I am writing this blog while sitting on my couch in Sarasota, Florida. After a long day of travel yesterday (Friday) I arrived home and slept in my own bed for the first time in 11 days. I have to admit it was a good night's sleep, resting in the comfort of my familiar surroundings. As exhausted as I am, there is a part of me that just didn't want to come home. That is just the way it is when you go on a mission trip to Honduras. It is difficult to go home, no matter how homesick or tired you are at the time. Now it is time for it all to sink in, time for all of the processing to begin.
We left Tegucigalpa on Wednesday morning, packed up and ready for the retreat. As I metioned in the last blog, all of the Torch teams take a short retreat at the end of the trip to get away from the work and to have some down time to process the trip and to try to re-charge our batteries before we go home. On the way to Lake Hojoa, a 3 hour bus ride, we stopped just outside of Tamera. There is a small orphanage there known as Dadasko. It has about 30 children there. We found this orphanage by accident a couple of years ago while trying to get to the women's prison. The facility at the time was horribly run down and in need of all kinds of supplies. Over the past 3 years we have tried to go out there on a regular basis to check up on them.
Fortunately the orphanage is in good shape, clean and well kept. The children are happy and well behaved. The director is doing a wonderful job although they still live hand to mouth, not knowing when the next assistance will arrive. When we arrived we carried with us 300 pounds of food, such as beans, rice, and corn meal. We had all kinds of toys, kites, candy, and snacks. We took crayons and markers for future art projects, 2 reams of paper, and school supplies. We carried the food and supplies to the storage room where we found depleted shelves where food was stored. They had less than a week's worth of food left. The food we delievered will last them more than a month. The director was so grateful that we came. She had no idea we were coming, we just did a suprise visit. We made peanut butter and honey sandwiches, played games, painted finger nails, and just had a great time. Even though we were on our way to a beautiful place to relax and have some fun, nobody was in any hurry to leave.
We finally loaded up the bus and headed out for the lake retreat. We arrived about 5:00 pm at the hotel. We checked in and had dinner right away. Free time to wander the property and get unpacked took place and then we had our evening devotional out by the pool deck. It was nice and quiet, the evening air cool and calm. We were just about the only ones at the hotel and did not have to worry about bothering anyone. We had some very good singing. This group was a very good singing group. We sang a wide variety of songs throughout the trip with several different guys leading. I spoke about the trip and what we had done during the course of the time we were in Honduras. I also talked about the fact that all of us have taken different paths to get to where we were on the trip. Some within the group had taken rough and rocky roads while others did not. I saw the group as a snapshot in time, knowing the group as who they were, right then, right there. No matter what it took to get us to where we where right then and there, that is how I will remember them. That is the way it is while we are on our spiritual journey. A year from now it will be different. We will all be in different places on the journey.
We had a long period of, "Where did you see Jesus today?" Several spoke of different events of the trip that made a big impact on them. Everyone on the trip has such humble servant's hearts that seeing Jesus was obvious everyday. From tender hugs to brute strength, our group demonstrated the heart of a servant. We called it a night about 11:00.
Thursday morning we had a 9:00 breakfast. Several of us still missed it with the first chance on the trip to sleep in. The early risers were up with hot coffee and a beautiful mountain morning. We didn't have a lot on the schedule today. Some rode horses wile others took a dip in the pool. Others just found a place to lounge and read and write. After lunch most went to the national park about 30 minutes away. A giant waterfall is there that has "Kodak moment" written all over it. Besides a breathtaking view and photo op there are several places to jump into the water of the lagoon. Otherwise, it was a quiet day in one of Honduras' most beautiful spots. After dinner God entertained us with a brilliant light show of heat lightning. The outline of the towering mountains was visible as we watched the storm roll in. Another rain storm was upon us.
Nathan Reeves spoke at the devotional. The newest chapter of Hezekiah was read, recapping the highlights of the trip as only those with a sense of humor could. Few were spared from the witty humor. After the reading Nathan led the devotional. The rain came in buckets, a real gully washer. It rained so hard that we could not hear each other talking. After a few minutes we all took turns making a run for the main hotel, dodging frogs along the way. I guess it was only fitting that our trip should end like it started, with rain. But the rain brought the fires to an end and cleared the air and brought back the greenery of the land. What a blessing it was.
Friday we were up bright and early and were on the road by 6:00 am. 3 hours later we arrived at the airport and took a group photo by the bus. A very smooth check-in allowed the group to eat and visit before we finally had to say our goodbyes. The Nashville group left first with the Miami group leaving an hour later. The flights were good and on time and the team returned to their homes. Memories to last a life time.
Many thanks to all of you that helped to make this trip possible. In about a month more than 200 more will be traveling down to Honduras for the second and third trips. Please continue to pray for the teams and other Torch leaders, as we continue to work in Honduras. God's kingdom is alive and growing. May all we do be for His glory. God bless our efforts as we serve Him.