Emotions are a funny thing. Some people, like myself, tend to be fairly emotional. You know, I cry easily. Others seem to be very stoic, never shedding a tear or displaying much more than disappointment. Today, four teams went out from our home base to various nearby communities, and each had to deal with different emotions, some good, others not so good. God never promised service would be easy!
As we all know, sometimes things don't work out as we envision them. Ponder that a moment. Consider how you felt the last time something you had planned and invested time in, didn't quite turn out as you had hoped. Did you feel frustrated? Did you even get a little angry? What did you eventually do? Did you rally and adjust? Are you a better person because of what took place? Ponder that all for another moment and then consider......
Our house build team had one of those days. Everything started out right. The bus worked fine. They knew where they were going, Los Pinos. They even knew that they were building a house (to become known as the Traynham house) for a family whose own home had burned down. Sounds easy enough, right? Far from it!
Upon arriving in Los Pinos, the team met one "road block" after another. They sat on the bus for an hour and a half waiting for instructions and final directions. The wood used to build the house did not arrive until 1 PM, leaving only 4 hours to build a house that normally takes at least 6. Then of course there is the additional factor of the homeless family of 6. The father is handicapped, affected by Guillain-Barre Syndrome; thus a deep compassion fell upon the group to really get this family into their home. But it was not to be. It wasn't for a lack of trying, there just wasn't enough time. It is too dangerous to stay in Los Pinos much after 5 because very evil people come out about then. Can you imagine the frustration and heartache of our team? Do you think tempers flared a bit? This was a group of "getter done" personalities. But they couldn't.
Ever been hungry? No, I mean, HUNGRY. Many people here get by on only a couple of dollars per day. How do you feed a family if all you make is 2 or 3 dollars per day? Most might think food is cheaper here. That would be a false assumption. Food prices in Honduras have gone up like they have back in the states, yet wages have remained the same. Those in poverty get poorer, and have to prioritize, and sometimes that means less food or fewer meals. Malnutrition is rampant throughout Honduras.
Team two did food distribution today. I'm not sure I have ever seen a team work so well together. The food arrived at base camp and everyone pitched in, off-loading the truck, then setting up stations to distribute the big bags of food into little bags that they could then carry via truck and bus to the people who need it so desperately. Once 250 bags of food had been separated out, off the team went to Section 8. (Sounds like a place they keep UFOs if you ask me.) Section 8 is a particularly mountainous area (like everywhere else we seem to walk) and food distribution is not easy. Each bag weighs about 20 pounds or so, and because you carry at least two bags at a time that is an additional 40 pounds a person is trudging up the mountainside. (Did you know that Tegucigalpa's elevation is around 5200 feet? The air gets thin with extra weight to carry around!)
The response in Section 8 to our efforts was overwhelming. Kids came out of their homes; old women gathered around. Their eyes and faces lit up with gratefulness and joy. Yet, for all their gratefulness, these people taught a lesson or two themselves. They wanted several members of the team to stay and eat with them. Ponder that. Despite their overwhelming poverty, they wanted to share with those who had brought them food. How humbling. (Hayward later told me that he thinks he has had his magical Honduras moment. Well, brother, I can only tell you that it gets more magical.) Joy tempered by humbleness, that is what team two met today.
When you get sick, what do you do? Sometimes you head for a physician if you have been dealing with something for a little while. This is not always an option for our Honduran friends. Medical doctors are expensive here, and few and far between in the rural areas. How would you feel if you or your child could not get medical attention and perhaps faced life long complications because of that? Would you wonder where God is in all of your suffering?
The VBS and Medical Teams traveled to the Valley of Angels. What emotions did they deal with? Joy in helping physical needs; and joy in sharing the gospel story with so many children and adults waiting to get in to see our doctor and the team. 100+ individuals went through our clinic, many more sat through the VBS. Another emotion that this team experienced was excitement because they see they are making a difference and that tomorrow they will be journeying to another community, one that has never had a medical clinic. But I am going to save the rest of this story for tomorrow's blog, because I want you to be anticipating something great!
What is the dirtiest place you can think of? I don't mean dirty as in raunchy, I mean dirty as in filth. What if you had to live there? What if where you lived was also your grocery store, your bathroom, and the area in which your children played? What if you shared this place with buzzards and emaciated animals, all competing for the same rotten food?
Team four went to the Tegucigalpa Dump to experience first hand what takes place in a third world country. What they saw and experienced was overwhelming. Even now (I am writing this on the morning after) they are finding it hard to express. It will take time to process all of the emotions, and as they do, we will share more with you. Pray that their spirits will be at peace.
As you can see, it was an emotion packed day. Great lessons are learned through seeing people living in conditions that we normally don't experience. If nothing else, we should develop an undying gratitude to God for blessing us so much. Hopefully, though, we also take away from these experiences the knowledge that God expects us to do much to show our love and His for our neighbor. The big test will be, can we transfer this knowledge to our experiences back in the states? I pray that we can.
God is good! All the time!----Timothy E.