This year I had the opportunity to travel to Siguatepeque, Honduras for a missions trip with TerraMica and Kids Around the World. Needless to say, it was an unforgettable experience!
To start, the only mission trip I had been on was to Mexico my senior year of high school and I wouldn’t say I was a true follower of Christ at the time. Going on a missions trip in full relationship with Jesus was completely different than I previously experienced. The only thing that was slightly intimidating about this trip was the language barrier. I took French in high school and know very basic Spanish so I was a little worried about how I was going to connect with the people there. During the couple days of the playground build, I was feeling discouraged that I hadn’t really connected with any of the kids. I blamed my inability to speak their native language. Flash forward to the last couple days of our playground build in Honduras, and that completely changed. I was helping another team member with tightening the last few bolts when I decided she was so pro at doing it, I better not get in her way (as in, I did more watching than doing because you really only need one person for that job).
A group of girl students were hanging out near the stairs and one of them wanted me to help them on the pseudo-slide (slide with only rails); her name was Angie. We did this a few times until she started pointing at the big slides referencing she wanted to go down it. I told her “tomorrow” in Spanish and she kept repeating something else in Spanish so I didn’t know what she was saying. She kept repeating it so I asked one of our team members who spoke Spanish what she was saying and she said Angie was saying, “Big…Medium…”. So she threw arms in the air and said “Grande!”, then “Mediana!” with arms more at her side, and “Pequeña!” (!!!if that’s how you spell them!!!) with a small voice and her hands formed an imaginary small box. Since I newly discovered these three words and noticed the kids enjoyed saying them over and over, I continued to do this little dance with them over and over because they laughed and seemed to have fun with it. It was during this time that I really connected with Angie and her sister Yenesis, as we continued to laugh, play, and sing together.
On the day we dedicated the playground to the school, Angie and Yenesis didn’t want to leave my side. I had so much fun playing with them on the slides and running around, it really tugged on my heart strings. When it came to the final moments and the goodbyes, I felt a sadness over leaving them. I didn’t experienced this in Mexico, these emotions were entirely different. I still think about those girls and wonder how they’re doing and if they still do that little “song” about the sizes together. I feel what God tried to tell me over that week was it’s not about what words we say. I struggle with this idea at home because I’m a small group leader for high school girls and sometimes I’ll try to tell them something on my heart but it doesn’t come out the way I wanted and I’ll feel discouraged and think to myself, “Did I say that right?”. When in reality, I don’t think God always wanted us to say the right thing, He wants actions more than words.
One of the Greatest Commandments is to love your neighbor. Love is used as an action word, to continuously go farther and farther with showing how we love our neighbor, not by simple saying “I love them”. And that’s what He wanted me to do in Honduras, it was to love on the kids and show them how loved they are by their Heavenly Father. I didn’t have to speak their language and know the “right” words to build those relational bonds with Angie and Yenesis and all the other girls and boys I met on the trip. By playing, laughing, smiling, and acknowledging them, they could be shown they are worthy and loved. To conclude, Honduras has so radically transformed my view of missions that I’m going on another one next year for ten weeks in Southeast Asia. And I will remember what I learned in beautiful Honduras - God’s love breaks all boundaries!
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