My husband Wade and I had seen the announcements in the bulletin for several years before we decided to go to Roatan. In His sweet, gentle way, God tugged, and shoulder tapped, and prompted, until we finally figured out that instead of thinking about it and imagining it, He actually wanted us to GO. Looking back, He needed some time to get us ready for what would happen to our hearts, minds, and spirits once we got there. We really had no idea what we were getting into…no idea what God was up to. He had to strengthen our faith and position us for the change that this experience would create in our attitudes, perspectives, priorities, and most importantly our love and commitment to Him.
Our first trip to Honduras had a profound effect on us. We had done quite a bit of traveling prior to our experience in Roatan. We had even seen poor people and where they live. We were aware of the plight of the orphans of the world, since we had already adopted two of them. We knew of the many issues surrounding poverty…diseases, infant mortality, hunger, lack of clean water, lack of education, lack of sanitation…and the list goes on. But what we hadn’t done before is BE with them. We hadn’t been invited into their homes to pray with them. We hadn’t looked into their eyes and heard their stories. We hadn’t stood in the midst of their community of tarped walls and dirt floors. We hadn’t had children who are experiencing abuse, neglect, and abandonment crawl up in our laps looking for our love and attention. We had never looked poverty square in the face, and now we’re wrecked because of it. There’s no going back to surface living. There’s no going back to going through the motions of our comfortable lives. We now have no choice but to be challenged by the convictions that God put in our hearts that week about how we can give more, do more, commit more, and BE more for Him. There are so many things that used to matter that don’t anymore, and so many things that we swept under the rug that are front and center now.
Being among the poor and what the Bible refers to as “the least of these” was a humbling experience. We tend to get this false sense of security because our circumstances, and that of those around us, allow for convenience, a full freezer, clean water, and a million luxuries. Being among the poor put us in a different spiritual ball game. Their faith is rooted in a total dependence on God. On a daily basis, they depend on God for the food they eat, their health, and their safety. When is the last time I depended on God for something? When is the last time I relied on Him to meet my needs? So there we were…rich Americans in Honduras for the purpose of helping, ministering, loving, and serving. And during that whole experience, profound change was happening in us. We came to the unexpected realization that we have some things to square up in our hearts and minds. We were among the poor, witnessed their remarkable faith and perseverance, only to go back to the excess, wealth, and material things with which we are so consumed. The perspective we gained forced us to wrestle with that beast, and honestly, that battle continues to this day. It was a strange sensation to feel culture shock going home.
Since our trip, God has showered us with blessing upon blessing. The people we travelled with are all our friends to this day and likely will be for life. We found an immediate community within Shepherd that we never had before. And since we agreed to co-lead this experience with Dan C., (one of those life-long friends), we have a purpose that we have never had before. We signed up to go to Honduras because we felt a calling to give from the abundance of what we have, to help, to minister, to live out our faith in action. But the most mind blowing thing about the whole experience is that we received so much more than we could have ever given. We learned so much more than we could have ever taught. We were blessed, and continue to be blessed, even today, by our decision to obey God’s calling. We can’t wait to see what plans God has in store for this ministry, the people of Honduras, and the chipping away he is doing of our hearts and minds to mold us into what He put us on this earth to be.