Athletics Mission Trip to Honduras: Day 5

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Eight Lipscomb student-athletes led by Brent High, Associate Athletic Director for Spiritual Formation, arrived in Honduras Saturday for an eight-day mission trip to assist with the rebuilding of buildings at an orphanage damaged by recent flooding. This is Brent's dispatch from their fourth day.

Day five in Honduras will be hard to top.

Breakfast began with another French toast breakfast with bacon. I know my wife Emily will be jealous when she reads that. It was a little harder to wake up this morning. Last night the wind blew tremendously hard all night long. If we were in Tennessee that kind of wind would be sending all of us to our place of safety. Down here it’s normal. Every January the wind blows here extremely hard after the rainy season. Couple the concern with the wind with the physical fatigue from the work we’ve been doing and you’ll understand why we rolled out of bed at 6:55 a.m. for a 7 a.m. breakfast.

We made our daily hour plus long trek to Duyere. On the way one of the Mission Lazarus staffers accidentally ran over and killed a dog that ran in front of her truck. The dog was running with a local cowboy on horseback. I was driving the second truck in the convoy. We stopped beside the dog in the road. It was obvious the dog was not going to live. We expressed our sympathies to the cowboy and continued on to Duyere. That put a damper on the morning. Not much was said from that point until we arrived in Duyere.

We didn’t do any work at the adobe house site today. We needed to let it dry out.

All of us went to the brick-making site. One group made bricks while the other group used pick axes to chop dirt from the hillside. Others used shovels to pile up the dirt. The sun was out in full force today. The guys handling the pick axes and shovels definitely had the hardest jobs. The work they were doing reminded me of what prisoners are depicted doing in old movies. They did it with incredibly positive attitudes and interacted with the Honduran people while they worked.

Several of the guys have really started using Spanish a lot with the locals. They are getting quite good at being able to ask questions.

After making close to 100 bricks we ran out of mud. One group stayed to start making more mud. It was a scene that I’m sure looked very similar to the scene in Egypt when the Israelites were forced to make bricks. Dirt, straw and water were all mixed together until they reached an ultra-thick, heavy consistency. Another group headed up to the home site with a load of bricks that were made earlier in the week. It takes approximately eight days from the time a brick is made for it to dry. The second group also collected several large bags of pine straw from the hill overlooking the home site. 

Some of our guys got out a couple of frisbees and started throwing them with Antonio, one of the kids who has been helping us every day. The frisbees got stuck in the trees several times. One even landed in the local cemetery. Antonio had a blast playing with our guys and had the biggest smile on his face as he played.

Ronnie came around later in the day and was his usual, happy, helpful self. We saw him on his bicycle earlier in the day when we were driving around town. His laugh is contagious.

Our final task of the day was taking two pickup truck loads of sand to Jose’s house. Jose is one of the members of the Iglesia de Cristo in Duyere. He has been helping us with the adobe house every day and is not getting paid for his time and effort. Jose has a very nice house with mango trees and some kind of sponge plant growing on his lot. T.J. said that Bath & Body Works sells the sponges in Jose’s lot at all of their stores. Ryan Terry went over and talked with several of the children at Jose’s house. Then Kyle Erickson, the lone soccer player on the trip, found a soccer ball and started showing some of the kids his trick skills with the ball. They were all amazed and entertained.

We took all the tools back to the church building and headed home. On the way up the mountain, Antonio spotted one of his cows walking down the road. He jumped out of the truck and started yelling at the cow, motioning it to move back up the hill. Then he went over to the side of the road, broke off a giant switch and started whipping the cow to encourage it to go up the hill. All of this from a boy who couldn’t be more than 11 years old. We were all impressed. We told Antonio goodbye and headed towards Mission Lazarus.

On the way we stopped at several spots on the road to make pictures with the mountains in the background. We got some really good pictures I’ll be able to share when we get back. We have to be careful about how much bandwidth we use here on the ranch since their internet is provided by satellite.

When we got back to the refuge T.J. McCloud informed me that Kyle Erickson wanted to be baptized. I was thrilled. A few minutes later Tyler Burstrom, one of our baseball players, indicated he wanted to be baptized as well. We asked Mallory and Chelsea, two of the Mission Lazarus staffers, to take us to the best place for a baptism. They led us to the river on the refuge property near the cattle barn. It was just about sunset. I read Romans 3:23, Romans 6:23 and Acts 2:36-41 before taking Kyle and Tyler’s public confessions of faith in Jesus as God’s son. Then Ryan Terry, one of our golfers, baptized Kyle. I then had the honor of baptizing Tyler. They were both so excited.

We had another all-star dinner that included bean dip, chicken soup, rice and tortillas. We played one game of Farkel and then had a chance to shop in the Mission Lazarus gift shop. They have all kinds of crafts and wares that have been made on the refuge. I learned today that their warehouse is actually on Trousdale Drive in Nashville.

To close out the night we turned out the lights at the pavilion where we eat and sat in a circle around the fire. It was a bit chilly so the fire was really nice. T.J. asked everyone to think about snapshots from their time here that have really stuck with them. Several of the guys mentioned the kids – specifically Antonio and Ronnie. It was an amazing time of sharing. We prayed together and then headed off to bed.

The Lord gave us an amazing day. We have two new brothers in Christ. Words can’t describe how we all feel.

With that said, I’m sure the devil would like nothing more than to bring us down a notch or two. Please pray for the rest of our trip and for what happens when we all come home. We appreciate your prayers more than you will ever know. There is an element of danger and risk here in Honduras and we all recognize that every day in multiple ways. We have embraced that danger and risk with the feeling that we are here because it’s what God wants.

I have only known most of these guys since Saturday but can already tell you that this group will come back to Nashville and be led by the Spirit to do amazing things in the name of our Lord. What a blessing! What a day!