Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Honduras part II

I can't even begin to explain to you the impact of this trip. Yes, I have been on a handful of other international mission trips. Yes, I fully enjoyed them and was glad to have participated. This one however was different. For one reason my family was with me. It was a blessing to watch my kids become engrossed and comfortable in a missionary lifestyle. It was awesome to watch my husband use his musical talents to bring joy to the children at Mama Tara's. For these reasons my heart was overjoyed. 
I think the biggest reason I was so moved however was that we had a connection with these kids. A group from our church had been sponsoring this orphanage for about a year. By sponsoring, I mean we had been sending $150 a month to provide fruits and vegetables. For a long time I was content with that... After going there and seeing first hand how desperate their situation really is I no longer felt "good" about our efforts. I actually felt terribly guilty! I couldn't believe an orphanage that I help sponsor (ie I am partially responsible for) was in that kind of condition. We have been home for a little over a week. I honestly don't think there has been a minute when I haven't thought about what our life means now. It is definitely different. Being discontent with the American way of life is just the tip of the iceberg.  There is much more going on right now. I don't know what it is yet, but I do know that just sending money from time to time isn't it. 

It was amazing to see my kids fit right in with their way of life... They didn't bat an eye. I don't think I ever heard them even mention the filth, smells or visual poverty. Here they were bringing in the New Year with sparklers on our last night.
This is the Waits family. They are simply amazing. On top of things... organized... yet so relaxed and in tune with the culture around them. 3rd world culture is on a "relaxed" time frame. It is also a culture where improvising and being resourceful is part of daily life. I can't really explain how inspired I am by them. They are amazing leaders in that culture but the coolest part is that they don't come across as trying to 'change' anyone or tell anyone how to do things and/or that their culture is wrong. They just lead by patient, quiet, Christ like example. Yet in their gentleness comes GREAT trustworthy leadership. Maybe in another post I'll be able to articulate it better? You can check their website at
It was rainy season. Roads were wet and created obstacle courses for us along the way.

Adam helping stretch a fence around their soon-to-be garden. They tried to plant one before but they couldn't keep the kids from trampling it... hopefully this will help. It is funny how something so easy as keeping the kids out of the garden area just isn't as easy as it should be.  Not when you have 30+ kids supervised by one 86 year old women.  While frustrating for those who helped plant the garden, it is part of the reality of what is going on there. It is what it is. The inspiring part is that the Waits family (who lives near by) just bends with the culture and reality. They cope and change their approach to fit the needs. 
 The group who put the fence up started the project by straightening these used metal fence posts. Talk about being resourceful!
The kids rooms are dingy, smelly and dark. That is putting it nicely. The mattresses are thin foam rubber. They  are urine soaked and lice infested. The shelf you see is the only place for kids to keep their belongings. Yep. That is all they have to their names. No toys, no blankets, no stuffed animals, nothing to color with... a few changes of clothes. That is all.
We were asked to bring paints from the US to liven up the rooms. The kids who lived in each room picked what they wanted to be painted on their walls. The younger girls wanted butterflies and flowers and Proverbs 3: 5-6 "With all your heart you must trust the Lord. Always let Him lead you and He will clear the road for you to follow."
Charlie (one of the boys) asked me if I was going to paint in his room? I said of course! I asked him what he wanted. He picked a cross and John 3:16 "For God so loved the world that He gave his only son that who ever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life."
The older girls wanted a rainbow and flowers with the bible verse Psalms 119:9-11 "How can a young man keep his way pure? By guarding it according to your word. With my whole heart I seek you. Let me not wander from your commandments! I have stored up your words in my heart that I might not sin against you."
Mama Tara was so proud for her kids.
Adam and Max put the words to one of the songs we sang with the kids. (Which was one of the two we were able to sing in Spanish.)   It is called Santo eres Santo. Which means 'Holy You are Holy'. 

The shoes Maylin and I left behind. 

The cook wearing the shoes I gave her. I felt terribly guilty because they were my "worn out" pair. I left my new ones at home. They were better than having no shoes I suppose. I went home to the States in my shower shoes. My feet were sore because... well those shoes weren't made for walkin'.  That's OK because I knew I had 20+ more shoes had home waiting for me... Next thing on my to-do-list scale down my shoe collection.
This one room house is home to 18 people. It is called the Alestero House. While it is a far cry from luxury it was very clean. But most importantly the kids here were full of HOPE! They shared with us their hopes for the future. Every one of them expressed that they knew those dreams would come true with the help of God. Two of their kids were about to leave for Medical school! That's right I said Medical school. Yes a child who has nothing with the right support and love can be anything they want to be. Support being the key word! These kids have financial sponsors from the US. And LOVE from the house mothers! This place was amazing! Poor and small but AMAZING!
Our last afternoon in Puerto Lempira some of us walked into town. We stopped at a local convenient store for a COLD SODA!  It was awesome! This coming from someone who on average consumes maybe 5-6 sodas a year. At this point in the trip I was growing weary of drinking room temperature water. Fresca had never tasted so good!

Adam playing drums on a tin can. Being resourceful! Oh how I love this place.
While we were there we distributed lots of TOMS shoes. It was super cool. I am an advocate! BUY TOMS shoes. They really do what they say. There were at least 50+ kids who received shoes in those days we were there. It was Awesome! 
Adam fitting Moses with a pair of TOMS shoes. Just being able to serve our Honduran family was awesome. Notice the girl in the back left with short hair. This is another example of someone being the REAL deal. This is Tara Garcia. She and her family are awesome too. Again an awesome leader but with such a humble gentle spirit. You can learn more about them at  She is the mastermind behind everything we have been able to do for these orphanages.  (If you ever want to be a sponsor let me know! I can get you hooked up!)

Here are a few more kids at the House of Hope who received shoes! Rodrigo, Denielson, Micheal, Alexander, and Angelica.  These little ones came to the gates to greet us every night when we came back from Mama Tara's. They were there waiting with their arms stretched up to be held. Michael and Denielson in particular would cling to you with everything they had. Face buried in your neck, arms and legs wrapped as far around you as possible. We would hold them through dinner, through devotions... until it was time to take them to bed. My heart melts for them. I so badly want to hug them now.

Well... That is all I have in me tonight. I'll try and post more soon. So many thoughts...


Cassie said...

what a gift it is to have a heart for missions...
i'd love to talk with you about the practicality of it all...
let's get together sometime; for real this time :)

Saundra Shultz said...

Sitting here reading and longing to hold one of those precious orphans. I know that God is working on each one of us who went.
We have so much; (so many shoes, so many clothes) big, roomy houses; our life is so fast and organized; everything is loud here; we are all hooked-up electronically which separates us from others - these are some of the many thought that keep running through my mind. How are you changing me God? What do you have in mind for me to do to help?.....

Jordan Carl said...

Very cool things Traci! I'm a little jealous that you got to do a TOMS drop. I think that would be a pretty cool thing to do. I, too, am a big supporter of TOMS shoes. I have a pair and considering getting another!

Kristi said...

My eyes filled with tears as I read this post. I know that feeling. My heart longs to do more and yet hearing God's voice in "how" is so difficult amid the noise. This post is one more nudge in a direction for our family that I don't quite understand yet...

Amanda said...

Sounds like you had an amazing trip. I can't wait to hear about it on the 29th!