I remember my first mission trip very well. I was seventeen years old and our job was to paint a school for needy children in Guatemala. I started a paint fight then later that evening climbed over the wall to sneak into the boys’ room. Needless to say, I don’t think I quite got the point of the mission trip.
It wasn’t until I was able to connect deeply with a native from the country I was visiting that I really began to consider how blessed I was to be born in the United States. Yolanda was nineteen years old like me but worked as a maid in Mexico while I was studying in a university. I couldn’t speak much Spanish at the time but we communicated with charades and lots of laughter. Yolanda is the reason I serve the poor in Honduras today.
Ricky and Milagros compare hand sizes.
My greatest hope for mission trips is that the participants would have the opportunity to connect deeply with native Honduras, and not just experience the trip as a one-time service project or an opportunity for adventure (as I did in my youth).
Because of the language barrier, it is often difficult to create opportunities for deeper connection between American teams and Hondurans. Yet, under Bob Beams’ leadership the group from 121 Church in Texas did just that. Bob scheduled some sharing time just between the teachers and the team. We worshipped together, shared our testimonies (with translators), and then prayed together, holding hands in a circle of unity that bonded two nations and two cultures together.
Tears were shed as people got open and vulnerable. Commitments to long-term prayer made. And my heart soared as I’m sure the Father’s did in heaven.
In addition to Vacation Bible School activities,
the group from 121 Church in Texas build a garbage facility at AFE so that we do not need to burn
garbage right underneath the classrooms and pollute
the air as the children study.