I have put off writing this post for a while honestly because I just didn’t have words I felt were adequate to sum up all that I saw, heard, felt, and experienced during my time in Honduras. Actually, I still don’t.
I write because I’m not a good speaker. But even the perfect words wouldn’t be enough to fulfill my desire for you to understand how amazing it is when God uses individuals – with unique talents and gifts that He created in them – to glorify His name.
Imagine the perfect blossoming of your being… when the life experiences that have molded you in to who you are suddenly are put to the greatest and most fulfilling use that exists in all of life.
To glorify God to the ends of the earth.
This is what I wish I could describe in words for you.
During the past few months, for the first time in my life, I have actually felt thankful for the experiences in my past that, up until now, were sometimes too painful to even talk about. It’s like the molding of my entire being (through good experiences and bad) is finally starting to make sense. I’m guessing that most of us carry burdens, secrets, and scars that weigh us down and can sometimes be crippling if we let them. But our God is so great, He can use the nastiest and most painful earthly hurts and bring new life and joy from them.
New life in Christ (2 Cor 5:17) means that I am no longer ashamed of my sin. And I am learning not only how God can redeem my mess-ups, but how I can learn from my messes and teach others through my testimony.
With that in mind, I’d like to share a little about each site we visited and what took place while we were there. 🙂
The first place in Honduras I shared my testimony was at an orphanage for young girls.
I shared how, although I grew up in church, I tried to go my own way after I left home, and ended up tangled up in many sins… I was trying to find fulfillment in all sorts of worldly pleasures, but nothing was satisfying. Nothing filled the emptiness in my heart… nothing but Jesus. At least one girl was saved this day and another was released from her bondage of suicidal thoughts. Praise God!
At this nursing home, we had the opportunity to love on the elderly, share the gospel and testimonies with them, share in a time of worship including Spanish sign language, and serve snacks. We prayed over them and they shared their stories with us. Many of them are forgotten by their families and don’t have the day-to-day love and attention we experience and often take for granted.
Manos Unidas En Cristo
At this soup kitchen, we divided into teams and served Jesus with our many talents. A handful of us went upstairs to set up a make-shift medical clinic. We had two nurses (Heather and Katie) and myself (an occupational therapist), as well as some volunteers who prayed over the patients after we were finished cleaning and bandaging their wounds, splinting, etc. A group of us also made the food to be served to the homeless and some even washed babies as they were brought in to the building. We shared our testimonies here, and of course, the gospel message, and people were saved here as well!! We also had a time of worship, including the Hispanic sign language we had learned and practiced. I absolutely loved this time in the medical clinic… it sparked a huge passion to further my education in order to better serve while in areas such as these. I am excited to tell everyone that I am now looking in to a wound care specialist program. 🙂
We spent several days in this village on the river… it is comprised of families who live in make-shift homes of scrap wood, metal, and dog food bags on land that they don’t own surrounded by sewage, trash, and disease. We held a sewing clinic to teach the women how to make goods to sell and create a better life for their families, ran a vacation Bible school for the children, and our nurses bandaged wounds on our bus.
This was another village where we spent a lot of time. Like the Bordos, it is an extremely poor area with homes set up along the river. Again, like in Los Bordos, we had vacation Bible school for the little ones each day, teaching them about Jesus through Bible stories, crafts, and games. This was one of my most favorite places to visit. The children were very interested in what we had to teach them, and so very polite!!
I wrote a blog post (click here to read) about my experience at the public schools. We had just a few minutes to prepare what to say to the children. As I stood before a classroom full of bright-eyed, third grade students, God gave me the words to share with them. It was wonderful. God reminded me that day how He has been working on my heart my whole life to mold me in to the women He created me to be. Even as a child, He was already cultivating interests and desires in me and has recently revealed WHY He made me that way. It’s so wonderful. I feel truly loved by my Father.
I also wrote a blog post about our time in the public hospital… it was one of my favorite experiences of the whole trip. I felt right at home in a place that other people feel uncomfortable and felt bold to pray over others and share with them the love of Christ. I don’t have many pictures… I felt like it wasn’t appropriate to take pictures of little sick and burned bodies lying in hospital beds, but the images are burned in to my mind forever.
For those of you who know me well, you will be surprised to know that I cried ONLY ONCE during the entire trip. (Okay, only one sad cry. Any other time was overflowing joy!) You can call me a cry baby, or just say I’m in touch with my emotions, but it’s not odd to see me with tears of either joy or tears of sorrow. 😉 The one time I cried out of pure gut-wrenching sorrow was at Nueva Esperanza, an orphanage with not only young children, but children with disabilities and newborn babies. Those of you who know me well also know my heart for babies, children with disabilities, and orphans. Because of this, I was doomed to a future of tears before I even walked in the door!
After I had fed, rocked, and cuddled with tiny little Carmencita, I had to put her back in her crib and walk away knowing she had no one to love her and care for her. I cried all the way back to the bus and to our next stop. I prayed that a loving, Christian family would come along and adopt her… but the reality is that there are SO many orphans and so few willing. Their futures are very unclear and honestly, scary. I would be surprised if all of the children with disabilities we saw while there are actually even still living now as I write this. I’m positive God has called me to adoption. Maybe even adoption of a child with a disability… there are so many who need loving homes.
This experience reinforced the call in my life to continue living out my passion for children, my passion for human beings with disabilities, and my passion for orphans. Afterall, I was once an orphan who didn’t know her Father. And even though I ignored and turned my back on Him time after time, He not only was there, waiting to wrap me in His loving arms, He sought out my heart until I had no choice but to say YES!!
I will forever be grateful for my time in Honduras and will never forget the way that God moved in us and through us to carry out His will. I can safely say that this wasn’t a one-and-done deal for me. I have plans to return to Honduras to continue carrying out God’s work with Sparrow Missions and continue building relationships that were started during my time there.
I am also confident that God used this mission in Honduras as the beginning of something more permanent in my life. Although I’m not sure what that is specifically yet, I do know that God used it to help me become more BOLD in sharing Christ with others and CONFIDENT in who I am, because of Him. HE gives me my value, and I find my purpose in life by sharing Him with the world, so that He will be worshiped and His name glorified.
Thanks to everyone who provided words of encouragement, prayers, and financial support. I have absolutely loved sharing this journey with you and look forward to the adventures ahead!!