Tuesday's To Do: Honduras Update

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Honduras Update

In February, I mentioned that Hubby and a team from our church went to La Ceiba, Honduras, on a mission trip with Habitat for Humanity. They were gone for 9 days, and many of you left notes or told me you were praying for them. Thank you. They had a wonderful, powerful trip.

On Sunday, Hubby gave a brief report to the church about their experience. It was funny, touching, and made me proud. I asked him if I could share it here, and he said, "Si."

My small way of thanking you and making the circle complete. Enjoy. . .

Free Range Christianity

by Jim (aka Hubby)

The next time you are at the grocery store, wrap your brain around this: you truly have no idea what a free range chicken is until you have been to Central America.

However, I ask you to consider for yourself: are you a “free range Christian?” If not, then what is keeping you caged? What imprisons and keeps you from opening your heart and mind to hear the call to your mission field, wherever that may be? Even if you cannot define what it is that cages you, I invite you to get uncomfortable and make the leap of faith to a place on the fringes of life where God is at work. You know the place of which I speak. It is that uncharted ancient map in your mind that reads . . . “Beyond this place lie monsters.”

Pastor John Hage’s commission to my team of twelve our first morning in La Ceiba, Honduras was two-fold: (i) to be present and (ii) to actively LOOK for God that week. Our physical assignment was to build a Habitat home for Donia Maria, a 40 year-old grandmother of two and mother of five, the youngest her very own 4 month-old. We found out on arrival that her husband was murdered in cold blood last December 29th while retrieving provisions for his family in Tegucigalpa. Donia Maria’s heavy heart was palpable when the Gringos showed up. Waiting for us at the work site was a massive pile of sand, an endless pile of blocks and a naked foundation. The facts before us were grim and, clearly, there was much work to be done.

The initial awkwardness was brief, however, because the cavalry arrived in the form of countless children from the surrounding neighborhood, swarming us with curiosity and laughter.

That laughter grew logarithmically as the week progressed. Even the masons’ children rode their bikes from as far as one hour away just to pitch in and be part of raising physical and spiritual foundations.

All the while, chickens subtly scurried under foot and crowed from a distance. Like the children, they were everywhere.

Now each team member’s experience was different, but by Thursday of that week, I was feeling confident that I was looking for God and seeing Him as we were commissioned to do, but I let my guard down. It was that morning that we visited Amor Y Vida, a home for HIV-infected children whose parents had either died or rejected them. The latter scenario is simply unfathomable to me. I was fixated on topping out Donia Maria’s house that day and certainly was not present with those children in front of me. That is, until one of our group asked them in Spanish what they wanted to be when they grew up. One child, Johann, looked at me square in the eyes and said “El Bombero!” A firefighter . . . well, that is what my children want to be. Instantly, I was ashamed of myself and embarrassed for not being present. Through that child, Jesus grabbed me by the chin and said, “I am right here, right now, in front of you. I am in every child in every corner of the world, even yours.”

It took me 37 years to listen to this call, to leave my cage and make a decisive leap of faith, but it would not have been possible if it were not for the local mission work of others that helped me open my heart and mind. I watched as my neighbor Will Whitsett led a team to Nicaragua. Then there are the teachers at the Learning Center, whose work with my children led my family to join this church. This, in turn, led us to the mission field of Paul and Anne Nodtevdt’s Christian Parenting Class where, upon studying the Parable of the Talents in the Book of Matthew, my mind was opened by my classmates to a new message: what will I have to account to my Master upon His return when He asks me what I have done with the talents He gave me. My point in bearing witness to my path is that there is no difference to me between an international mission and a local mission. They are inextricably linked.

I invite you to free yourself from your cage and go to a place on this planet where you have only one common bond with those you meet: your love for and faith in Jesus Christ. Would that not be the way to start every new connection in your life? Maybe your Honduras is teaching a Sunday School class, picking up a hammer next door at the Hope House or providing Stephen Ministry.

As one child’s poster read in a church school we visited on our trip: “Dreams without action stay dreams.” Maybe you are like me one year ago, sitting on the “back bench,” listening to this Minute for Mission and thinking, “I could go for that.” I invite you to ask any of my teammates of their experiences and their path, for I am no more qualified than they to bear witness to what we saw and lived in Honduras. As for “free range Christianity,” all I can say to you as a witness embarking on a missional life is to be present, look for Jesus Christ, or better yet just come and see . . . come and see.

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11 Responses to “Tuesday's To Do: Honduras Update”

  1. Thank you for sharing! That was beautiful and inspring.

  2. Please thank Hubby for letting you share his thoughts here! Very Inspiring! Both you and Hubby have a wonderful way with words to express your thoughts!

  3. I'm crying now -- started by the part with the kids with HIV and then ending with what does it really mean for me to be a "Free Range Christian." Hold on to that hubby of yours. He's a keeper!

  4. You had me at "free range chicken". I'm not going to blather on about how much this post spoke to me. I would take up too much space.

    I'm NOT a free range chicken. I'm imprisoned by the very thing you stated: There are monsters out there.

    Huge to me.
    I am praying this post through.

  5. Thanks to you both for sharing, dear Courtney and Jim! I hope you know how proud your parents-in-law are of you, Jim, for your mission work an this little "sermon".

  6. Please thank your husband for sharing. Inspirational and yes, God is right there in the eyes and smiles of those children and children everywhere. Praise be to Him!

  7. I am so moved by your words...I feel as if this is His heartbeat...

    I invite you to get uncomfortable and make the leap of faith to a place on the fringes of life where God is at work. You know the place of which I speak. It is that uncharted ancient map in your mind that reads . . . “Beyond this place lie monsters.”

    “I am right here, right now, in front of you. I am in every child in every corner of the world, even yours.”

  8. Thank you so much for sharing a big part of your world.

  9. I really hope to go somewhere one day and do something like this. What a wonderful experience!

  10. Very powerful and thought provoking! Thank you so much for sharing this with others and for raising the call to missions.

  11. Love these great pictures. And love to see how God uses those who make themselves available!