I'm not sure what to say here. It's going to be hard not to write every little detail, because it all feels so important to me. I could write for days about the things I got to experience in Honduras and the lives that touched me, but I won't put you through that. There are some things I have to share though. I'm going to break this down by before, during and after the trip.
The night before;
Fear. I was scared about leaving the country for the first time. What was I doing? But this would definitely be worth it...won't it? Anxiousness. There were hurdles in front of me. The heat was coming. I'm a horrible grump when I'm uncomfortable. Will everyone hate me after this trip? Excitement. I needed unconditional, unforced, pure love. I was ready to see the children I had heard about for months. But more than anything, I was ready to love them. Give them everything I could, all of me.
Landing in Tegucigalpa;
Awe. We landed. It was rough, but it was worth it. The mountains all around us were like a postcard. The sky was bluer and the clouds whiter than I could have ever expected. I felt God immediately. I was ready for this. Fear. There it was again, that nudge of doubt. It was hot. Uncomfortably hot. Did I make the right decision? And the guns, everywhere. I hate guns. My dad was right, this isn't safe. Comfort. Just as quick as the fear had come, the rush of comfort had taken it's place. We hadn't even seen the children yet and somehow they were all anyone could talk about. God was talking to me. Telling me this is where He wants me. Do not fear.
Arrival in Catacamas;
Wonder. We got to our hotel and nothing felt strange. Maybe it was because this hotel was nice. Top notch. I couldn't help but wonder why everyone said Honduras was so different from the U.S. Exhaustion. One full day of traveling and I was ready for bed. How would I get through this week if I'm already tired?? Excitement. We were on the finish line. Tomorrow morning I would finally get to meet the kids. I was so tired, but this thought kept me up for hours.
Meeting the kids;
Excitement. We got to Por Los Niños early the next morning ready to start work. But before we started work, we met the kids. Instantly, I fell in love. Their smiles, laughs, hugs, everything, made my heart happy. They didn't even know me a full day before they started pulling on my arms to play, asking me to sing with them or just snuggling up in my lap.
|Waiting for their BRAND NEW bikes we got them!!!!|
Nothing mattered anymore. The heat? What heat? It was a comfortable temperature every day we worked. Why did I ever question coming here? Guns? Unless you're a criminal, you should be happy there are guns everywhere. They're for your protection. Honduras is different. How could I question that? Everything was simple. Life was down to the basics. Blissful. And of course there will be hurdles. That's life. God wanted me here. I wanted to be here.
Our week at the Village;
We worked hard. As a team we re-roofed an entire house. Not a shack either, a big house. It was hard, but it was worth it. Who cares about rain anymore? House 2 has a roof now. We played harder. I remember sweating a lot. Kids were chasing me around the Village. I was playing happier than I had ever done before. If all we had to play with were sticks, it was the most fun we'd ever had. Those kids made everything fun. Everything entertaining. They made everything worth it. We loved hardest. Every day I made it a point to tell every child I played with, encountered, or talked to that I loved them. My Spanish was rough, but I had perfected how to say "Te quiero". The love the kids showed us in return was immeasurable. Their happy faces were enough to make my heart melt every time. But nothing compared to when we would say "I love you" and they would look back at us and say, "I luhv you". Why would they lie? They're kids. If they didn't love us, they didn't say it. But every time they did, my heart felt a happiness I can't describe.
Sweet Jose Armando was among one of the first children I met at the Village. Our second day there, he got hurt. My first reaction was to pick him up and comfort him, so I did. As soon as I picked him up, he melted into my arms. All the children had a huge impact on me, but after that day, Jose held a special place in my heart. I spent much of my week playing and bonding with him. One day, I believe it was at Church on Sunday, he was sitting in my lap. Unexpectedly, he took my hand and threaded his fingers through mine. It took everything in me not to cry. Here I was, someone he had known for barely two days, but the love he was showing me surpassed anything I could have expected. This little child was showing me what pure love looks like. God was in this child.
Pain. The night before we left my stomach hurt. My heart ached. That pain still hasn't gone away. When we had to say goodbye to those precious children, there was not a dry eye at the Village. After one week, those kids had changed my life. God is in those kids. God is in the Village. And just like in Searcy, Arkansas, God is in Catacamas, Honduras. I had told Jose and all the other children I would be back next year. Lord willing, I will be.
Life after goodbye;
Sadness. If I'm being honest, it hasn't been easy. I feel so connected to the children of Por Los Niños that it is incredibly hard to be here without them. I would give up a lot of things to go be with them down there. Gratefulness. God blessed me with the opportunity of a lifetime, and I will not take that lightly. There was a reason I went to Honduras. I believe part, if not all of it is to help Por Los Niños now in any way that I can. Determination. My eyes have been opened to everything in Catacamas at the Village and I no longer have the option to sit around and be idle. I want to do everything I can to continue to help the children. My hope is that through this blog, I can convey the importance of helping these precious children to the world.
"I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of Heaven." Matthew 18:3