Blessings. We are all feeling the abundance of God’s blessings on this very special first day in Honduras. Our day began with the requisite 4 am gathering at MCI, a 6:00 am flight and late morning arrival in Tegucigalpa. After a quick lunch at Pollo Rey (the Chicken King), we headed out to the Juan Wesley school in Ciudad Espana for a wonderful 2-hour visit with our sponsored students and school tour.
Our group of 9 members includes 6 people who sponsor (collectively) 12 children at Juan Wesley, all of whom greeted us upon arrival along with their other siblings, parents, aunts, and in some cases grand parents. We split up into three groups, ie our translator capacity, and met for an hour talking about their lives, their school, their interests, their studies, their activities in church, and their favorite Bible stories. Our students are bright, engaged, focused on their studies, knowledgeable in their faith (great explanations for their favorite Bible stories), and passionate and involved in the church. Most are attending Sunday School and/or Youth group in addition to their studies. They truly inspired us. We learned, for example, that in 2015 the church we partner with in Ciudad sent 35 students to the national (21-churches total) Methodist youth weekend conference, followed by 39 this year. That would translate to approximately 1,500 students going to conference from Leawood alone to put that number in perspective. Amazing!
An added bonus was meeting Florenzia and Cindy, 2 of our student’s older sisters who are halfway through University in Teguc, studying to become teachers. They graduated from the local public high school the year before we opened Juan Wesley, but their younger siblings all attend Juan Wesley. Their stories simply astonished us — they commute by bus 2 hours each way each day, 5 days a week at a cost that amounts to half a teacher’s salary to attend the government paid university in Teguc . 20 hours a week for commuting alone, at costs they can ill afford, and they are making it happen. They are smart, focused, positive, and totally committed to their faith walks and building their future professional lives. You can literally see the chains of poverty being broken as they rise up. More importantly, you feel that theirs is the expectation at for all our students at Juan Wesley.
Our school tour was set up by Amanda, who coordinates our sponsorship program so very well, and conducted by Elmer (runs the computer program at Juan Wesley), and Omar (our Juan Wesley book-keeper). Their pride in the school was evident throughout the tour.
Team member Dan Pitts summed it all up very well during our devotional tonight with his observation that Methodist Mission & local church has built a truly integrated community at Ciudad — church, school, and health clinic on grounds, with students who have the active support of their extended families and who are equally engaged in the church and school, and older siblings who come back and help lead the youth program. Education is the primary road out of poverty, and at Ciudad/Juan Wesley, Pastor Daniel has built an integrated community to help keep all students on the road. It takes a village, and our expression of such at Ciudad/Juan Wesley has touched us all so very deeply.
Other activities today included pickup basketball games at Juan Wesley, and a wonderful dinner at our new mission house in Teguc. Tomorrow, a team of 20 men from Danli and San Pedro Sula arrive and we will begin our work together building new parts of the mission house while supporting the building of the Honduras Men’s ministry.
We are truly blessed.