Well, once again, we have had computer connectivity and power outage issues so I have to play catch-up this morning. So, I will break this blog up into Thursday and Friday activities.
July 17, 2008
Ponder this: You are the mother or father of 5 children. Though you work, you have little opportunity to get medical care or sufficient food. What would you be willing to do? How desperate would you be? If someone came to your neighborhood, how patient would you be about waiting in line? How would you feel if you got turned away?
VBS/Medical in Sector 8
Team one and two took a bus to Sector 8, whose Honduran name I can't remember. One of our teams had distributed food there earlier in the week. This time, we set up VBS and a medical clinic in an established Iglesia de Cristo. One building, where VBS took place was a wooden structure built by TORCH missions at one time. The other building was concrete block, and it was a building we were thankful to have during this trip.
VBS did their Fruit of the Spirit lessons and I saw lots of children running around with fruitloop necklaces. Some of our team also made balloon animals for any of the kids who wanted them. Keeping them busy and trying to teach these children a lesson from scripture is a real challenge.
On the medical side, well, it was our third one of the week and we began running low on some medicines about half way through. On one hand that is a good thing; it means we had seen a good many people. On the other hand, it made it difficult to turn so many away when we actually ran out of medicines that everyone seemed to be needing. We had plenty of hygiene bags, just not enough medicine. For a few minutes, with 70 or so still in line, it got a little tense. Those living in Sector 8 are a little more aggressive than those living in the Valley of Angels, and we were the first medical team/VBS team ever to visit. None of us think we were ever unsafe or in danger, yet a bit of tension was definitely in the air. Our solution to the tense moments: provide every family with hygiene bags, include some vitamins, and send them off.
After we locked all the windows, and got the VBS team inside the block building, we locked the door and waited for the crowd to disburse. And waited. And waited. And waited. Someone suggested that we pray about the crowd leaving and that we would be safe to do so. So a couple of people did that. AND then the skies opened up with a torrential down pour. People fled the streets!
When the vast majority of people had left, the rain stopped, and we loaded our trucks and walked down to the bus, in peace and safety. GOD IS GOOD!
Food Distribution/Hospital/Blind School
Team three did food distribution in their own rough area just outside Tegucigalpa. Here, as you would expect, the issue was running out of food before you run out of people. 100s of people came out of the hills to receive food. Far more than the team could provide. And like Sector 8, it got uncomfortable for a few minutes. People had their hopes dashed because they got to the area too late. How heartbreaking it is to look someone in the eye and have to tell them, "No mas."
After distribution, the team journeyed to the children's hospital for a couple of hours and on to another area of Tegucigalpa to spend some time at the blind school. The blind school is a great place that appears to take care of its students very well. The other thing that makes the blind school a great place to go, is that the children and young adults who are there want to entertain their visitors. This group can sing!
July 18, 2008
Two extremes took place today. In both scenes there are children and adults. In both scenes, there are Honduran souls looking for comfort. Yes, they need Jesus too, but no one can minister to the Spiritual needs unless the Physical needs are taken care of.
Down in the Dump
Eight members of our team went to the dump today. It is a highly emotional experience. Our team went to distribute sandwiches and water to the people who live at the dump. Yes, live there. They live in cardboard boxes, sorting through garbage looking for food. Some are abandoned children. Some residents are young men addicted to drugs; the drug of choice apparently being glue sniffing. Some residents are older people, their families having abandoned them. What an awful sight. The utter feeling of frustration about conditions in this country becomes overwhelming. Some might ask, "Where is God in all of this? Why does God allow such poverty and suffering?" I will let you ponder that. As citizens of the United States we often are not faced with struggling over the difficult questions. So, ponder.
Good Shepherd Orphanage
The remainder of our group journeyed to an orphanage about an hour outside Tegucigalpa. Here, we distributed Christmas in July packages and many of our toys and crayons, etc. We also built them a slide; one of those plastic models that cork-screw down. Most of us also gave our hearts away. It is a consequence of traveling here. Many a team member wanted to smuggle one of these kids home in their luggage.
Yet, I also realize that these kids were easy to love. This orphanage is run by a Christian group. It is clean, as are the kids. They are all well cared for, and extremely well behaved. Many are being educated; some have learned English rather well.
That is not to say that we don't fall in love with all the other children down here, but I have observed, and must confess for myself: it is harder to pick-up a child covered in dirt and lice. We have all done it; we have all paused at least once, and then picked up a child, regardless of their condition. What went through our minds? Did we struggle with our own weakness? Perhaps.
May God give us strength!
God is good! All the time!------Timothy E.