God did wonderful things with and for our team when we went! Despite political unrest and a country on the verge of war, we made it to our destination without issue. Our mission was to serve the small village of La Esperanza in the mountains. We had three sub-teams - teaching, children, and medical. The teaching team was made up of three godly men who's goal was to lead a week-long conference for native Hondurans to learn about and prepare for church planting. From what I understand, this was a huge success for the Honduran people as they were equipped with Biblical tools for how to grow their churches and bring people in their communities to come to the Lord.
The children's team conducted a Vacation Bible School-like event at an elementary school. They worked with, taught, played with, and loved on the children in the first and second grades. The medical team - the one on which I served - worked with the fourth, fifth, and sixth graders. Partly due to the lack of proper education on the subject, many of the children are subjected to sexual abuse, and others choose to become active very young (by young, I mean between ages 9-11). One of our primary goals was to teach them about Biblical principles of abstinence. We also taught them about consequences of having sex before marriage - sin, emotional stressors, and the possibility of disease and pregnancy. The kids were shy and embarrassed at first, but they warmed up quickly and really appreciated that we came to teach them about it - they really just didn't know anything about it at all. We also made hygiene kits with the basics such as soap, shampoo, toothbrushes, and toothpaste, and we gave them instructions on how to use the products. The worst part of that was knowing that those little travel sizes of soap was all they were going to have, and once it ran out, it was very unlikely that they would be able to get more. The kids were probably the most grateful for what we did next - medicated hair washing to rid them of the horrible lice that each one of them had. We took them outside to the back of the school where there was a water spicket. The water was ice cold and the air was chilly, but they didn't care. they stood in line - every.one.of.them - anxiously awaiting their turn for their scalps to burn with the shampoo, just so they could get the lice out. It was so sad for us to see their heads like that, but they so badly needed the help. It's not customary for girls/women to cut their hair there, so each of the girls needed their long, wet hair pulled back. That quickly turned into braids, and that quickly turned into french braids for every single girl! My job was to braid, braid, braid, and my goodness, that was rewarding. They felt like princesses!
Other than working at the school, we played soccer with the youth in the community every night. We had a great time (and I scored a goal)! Every night halfway through our time, someone in our group would share a testimony of the great things God had done in their lives, and I'm sure it touched many of the people there. It was a little bit difficult conveying exactly the message we wanted as we had to use translators for almost everything, but I think enough of the point got across.
We also did door-to-door evangelism and got to meet so many interesting people. I really got to see how the people lived, since many of them invited us into their homes. I used to be quite proficient in Spanish, and I enjoyed being able to actually speak with people directly. One experience was so cool: a man invited us into his house, and he pulled out his Spanish Bible, and I pulled out my English one. He'd reference a verse and we'd both flip to it. He'd read it aloud in Spanish as I read along in my Bible, and I did the same in English for him. It was just so cool to speak to each other and tell each other our stories of faith using only scripture. Whew... gives me chills just to think about it.
On some of our last few days, we led a retreat for some of the community's Sunday school teachers. They came to our camp and we taught them ideas that they could use with their students on how to present the material in creative ways. We gave them some Play-Doh to use for hands-on activities, and they were fascinated! It was a lot of fun to give them new tools they could use for their own lessons.
Two days before we left, we headed back to the capitol city of Tegucigulpa to the "mission house". The experience there wasn't the best part of the trip, but there's nothing really relevant to share about it, so I'll just leave it out. While we were there, though, we ventured out to a children's home - it was basically an orphanage, but the children were not to be adopted. Each one of the kids had been neglected, abused, and abandoned, but the missionaries who ran the home brought them in and provided for them. Once brought into the home, the children don't leave until they are at least 18 years old. It was a bittersweet experience for me, because they kids were just so emotionally confused. Different mission teams would come visit them every weekend, and the kids would get attached very quickly only to be left again a few hours later. They had what I would consider to be good lives there [considering they had no parents] - some of the girls I spent time with showed me their rooms, and they had nice beds, all the food they needed, and more toys and stuffed animals than I did when I was little. There were lots of volunteers and workers who also lived in the home and who cared for the children very well. Of course nothing compares to having a loving family and devoted parents, but as far as orphanages go, I would imagine this was a pretty nice one. Regardless, of course it was heartbreaking to see so many kids in that situation. It just hurt too much to see them like that.
The day before we left was a touristy one - we went shopping and visited "the Jesus statue" in the city. I really could have done without that and spent the day serving more people, but we didn't have a choice. I had a good time with my friends anyway and got a few nice souvenirs.
So that was the trip! I do hope you've enjoyed reading about the things we were able to accomplish, of course everything was done for God and with his helping hand. Many people, young and old, came to know the love of Christ and their lives have been forever changed!
Enjoy the slideshow of the trip I made for our church!