Daily Blood

On Sunday morning an expected seasonal heat swept through the valleys of northwestern Honduras and into the settlement of Quismistan. 

Last week’s weather was, if anything, a bit of luck and a brief respite from the high temperatures of this time and place in the world. The focus of the early morning was on seeing one of the team members, Hunter, off on his return voyage home.
The team leader tossed and turned all night in anxious anticipation for the necessity of obtaining Hunter’s passport and exit fee from a safety deposit box in a separate building on the compound. If he awoke too late, the building’s occupant might be gone for the day, and Hunter stuck in Honduras, when scheduled for summer school. 

Our leader got up early. 

And he escorted Hunter on the hour and a half trip up to San Pedro Sula, and his flight to America. He returned with pizza. 160 slices. 

The rest of the team enjoyed some extra time in the morning before making their way to the community of Teheras, a series of huts and makeshift shelters on the side of the highway heading south out of Quimistan.  

If a person volunteers for a mission trip abroad in search of desperate poverty, degrading conditions, and an almost incommunicable sense of suffering, (that they can’t find in their own suburban neighborhood), this is the place to find it. 

Living in the 21stcentury, in the First World, it is easy to forget how difficult days can get, how bleak circumstances can be, what true economic blight looks like, and how hopeless life can seem. We came from a world of luxury, of reality television and status updates, where a concern for sheer survival was replaced a hundred years ago by triviality and decadence. 

Things were worse in Teheras, especially a few years ago. Before efforts of the foundation, before a Sunday school class led by hostess Sandra, housed in a newly fashioned concrete church in the heart of Teheras, small but sufficient, a skyscraper of comfort compared to surrounding shelters, modest and indescribable. 

A couple years ago our group gathered with the children in a dirt patch a few paces below the highway, in-between two shacks, with unnecessary barbed wire stringing along random poles. Back then no hope appeared in the eyes of those children, covered in flies, dressed in the same outfit every day, with no promise of an education, or expectations of making it away from such a place, where their families squat in ditches belonging to the government, with no other, certainly no better, place to go. 

This morning many of the same children the team from Wilkesboro encountered in years past was in the new church, singing songs, clapping, a great many of them even smiling. After the service, our team helped Sandra serve the children a meal, rice and a single tortilla shell. Each child brought with them a tiny plastic bowl plastic cup. The team collected them, filled them up, and returned them to kids, who’d eat a few joyful bites, before placing the bowls in plastic bags to take with them home, to share with their remaining families. One can only begin to imagine what else they’d eat on this day, or the rest of the week for that matter. 

After Teheras the day was light, some shopping and a visit to one of the Federation satellite schools where several team members are sponsoring “AP” kids, those from the area with good grades, who get selected by Agape for additional help to pay for future studies, including for most of them some college. 

Afterwards the group met back at the compound for pizza with the families of our hosts, our interpreters and our drivers; a celebration complete with balloon hats for Maynor and Daniel and fake tattoos for the kids. It was a happy occasion in the middle of two weeks of work, a reminder of why we are here, and the pleasure filled life we came to extend to people in places like Teheras, and Rosa’s family on that mountain side we return to tomorrow. 

The honest truth is that for a great many people we know back home, family members and fellow Christians, they will find salvation in their own ways even without participating in mission trips, through faith, a belief in the divinity of Christ, and their humble requests to be forgiven of sin by the Almighty. 

This trip was not a requirement. Mission work is not an obligation, but rather a choice made by the servant of God to share the good word and to perform works of faith. In the end each of us possesses the secret for salvation, the antidote, it is up to us whether or not we share it, and to appreciate what Sandra’s husband Marcos taught the AP children today, that “life is an instrument of God,” and so here on earth, God’s work must truly be our own. 

There is not a new stove or added bedroom that will do more for the people we serve in this country than the simple effort to inspire in them a new measure of hope, a new birth of faith, a belief that things will get better they can carry with them through challenges that will arise long after we are gone. 

The meal we served this morning in Teheras filled stomachs for just a moment, on one day. When we departed from that place, a skinny seven-year-old boy escorted his two younger sisters, tiny and fragile, across the highway, dodging tractor trailers for a walk uphill through weeds, carrying a bag of rice and three tortilla shells, to feed the rest of his family.

All we can do is to keep coming, to keep building, to keep sponsoring, to keep inspiring hope, and to keep the faith that one day those kids will make it out. 

“Hope deferred makes the heart sick,
but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.” – Proverbs 13:12
Michael Cooper
Ambassador, WUMC