Our fourth day in Honduras began at the Mission House in Tegucigalpa with a delicious breakfast. The best-kept secret of Honduras missions has to be the incredible food. The cooks, and for that matter, the entire staff at the Mission House, is incredibly hospitable.
Following breakfast, we loaded into our micro van, and made the 45-minute journey to Ciudad Espana. The van rides to the various destinations invariably involve much conversation, laughter, and an endless stream of fun moments in traffic. The best descriptor for Honduran traffic would be chaotic. Our drivers navigate effortlessly down streets without names to destinations without addresses. All the while, they actively dodge cars, pedestrians, and motorcycles that consider the center line of the road a passing lane.
Upon arrival, we began construction on a new wing of classrooms for the private school attached to our partner church. Yesterday we mostly connected with the school’s students and parents. Today we mostly connected with the work crews.
No one in our group is a skilled laborer. However, by serving as general laborers, we enabled the professional crew to work faster and more efficiently. On a typical day, the job foreman must take a skilled laborer away from his specialty to handle general tasks.
What does general labor involve? Today it involved hauling rocks and sand up a hill to mix cement, using picks and shovels to excavate what will become a classroom floor, leveling dirt for another classroom floor, and lifting cinder blocks to a skilled mason perched on top of a wall. The work was physical, dirty, and utterly exhilarating.
As happens every day in Honduras, the best experiences came not from what we did, but rather from the friendships we made. We learned, for example, that the lead mason is a member of the church. Several weeks ago, he approached his pastor, and offered the church his masonry skills.
Despite having a family in the community, a home with monthly expenses, and children to educate, he placed his regular paying jobs on hold to work at the school. He trusts the church to meet his family’s needs while he is not earning a regular income. He shared that, on a deeper level, he trusts God to provide for him and his family no matter what his circumstances. He plans to return to regular paying work only when the new education wing is finished.
The stone mason agreed that the school he is building likely will stand for decades. He endorsed a dream that one day far in the future, he will look down from Heaven, and point to the walls he built. He hopes that we will be there with him.
Another worker explained that he spends five and a half days at the work site each week. On Saturday afternoons, he journeys home by bus first to Tegucigalpa, and then on to his hometown. He awakens around 4 AM on Monday mornings to journey back to the job site. A church member houses him during the work week.
We asked him why, given his skill set, he travels so far, and stays away from family so long. He acknowledged that he probably could find work closer to home. However, he explained that he journeys to Ciudad Espana, sacrificing time with his family, because he believes he is helping to build God’s kingdom.
At lunch, which of course was another amazing Honduran meal, a number of the construction crew engaged us in a challenging discussion. The talk centered on a Christian’s duty to evangelize to friends, neighbors, and coworkers.
One theme from our interactions with our Honduran hosts is that our common faith connects us on a deep level. Our common faith transcends immense differences in language, education, culture, and material wealth. Our common faith makes us the same. Our common faith makes us brothers and sisters in Christ.
At the end of the workday, our partner church hosted a farewell ceremony. Each member of our mission team received a personal gift and an avalanche of hugs from the gathered congregation.
Following dinner at the Mission House, Pastor Adam led a training session for his Honduran counterparts. Witnessing the Honduran pastors congregate, pray, sing, and study together in our own home was an event unto itself. The Holy Spirit seemed quite present among the pastors.
Tomorrow we will conclude our construction work, and prepare for our return to KC on Sunday. Every day seems better than the one before, and the week has flown by.