-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.