By Team Blogger: Carrie Gaxiola
Day 1 (technically yesterday was Day 1 but long travel hours makes one too tired to compile 2 complete thoughts ) Buenos Dias from this beautiful city of San Pedro Sula. Today is the first day of on site work in the precious community of El Belen (which means Little Bethlehem in Spanish) We will bring food, oversee the building of a house for a member of the community and build a swing set/playground for the children that live in this village. Things we take for granted. A house can be built here for $1200 and the joy it brings is insurmountable. Every time I come here, I am awestruck at the simplicity in living and the gratitude for living each day that comes from the people we care for. It’s humbling to me to know how much I have and often how much I think I need. My heart wants to be purged of anything that means it will take away from worship of and devotion to my God and the work He calls me to do. How about you? What can you lay before Him and say, if you take it, God, I will still praise you? Set your mind on Jesus today! Love Him and do all the good you can in His strength. More tonight!
Honduras-end of Day One. Just when I think God has outdone Himself, He surprises us and does even greater things than He did just 5 minutes ago! We started the day with team devotions, then headed to the community of El Belen. I was there in 2019 and recognized some of the faces but this visit was different. This day was full of community and watching each person on our team flow in their giftings. Some designed and built a swing set, others pounded the walls of a new house up in record time, some picked up 6,000 pounds of food and bagged it up for the families and others held babies or played soccer with the children. What we all did do together as one body of people striving to accomplish the same purpose-connect people to Jesus and bring joy-is work in community with the people of this village. No one cared what the color of our skin was, what our financial or social status was, what we wore or what our politics were. We just came together, alongside a community of people that live and hope for better lives, and we accomplished a purpose in unity. In love. It was hot, humid and we all left with a layer of dirt that could have filled their new playground, but we left with a sense of knowing that, maybe we helped the people of El Belen as we worked alongside them, but even more so, they helped us. In a troubled country such as ours, they left an imprint on our hearts. Just love, just work alongside each other for a common purpose. And as a momma who is so thankful to have her daughter on the trip, to hear these words, “Mom, I don’t want to leave, but since we have to, I want to come back on the next trip!” that is the music I think reaches God’s ears. Today I learned that we can talk about love and being the hands and feet of Jesus, but when we walk that out as an action word in whatever realm of influence God has us, we are truly being world changers! As my pastor often says, “Goodnight world! We’ll try it again tomorrow.”
Honduras Day 2 – This is the time of night when I try and get quiet and, as the team blogger, put into words what I perceive God has done. So, let me tell you all. I’m in a room with a young adult and my teen. I started this an hour ago but we have had the best time talking so I deleted everything I had written because I had a blast spending time with them. Here’s what sums up the day:
-We love our bus driver, Jose’. He drives the American missionaries in the crazy Honduran traffic, pastors a local church and works hard to feed 50 children at least 2 meals a day in his community. He’s the one with the ukelele.
-We have an awesome team of people that care about the mission and each other. No drama, let’s just get the job done and make sure we are all okay! These people are a gift to me in ways that have an impact that is beyond what I prayed for. Thank you, Right Turn Ministries, NFP for creating the atmosphere for the Holy Spirit to move.
-We bagged food supplies for those in need. I think we would do this every day. The people are so very grateful to get beans, rice, sugar and flour.
-We hosted a one night revival and saw 4 people give their lives to Jesus, 11 people get baptized and numerous people get prayed for, hugged and loved on. Our Christ Church Women’s Prayer Shawl ministry was once again a comfort and blessing to all who came to be covered with prayer and God‘s love. Martha Lane-Bevineau, please let the ladies know what an impact they are making!
-We danced with little children that didn’t have the trappings of peer pressure or social media to keep them from worshipping the Jesus that loves them more than anything.
-Pastor Zack Dunlap brought a message of love and hope to the world the people of Choluma live in. He shared of losing his grandparents to Covid but brought it back to Jesus and everything we need being in Him. His compassion and vulnerability gave way to many hearts being touched by the Holy Spirit.
-We helped a local pastor, Pastor Oscar, pour love into the community God has called him to.
-We came back to our lodging dirty, tired and sweaty but with hearts full because we know it’s not about us. It’s not about a competition to see who can do the most in ministry. It’s not about entitlement. It’s about the sacrifice Jesus made for us all and then doing what He says to do.
-Those of you that pray for us, thank you! God is using you. Don’t discount your role in the mission. It is a joy and comfort to know we are covered and the spirit of revival is moving because of your love and faithfulness.
Honduras Day 3
A lot of thoughts running through my mind tonight. First, it’s been a bittersweet day in that we worshipped with our Honduran pastor, Wilmer Godoy’s, church but pastor could not attend. His father was taken to the hospital and his prognosis is not good. While we missed him, we were able to pray for him and his dad, worship with his congregation, minister to them in prayer and experience their wonderful hospitality.
I personally had a day of doing warfare for a situation at home that brought some fear and despair. I almost stayed back at the hotel but God clearly said no, and I am so thankful I obeyed. I would have missed God pouring into me and so many others as His Spirit moved in the same park we went to in 2019. I would have missed my little friend Brian who I met and prayed for two years ago. He was there tonight and immediately recognized me! What a gift! Lives were changed at the park in the neighborhood. Eleven were baptized and at least one gave their heart to Jesus. Our team was busy and active with playing and dancing with the children, praying for many people and creating new friendships.
Here is my take away for today. For those of us on the team that don’t know Spanish, there is a barrier. We don’t just walk up to someone and start talking or praying with them because we don’t understand each other. We have to find an available interpreter to help. When we worship with the band at one or the local churches or at the revival nights, we don’t know the words to the songs in Spanish, so it makes it more challenging to sing and worship. But it struck me, we still come. The people still come. God understands. God’s Spirit knows no boundaries. He hears our cries whether those cries are in Spanish, English or those deep groanings of warfare or burden that come from the depths of the heart. It doesn’t matter to God. He has no barriers but just bids us to come. He is an amazing Father that brings love and comfort no matter our frail limitations. Again, I am so grateful for my teammates that care for others so deeply and those that have cared for me today and my daughter this whole trip. And I am so grateful for Jesus, our Advocate, our “interpreter” that advocates for us to the Father and calls people to come and follow Him. I love Jesus so. He has no barriers, no limitations. He just says come.
Right Turn Ministries, NFP
Honduras Day 4
We work hard, we play hard. Today was a rest and refresh day so that we can hit the remainder of the week with strength! Hey, even Jesus rested from His labors and encouraged us to do so as well!
We went to the beach in Tela. Most of our team went on a boat ride to see some coral reefs and a pirate island. A half hour boat ride turned into a 3 hour tour… (I know, you’re humming the Gilligan’s Island tune right now ) The food and fun was just what we needed.
One thing about being on mission: you learn to be in unity and take care of each other or you drain the strength and focus you have. This team has been an example of what a team should be. We’ve had fun, prayed for each other, looked out for one another and made some real long lasting bonds. We’re going to finish this race with joy! My blog is short tonight because a few of us forgot the Honduran sun is a little brutal. Aloe Vera to the rescue!
Honduras Day 5
We had another full on ministry day with a visit (actually reunion) at Jeremiah 29:11 Mission House. RTM got to buy pigs for the house and fill the aquaphonic tank with tilapia. Because of the covid lockdown, food had been scarce and this was a great blessing to bring in a new food supply. We are hoping for the Three Little Pigs to have more little pigs so the pork can keep on coming . Our bus driver, Jose’, shared his testimony with the children and young people. He was a child of the streets, used and abused, left to fend for himself over and over before he was 14, but God had other plans. Nine children gave their hearts to Jesus as so many of these kids can relate to his story and today chose Jesus’ love and freedom as Jose’ did. We played in the blistering heat (literally) and as tradition goes, Uncle Doug hung the piñata for a grand old time! Sadly we had to say our goodbyes but for good reason to head down the road back to Belén for a children’s lesson with Señora Lisa, a dedication of the new swing set and a house blessing for the 7th house built by RTM. After Lisa told the kids of the story of Adam and Eve, the Fall and the rules God makes for us to follow in His word for our good, we had a prayer of blessing for safety and all around fun for this new Village addition. Once done, a new piñata was hung and treats abounded for all! The children lined up 20 deep just to swing and the joy was palpable! We then went to the house that was built for a member of the community. We prayed a blessing over this new home and for all that enter in to receive God’s blessing. Again, pure joy! My take away for today: we have so much yet are often unhappy. I would venture to guess that most all of us haven’t lived alone on the streets at 6 years old, been abused in multiple ways before age 14 and had multiple other traumas. We don’t have to live in homes made of roofing tin and whatever materials will give some semblance of shelter, and our children have every toy and gadget available to them. Today all these things were a gift to the children and people of Belén and the Mission House. And what we witnessed was sheer joy. Jesus joy. The kind that nothing in this world can give us. We experienced gratitude that is beyond comprehension because God delivered a life from death and destruction and made it new again. And we experienced His love because He is good, a Redeemer that lives and gives life. We got the bigger gift again today: the squeals of children breaking piñatas and receiving the goodies inside, swinging on a swing for the first time and a momma that cried tears of joy because God gave her a home to love and serve Him with. Joy that you can feel. His name is Jesus and we certainly felt Him today!
Honduras Day 6
Final full ministry day and packed as ever. We shared lunch with the children from one of our feeding programs in Choluma. Pastor Jose’, our week long bus driver, is the pastor of this community and we were greeted by cheers, clapping and singing as the bus drove up. We were able to visit several houses and deliver food and prayers. These precious people had concerns like we all do, prayers for health, healing, loved ones that aren’t serving Jesus. It was an honor to pray for them and share their tears but share the hope that Jesus can bring.
From there we headed to the next river community where the poverty is profound. Pastor Wilmer has planted a church in this community where we probably saw hundreds of people in a small church building looking for some hope and help. The need is so great and many of our team members were overcome with the enormity of the need and amount of people in this small community. But God… we were able to bear witness to the power of the Holy Spirit and hearts that turned to Jesus for salvation. After handing out food, toys and candy, we took the long trek to the river where 34 were baptized. Even a sweet elderly lady that Linda Lynch Belvin and I met 3 years ago. Once again there was that recognition when we made eye contact and we both lit up with the joy of remembering each other. She giggled like a young girl when I showed her the photo of us 3 years ago. I love this part of the mission work. Building relationships that last. Knowing that not only is Jesus making an impact in their lives, but they are making an impact on ours. Today was hard. I’m not going to lie. Each time I come to this community I have a range of emotions because the need is so great. It is overwhelming and it is a helpless feeling to know that you can’t fix all the needs or problems, but we can offer hope a little at a time. I have to remember that God is in control. It’s not about fixing the whole world but being available to do exactly what God calls us to do. Go, give, or remain as our dear Mandy Haffer de Ramírez has done. She and her husband Carlos Ramirez and their children hosted us for dessert this evening and we were all able to decompress a bit from the day, share some fellowship and talk over our experiences. We were all grateful for their hospitality. And isn’t that what life is about? Being grateful for what we are able to do, for what we have, for each other. Without gratitude, we cannot magnify the Lord and all He is and can do. I am spent. I have to sort through the things I experienced today and the needs of the people I was privileged to pray for. I know that I have a place to run and that is to the feet of Jesus where I can lay all my burdens and the burdens for others. For that I am grateful
Right Turn Ministries, NFP
Honduras Day 7. I’m ready to see my dear husband. He has covered this whole trip in his prayers and has helped keep me grounded when I wasn’t so sure of myself at times. I think we’re all ready to return home but we’re coming home with a different view of the world we live in, renewed purpose and changed hearts. God has a given us all such an incredible team to love, work and serve alongside. We ended the week with covid testing. Then off to be a tourist for a little. It’s been an awesome week, and we’ve formed bonds that won’t easily be broken. Thank you, Jesus, for allowing us to do Your work in Honduras
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