My hands smell like the leafy green part of a vegetable plant. I was out back checking on my vegetables after being gone for a week and I am absolutely amazed over how much they grew while I was gone on my trip to Honduras. It may even be ventured to say that they are too happy and almost out of control! The tomato plants are now taller than I am and my zucchini plants have leaves the size of dinner plates. Every single plant is either budding, blooming, or already producing the fruit. I have seven plants total planted into two large buckets with potting soil. The tomatoes are staked and the cucumbers or sorta staked – the latter grew so fast while I was gone that they are beyond staking now. I also fertilized with used coffee grounds before I left.
But most importantly, I would like to share my trip to Honduras with you. Maybe the best way to tell you about my trip is to address the 5 W’s.
Who are we?
I traveled to Honduras with a team of 11 other people from my church. Our team was led by our pastor Mark and our youth pastor Jake. We went to the town of Cantarranas to assist Flavio, a pastor there, who is leading and mentoring several churches in the area. His family hosted us for our meals, took us to various nearby village churches, and had us over at their church for evening services.
Church is a more central community event there than it is here in my hometown, Charlottesville. The communities were we worked are small and almost everyone knows each other. There is an energetic sense of community and worship in the Honduran communities we worked with. They understand what it is like to rely on God for provision and protection.
Where were we?
We stayed in the town of Cantarranas (aka San Juan de Flores) at a little hotel run by Raul. We partnered with Flavio and ministered in his town as well as other nearby villages – including Bortolo, Tomatin, Pajarillos, and Yamaguarde. These communities were all relatively poor with dirt roads and shack-like outhouses. They offer a strong contrast to life in Charlottesville.
What did we do?
We sang for the churches, led VBS, gave testimonies, led prayer times, made crafts with the youth, and of course, played with lots of children.
When were we there?
Our travel dates were June 11-18.
Because we believe in the Great Commission – to go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them, and teaching them to obey God. And as part of this commission, helping Flavio’s good work in building new churches and ministering to the young and old of his community.
One of my favorite memories from our trip is playing with Flavio and Angie’s youngest son, Joseph. When he smiles, his whole face lights up and he has the best smile. One day after lunch, Joseph, his friend Francis, and I played a sort of hide-and-seek game of tag. They would try to hide and when I found them, I would chase them around the house and garages and if I caught them, I would tickle them. We had so much fun. One night after church, we played another game of tag and tickle with Sunshine and a little girl joining in. So much laughter!
I took two cameras with me to Honduras – my little point-and-shoot Canon PowerShot and my 35mm film SLR. I managed to take 6 rolls of color negative film and I am hoping to get them developed soon since they are the photos that I actually put effort into. Here below are some of my point-and-shoot photos:
The fruit below is nicknamed “ugly fruit,” because it is a very tart sour fruit with thick skin and lots of seeds.
This next photo was taken outside of the feeding center that previous years’ groups worked with:
This is Flavio’s church. We went to several evening services there and for a Sunday morning school session.
This is from a Psalm I read one morning out on the porch of the hotel:
It is common to see ox-carts out in the streets of Central American countries. It is also common to see livestock roaming freely – donkeys, horses, cows, chickens, etc are often on the side of the road or even in the road. They are free to wander and graze wherever they please for the most part.
This is Alexander and his son. Alexander has a second home up in the mountain village of Yamaguarde that he wants to be turned into a church. Our team went up there to pray over the site and the village.
This first image is of the youth leaving after VBS. The youngest group of kids did a Noah’s Ark-themed craft with paper and stickers.
This is church we visited at Bortolo. Jake gave a sermon there and there were children crying very loudly behind me and it was obviously getting difficult to hear Jake and his translator. As soon as I prayed, rebuking the enemy in God’s name and asking God to quiet the room for the people to hear Jake’s message, the room fell quiet for the rest of the service. It was absolutely instantaneous and it was amazing. Sometimes it feels like God won’t ever answer a prayer, but it was so sudden and in that instant, I know only God could have quieted the children’s distress like that.
Below on the right, you can see how cashews grow. The brown cashew-shaped piece on the end of the fruit is where the nut is inclosed and the yellow fruit of the cashew tree is actually edible. Several of us tried it as a blended drink. It makes your mouth feel dry and puckered. The juice of the fruit will permanently stain your clothes with brown spots.
We did a roadside church service in Yamaguarde. People came walking from every direction to hear and participate. We had groups of men sitting around the outskirts of the group while the women were at a wedding down the street. It is rare for the men in the communities to come to church and we were blessed to see them there with us.
In Honduras, they often plant corn on steep grades and cliffs due to limited farming land. They drive a stick in the ground and drop seeds in by hand. On the steepest “fields,” they may rappel down to harvest the corn.
We had a trip to Valle de Angeles on our last full day in the country. There we were able to eat some local food and do some shopping. I had two pork and cheese pupusas which were exceptionally delicious! Pupusas are kind of like stuffed tortillas.
Even though I taught several groups while in Honduras, I am sure I learned more by being in a new country than my students learned from me. There are remarkable differences between Honduras and the other two Latin American countries I have visited. You and I may go abroad with the intention of teaching others about our trade or our faith, but sometimes we are just as much of a student as the people we teach. On my trip, I learned everything from how sugarcane grows to what cashews look like straight off the tree to the meaning of “Dios te bendiga.” (God bless you!) I enjoyed sharing my faith with the various churches, teaching crafts and Bible stories, and learning about Honduras’ culture.
Thank you for reading my post today and I hope you will stop by again when I am able to post my color film photos from Honduras! Dios te bendiga!