If spring showers bring May flowers, we are going to have a bumper crop this year here in Tennessee. I honestly cannot remember seeing so much rain. Please do not get me wrong, we are not having the flooding that happened up north, although our rivers and streams are as full as can be. It is just the day after day after day rain. Outside activities are all but impossible right now. My soccer team has played 2 matches all season on a dry field. Yesterday I bravely volunteered many of my students to go help the ground crew at school try to prep the softball and baseball fields to be usable for the district tournament games. My grass at my house is nearly a foot tall because it won’t stop long enough to cut it.
This past Sunday was one of our scheduled fund raisers at church. Months have gone by as we have planned and promoted the annual Torch Invitational Golf Tournament. This year it was at the Opryland / Gaylord Springs course. Very nice and challenging. And, as you might have guessed, it rained. Now, playing golf is not one of my strong points. Never has been. I like playing and consider it a fun game and all, but I have never even tried to master it. As a matter of fact, the last time I played was this time last year for the same event! So, rain really doesn’t mess my game up very much. Far from it. Maybe for others who are good at the game; but not me.
Amazingly, about 44 people came out to play Sunday afternoon. The rain came down and the flood water rose and winds blew (well, the rain came down) and we had a great time. And, as always, my team had a lot of laughs along the way. And in the process money was raised to go towards our trip to Honduras and the mission team from Western Hills that is going to work at the City of Children this summer in Mexico. Dark clouds and liquid sunshine could not stop the event. We had a great time. It will just take a while to get the mud off of my shoes.
Some people wonder why we would go through such great lengths to raise money to go on a mission trip. After all, it is a lot of work. It takes a lot of time and energy and resources. Sometimes the end result does not seem worth the effort. Not to mention the time and money it takes to go on the trip in the first place. Sacrificing vacation time; the cost of the trip; the lodging arrangements; the food; the shots and vaccinations; the dress codes; the rules; the cold showers; the Imodium, Tums, and Pepto; the language barriers; the culture differences. Why in the world would anyone have yard sales, golf tournaments in the rain, and pancake breakfasts to do all of that?
Sunday our preacher at Western Hills (my brother-in-law), brought up to the stage one of the adults going on the trip to Mexico. He just picked him randomly from the crowd. The man had no idea this was coming. Scott asked him WHY he was going on the trip to Mexico. Talking about impromptu! But his answer was swift and sincere, “Because they need us.” The truth in those words rang in my ears.
They DO need us. Even in the mist of a recession I have found that the number of people going with me to Honduras has not gone down. As a matter of fact, this is going to be one of the largest groups I have taken to Honduras. People are still giving generously to the work fund. People are still donating supplies that we need. People are even playing gold on a rainy day instead of staying home to watch the NBA playoffs on TV. As bad as the recession is here in the States, you an only imagine how bad it is in places south of our boarder. We live in a huge country with lots of natural resources and wealth. We have a country with a health care system and programs set up to help those in need. We have faith based organizations and churches that help in time of need.
But imagine living in a place like Honduras. 55% unemployment rate. Inflation that is out of control. The value of your monetary system failing (the Limperia continues to lose value. 10 years ago the exchange rate was 12 Limperias per Dollar, today is nearly 20 to one). Corruption at every level of government keeping tax money from reaching its intended projects. No health care system. No welfare system. No unemployment system. No government agencies to speak of that can rise to the level of help that is needed. And faith based organizations and churches that have the ability to help are outside of your country.
In Honduras you do not live from paycheck to paycheck. You live day to day. You are not concerned about next week’s bills; you are concerned about putting food on your kid’s plate today. You are not worried about what you are going to wear today; you are worried if you have anything to wear today. You are not concerned about the internet being down for a few hours today; you are worried that the water truck will not make it up to your side of the mountain to deliever drinking water. You don’t worry about downsizing or “cutting back,” you don’t even know what that means.
In Honduras the value of money is going down and the price of goods is increasing. Jobs are hard to find. The cost of food and fuel continue to climb. The poor is getting poorer and the need is growing everyday. Why do we go? “They need us.” And it is not just our money and supplies. If that was all that was needed we could just put a check in the mail and be done with it. Clean. Sterile. Unemotional. Unattached. They need to know that there are people that care. They need to know that there are congregations that care. They need to know that we serve a God that cares.
Thank you Lord for the rain.