It was in the hills of Central America, 1,700 miles away from our Indiana valley, that my teenaged son and I witnessed a testimony to the power of commitment, obedience and faith. This summer, we became part of something bigger than us, a mission that is changing lives, one child at a time.
Ten years ago, ten brave believers gave ten street boys a week of hope. On a farm far from the lives they had been living on the streets of Tegucigalpa, Honduras, the boys were offered safety, healthy food and lots of love, and the ten disciples from Indiana introduced them to Jesus. That week led to opening a home for boys on that farm at the edge of a rural village, a home where the hope first offered by the disciples replaced the hunger, fear and addictions that had ruled their lives.
Over the past decade, the boys have grown up, some to return to the streets, a few to their families. Others have been lost to drugs or to crime.
Rossel and Juan Carlos were two of those street boys first taken by bus to what would become Finca Grace (Grace Farm) on the outskirts of Monte Redondo. Today, they are university students and continue to live at Forgotten Children Ministries’ orphanage in the city. There, they serve as big brothers to the 75 boys and girls living in the three homes run by the ministry.
The team of workers we joined on the trip to Honduras in June was one of a steady stream of believers who come regularly to help keep this ministry alive. We played, ate, sang songs and gave our hearts to the boys and girls living in the two city missions. And on another day, we hung out with the teenaged boys now living on the farm an hour away from the city, where we learned how soccer is really played and laughed with the boys over our poor Spanish.
As the week went on, we loaded food, shoes, candy and toys on a bus and traveled into the countryside where we gave the families what we had and talked about Jesus and His love. With hugs and prayers, we shared God’s promises.
The hill people, the children in the homes and the people who daily care for them were the target of our five-day mission to Central America. .But, as happens in so many of life’s profound experiences, the ripples of that brief encounter continue to be felt.
We all came away from Honduras changed.
. . . . . .by broken bodies in need of healing beyond our means
. . . . . .by broken spirits in the process of being restored
. . . . . .by men and women who find joy in serving
. . . . . .by problems insurmountable to us, but just big enough for God
. . . . . .by the contrast of incredible beauty and extreme poverty in a nation we can’t begin to understand
Most people who offer a hand where life’s struggles are greatest say they return to their own lives with new eyes. Not only does our corner of the world look different, but it’s as if blinders are removed and we see more clearly the needs outside our own back door.
It’s not necessary to travel 1,700 miles to touch a life. But sometimes it’s in such a journey that we learn to reach out to those at our fingertips.
“Only a life lived for others is a life worth while.”
~ Albert Einstein