It’s the day we have been waiting for…Sunday! The reason for our anticipation is the opportunity we have to worship with our brothers and sisters in Ciudad Espana. After working alongside them for the past several days, now we will worship alongside them in their place of worship. What could be better?
The weather on this day and for the entire week in Honduras is absolutely perfect! It’s an answer to our prayers. Today it is bright sunshine and pleasant temperatures as we depart the Mission House for the drive to Christ Resurrection Church in Ciudad Espana.
As it has been each day, we are greeted by scores of children with smiling faces, hugs, and words of welcome. We feel like rock stars as we step out of the van! On this day, most of the welcome includes English words that have been learned during the week. And, most of the children call us by name. It is the warmest of welcomes. We are blessed!
Energy and excitement is evident as adults and children are seen walking toward the church from all parts of the town. They are dressed for church. They smile and greet each other in Christian love. The sanctuary is packed with over 300 people. Worship is up-lifting, inspirational, meaningful, and joyful! In spite of the language difference, we feel God’s presence and we are blessed. Pastor Daniel’s sermon is spot-on to where we all live. We are challenged and inspired. Hope is energized as he expounds on God’s faithfulness to us as we are faithful to Him.
During worship, some of our ELL teachers attend Sunday School classes where they observe their students from the week put what they have learned into practice. They are overwhelmed with their creativity in sharing the Gospel with the children.
Then, we all eat a fabulous lunch together. Once again, hugs abound along with photo opportunities, more hugs, conversations expressing love for one another and our desire to meet again. It’s like the best family reunion you could imagine. Could this be what heaven will be like?
Coach Dennis begins his exhibition of the skills learned on the basketball court for the parents and anyone wishing to join the crowd. It is amazing what these 80 children have learned about a sport they are learning for the first time. The crowd cheers for their performance, the children receive medals, and there is a sense of pride in the new skills they have learned.
The hardest part of this day is saying “adios” and leaving such wonderful people. Long hugs, tears, statements of love, photographs, and prayers are heard all around. Loading into the van and closing the door was absolutely the most difficult thing we do all week. We drive away from the church dodging children and parents waving, smiling, and wishing us farewell for now.
Our “prize” for the week is our Celebration Dinner. We invite our translators, team leaders, and our Mission House cook to dinner with us at a nice restaurant. It’s a time to express thanks and share the experiences of this week with one another. Once again, we are blessed.
As we gather for devotions this evening, each person writes their “takeaway” from the week. Here they are:
“I felt pure joy teaching English this week! I loved seeing our students take what they had learned and make it their own! I also loved watching them teach Sunday School today. They sing some of the same songs and they do some of the same activities. We truly do share the same faith in Jesus!! I also want to remember how God is able through His mighty power at work in us to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think! (Ephesians 3:20)”
“Every team member is needed (talents). God WILL show up! And answer prayer. Prayer cover is so valuable and appreciated. Jesus was interrupted & then performed miracles! We are nothing without God.”
“My take away from this week is to be more intentional as I return to every day life. I’ve kept a gratitude journal every day of our trip listing 10 things that I’m grateful for each day. I’ve tried to recall (so I don’t forget) the blessings this trip has brought. I plan to continue this when I return home.”
“I was truly moved by this mission trip. An area of economic poverty is inhabited by such loving, generous people. They were so welcoming and receptive to us “foreigners” invading their area. I will keep these folks in my heart, thoughts and prayers. For me, it was very hard to leave them today, having only touched the surface of these wonderful people. May God continue to watch over them and may our visit provide them with added encouragement to continue to grow in their faith as they work to improve their lives.”
“Really? One paragraph? I want to write names: name after name after name; and share with you some of their story; and the joy of sharing life in Christ with each one of them this week. We planted seeds into each other’s lives. I witnessed growth in those I met last year. Grateful!”
“Pastor Daniel, you are a big light in Ciudad and this medal is a reflection of God using you. The joy of children in their smiles and love of sport. The joy of friendship and hugs. Being a willow. The strength of our prayer partners in their note while here on this mission trip.”
“The love and joy given by the people of Christ Resurrection to our team is so humbling. This year we joined with the Hondurans for meals which brought us together. We interacted even with language difficulties. Together, we shared Christ’s love and we bring home much more joy for the experience. Most don’t have much and freely give to us —again, we are humbled. We are called to share this love experience with all we meet at home.”
“God joined our mission trip early with our safe travel out of KC by delaying or rerouting the storms! God was with us on the rough roads to and from Copan as Sandra safely drove us. He helped us be flexible as 100 students and 40 teachers showed up for the first day. God chose team members whose individual hearts and talents fit together for a solid, loving team. By God’s grace we were able to shift our focus from what we thought we’d be doing to new things. God showed his love through all the friendships we developed within our team and in Ciudad Espana. God chose excellent team leaders for our group. Many blessings to Anne and Dan.”
“One of my high points was the day we were without electricity and improvised our lesson without the benefit of hearing the recorded story. Having one of the students read the story in Spanish was far more effective than listening to the CD player…a way to engage them as “partners”, again. These humble people have touched my heart and leave a “burden” of sorts on it that I will carry with me…praying for them and sharing their story with others, asking people if they have an interest in sponsoring a child or young adult in college so that these children can learn to read, not only in Spanish, but perhaps in English as well.”
“I was blessed to work alongside three Honduran men for three days. They spoke very little English and I spoke very little Spanish. Yet, we communicated. And, we were able to share about the responsibilities of Christian men to be husbands, fathers, and church leaders who exemplify Christ. I pray that I will be as intentional at home about being a missionary as I have been this week.”
Words are extremely difficult to encapsulate this week adequately. In fact, words fail in trying to do this. Needless to say, we are transformed, empowered, and energized. What joy we have experienced in our service to God this week! Our prayer for this week has been the Wesley Covenant Prayer. In case you are not familiar with it, here it is:
I am no longer my own, but yours.
Put me to what you will, rank me with whom you will.
Put me to doing, put me to suffering.
Let me be employed by you or laid aside for you,
exalted for you or brought low for you.
Let me be full, let me be empty.
Let me have all things, let me have nothing.
I freely and heartily yield all things
to your pleasure and disposal.
And now, O glorious and blessed God,
Father, Son and Holy Spirit,
you are mine, and I am yours. So be it.
And the covenant which I have made on earth,
let it be ratified in heaven.
May it be so.
Honduras, January, 2017 Team
L to R: Anita, Anne, Dan, Susan, Bruce, Pat, Dennis, Carrie, Phyllis, Gary