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Venga! A Chapter in Honduras

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“I will wait in the darkest hours,

for you will be a light on this road

Lead me out to the ground I’ve never walked on

Only to rely on you alone

Let our idols fail

Vanity subside

We will see the beauty in our lives

When I hear you call my name

When I hear you call my name

Send me to the edge of the earth

Show me what a life is worth

When I hear you call my name”

-Call My Name, Jars of Clay

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Last night a good friend asked me how my trip to Honduras went. Apart from the team, our church, and our pastors, I haven’t been able to talk much about it. Last night was the first time I tried to articulate my thoughts.

Well, that’s not exactly true. I did try to blog about it earlier. But my words sounded trite and condescending. I was struggling to find the right words to describe a wonderful experience that was mostly set in so much need and tragedy. How does one speak about hope against the backdrop of a broken shack of mud and sticks and come across as genuine? It just doesn’t seem possible.

Still, I would like to try. Perhaps my attempts at telling this story would get you to add chapters to your story that would make a difference in the stories of others. Good stories can do that.

 

 

The whole time we were in Choluteca and Tegucigalpa, I could see the prayers of family, friends and church family. Yes, see. Things were happening that our “veteran” missionaries hadn’t seen before, and opportunities to make the most of the days fell on our laps. Not only were we able to see to the medical needs of many, we were also able to get to know people and their stories. There were those who inspired us, who by their very presence made us feel like the ungrateful wretches we really are. And then there were those who cut us to the quick, not by anything they said or did, but by their mere struggle to survive the desperate conditions they called life, a life we only hear about in the news back home.

 

So we saw poverty.

We saw greed.

We saw hunger, and so much need.

We saw beauty.

We saw dignity.

We saw bone-thin mothers nursing their babes.

We saw beautiful homes.

We saw gates with barbed wires.

We saw broken houses with torn plastic sheets.

We saw donkeys.

We saw fields.

We saw children carry babies on their hips.

We saw humility.

We saw love.

We saw evil work through men.

We saw tears.

We saw blood.

We saw sicknesses we had no cure to give.

We saw faith.

We saw trust.

We saw gratitude and it was enough.

We saw the sun rise.

We saw the sun set.

We saw children laugh as they kicked a soccer ball across an empty field.

We saw hope.

We saw mud.

We saw families without fathers, it broke our hearts.

We saw a young man marry his high school sweetheart.

We saw singing.

We saw crying.

And through it all, we saw God.

 

We saw clearly through the lens of our comfortable lives in America.

And we saw why we were called to go to Honduras.

 

A reality check on steroids, that’s what it was. Much of what I saw I’ve seen already. Different faces, different languages, but the same hunger, the same need. But I’ve never seen men armed with AK47s hanging from the back of a truck filled with soda bottles. And I’ve never felt so unsafe, having to consider danger everywhere I go. And I’ve never had to make sure I was indoors as soon as it started to get dark. I’ve never had to feel threatened because of what some people perceived I had because of where I came from. It didn’t feel like home, and yet on another level, it did.

 

How does one get back into the swing of normal life after holding the hand of a grieving mother and praying that God would fill the gaping ache losing her child caused? Perhaps it’s through gratitude, and not guilt.

Guilt can easily lead to the desire for self-preservation, causing me to disconnect from the experience and wallow {safely} in isolation. I would have stood on the brink of a better story, but closed the chapter hurriedly because I couldn’t handle the fear and suspense.

Gratitude breeds generosity. And generosity will lead to change. Worthy chapters, a worthy life.

 

On the last night of our trip, we watched a slideshow put together by Honduran friends as a gift for the missionaries they loved. Simple acts of love framed by the lens of a camera. It was wealth beyond measure.

When I get to that page in my life, I can only hope to be that rich.

 

 

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