Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Paying to See Jesus? More Reflections from Honduras

Youth Directors Reunited

I was able to reconnect with Edin Rodas of Peña de Horeb, one of the youth directors. I also met another youth and music director from a church in Guaimaca, Marlon. Their love for the young people of Honduras is so contagious and reminds me that the youth in Honduras can and will have a voice in their churches today and tomorrow.

We visited El Picacho again this year. This beautiful park that overlooks the city of Tegucigalpa and also tells the religious and philosophical history of Honduras. This includes Mayan replicas, busts of Plato and other philosophers, and statues of Confucius and Jesus. But unlike last year, now you have to pay 10 Lempiras, i.e. $.50, to approach the feet of the Messiah. I paid the debts of my team of 26 and led them to Jesus. So much easier than preaching and teaching.

Elementary School Visit

We were able to visit the elementary school in Guaimaica, about 2 hours from Teguc. The school was beautiful and the children were thrilled to see us as we toured their classrooms. Marlon, the youth and music director at the church across the street, teaches commuter classes alongside his wife.

I will never forget how we were greeted when we walked up the steps and opened the front door of this church. Twenty youth, whom we met from the weekend retreat, surprised us as they shouted, "Welcome!" I cannot think of a better attestation to the identity of the church than this, opening the floodgates of hospitality and embrace to strangers. In fact, that was our evening Scripture as selected by a high school youth, "Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by doing that some have enetertained angels without knowing it" (Hebrews 13:2).

On a side note, the youth from Guaimaca had a full afternoon planned for us. However, their plan was overturned by their pastor who wanted us to see a variety of church projects in need of on-going finacial support. While I was grateful to learn more about the rural regions and congregations, I was grieved by the vision of the youth being negated. As Gloria Wheeler reminded us, this was a real illustration of how the youth are often not given voice in their communities. Furthermore, when we visited one of the church buildings we were exposed to deep the financial dependency has become.

The Pastor shared with us that they had started construction with the materials they had purchased and through the labor of their community members. They finished half of the building when they were informed that a U.S. congregation wanted to come down and help build. So they stopped. They waited. They let them finish the building. The pastor said, "it was not their best work." This is precisely what we are trying and feel called to avoid. I pray our partnership moves beyond finances, elevates the voices of young people, and ultimately becomes our best work in partnership.

Honduras Gardens

We also visited a few homes in Guaimaca. One of the homes had a very large garden with every tropical fruit you can imagine, e.g. bananas, plantains, guava, mandarin oranges, lemons, mangos, etc., coffee beans (pictured), sugar cane, and more. All of this has motivated me to work harder to develop a more organic, locally harvested, and fresh produce diet.

This has been an incredible few days. We have been exposed to a variety of conversations, experiences, people, and communal dynamics that all need to be taken into consideration as we continue to explore how this partnership will move forward in years to come. I continue to be energized and blessed by the youth and adult leadership on our team, who have had their eyes and ears open to what God is up to in this place.

Continued prayers appreciated....


Read other reflections on www.workofthepeople.wordpress.org to include fantastic post from a parent...