“You will never be completely at home again, because part of your heart always will be elsewhere, but that is the price that you pay for the richness of knowing and loving people in more than one place.” Miriam Adeney
It is hard to believe that it has been over a week since I returned home from another year in Honduras, and as I finally sit down to reminisce about my trip and try to gather thoughts, all I can focus on are the three things I wrote in my journal the last day of our village distributions. First of all, with a variety of different versions, poverty is a perspective. Second, when people say, “Distance means nothing when a person means so much,” Well, if you switch distance with language, that is how I feel when I am with these beautiful people. Last but not least, when on a mission trip, one cannot expect to change the world or be a poverty-ending superhero, but instead following God’s will and His calling will lead to greater things. These three points that I realized about mission work have truly influenced my desire to continue to do mission work across the country and has encouraged me to serve others without seeking to be a hero.
- Poverty Is A Perspective
I do not think it comes as a surprise to anyone when I say that here in the United States, we tend to be heavily materialistic. Although over the past year I have found myself being more aware of this, I still find myself saying that I could not live without my laptop or I get annoyed when my Instagram feed isn’t loading in the .02 seconds that I have grown custom to. However, while in Honduras, I hand a child an extra peanut butter and jelly and he runs off to go share with his friends and we visit a home with stick walls and a mud floor and they offer us something to eat. I saw these families living in financial poverty, but living in the utmost richness in faith, in humanity and in love.
The idea that maybe it us who live in poverty, or moreso a world that is consumed with material items, obsessed with our financial wealth and focused on selfish, egotistical factors in life, and these people who live in stick homes with mud floors, that they are the wealthy, prospering people of the world. The people of Honduras show up to every church service, raise their hands up, fall to their knees and sob, uncontrollable tears, in pure praise to God. They did not hesitate for one second letting a group of white Americans walk into their church and shower us with tender love and heartfelt, emotional prayers. Despite the financial struggles, the abusive homes or the medical problems, the Honduran people have nothing but pure, giving hearts, and that is where a lot of our country fails.
Are we blessed? Beyond belief. Am I grateful to live in this country full of opportunities and possibilities? More than I will ever be able to express. Do I think that morally, faithfully and emotionally the people of Honduras are richer than we are? Absolutely.
- Language Barriers Are Nonexistent
Although WCN is blessed with arguably the world’s best, most incredible translators possible, when I went to Honduras for the first time I was deeply concerned that I would feel irrelevant or disconnected because of my lack of Spanish speaking ability, and I was so wrong. The people, and especially the children, were so easy to communicate with without using any words. While the children were able to show their great appreciation to us while blowing bubbles, playing around the village, laughing, smiling for pictures and loving on us just to get some candy out of it, connecting with the adults was more than just a few laughs and smiles.
Listening to a service ministered completely in Spanish, but yet in such an intense, emotional tone of voice, had me feeling more connected to God than I have ever felt in my life. Having Honduran women and men laying their hands on me while I stood by them, having them trust me to catch them as they doubled over because they were consumed by God’s word and by receiving hugs with prayers whispered into my ear is like feeling the hand of God. These actions and emotions convey more than I ever imagined was possible to feel in a Church setting because despite not knowing a single word they were saying, I felt the love, the gratefulness and the encouragement in their words.
- You Are Not Saving The World
In El Progreso, Honduras the current population is just over 300,000 individuals and during my week with World Compassion Network, we were able to provide 250 Family to Food boxes and donations to four different villages. Given, when you read the number 250 and compare that to the 299,750 other families who did not receive any donations from WCN, you may feel discouraged; however, the most certain way to be disappointed on a short-term mission trip is to believe that what you and your team do in one week will change the world. The financial poverty, environmental and governmental issues, poor home life and personal wars that the people of Honduras endure every single day are too massive to be effected by you in one week.
But when I say you can do great good for someone, I mean that from the absolute bottom of my heart. My team was able to give 250 families food, clothes, personal hygiene items and our undivided love. We were able to give out thousands of Dum-Dum suckers, play hours of soccer, paint a hundred fingernails and give endless amounts of hugs to the children of these villages. Our team got to visit some of these families in their homes to take the time to learn and listen about these individual’s personal life, financial status and what they have become because of their unwavering faith.
It is true, in one week we cannot save the world; however, as World Compassion Network has manifested over the years, if you begin with helping just one person, one human being that has a faith stronger than their mind, then God will provide and build greater things. One person becomes two, two becomes a village and maybe, a village becomes a country.
Something I will tell everyone who is interested in traveling to Honduras or anywhere that their hearts may guide them to, is that you may believe that you are going there to help these people, fix their situation and that you are going to give, give, give, but in reality, they are going to be helping, loving and supporting you more than you will be able to fathom at the time. These people have shown me what is to take pride in yourself despite the circumstance, how to fight back in every situation and be thankful for everything in between and how to give all glory to God because He can change the world in ways that mission groups cannot recognize.
From the time you step back onto American soil, your every thought, value and the way you go about life will change as you will think of everything you witnessed, every child you held and every situation you threw your vulnerable self in. Find what you love, find what motivates you and create an opportunity to serve others. God does not call the equipped, but He does equip the called.