When the Honduras trip was announced in August, I was already a couple of months into my unemployment. My heart jumped at the opportunity but my mind quickly brought me back to my reality. Yet, somehow, I couldn’t shake the desire to join the team. At the core of my interest was an innate love for service and a perpetual response to the great commission but also a strong pull to get away, to see humanity through fresh eyes and to posture myself to encounter the One who never fails to appear and meet me in the field.
Not quite sure how to proceed, I decided to attend the first pre-mission meeting. There, I met several of the prospective team members and Miguel Giron, the Founder and Director of the Children’s Rescue Mission, the organization with which we would partner in Honduras. I had already visited CRM’s website and social media platforms but after hearing Miguel share about his work and vision, I was compelled to place a demand on my faith and to take a leap. So, at the end of the meeting, I took an application and what followed was nothing less than a divine intervention and doors opening for me to get to Honduras.
If you’ve ever been on a mission or humanitarian trip, you understand that the group dynamic differs with each team and mission’s purpose. Often, it’s proven to be rather testing to put a group of (often) strangers together for days, sharing assignments, meals, devotionals, rooms. However, this time around, there was no ambiguity; while most members of our team didn’t personally know each other prior to the first meeting, while we probably had our own personal yearning for the trip, it was quite evident that we were divinely selected for the task and intertwined by our personal faith and love for Abba’s people.
We each had our own testimony – of how mountains were moved and oceans were parted in order to get to Teupasenti – too many to share in a few paragraphs. However, one of such testimonies of faith that began years before we embarked on the journey and which will continue to unfold and deepen long after we left Honduras was the one lived out by Miguel Giron. By faith, he answered the call to help and bring hope to the people of Teupasenti and other surrounding villages. By faith, he shared his vision and mission to the rest of us. It is also by faith that he keeps doing the work, trusting that needs will be met and that lives will continue to be transformed.
The NBCC Missions team which comprised of eight members were in Teupasenti for eight days. We visited and walked through 5 villages, distributed food to and prayed with about 140 families. At the CRM feeding center, we fed scores of elderly one day and a large group of bright eyed, beautiful children another day. We held soccer games in some of the villages, painted nails, made bracelets, flew kites and gave countless hugs. We had many conversations and had several impromptu encounters that broke our hearts wide open; encounters like the one we had with a little girl named Mariela. We first met her sitting in front of the grocery store where we went food shopping. There was something about her face, so precious yet desolated. Her clothes were dirty and her little feet were bare, covered in dust from walking miles from her home, which we later visited, in search of something to eat. We approached and talked with her for a while. We bought her some popcorn then with permission, walked her to a nearby vendor to get her a pair of shoes. As we were talking with the shop keeper, one of her brothers came over, at which time we found out that they were part of a family of nine. We got them both shoes. It wasn’t part of our “plan” but what follows was a true display of God showing up and inhabiting available vessels to pour out His love on His children.
I was on the side, trying to take a few pictures when I was overtaken by the sight in front of me. Two of my teammates knelt down and selflessly leaned over to wash and clean Mariela’s and her brother’s feet. They didn’t think twice; they didn’t wait until all conditions were right, they used what they had in their backpacks to demonstrate God’s kind of love and start a chain of events that brought transformation to a family.
These special encounters were many. They were all around the corners, at the town square and even in the four walls of the “Mission” house. We had but a glimpse at all the human and spiritual needs that are ever present in Teupasenti and in the other villages being currently supported by CRM. More than identifying the needs, it was undeniably evident that Miguel Giron and his CRM team could not do it alone. It was clear that they needed ongoing and sustaining help to continue to run their programs which on any given day, touch hundreds of lives, crossing through generations.
The primary assignment on this trip was to provide and distribute food and other necessary items to the local villages. We made the round once for each village but CRM does it on an ongoing basis. While preparing for the trip, we also learned and onsite saw for ourselves, that $20 US dollars could sufficiently feed a family of five for a whole week; providing rice, beans, oil, coffee, sugar, pasta, tomato paste, spices and a live chicken, as often included, among other things. $20 US dollars.
CRM does more than feeding the hungry; they are anchored in the El Paraiso region as a beacon of hope. They purpose to affect change that lasts and in such pursuit, they invest in the future generation by operating a school that provides academic and vocational training for both the children and their parents. More than rescuing the children from poverty and its byproducts, they expose them to the Arts through music and dance and enable them to dream of a well-rounded life, providing more opportunities for them to later succeed and find fulfillment.
CRM is a city on a hill, one that brings light to an entire region with diverse demographics – children, youth, elderly, men, women. As I observed Miguel Giron and his Honduran team, there is no doubt that they do what they do out of love and a genuine desire to improve the life of their compatriots and communities. While impressed and encouraged by their determination, excellent work and faith, I couldn’t help but also notice that the needs are great and their resources limited.
By the end of our stay, I felt strongly convicted by the facts and reality of things. So much so that I didn’t want to simply take my personal experience back home, to move onward with my life and close my eyes on what I had witnessed in Honduras. I was being reminded of someone whose humanitarian work I admire and who once said that it was a sacred rite to compassionately witness someone’s desperation and convey that story to people who have the ability to change those circumstances. (A. Judd)
The donations we took with us, for which we are all very grateful, came from a wide range of donors linked to our team members or our NBCC family. While our team of eight boarded the plane to Honduras, we took along everyone who contributed to the work we did. Everyone who partnered with us, both in prayer and financially, played a part in changing the circumstances for the families and individuals we met; for Mariela, the little girl covered in dirt who we approached and who, as we recently learned, is now a regular at CRM’s children programs, benefiting from their various services and certainly on her way to a better future.
If you are wondering whether you have the ability to change someone’s life, let me answer with a resounding yes. Understandably, when faced with the extent of such great needs, one cannot help but feel overwhelmed and possibly inadequate to help, but as I know first hand, every little bit helps; and as Mother Theresa once said, we don’t all have to do great things but can do small things with great love. So, as we prepare to begin a new year, as we pray for opportunities to serve, as we think about where to invest our resources, I encourage you to consider CRM and their invaluable ongoing programs [feeding, relief, education, empowerment, among others]. Any gift, big or small, will make tremendous difference and change someone’s circumstances forever.
The time spent in Honduras breathed new life into my heart. More than that, I was reminded that regardless of where we are from — nationality, race or social status, we are all fundamentally more alike than we are different. Some may have greater means than others but when we hunger, hurt or rejoice, we all feel the same.
It’s been almost a month since the NBCC team and I returned home. Although we lived in close proximity and walked the same paths for eight days, we each had a very unique experience in Honduras. Nonetheless, we all can attest to the facts that our lives have been changed, that we all left our hearts in Teupasenti and are already looking forward to going back. Perhaps, you can join us next time.
Meanwhile, here is a quick glimpse at our week in Honduras via the the following link: FLICKR
In His service,