How They Do Wash #HondurasMissionsTrip2014

10339463_10202597127461655_7788378323149771497_oOur plane held many groups, some of them Christian. One girl told us about the place she served, where servants of the household did all the wash on a pila.

“I felt bad.” The girl said. “So I decided to do my own wash. It’s the Christian thing, right? But when I began scrubbing my clothes on the pila, the woman would correct me when I did it wrong, and afterwards, my arms ached.”

The camp had a pila, too, and I was grateful for my washer and dryer at home. On an outing in Honduras, we passed a shanty where a woman with thin arms scrubbed her laundry vigorously over a pila while the husband sat across from her smoking a cigarette. When I first saw the pila at the camp, I decided at that moment I would recycle my clothes throughout the week and wait to wash them at home.

But I have to say…the clothes I saw on the Honduran women looked nicer than the clothes that come out of my washer and dryer. I asked Michelle, “How do their dresses come out looking so brand new?”

The girl on the plane probably discovered there’s an art to doing wash in Honduras.

 Our lone ministry, located in the capital of Tegucigalpa, is focused on youth leader training, working with handicapped children and the development of a Christian camp for them. READ MORE

He Said I Love You #HondurasMissionsTrip2014

He Said I Love You #HondurasMissionsTrip2014

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What do you say to people who ask about your missions trip–people who might expect some kind of profound and complex answer; people who might be IMG_20140521_120832_399uber-religious, and if you don’t “save” souls, or say the “right answer” they might reject the simple explanation you harbor in your heart?

It’s kind of like what we discussed on the last night in debriefing. Actually, when asked about what God did during the trip, I brought up this subject because it always used to bother me. Michelle’s response was great: Missions sometimes changes you more than anyone else. I discovered that when I first visited Kayenta.

While I did minister to the Navajo people and saw God work, God used the people there to minister to me. What I came away with is how people grow closer to God in difficulty. How joy is found in the simple ways of life. How the Bible is still the most powerful book in the world and God is supernatural. In Honduras, what I found wasn’t complicated.

The whole purpose of this trip, I discovered, was God showing me how much He loves me. How worship is simple, like when Suyapa makes meals for children and camp workers in the kitchen, or seeing others scrub towels over a pila (their version of a washer), singing worship songs while working, or wandering in the mists of early morning between the trees. On my fortieth birthday, I discovered that sense of worship. God showed up, recognizing the isolation I’ve felt for the past year or two, and filled the emptiness. He chased away the cynicism in one chorus of, “Happy Birthday.”

The morning of my fortieth birthday, as I shoveled horse dung to prepare the camp for the next group coming in, I laughed and enjoyed the chore. I didn’t expect special treatment from everyone. I kept talking about my fortieth birthday as more of a comment on the irony of doing something so crazy as to spend it in Central America. I walked into the kitchen at around lunch time and the place had been transformed.

IMG_20140521_124418_584I even had a bear pinata hanging from the ceiling.

Balloons were everywhere. Suyapa and the team had known about this surprise. For the first time, as Hondurans and my team, sang Happy Birthday in Spanish and English, I fought tears. The other Missionary, Jenny, had baked a mocha cake that had coffee in it. Michelle and Jenny had schemed about how to make my birthday special. The fire burned on the candles and the voices lifted in harmony and I kept biting my lip to keep from completely breaking down.

In that moment, I knew the whole reason God wanted me in Honduras (or at least, what He chose to reveal to me), and that was simply to say that I don’t have to work for His love. He loves me for me. I am acceptable in His sight. He also wanted me to feel love from my Christian brothers and sisters without the politics. The language barrier between I and the Hondurans didn’t matter. We understood a deeper language of brotherhood and sisterhood in Christ. You can tell someone that Jesus loves them. They can read the scriptures. They can believe in them, but some of us who have had dysfunction in our lives, think we have to earn that love even when we know we don’t have to earn it.

Jesus died for me. He did so because He loves me. I have never cried over Happy Birthday until that day when I realized this was His way of saying, “I love you” through the fellowship of His church.

 

Our lone ministry, located in the capital of Tegucigalpa, is focused on youth leader training, working with handicapped children and the development of a Christian camp for them. READ MORE

Follow Me #HondurasMissionsTrip2014

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Yesterday, Tony and I returned from Honduras.

We are taking this Sunday off to process the nine days we lived and worked in Honduras. Seeing how much Michelle Crotts has sacrificed and the courage it takes to live in a country that is economically and culturally different than America has given me a new appreciation for missions, especially for foreign missions.

For people to serve in a different country, it must be a calling. So much of what we have and do in America, the freedoms we enjoy, are taken for granted by us. I can run for ten miles or more in either direction without fear in our country, yet many Hondurans have had relatives or friends shot because of the violence and corruption in the country. It’s dangerous for a woman to run alone or to hike alone there. Homes are behind razer wire, armed guards, and look like steel fortresses. Poverty is everywhere, and in spite of the shortcomings, Honduras is a beautiful country.

IMG_20140517_081241_210The mountains are green. The roads are mostly dirt when out of the city. Dogs, both neglected and healthy roam the roads. Cattle, horses, and sheep wander the fields. We saw a couple of goats, too. The city is warmer than the surrounding mountains. The mountains enjoy some heavy cloud cover during the rainy season in the mornings. Wild blackberry, oranges, and raspberries grow everywhere. Coffee trees are common. Many grow their own personal coffee trees either to roast and sell their own, or to enjoy their private stock of coffee.

In spite of the violence in the country, the Honduran people are warm and friendly. As I swept the soccer court, one of the Honduran’s working on Michelle’s main building, sang softly some Honduran worship song. I felt so at peace doing something so mundane as sweeping pine needles off the cement, and loved the song accompaniment to the rush of the breeze through the pine trees. If I never ventured outside the property, it would have felt no different than staying at Prescott Pines Camp in Prescott, Arizona (with some minor exceptions).

I will blog more about my trip through the next week or two. So much of what I experienced needs more processing and careful writing. So stay tuned and follow my blog. In the end, I hope you understand how important missions is in your own neighborhood and outside our borders.

Today We Leave The Country

Our house sitter is set.

Our bags are packed.

In a few hours after this post goes live, I and Tony will be boarding a plane to Houston, then tomorrow, a plane to Honduras. It’s our first short term missions trip. Our first foreign trip. I am thrilled.

Please pray for us. God wants us on this trip. I won’t be able to receive texts or phone calls. Any comments or emails will be answered on Memorial Day. The week I get back I will schedule a series of blogs about our trip. I hope you will enjoy them.

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Have Faith He Will Answer

According to the Dake Annotated Reference Bible-KJV-Large Print, there are 176 prayers in the Old Testament and 46 prayers in the New Testament. I first heard about this reference (found here) during a prayer meeting. For the next several Sundays I will post a prayer in regards to each section of scripture mentioned until I have gone through all 222 prayers.

Read 1 Kings 17:20-21; 1 Kings 17:22-24; Heb 11:35

Do we pray without risk_ Do we risk