Never did it cross my mind that one day I would have the opportunity to visit Central America, much less invest time ministering there. This year alone, I have had the privilege of visiting the country of Honduras twice already and there is another trip planned for December later this year. Closing out 2019 with much anticipation, we plan and prepare to go preach to the younger generation. Surly, I will follow up with that experience.
I was honored and humbled when the invitation was extended to preach two days at a local church in the city of Progresso. Accompanied by my nephew who leads the music ministry at CCVF-SouthWest. He also had the opportunity to sing praise and worship along with the church. Also, accompanied by my Pastor who was at the same time, preaching in two other local churches. Nevertheless, a busy weekend for each of us.
In these first two trips I have been privileged to make, I cannot help but to point out the obvious in how different life is. The culture is something truly to admire. Observing how people carry themselves to the way of life, makes me realize and appreciate the exceptional living conditions we have in the US. After all, it is the land of the free. What we see in social media does no justice to how people struggle in this part of the world. Running water and a functional restroom is a luxury. From employment to economic standings, cost of living to transportation and church life is a consistent up hill climb. Resources and opportunities for growth in any area of life are transparent challenges. Sadly, we take for granted these things until we are reminded how blessed we really are.
Several things tend to steal my attention in my time in Honduras. One would be the joy in how people express their love and gratefulness towards God.
Transportation is a challenge everywhere you go. Most, travel by motorcycle since fuel is so expensive. Carpooling on the back of a pick truck is the best way to get too church, if it is not with in walking distance. Others travel by bus just to get too a near stop, then walk the rest of the way to their destination. However the means of transportation available, they make it to church on time. I have never seen so many people squeeze into the back of a pick up truck without any complaints or concerns.
If people were not dedicated it would be easy to quit and not attend any church because of the sacrifice and effort required every time they travel. Fighting through all the elements, patiently bearing the difficulty of transportation does not seem to stop anyone who is eagerly seeking God. Getting to your destination is only half the battle. Most arrive at church conscious that chances of getting a ride back home is slim. One can discern the hunger and interest the majority has to grow the ministry and impact not just the community, but the entire country. They want to make a difference. The dedication is portrayed through the eagerness and their attitude.
As I was reviewing my notes and opening remarks, what I saw had such an impact on my life. Noticing several young people being extremely active before the first service began. I walked closer to see what the commotion was and to my surprise, a handful of young people had arrived more than an hour early, to prepare for the service. Out came the brooms, the mops and the dusters. Young people aligning chairs, setting up the audio system, musicians rehearsing. I must express, all of this preparation was taking place in what felt like ninety degree weather, indoors without the air conditioner running, at least not until fifteen minutes prior. Everyone was envolved in something, breaking a sweat, but all willing to serve. Not once did they complain of the conditions or how much work was required. Getting some sweat on the outfit was of no concern. Regardless of what it took, everyone was willing to work and prepare the best for the occasion.
Everyone was moving and working. The joy in which they served really caught my attention and made me delve into admiration. They were all smiling as they prepared. The humidity and steamy conditions did not slow anyone down. You could see the passion in how they served. Everyone, pushing towards the common goal, working together, following the vision of their leader, setting a graceful tone as others arrived. One could see the smiles and the energy filling the room with joy.
It is was an experience pierced in my memory for ever. An experience engraved in my heart and a story I will share with my children and grandchildren, as long as the Lord permits. Words will never express the need in this country. Pictures fall short of describing the daily challenges. It would be of a cold heart to overlook how well we live here in America. Abundant opportunities knocking at every corner, open doors waiting for someone to open them. Yet, we all take something for granted. If it is getting to work, going grocery shopping, getting to church or simply having a fully lit, operational restroom. These are all things we should be grateful for. As many fight for survival and dream of one day wearing a pair of shoes, we stand in the middle of our walk in closets shuffling through a pile of mismatched shoes, deciding which pair coordinates best with the days outfit.
Take a minute, look around and take note of the many blessings that wrap around you. Take note of the opportunities that are at your finger tips. Take note of the details we overlook daily. I encourage you to share your observations with someone and talk about them. I pray we never forget to express our appreciation and gratefulness towards our merciful Creator.