Honduras, January 2017, Day 6

Flexible:

  • capable of bending easily without breaking
  • able to be easily modified to respond to altered circumstances or conditions

Why would anyone begin a daily blog with a definition of a word? Well, if you’ve been on a mission trip, you get it! Much of the time, the success of the trip is dependent to a large degree on living out this word. The way you expect things to be most likely will not be the way things are. As one of our team members says, “Gotta be a willow, NOT AN OAK!”

This is the story of our work at Juan Wesley School and Christ Resurrection Church in Ciudad Espana this week. Consider this:

  • We planned for 75-80 students for the sports camp…over 100 showed up the first day.
  • We hoped for more local volunteers to assist with the sports camp than showed up.
  • We planned for the attendees to the ELL training to be teachers from the school…we actually had Sunday School teachers and parents of students.
  • Today there was no electricity in the ELL training area.
  • We planned to use the same space for teaching ELL classes through Saturday but discovered that area was needed for set-up of an incoming mission group on our last day.

Before you begin to think the trip has been a disappointment, quite the contrary has happened. Our team and other local volunteers have exhibited unbelievable flexibility! It has been a tremendous display of “bending easily without breaking” and “being easily modified in response to altered circumstances or conditions.” I call it grace in action!

  • Parents and team members jump into coaching positions they might never have otherwise done.
  • Team members adjust their assigned task to meet the needs of the sports camps.
  • Our ELL team adapts their planned curriculum to fit the different needs of Sunday School teachers to school teachers.
  • The ELL teachers quickly revise their presentation today to a non-technical, non-electrical presentation.
  • We adjust to other space available for ELL teaching on the last day.

Through it all, there are smiles, camaraderie, and much grace. It’s all good.

Today the work of the previous days continues with each day building on the previous one. More advance skill sets are introduced to the children for both soccer and basketball. They are being challenged by our “Gringo” coach!  The ELL teachers meet and overcame a huge challenge when they enter their room and discover there is no electricity. They quickly revamp their curriculum for the day and make lemonade out of a lemon.

For the past two days our team participated in the construction phase of our trip as well. Painting was the order of the day yesterday with finishing of new concrete block walls that have been constructed adjacent to the high school classes.

Today, it was concrete work finishing off the floors in the high school classrooms. Before you advance too far into your mental image of what concrete work is, let’s explain. First, the dirt to be used must be filtered through a screen mesh to remove the small stones. Then, two wheelbarrows of sand are taken into the room to be refinished and hand-mixed with one bag of cement along with water. This is the old-fashioned way to make concrete! The final step is spreading the concrete by shovel and hand-troweling/screed-boarding. It’s a labor intensive process that we do side-by-side with our Honduran friends.

One on-going project in the sanctuary of the church is a representation of the stained-glass window being constructed in the new sanctuary on the Leawood campus. Students are assisting the art teacher at Juan Wesley School in painting this mural. It’s a great team project and a way of associating with Church of the Resurrection in Kansas.

Throughout the day, we are making new friends, meeting students sponsored by team members, and enhancing relationships with those we’ve met during previous trips. Here is Phyllis meeting the student she and her husband are sponsoring for the coming school year.

To the left is Juan Carlos and Bessy. They are wonderful people and faithful participants in the life of this church and school. Today was the birthday of Juan Carlos. We sing “Happy Birthday” to him and present a small gift and card from our team. These are two of our most favorite Honduran friends.

On the right is a picture of:  team member, Gary; translator Danilo; Sofia & Danilo. The first Danilo is a wonderful Christian man who works closely with the United Methodist Global Mission. He is patient and kind in all he does with our team. The second Danilo is the security guard for the church and school. Sofia is his wife. Members of our team have worked closely with him this week as well as previous trips.

As our team gathers for devotions this evening and share our reflections on this day, we pray the words from John Wesley’s prayer where he says, “let me have all things, let me have nothing.”  We add, “Help me to better understand what it means to use the resources given to me—whether it is much or little—for your will as we seek to care for those who ‘have not.’”

Thanks for your continued prayers. We know the secret to our ability to be flexible is found in the grace of Jesus Christ and your prayer support.