I know I say this quite often, but what a blessing today was! After another wonderful breakfast cooked by Yadira, we left the Mission House around 8:00 to go to the village of Mira Mundo to worship with the people who live there. We drove on pavement about 30 minutes before taking a dirt road and heading up the mountain. We literally drove through clouds this morning as the sky was overcast, clouds were low, and we were going straight up. There were places where the road was washed out and the going was rough, but the end result was worth the trip. After another thirty minutes of driving the mountain road we reached the church. People in the States usually get the wrong idea when we talk about going “to church”. For a while now the villagers had gathered in the village leader’s home. Many people would crowd into a small room and worship for hours. And they never complained. They didn’t know any different, and were just happy praising Jesus, singing praises, and hearing Scripture. Recently a church in Arkansas spent time in the village building them a church. It is a concrete slab with a covering, similar to a tabernacle. In the midst of the beauty of the Honduran mountains it is a breathtaking place to worship! When we first arrived a few people were already gathered there. As others began trickling in some of the men began strumming their guitars and singing…an impromptu choir practice. Children were slowly making their way closer to us. When I pulled out my phone and showed one of the boys how to take a picture, I was surrounded by new friends! Next they sang songs. One of the songs brought tears to my eyes even though I didn’t understand a word! The harmony was beautiful and they sang with such passion. Garrison and PJ later told me that was a popular praise song here, asking the Holy Spirit to come to them. They have it downloaded on iTunes. I plan on finding it and adding it to my playlist. I wish I had recorded it. Mark Reeves, the pastor of the church in Arkansas, brought the message while Emilio translated. We thought it was fitting for Mark R. to be the first “Gringo” to preach in the church he helped build. His message was out of Acts 2:1-12. It was a wonderful message and I took notes the best I could, but I’m not going to lie…between the beauty surrounding us and the two little boys fascinated by my note taking, it was difficult to keep up. They would lean in real close and watch me write. I finally handed them my pen and told them to write their names. Several wrote their names in my sermon notes. I will keep those notes forever. After Mark R. preached, Edgardo spoke, the village leader spoke, and several others from the village spoke. No one is bothered by the length of the service, no one is distracted by children running through, and no one cares about barking dogs, clucking chickens, or any of the other noises that would be frowned upon in the States. These precious people just want to worship Jesus any way they can with whoever will worship with them. After many hugs, a little more singing, and a “few” more pictures we headed back down the mountain to the house. Yadira had a great meal waiting on us. After lunch we rested, walked into town to shop, then had dinner at Jim’s. Tomorrow will be our hardest day…we will be going to two villages, and one will require walking across a narrow, swinging bridge, with some walking after that. Pray for strong knees and healthy bodies. Thank you so much for your prayers…they are felt and appreciated.
Saturday, October 14 Greetings from beautiful Honduras! What a trip it’s already been, and we have only been here one full day. The roads from San Pedro Sula to Copan were the worst we have ever seen them when we came in yesterday. Prior to our coming, they have had heavy rains for many days. The rains caused mudslides, and washed out the road in many places. The going was slow as we had to stop many times to wait for heavy equipment to clear things up and get out of the way. Road construction/repair work in Honduras is not for “scaredy cats”! Roads wash out easily, and many times the workers are on the edge of a mountain in those big machines. It took much longer than usual, but we made good use of our time by napping on the way. We finally made it to Copan where we reconnected with old friends and ate dinner at our favorite place…Jim’s Pizza. It was also great to see Garrison and PJ Jones. Garrison is from Seminole. He and his wife, PJ, are teaching at the Mayatan school here in Copan. This is my 9th trip to this beautiful country and I’m not sure we’ve ever done the exact same thing twice. This trip is no exception. This is completely different for several reasons. First, it will be the shortest amount of time we’ve ever stayed here. Second, I’ve never been here in October. But most important of all, we got to experience a first among the Chorti people. The purpose of this trip was to take part in the ordination of Edgardo, the native Chorti who has worked so hard to spread the Gospel among his people. He was ordained as a missionary by the Honduras Evangelistic Association to continue the work God started with the Chorti people several years ago. This morning Chorti from many villages gathered at a church in Copan to witness this event. Many had to leave their villages before dawn to make the trip down the mountains to get to town…hours of walking and hitching rides. Their dedication is like nothing I’ve ever seen in the States. As the members of the HEA asked him questions and listened to his testimony those of us observing knew that Edgardo truly was called by God “for such a time as this”. His wife, youngest daughter, parents, and siblings looked on with pride. It was a blessing to get to experience this ceremony firsthand. God has used Edgardo in such a mighty way already, and I have no doubt He’s only just scratched the surface of what He’s going to do in Edgardo’s life. Please pray for Edgardo and his family as they continue God’s work. Satan knows Edgardo is a powerful man of God, and we must pray for protection for him and his family. Pray for the Chorti, who have so little by American standards, but who sacrifice so much to teach their families and others in their villages about Jesus and His Love. Pray for Steve and Audrey, who spend six months out of the year here making sure these people know they are loved by God and by fellow Believers in the States. Thank you for your prayers. As always they are felt, and appreciated.
This was positively one of the most rewarding, tiring trips I’ve ever taken. I have often heard people say “God will never give you more than you can handle.” I cringe every time I hear that phrase because I absolutely do NOT believe that! God never intended us to “handle” anything on our own strength. There is no way any of us could have done what we did this week without Him. From the stifling, suffocating heat, to the exhausting treks up small mountainous paths, to the truck rides that will have us all running to the chiropractor next week, there is nothing we could have done without Him. On previous trips we have come here and done Bible stories and played with the school children. We have also come here and prayer walked in homes. Both of those types of trips can leave a person drained of energy. This week we did BOTH of those each day. It was a whole new level of tired. But it was also a whole new level of reward. Each night I went to bed wondering how I was going to get up the next morning and get my knees working. And each morning I woke up wondering why I ever doubted He would give me what I needed. Just as He did the Israelites in the wilderness, He gave us “just enough” to get through the day…no more, but certainly no less. There was an energy each day that could have only come from Him. It was such a joy to return to this country Mark and I (and our daughters) have come to love as a second home. A few years ago I wasn’t sure we would have the opportunity to come back here, and my heart grieved. I thank God every time I remember my Honduran friends, and I am so grateful for the chance to get to hug their necks and breathe the same air as them again. And the Chorti villagers…what can I say? Those people are true survivors! They are living in the worst of conditions, barely getting their families fed, and yet they are so happy when people come to see them. They are always smiling, always taking time to greet strangers from a faraway place, and always patient with our pitiful attempts at their beautiful language. They are hardworking, humble, and gracious. My heart breaks for the way they are treated. We have many groups in our country who talk about being “oppressed”. The Chorti villagers are TRULY oppressed. And yet, there is a spirit among the Believers in the villages that would put all of us to shame. They don’t blame others for their circumstances, and they thank God for what they do have. I am grateful for another opportunity to serve alongside my hermanas and hermanos from Honduras. I will return as many times as God allows it! I am also grateful for the prayer warriors back home who knew just what to pray and just when to pray it. Thank you for answering the call to get on your knees! We love you all and can’t wait to share this experience with you!
When I heard that the church was going to do a mission trip to Honduras I instantly knew I wanted to come. But after I had already signed up to come I started to realize that this was way out of my comfort zone and I had never done anything like this before. As time grew closer and closer to come I started to worry and question myself if this was something I’d even be able to do because it was so far out of my comfort zone and I was taking a huge risk and step coming here. As the days grew closer to us flying and out I became more and more excited I didn’t really know why but I just knew I had to get here. When the day came for us to leave town and drive to Houston the anticipation was just unreal. Then Friday morning came and as we got up and ready and loaded back on the van to head to the airport and got threw security and waited in our flight I just got more anxious and more excited but also more nervous. This was not only a huge step for me but I think it was a big step for my parents to let me go as well, I think because it was such a big step for me to take and I think they were worried how I might react when I actually got here. But ever since we arrived I have never felt more comfortable. There might be a language barrier and I only know a few words in Spanish but that didn’t seem to matter to anyone here or to me either. Late Friday afternoon we finally arrived at the mission house and we started to get a little settled in and also began discussing how the week will kind of plan out. On Saturday morning we got up got ready and had breakfast then we waited for the different village leaders to arrive and one by one they did, they all walked in with such big smiles on there faces. Once everyone arrived we headed to the church down the road and had a bible study. While we were there they sang and prayed and when they sang there was absolutely no care in the world and I don’t think I’ve ever seen people get so into their singing before and also with their praying, and when they prayed a lot of people prayed out loud at the same time and there is just no way to explain how it was or sounded, it sent chills down my spine and all through my body. After we finished with the Bible study a group of us went to the Copán Ruines and got to learn some history about the area which was definitely very cool and very interesting. Sunday morning we went to the village of Otuta and had a morning service there. Again the way they sang and prayed and preached was just so moving and so much passion it was amazing and one of the best things I’ve ever heard. On Monday morning we went to the first village La Huertone, there was one classroom and several kids and we acted out David and Goliath for them had a coloring sheet and then we went outside and played with them for a couple of hours and hearing them laugh and see the biggest smiles on their faces is what makes being hot and sweaty and in an unfamiliar place completely worth it. After lunch we went on our first prayer walk for the week. Now I had never done a prayer walk before and had no idea what to expect. The group I was in went to about 6 houses on Monday talking and praying with the families and it was actually more than I ever expected it to be. I was honestly very uncomfortable at first I mean I’m just walking up to people and homes and just asking if we could pray for them. I’ve never done anything like that before but as we got to the last couple of houses it wasn’t so bad and I became a little more comfortable being there. On Tuesday we went to Castellona which was the biggest village we went to all week and by far my favorite day out of the week. When we arrived there were two classrooms and so we went to one then the other to act out David and Goliath and color with them. After we were done in both classes all the kids went up the hill with us to play. After about two hours they finally had to go and when we went down the hill and were saying by to them I had several girls come to me and hug me, I didn’t expect that to happen but when those little girls hugged me as tight as they did and then tell me they were going to miss me and us my heart just stopped and I wanted to cry because I’ve never had some kids just tell me that before. But there were a few of them that actually wanted to go with us through the village so we ate lunch and while we were eating about 6-8 kids waited for us until we were done and then went with us as we started our walk. I only had one little girl who ran up and grabbed my hand and didn’t let go unless she had to. She made my heart so happy the entire time we were there. We went to around 25 or so houses that day talking and praying with people and families and those girls led us all through the village showing us where different homes were for us to go to. I only prayed once and I honestly hated it because I do not like to pray out loud in front of people and in the middle of praying I completely stalled and Trish had to just say amen for me because there were no more words coming out of my mouth. But I was comfortable asking them questions just not praying. As we ended our walk and headed towards the school the little girl who was holding my hand all afternoon told me goodbye and my heart sank. I didn’t want to leave her there even though I knew that was her home but she just made my entire day honestly her name was Ana and she was just the sweetest little girl I’ve ever met. On Wednesday we went to Nuevo San Isidroe which is a Chorti village. Now that was an interesting ride into that village, there was no paved road on the way there and had to go down a very steep, rough and washed out road to get there. But when we arrived there was one classroom and not as many kids from the previous days, they all had on their bright blue uniforms and they were much more reserved than the other kids from the other villages. When we played with them the boys played soccer and the girls played their own games and they did not intermingle like the days before. They were definitely more timid and that’s okay because they were still sweet as can be. We only visited 9 homes there because where we were that’s all that was there. That afternoon we came home finished our shopping and for dinner Yadira made us a genuine Honduran meal and it was just absolutely amazing. On Thursday we visited Leonita which was a good sized village and that is where the Germans came and built them a new school. It was incredible. It was absolutely beautiful and definitely nicer then the previous days and they are so very lucky and blessed to have the school that they have. We had all the older kids and the kindergarteners in one room to color with and act for and then went and played and they had a blast as they always do. After lunch Audrey was a part of the group I was in and she took us to this house where she told us this woman was taking care of her sick son. When we got there it broke my heart, he is only seven years old and can’t speak or move and can only eat mashed up foods. But the mom takes amazing care of him which warmed my heart that she never gave up on him and you can tell she won’t ever give up on him. She is actually taking him to see a doctor on the 21st of July and they are going to see what else they might be able to do with him and show her some physical therapy she can do with him. After we finished up in the village we came back to the house changed and went to a coffee shop in town and then had our last night at Jim’s pizza which he had some of the best pizza, burgers and chicken I’ve ever tasted. All week we have had some amazing food here, between Yadira’s breakfast every morning the dinner she fixed we were definitely spoiled and I’m going to miss her cooking for sure. The best part about seeing Yadira every morning was the fact that she always had a smile in her face and was just the most kind hearted person. Now we also had the privilege to have Edgardo with us all week taking us to the villages everyday and he is just so passionate about what he does and making sure that each village can start up a bible study so that the villages can have a relationship with God and know that he is there with them. I have to say one of the biggest things I’ve learned this week is that these people do not have much at all and some barley have anything and have homes falling apart but none of that mattered to them because most of them didn’t know any different. Money didn’t matter to them, none of their prayer requests were ever about money it was always about good health for someone or their family in general the crops they had, etc. They were also so selfless and so kind and welcoming to all of us it was just amazing and one of the best feelings ever. I may not necessarily know why I was sent to Honduras yet but I am so happy God decided to. I need this kind of experience, I have talked about doing medical missions once I make it through nursing school and I think this trip gave me that little extra push that I needed to make sure I make it through school and do well. I know this is long I’ve probably left out so much that I could’ve added in but this is what was on my heart. I honestly don’t want to leave Friday morning at all. I honesty wish I could just stay here because I just absolutely love it. It is such a beautiful place to be and most everyone we have encountered has been so friendly and welcoming to us. But I can’t thank everyone enough for all the prayers we received before and during our trip to Honduras and I can not wait to come back in the future.
As the week winds down on my first trip to Honduras, I’ve been trying to reconcile my expectations versus reality. I was expecting to have to deal with motion sickness – it hasn’t happened. God is good and I took proper precautions. I was expecting for one or more of our team members to get sick as we’ve heard such horror stories about the water – it hasn’t happened. God is good and we’ve taken proper precautions. I was expecting to feel inconvenienced without the modern conveniences we are so used to – it hasn’t happened. God is good and television isn’t all that important anyway. And when everyone is flushing toilets with a bucket of water and using bottled water to brush your teeth, it just seems normal. And who needs air conditioning? Now, what I didn’t expect? I didn’t expect a country so beautiful it takes my breath away. I didn’t expect to laugh so hard riding in the back of a pickup, standing up no less. I didn’t expect to find a people so welcoming and gracious while having so little to bring me to tears. I didn’t expect to be so humbled by the insistence I sit on a chair or the offering of a small banana. I didn’t expect to feel so comfortable sharing my testimony, praying for others, giving a devotion or walking up to unknown residences. I didn’t expect to be so much more blessed than I was a blessing to others. I didn’t expect to be made so much more aware of how big our God is, to have a greater understanding of and how much He loves ALL His people, or that He would send me so far just to be an encouragement and to prove how great a love HE has. I am so grateful to have had this opportunity and to be a part of a church that Loves God, Loves People and Makes Disciples!
As the time approached to come on this trip, I really didn’t have a specific reason other than I just wanted to see what Mark and Trisha loved so much. I told others that I wanted to help where I could and see where God led me. As I write this I still do not know where, when or even if God will bring me back. Yet my hope is to return not a rookie, but rather ready to move forward with Steve and Audrey in reaching out and praying for these wonderful people. But then more than praying, working to give these people a hope. Maybe first is the feeling that there are those who care, then to transfer that thought into realizing that there is a God who truly loves them. The sound of that seems mighty, but it will really come more from the simple acts that we do with and for them. It is difficult to describe a God who is mighty and can do all things to a person who is treated as second class or even less. To tell about His power in the midst of utter poverty. But to show His love in laughter and in tears, THAT is a God they can understand. What I see is not a great effort to reach every person in every village. But rather touch a few and give them the knowledge and tools to reach those around them. These people have nothing but they are gracious and usually quick to smile. They have a hard life and their prayer requests are basic, food and health. In which each are dependent on the other. A very simple people with very simple needs. As we prayed for these families I see that the only hope they will likely have is the hope in Christ Jesus that we share with them. I hope to return to Honduras. But I especially hope that we as the body of Christ see this as obeying our Lord in reaching out to the ” “ends of the earth” while yet reaching our Jerusalem and our Judeas as well.
An amazing trip! Just seeing the cultural differences is overwhelming. Crazy driving, dodging hoyas (potholes in Spanish), and steep roads to the extreme! Driving to Copan from the airport was the beginning of a week of new people, places and experiences. The things that impacted me most were the sincerity of so many of the people we met and their simple joy. They were so thankful we were there and asked for prayer for health, family, jobs and good crops. How humbling. They are concerned about very basic needs; not a selfish request ever. The simplicity of their life and homes was also very eye-opening. Without fail, if they had the means, we were welcomed and offered a chair to sit in while we visited. The villagers were friendly and glad to have visitors. The children were especially excited to see our team; especially the young people. Something as simple as a game of soccer or playing a made-up game with them seemed to make their day! It will be a special privilege to continue praying for the people we met; for their specific needs. For Victoria to be healed; for Salvador’s hip to stop hurting; for good coffee crops; for children to grow to know Jesus; and on and on. It’s an honor to ask God’s blessings for these sweet, hard working people.
When we arrived in Honduras I expected to see a distressed people with smiles few and far between. I expected to see villages of mud and sticks with little food. And while some of the houses I have seen were made of mud and sticks I think it is safe to say what I have seen in Honduras defied all my expectations. The people here are some of the happiest people I have ever seen in my life. They are so thankful for what little they have and go work literally on the sides of mountains with glad hearts. We are so used to seeing people that are never satisfied with what they have and they always want more, more, more, but the people here are different. They don’t have the luxuries we live with every day and yet they are much happier with what they have. They don’t focus on what they don’t have…they are thankful for what little possessions they get to call their own. If there is anything the people of Honduras have taught me it’s to be humble and thankful for the things I do have. None of us deserve the luxuries we are blessed to live with. We are only allowed to have these things because of God’s grace and yet so many of us feel entitled to them. The people of Honduras are very thankful for what they have. We are people from a very different country with many possibilities and luxuries that the Honduran people just have no way of possessing. Compared to these people it should be so easy for us to be thankful for what we have and yet we all still just want more. I have been truly humbled by this experience and I will try my best to be like the people and just be thankful for the many blessings I do have. The people here truly are something special and I can not wait until I have the chance to return to this wonderful country.
As we end the week here and head back home my heart is saddened to be leaving these wonderful people. There are so many villages we couldn’t get to. The Chorti Indians are wonderful loving people pushed into the mountains and told no one cares for them. This week we have shown them that is wrong… that God, ten gringos from Texas, Edgardo, two missionaries, and three translators love them very much!! I have been blessed this week to work with a team that loved on these people. To see Mikayla love these kids as much as I do made this momma so proud! Please continue to pray for these people that more teams will be able to go so that they can learn more about Christ!!
“How lovely on the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news, who announces peace and brings good news of happiness, who announces salvation, and says to Zion, “Your God reigns!”” Isaiah 52:7 I was privileged and humbled to lead the team this week. Each member contributed in their own unique way and willingly served wherever needed without complaining or grumbling even when they were out of their comfort zone. I was blessed to watch them fall in love with the people of Honduras and at the same time watch God work in team members’ lives as well as in the lives of those in the villages. The week consisted of building relationships with the goal of starting Bible studies (churches) in the communities. What better way than to love on their kids! We began each morning in the schools telling Bible stories, singing, and playing games. The children took their coloring pages & Bible stories home. This gave us a way to start a conversation with the families as we visited their homes in the afternoon. In the Chorti village of San Isidro, the children didn’t know the Bible story of David & Goliath. The mission used to have a children’s Bible study in that community, but it was discontinued several years ago. A Bible study leader has been identified and will begin a new study in a few weeks. The generation of children from the prior study has grown and moved away. It has been said that “Christianity is always one generation away from extinction.” It struck me what an immense responsibility we have as Christians and specifically as parents to show Jesus to our families and others with whom we come in contact. I am grateful to the church for the prayers & support shown to us. We are blessed to serve in a church that “Loves God, Loves People, and Makes Disciples”.