. I would yell, “Hola Alejandra!”  As the days went on, I would say hello to a lot more of the kids as I learned their names. Sometimes they would respond with “Hola Toneeeee”. It was cute to hear them say my name with a Spanish accent. 

On the second day David asked me to narrate a small portion for one of the skit characters in Spanish. “Yeah, no problem, glad to do it,” I said. Inside I was thinking, this ought to be really interesting and it was. Thankfully Becky and Ariel Lane had better command of the language and were gracious enough to take the bigger roles. They did a great job and I stumbled through it. No one threw anything at me so I guess it was tolerable.    

After the plays, it was Craft Time! I think we all got tired of saying, “muy bien, perfecto, excellente and mucho colores” but if that’s all one has in their Spanish bag of compliments; you go with what you know.  I honed my skills as the masking tape “tear a piece off guy” to a fine art. The projects for the last two days required it and 80 kids all needed at least one piece. I mention this because there was a great sense of unity during The Great Tape Frenzy. We were really working with the kids and they were extremely excited about making the crafts. Try getting a kid from here that has every electronic gizmo known to Nintendo and Sony that excited about a craft paper project. 

The last day of VBS (Wednesday) came to a close. The church had some kind words for us, and us for them.  David finished his mural in one of the classrooms and that was that. We all felt like we had done all that we could given the time allotted to brighten their lives and fill some bellies too.   

We planned to go to a gospel meeting at the church that evening. This meant that we wouldn’t be able to go back to Mission Lazarus for dinner; so it’s off to Wendy’s in Choluteca. What a trip it was to see the menu board in Spanish. Thankfully, Courtney assisted everyone with ordering. The poor girl waiting on us was busy hammering on a calculator converting all our “gringo dinero” to Limperas.  The food tasted similar to a Wendy’s in Frankfort, but not exactly.  

We went back to the church for the gospel meeting. While we were waiting, Beth showed some of the kids how to play Angry Birds on her phone. Others were showing them pictures and games on their phones. Their little eyes were lit up with true amazement. The Honduran clock is not powered by American batteries, so to speak. They definitely have a much more relaxed view of time than we do.  They began much later than what time we had originally thought.  We were told meeting and start times were more of a recommendation than an actual commitment in Honduras. They had a sermon and performed several skits. At the end, they had three baptisms that were great to see.

Thursday, July 28

Thursday morning was a time for us to do whatever we wanted before leaving for Tegucigalpa that afternoon. Some went horseback riding, others went mountain climbing. Others just stayed behind at the Posada. 

Later that morning, most of us went on a tour of the Mission Lazarus Plantation and Orphanage. They are really doing some amazing work in the name of the Lord. The houses that the kids stay in are really nice. I’m proud to say that we toured the one that the first Holly Hill mission team went down to help build. The guys did some amazing work! The houses have everything a typical American house would have; amazing considering their geographic location. 

After lunch it was time to head north to Tegucigalpa. We followed Cameron, the Mission’s daily operations manager. He had definitely mastered the art of driving like the locals; me, not so much. At any rate, we finally made it into Tegucigalpa. We got there just in time for rush hour. No cup of coffee needed to stay alert during this stint of the journey.

We stayed at a Clarion hotel. I think we were all glad to be back among civilization. We ate at a Chili’s restaurant that night. There was something nice about the familiarity of it all.    

Friday, July 29

Friday morning we ate breakfast, and then it was off to the airport. We did some more of what I termed “sport-driving” that wasn’t bad at all. We got on a plane and came home; back in the loving arms of our great nation.        

 I have to be honest and say that the mission trip is one of the greatest experiences I’ve ever had in my life! I would get on a plane any time – day or night and go back in a heartbeat! Todd Best says “it will change you.” He’s right, it will and all for the better. Some things in life cannot be expressed in words, you just have to go; so go!

For more photos of Tony’s Honduras experience, visit his Facebook page.


GROW: Honduras Thoughts From Tony Crockett

When Travis asked me to share my thoughts about the mission trip Bethany, Kurgan and I are going on, the word serve came to mind.  First and foremost we are serving our Lord, our God. To have the opportunity for me to do something this impactful as a Christian truly hits he like a punch in the chest.  It’s honestly one thing to serve our fellow Christians at Holly Hill or people in our community, but to serve adults and more importantly children in one of the poorest countries in the northern hemisphere is honestly going to be an eye-opener for all of us and a great way to serve others.

Closer is another term that comes to mind. I honestly started my spiritual walk about three years ago; meaning that three years ago I wanted to become a man of God. Since then not a day goes by that I don’t feel closer to God. This trip, I’m sure, is going to help forge a closer relationship with God.  That excites me greatly!   

I think this trip will help us appreciate our own church, our lifestyle and everything we take for granted. I think we will appreciate more how easy it is for us to worship God. All we have to do is get in our car, drive four minutes and walk into a church with all the amenities anyone could ever ask for.  How easy is that? I’m guessing we will see some people that don’t have it as remotely easy as we do. The old adage “walking a mile in someone else’s shoes” is going to be staring us square in the face!

I know I speak for both Bethany and Kurgan when I say what an awe-inspiring God all of us have and how blessed we are to be given this opportunity. We look forward to it with great anticipation and will be very eager to share the experience of the mission trip with everyone.

In Christian love,

Tony Crockett           

REMINDER: Please keep those going on this mission to Honduras in your prayers. They leave July 23 and return July 29. – tf

REACH: Spreading God’s Word In Honduras

-submitted by Ariel Lane

After going to Honduras last year, my first mission trip, there was almost no way that I could not go back if the opportunity arose for me to go again. I was so anxious to see new things and experience what God had in store. Upon returning in 2010, I was completely moved and quite frankly blown away by how the Lord worked through us to teach others. As moving as the previous trip was, Honduras Mission Trip 2011 assures life changing experiences.

This trip we will be focusing on a 3-Day Vacation Bible School. We will be using the same materials Holly Hill used at our VBS this year: God’s Great Adventures in Egypt! Moses and Aaron will be present as we make crafts and present skits. Another exciting task we will be taking on is painting at least one mural for the local school/church to display. These murals will depict our theme that shows God’s power and love. In addition to the above, we will be delivering food bags and making visits to local homes.

Mission Lazarus gives us the people and houses we will be distributing to. Just because our itinerary lists the above, does not quite mean that we will follow it. Although we hope to accomplish what we havescheduled, it’s pretty important to be flexible with the current agenda planned. The Lord may move us out of our comfort zones and present us with unfamiliar tasks to undertake.

Many factors come into play such as: the language barrier, taking all the essential supplies, and just the unknown of the whole situation. Even now as I am writing this insert for the blog, I am thinking of materials we might forget or what ‘could’ happen. God will and does continually supply the knowledge, ability, and strength that we will all need. Right here, in the now, I am sure there are multiple people who are nervous and uneasy. The only thing to remember is where our trust and faith should be. He will guide us and direct our footsteps as we serve the people in Honduras! I absolutely cannot wait to connect with those around me and the ones we meet while in Honduras!!

Just wanted to say ‘gracias’ for the prayers and encouraging words as we get ready to depart this Saturday, the 23rd! Hopefully I can remember a little bit more of my Espanola!