October 22nd 2010
Praise the Lord! Because of your support, prayers, and generosity, the total amount of funds for both service trips to Honduras and Malawi has been raised. God is so good, and so faithful! Because of your generosity the sites of UrbanPromise Honduras and UrbanPromise Malawi will be blessed. The children of Honduras and Malawi will be provided with more opportunities to pursue education, success, and a brighter future. Thank you so much!
I am nearing the end of my second week here in Honduras and it is starting to feel like home. I am able to communicate and understand the children a little better, and they have latched onto me as if I were one of them, helping me work on my Spanish, holding my hand, and showing me their projects. I am able to help some of the students who go to a local bilingual school with their homework. I quiz them in Spanish, and they answer me in English--this way we both are able to practice. Every day we walk 30 minutes down dirt, gravel or muddy paths, across streams, and through garbage piles to Camp Hope, the after school program in a local aldea. An aldea is another name for an outer- lying village from Copan where many of the poorer, indigenous people live. Our after school program for this time of year serves this aldea and the children from this poorer community.
The children we serve come to camp every day, ready to do their homework and cooking experiments, have English class, have a snack, and listen to a Bible lesson. They are just as children should be, with big smiles on their faces, laughing, playing games, chasing each other around, without a care in the world. But they are different than most children in many ways. They come to camp in their dusty, dirty clothes, with shirts that don’t fit them, holes in their pants, and sometimes with no shoes on their feet. They walk from a mile or less away to come to camp, by themselves, through the rugged terrain. A few of the kids carry their baby brothers, sisters, and cousins with them because they play the role of care giver in the family during certain times. They have skinny arms and legs, and a few have little bellies that stick out from lack of good nutrition. Most of the children we work with are shorter than the more Hispanic descent population in Copan. Their nutrition is not what it should be for a growing child, so they do not grow in the ways that “healthy” children should grow. They are beautiful, playful, loving, innocent children, showing the face of God to those around without even knowing it. These are many of the children that we serve.
Wednesday after camp we were invited to one of our little camp girls, Yeslin’s, birthday party. She lives in a little house about a 10 minute walk up the mountain. We walked into the back of the house where there were boards of wood laid with stones on either ends of them to create benches for about 25 or so children who crowded the back, dirt floor, open birthday party area. There were a few men who were playing guitars and singing birthday music, and about 4 or 5 extremely skinny dogs running around trying to steal the kids’ food from their plates. We quickly became the source of entertainment as “gringas” (white people) and so different than the people they normally see. The family was so generous in making us feel welcome, offering us our own plates of food for dinner and a glass of coca-cola, which is a special treat for most of the children. . We were welcomed as family although we had never been there before.
This is something that I have experienced over and over again during these past two weeks in Copan-- a simple, loving form of generosity--the giving of so much from people who have so little, people who don’t even know me. I am offered meals, drinks, and gifts. I am so blessed by these people’s generosity, I can learn so much from their example. Nothing we have is our own--it is a gift and blessing from the Lord. Who am I to hold onto my money, food, car, clothes, and time as if it were my own? Who am I to hold onto the things I have been so blessed with when people who barely have enough to sustain themselves give so generously?
The UPH staff is traveling back to UrbanPromise in Camden NJ in about 2 weeks for the UrbanPromise summit. The three full-time leaders-- Blair, Rachel, and Matt, will be running a half marathon while there. We are nearing the end of the school year for the kids from the after school program, in which we take them on special trips to local places around Copan. I will be creating a fundraiser for the half marathon to help send the kids on these trips.
Thank you so much for your thoughts and prayers. I appreciate all your support and miss you all very
- Thank the Lord for my host grandmother Maria’s successful surgery. She is back in Copan this week and seems to be recovering well.
- For the fundraiser to come together for Camp Hope’s special end of the year trips, and for funds to come in for that trip.
- For the details to come together as I begin to plan for my time of service in Malawi.
- For me to truly immerse myself in this circumstance-- to embrace the people, culture, children, language, and program while I am here--to focus on what the Lord has for me here.