Sunday, September 7, 2014

My Mission Trip to Honduras in Summary

WARNING:  The following blog post may not be the fun, shallow fare that is usually found on this blog.  Proceed with caution.  Next time I'll provide more fluff.

Last night we returned from a week-long mission trip to Honduras.  As I'd written before, I felt the Lord's leading to go on this trip and in fact told Him that if He wanted me to go, He'd have to pay for it, and He did, by providing me the funds in my income tax return.

We flew out of Evansville, at 6 AM on Friday, Aug. 29th.  The nerves were beginning to hit me.  I was leaving the country, for a third-world country, with a group of total strangers, except for my friend Annette who, like me, is very introverted.   We flew to Atlanta and met up with the rest of the team - 29 or 30 in all, some nurses, a doctor, a dentist, a couple of pastors, several others who've been on many previous trips, and me... a legal secretary.  I could tell from just listening to them talk that they are all good Christian people.  Sigh, another reason to feel inadequate.

From Atlanta, we flew about three hours to San Pedro Sula, Honduras.  We had to wait to get through customs and then we ate at the airport because the restaurants were "safe" - i.e., we shouldn't get sick eating their food.  After eating and gathering luggage, we all went outside and were greeted by the vans and trucks that were going to transport us to the Faith Home Orphanage about a half hour away.  The air conditioned van/bus thing that we rode in was the last time I was even remotely cool until the following Friday when we rode in it again.

At Faith Home, the team would stay in a Teamhouse where there were dorm rooms that held about 6 people to a room, a big kitchen/common area, and long screened in porch that ran the length of the building in which we ate, had devotions, had team meetings, sorted our stuff to get ready to go and just generally hung out. 

We got ourselves situated and settled in.  I slowly started wondering what I'd signed up for... do I have to list it again?  foreign country, total strangers, don't speak the language - the Lord never saw fit to give me the gift of tongues - and man, now it's just plain hot, and there are bugs and scorpions?!  I was getting homesick for my mommy and my sweet babies,... and remember, I wasn't exactly keen on being assigned the children's church thing.  In retrospect, I think it was just Satan making me feel inept.  I knew God wanted me here and I knew that He wouldn't put me into a situation that, with His help, I couldn't handle.  But all of that was in retrospect... it took a day or two until I recognized that.

Saturday, another hot day, we worked to get everything organized and packed away, ready for the 5-7 hour drive on Sunday to Danli, which was where we'd be staying for the following four nights.  That night, we walked over to the church to have a service with the Faith Home residents.  Mentally, I wasn't good.  I didn't want to go, I was hot, and covered in bug spray, and seriously considered staying at the teamhouse, the service wasn't mandatory, but I figured I needed to go.  I didn't enjoy it.. I sat there and sweated, except for when I had to stand and sweat.  I didn't understand it - it was in Spanish. 

When we got back to the teamhouse afterwards, Jerry, one of the guys asked me and Annette what we thought and wasn't the presence of God in the service wonderful.  I felt bad because the entire time I'd just wanted out of the building.  That night, while taking my shower before bed, I was praying.  I knew that I was there because God had sent me, but I knew my attitude wasn't very Godly.  I prayed for a new attitude and for strength regarding the children's church thing.  I really can't stress how much I don't care for being very close to children... I like them in theory, but not in practice, you know??
The next morning I woke up, feeling refreshed and I felt much better about the whole thing.  God had granted me a new attitude.  And that evening, He granted my other prayer when the leader, Buck, announced that the local pastors who were going with us felt it would be better to talk one on one with the people than having a big ol'service where they might feel compelled by the crowd to put up their hands... SO that meant NO CHILDREN'S CHURCH FOR ROSE!!!  Yeah!  I don't mean that to sound bad, really.  :)

So what was I going to do?  Didn't know until the first morning of clinic when I was informed that I'd be an escort - basically moving the people from station to station.  This was fine, as long as I was busy and not just standing for several hours at a time.  I worked as an escort for about a half hour, until people got backed up in pharmacy and the doctor shouted "we need help in pharmacy!" and I jumped at the chance.... it looked like the very job for my organizing soul!  For three days in the clinics, I worked with Annette and another lady at the pharmacy station and we had a really great, fulfilling time... with little to no contact with children.

One evening, at devotion time, Buck mentioned that us first timers probably thought that we'd come for God, but that in fact, the first time, know it or not, we come for ourselves.  Privately, sitting there,  I knew I'd come for myself... that I needed it, so this didn't come as a surprise.  It did make me feel a wee bit less selfish about it!

After the three days of clinics, we had another day with 5-7 hour bus ride back to Faith Home and the heat and humidity, but my attitude was much better and while it didn't change the amount I sweated, I dealt with it a lot better.

Our final night, we attended a church service again with the Faith Home residents.  Again, it was all in Spanish and again, I still didn't understand a word, but this time the service was very different for me and I was able to praise God for the change.

Our final morning, before leaving for the airport, we took team photos (below) and I'm able to say that there isn't a stranger among them.  That's not to say there aren't a few strange people, but this group of strangers are all now family.  I went on this trip for me.  I knew I needed it, to grow closer to God.  However, the team together treated over 500 people and over 60 people accepted Jesus.  I was a part of that.  I can't wait to go back and do it all again!