Honduras

My youngest daughter and I just returned from a mission trip to Tegucigalpa, Honduras.  I really appreciated the balance that the Hope for Honduras ministry and everyone on the mission team had in helping people physically and spiritually.  It is hard to hear the Gospel if you have starved to death, so the physical part is important.  But just meeting people’s physical needs and ignoring their eternal needs would be very short-sighted.

Unemployment is very high and many homes do not have a father.  The area was settled 10 years ago when floods from Hurricane Mitch forced people to flee to higher spots in the mountains.  Crime is a serious problem in Tegucigalpa, though we were kept safe throughout the week.

This was a great trip for any mission minded person.  You could be a first-timer or an experienced missionary and still get and give a lot.  Their web site has a brief but thorough overview of their ministry.  Check it out.

Some of the highlights:

Sponsor kids – Many of the team members had been there one or more times in the past and reconnected with children they sponsor.  It was a joy to see them together and encouraging to hear how much progress they had made.  You always want to ensure that any mission trips or organizations you support are actually making a difference, and this one does.

School – We helped with Bible / craft classes for younger kids twice a day.

Food distribution – Each day a few team members would distribute food to the children in the area.  For some it is their only meal of the day.

More food distribution – We took 100 lb. bags of rice and beans made 5 lb. packages of each and delivered them to every house in the area. 

The Gospel – The ministry helps spread the Gospel in all their activities.  We also passed out roughly 300 copies of the Gospel of John (or more accurately, the Gospel of Juan) with the bags of food.  I pray that many families read them and are transformed by God’s word.

House – We helped build a house for a family of 9.  The new house is a vast improvement for them but still about the size of your master bedroom.  The houses were somewhat similar to what I’ve helped build in Kenya, but we got to use power tools here.  That made it much easier, though I was amused when they handed me a rather sizable nail gun and expected me to use it.  Fortunately it has a safety feature on it.

The people – The kids were fun to interact with, although, as you might expect, they aren’t the most disciplined.  We’d stop working around 3:00 each day to spend time playing with them in the street.  The adults were very gracious.

As my daughter noted, when you look around the whole world these people are the “normal” ones relative to their living conditions.  We just think we’re normal.

Medical & dental clinic– We took a lot of supplies and bought medicine while we were there to restock the shelves.  This is an important outreach for the mission.

Spanish – My daughter taught me a little Spanish before we left and I picked up some more words there.  It is always fun to use a bit of the local language.  She was a huge help in translating for other members of the team, especially when talking to the families of the children they sponsored. 

Devotions – The team had a morning devotional and evening sharing time to discuss the events of the day and how we saw God working.  There was a heavy emphasis on the spiritual aspect of the whole enterprise, which I really appreciated.

Classes for women – They have a weekly Bible study / craft time for women in the area.  I imagine that is one of the highlights of their week, where they can do things they never got to do as kids and can take a break from their normal duties and learn about God and be encouraged.

The airport– We were warned that the landing is tricky in Honduras, but I just assumed that meant we’d get Continental’s best and brightest pilots.  Hey, that’s what prayer partners are for!

Accommodations – I anticipate roughing it a bit on mission trips, but we stayed at a very nice and very safe hotel.  Nice rooms, good food, beautiful rooftop for devotionals and meetings and even a TV in the room so we could watch the Olympics at night.

The teamFaithbridge United Methodist Church sponsored the trip, though several of us attend other churches.  The team members had a variety of backgrounds and were a delight to serve with.  I never get tired of hanging out with people who love the Lord and are committed to his word and to serving in his name.  Our leader, Lesa, was terrific and displayed an amazing balance of organizational skills, spiritual focus and passion. 

Prayer – We prayed a lot for the people and I’m sure we’ll keep doing so. 

Going with my daughter – It was literally a dream come true to do a mission trip with my youngest daughter (The original plan was to go to Kenya with my oldest daughter, but that fell through due to the political instability in place during the planning stages.  Hopefully that will play out next year.).  But this trip fell in our laps with perfect timing and she was excited to go.  She did a great job all week regardless of the task.  I couldn’t be more proud and I could thank God 24×7 for the next month and that wouldn’t be enough.

I’m planning to go back to Honduras sometime but I need to help my wife go on a trip there first.  She’s been a great sport in holding down the fort while I’ve gone on these trips.  The timing is always a challenge, though.

God is so good.  Mission trips are a joy.

9 thoughts on “Honduras”

  1. It is good to see such an effective ministry and the work you did. I have heard of a ministry that when you get down there has the missionaries build a wall for nothing because they tend to just get in the way. I am so glad to hear about all the work and that this ministry seemed to be able to put you to good use.

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  2. You are doing such important work and I thoroughly enjoyed the slide, Neil. The pictures where the children are smiling are the most beautiful part of this post.

    Wouldn’t it be wonderful if you and your wife could make a trip there together! 🙂

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  3. Thanks, Gayle & Justin!

    Yes, I’m hoping we can a trip together sometime if the whole family’s schedule works out or when the kids are both in college.

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  4. Hi Neil,

    I think you owe us a post about raising girls to be so passionate about Christ.

    I read about your family and I see photos and — the other day you mentioned you read the bible and pray right before dinner with your daughters — and I’m thinking – wow! I hope my children have passion like that.

    As a young father, I would take your advice seriously. Perhaps – five tips…more if you have them…

    God bless you and your family.

    p.s. by “owe us” I mean – ‘would you please’ 🙂

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  5. Hi Edgar,

    Thanks, you are very kind. Perhaps I should do a piece on that on what I think has worked and what hasn’t, but I haven’t done quite as good a job as you suggest. If I said we read the Bible daily I misspoke. We aim at one night a week going through a chapter together and hit that 50% of the time.

    I say only partially tongue in cheek that God knew my limited parenting skills so He blessed me with wonderful girls.

    I used to do a better job when they were young. It was part of the night time routine to read Bible stories and such before bed along with other books.

    They are in high school now so we’re in the phase of trying to ensure that they take ownership for their own faith. Church service and Sunday School aren’t options but youth group is. They never seemed to click there and much of the content is entertainment related, so I’d rather have them at home Sunday nights anyway.

    My short version is to do regular Bible reading with them even when they are young and to work in “Christian worldview” discussions to whatever topics come up.

    Again, thanks! I will say the experience with my daughter in Honduras was oneof the highlights of my life. God is so good.

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  6. Thanks Neil.

    My daughter is still really young but she loves talking about God. She cries when we don’t go to church (Sunday Class).

    Those Sunday class teachers really do a really great job. My daughter knows things and people that I have never told her about. She quizzed me the other day:

    Daddy – who was the 1st King of Israel?

    Me: [big gulp] – Nebohoam?

    She said – no….

    I did figure it who David was running from…but – hey… she knew the answer…pretty cool.

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  7. Neil, you already know how much I appreciate the help and encouragement you’ve given to me. You also know that I respect and admire you for passion for missions and other phases of God’s work. And, your devotion to your family and the example you set as a dad is awesome. I confess, though, that I still have difficulty envisioning you tiptoeing across stage in a tu tu!

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