I just got back from Honduras a few days ago from what we call the scouting trip. Myself, along with 4 of my best amigos on the planet, Ben, Brett, AB, and Brian, spent 5 days racing across the Honduras countryside checking out different places to work this summer. Of course, I use the term “racing” loosely, if you have been to Honduras you know what I mean. If you can reach a top speed of 65 kilometers (about 45 miles an hour) you are driving at break neck speed down there because of the conditions of the roads. And the drivers. And the pedestrians crossing the roads. And the cows and pigs wandering down the roads. And the peddlers standing in the MIDDLE of the road trying to sell you their goods. It is almost like you are playing a video game on a really large screen, it just seems unreal to be honest.
And, driving in Honduras just wouldn’t be complete with the traffic signs, lights, and laws. All of which is completely meaningless it seems. Which, by the way, is completely foreign to American drivers, but given time, rubs off on you. I spent nearly a week riding around with my buddy Randy, who has been living in Tegucigalpa for several months now. He was insane before he ever got there, so I am not sure what term can be used to describe him now. Riding around with him has made the idea of riding roller coasters at theme parks seem like a waste of time and money. But he does get you to where you are going!
I also got to ride around with Jen Wright, whom it seems has taken to driving in Honduras well, she is right there with the best of them. And Katie, a very safe, courteous, and contentious driver. She uses her turn signals, seat belt, looks both ways, uses her mirrors, the whole 9 yards. Of course she was a sitting duck most of the time! Driving like an American in Honduras fits in just about as well as mixing oil with water. But, I have hope that Katie too will be able to develop a combined offensive/defensive driving style. We certainly did our part to encourage her while we were there!!!
Our scouting team was rounded out by Jen Arnold, who chose not to drive during our stay. Jen opted to just ride in the car with us and helped keep conversations going during the drives, keeping our minds occupied and distracted from all of the stuff happening on the roads. None the less, it is awesome to ride around town and see everything and watch a city of 3 million do its thing. You see expensive cars and SUV’s, lots of pickups, and every other car is a taxi, which is a foreign car, built in the early 70’s, painted white. Taxi car drivers are the worst, they never obey traffic lights and signs and are likely to stop at any given moment, right in the middle of a road, if they even THINK they might get a fare. Same goes for public transit buses, which are 1970 - 1980’s school buses.
It was a great trip. Blue skies and warm temperatures greeted us every day. The smell of diesel was in the air. New construction was everywhere. Signs of economic growth was everywhere. And it seemed everywhere we went there were people out and about shopping and selling. Stores were packed with customers, sidewalks bustled with activity. Cars filled the streets. Landscaping along the boulevards and streets. Light poles and billboards. Road crews sweeping the streets and picking up trash. In some ways, it seemed like a different city. It appeared as if Honduras was “growing up,” so to speak.
But, behind fresh concrete and shinny steel, you could still see the crumbling adobe bricks and the peeling paint. You could see beggars along the streets and by stores. You could see the tattered clothes of the venders along the streets. Honduras is showing signs of growth, showing signs of improvement, but in reality it is still very much a third world country. Coming from America and going to Honduras is still very much a culture shock. We are very much out of our comfort zones when we get there.
Traveling outside the city, to the edges of town, is where we focused most of our attention. Poor villages, most without power, water, and sewage, sprawl with people trying to survive and make a living. This is where we will concentrate our efforts this summer. Helping the poorest of the poor, trying to make a difference for people who are completely helpless. San Miguel, Nueve Oriental, Santa Ana, Valle de Angeles, Comayagua, and Chuloteca, to name a few. The need is great and I hope our teams are ready for the challenge.
We found several new places to work for this summer. A new children’s home in Valle de Angeles, run by a wonderful young married couple, has 17 adorable children that they have taken in and has committed to rearing them until the age of 21. We located hospitals that we have never visited before, and orphanages. Physical rehabilitation centers. Birthing centers. Small churches that are pleading for help and resources to help their ministries. New retreat locations for our end of the trip wind down were found. New contacts were made and old ones were reestablished. It was quite a scouting trip. It amazed me how much we got done in such a short amount of time.
Now the task is at hand, taking the notes and ideas and putting them into a working plan for the trips. Trying to match up tasks and activities with the talents that each group brings to the table. Trying to make sure we cover all of the bases and get all of the work done that we can do. I can assure you that God’s hand was very evident in the trip. We saw Him everywhere we went. Doors were opened right before our very eyes. I could write and write and write about all of the stories of things that happened on the trip. But the point is God is in charge and we were watching and listening. Now it is time to respond and do it.
As we departed, we flew over the city. As the sun reflected off of the tin roofs, I thought about our friends that live in Honduras, working everyday there. Randy; Melissa; Katrina; Alora; Karen; Jennifer; Katie; Joe, and Jen. Thanks for all of the help this past week, without you all being there, so much of what we do could not take place. To Tim; Mark; Gayle; Paul; Marc; and Tom, God bless your efforts this summer. To my co-leaders, Steve; Tom; Brian; Ken; Ben; Tim; Taft; Diane; Joel; Judy; Brett; Jeff; Patty; Linda; Margaret; John; and Big Ben, its game time. Lock and load, summer is just around the corner. Its time.
We are so blessed and honored to be going to Honduras this summer to serve as missionaries and ambassadors for God. We are fortunate to have the energy, talents, and financial abilities to go help the poor. Never take what you have for granted, never assume that there will be a next time. Make every moment count as you get ready for the trip. There are literally hundreds and hundreds of people in Honduras anxiously awaiting your arrival.