When traveling in Honduras it immediately becomes obvious that this is an extremely poor country. This was blatantly illustrated when our mission team went to visit Manuel’s home. Our four-wheel truck made the majority of the trip bouncing and lurching in the most spectacularly beautiful countryside. We followed the same unpaved trail Manuel walked daily – 1 ½ hours each way. We parked at the base of his mountain and walked through the jungle until reaching his home. When I described his home to a friend after coming home I asked him to imagine going into our church’s dumpster and pulling out the building materials they used for their structure.
Dilapidated old boards and tree bark, plastic sheeting – get the picture? The entire family was seated on a log outside their home, engaged in an afternoon bible study with the children. They were in an extremely remote area of the country, inaccessible by any vehicle. My first impression was that they looked at us as if we were aliens! Well from their perspective we were the aliens! Chickens wandered around freely, the community ‘shower’ was a pile of stones to sit on beside a tree with an old plastic sheet nailed to it as a privacy divider. The water came from an open cistern farther up the hillside that you would access with the bucket before bathing. We were told that diarrhea is commonplace because of the unclean water.
The purpose of our mission trip was to spend a week at the Hope of Jesus Children’s Home. The Children’s Home is comparable to an oasis in the desert. Poverty surrounds the children’s home site. Homes are poorly constructed of whatever nature provides for materials. Workers must travel many miles by foot, horse or burro for employment since the immediate community is too small and unsupported by industry. By contrast the Children’s Home was founded and is run by Mike and Kim Miller. The campus they have built includes a church, dining hall and teaching area, 4 homes for the children to live in with their caregivers, a staff home, an office and teaching building and a dormitory that visiting missionaries stay in. All designed by the Millers but the manual work performed by the villagers, affording them employment opportunity. The Millers fundraising generate the finances, along with visiting missionaries and numerous churches in Honduras and the U.S.
The incredibly memorable part of the trip was the interaction with the children ranging in ages from 6 months to 13 years. Never before have I been witness to such respect, focus, cooperation, motivation and kindness. Saturated in a Christian environment and literally taken off the streets of Honduras left to fend for themselves these children exemplify what nurturing is about. When I first heard the name Hope of Jesus Children’s Home I wondered how they arrived at that title for the orphanage we were preparing to visit on our mission trip. Now I get it!
Emotion without action is wasted energy. The Honduran children have shown me that life can be cruel. These children are from homes where they are starving to death. They are dumped out onto the streets like dogs dumped out on an American highway. When I return home I get into my new car and buy items of pleasure and enhancement. Are we all blinded by the American dream to the point of not recognizing the needs of others, of not wanting to share, of not caring to hear these testimonies?