Monday, January 02, 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 second day.
It’s just before midnight on New Year’s Day here at Mission Lazarus in Choluteca, Honduras. All the guys are getting ready for bed after another incredible day.
We started the day with a breakfast that included french toast, bacon, fresh fruit and orange juice. Then we got a tour of the children’s home here at the refuge. There are currently approximately 60 children that live here. No more than 10 children live in one house. Each house has two “tias” or “aunts” in Spanish that serve as the house mothers for each house. While the tias are not related to the children Mission Lazarus chose to use the word tia to reflect the atmosphere of family they are trying to promote.
Mission Lazarus has chosen to keep the children’s contact with Americans at an extreme minimum. Their goal isn’t to mold these children into future Americans. Their goal is to help raise productive, God-serving Hondurans that will embrace the Honduran culture and contribute to Honduran society after they leave the refuge.
The children each have chores they accomplish on the ranch. They help with the farming, raising fruits and vegetables. They help with the cattle. They are learning various trades that will serve them well as adults.
In addition to the livestock and crops, the refuge has a coffee plantation on one of the tallest mountains. The refuge employs more than 120 local Honduran people and serves hundreds more in the surrounding community.
We have all been extremely impressed with the mission and vision of Mission Lazarus. Cameron explained to us today that Lazarus in the Mission’s name is not referring to the Lazarus in the Bible who was raised from the dead but rather the Lazarus who sat at the foot of the rich man’s table waiting on the scraps that fell. Mission Lazarus seeks to serve the poorest of the poor.
After the tour, we drove into town where we attended services at the Iglesia de Cristo. We were warmly welcomed and enjoyed being with our Honduran brothers and sisters very much. The simplicity of their building was striking. Bricko block walls, a tin roof, open-air windows, plastic lawn chairs and an old overhead projector made up the infrastructure. It was so crowded many stood outside.
From there we headed to lunch at the beach where several of us saw the Pacific Ocean for the first time. The view was breathtaking with the ocean hemmed in on both sides by some very tall mountains. We ate fish, shrimp and some local vegetables. It was delicious.
There were multiple child vendors who approached us while we ate. They were selling everything from freshly shucked coconuts with a straw to candies to necklaces to cigarettes. Some would just come up to us and beg for money. The poverty here continued to slap all of us in the face today. It is making us all appreciate what we have in the U.S. It is also causing us to question how we are stewarding what we’ve been entrusted with by the Lord.
After lunch we said goodbye to our new friends from Fourth Avenue Church of Christ who headed home after a week of service. They were so encouraging and promised that our week ahead would be an incredible, unparalleled experience and blessing.
We returned to the ranch and headed to one of the barns where we hauled 100 lb. sacks of corn and beans up a ladder and emptied them into a silo. That was the first of what we expect will be a week’s worth of physical challenges. These guys seem to be up to the task. Tomorrow we will head to our assigned construction site where we will be laying 30 lb. adobe bricks and mortar on a two-room house.
After another spectacular dinner at the refuge, we played a dice game that Alexander McMeen taught us called Farkle. It was the first game I’d ever played where the object of the game was to determine the loser. Whoever scored the fewest points had to complete a pre-determined challenge. Nate Mueting, a.k.a. “Grandfather,” drew the short straw. You’ll have to ask him about his punishment.
We finished the evening sitting around the fire talking in very deep, specific terms about our individual faith. We went around the circle with each person telling about their faith background, how they were raised and where they were right now in their spiritual walk. Everyone was extremely honest, open and transparent. It made for an incredible ending to another wonderful day.
I will try to post an update each night as long as the wifi cooperates. We continue to covet your prayers and remain extra thankful to all of those donors who made this trip possible.