Honduras. What is there to say? Its tied for the second poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. (Haiti being first, and Nicaragua is tied). I have now been back to Honduras four times. I have traveled nearly across the country and seen the nation. But never before have I experienced what I did a week ago. Let me just say…if you read this and don’t know I am sorry– I would not be here in the same state without my FAITH in my God.
On July 19th, I set off on yet another adventure to Honduras. I arrived seeing some of the same faces I had seen in the years past. Right away we went to the “Casa de Diamentes” or the House of Diamonds. Its a church where literally dozens of kids and adults were rescued and taken to as a place of Hope. From the second we arrived, children flocked to us, ready to be loved and cherished just like a physical diamond would be. They would play with the only toy they had and share it with us. They would want to play tag. They would play with my hair for seemingly hours. All they desired was love; nothing more.
All week we worked with the Casa de Diamentes, did school assemblies and the most impacting thing for me was the dump. When I say we went to a dump, i mean THE DUMP!! Picture all the waste, garbage, trash, bottles, and the most gut wrentching, lung- burning, disgusting smell you could ever know. We went there three times but smelt it everyday. The church was literally within a few hundred yards from the hilltop of the dump. Everyday the trash is continually burning to decrease the amount to make room for more. Everyday hundreds of workers pick through the trash, some finding leftover food, some finding something of little value that they could cash into for some small amount of money. Houses (shacks of tin, trash, and cardboard) line the hillside of the dump. Wild cattle and dogs live amongst the trash. Hundreds of buzzards fly low in the sky waiting for something to devour. Children die there often because they climb onto the trucks and in the trash to find some form of hope. They try with every breath and bit of strength to not suffocate if they get buried in the piles. They try with everything in them to survive…even with gashes up and down their frail bodies. We do not know this kind of pain.
The first two visits consisted on the same day. Our first visit, we handed out bags of water to the workers. Once we ran out we got back on the bus and went back to the church. Within minutes of our arrival back to the church we made sandwiches for the workers at the dump. And so we embarked on our second trip to the dump. Now image this…try to understand and visualize the desperation, hunger, thirst, pain, suffering and poverty. As our bus drove back onto the site of the dump, before we were even completely stopped, we were surrounded by hundreds of the workers DESPERATE and hungry. We stepped off the bus…and our stay lasted under 15 minutes. Those moments there seemed like an infinity. The 20 of us from the team that was at the dump that day will never think the same. We were each in the midst of a mob of hungry desperation. Those moments came to a crashing end when a rock was thrown to the head of one of our own. Immediately she bled from the wound…the gash on her head. We each quickly got back onto the bus and left for safety at the church. This is where faith comes it. We knew our team member had been hit and bled…so all we could do was pray while some of our medical team worked on her. And God provided healing. Her wound was not near as bad as expected. And friday we returned again to the dump, knowing that regardless of what surrounds us…GOD IS THERE IN THE MIDST OF IT ALL!!!!!!
Honduras for me was challenging to my faith and character. Though this was the fourth time I have come back to it, I have never before known such heartache, desperation, hunger, thirst…FOR MORE. I have never seen people so broken that will so willing do anything they can to survive. That is why I know I must continue to pray for Honduras. This is why I know I must return working in missions to help those who need rescue. Seeing the smiles of those we were with will never leave my mind. And this is why God excavates diamonds from dirt….He sees these people and makes them beautiful.
My theme verse for the week:
“The Spirit of the Lord is on me,
Because he has anointed me
to preach good news to the poor…
He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners,
and recovery of sight for the blind,
to release the oppressed,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s recovery”