A child's eyes wide open.

“A child’s eyes wide open”; this one phrase encompasses my last week here in Honduras. We began our end-of-the-year field trips with the different groups of kids this week.  For many of the children, it was their first time out of their aldea, and it was my first time visiting the field trip sites as well.  What an experience to see many first- time things with these precious children.

The middle-aged kids took a day trip to the Mayan ruins and the hot springs.  We crammed about 10 kids and 6 leaders into a travel van and took off for our adventure.  At the Mayan ruins we met up with our very energetic and captivating tour guide.  He took us all around the ruins, telling stories, asking questions, playing games, and teaching the kids about the amazing history of the Mayan people who lived in this place literally 10 minutes from Copan.  After our time at the ruins we traveled about an hour outside of Copan to a natural hot springs park.  There we grilled hot dogs and ate bananas for lunch and played in the natural hot spring pools, and went on a short tour of the more expensive part of the hot springs with natural waterfall massages, quiet pools to soak in, and other beautiful natural sites.  The kids had such a wonderful time playing and splashing in the warm water, enjoying a nice lunch together, and simply being kids, which they are not given the opportunity to do very often.

Friday afternoon we left with the old kids for a four hour trip to the closest big city to Copan, San Pedro Sula.  Our first stop upon arrival was the mall, with a food court, movie theater, and bright stores with new shiny things.  My favorite thing to experience with the kids for their first time was the escalator and the hand blow dryer in the bathroom.  They thought these were two very amusing things.  We ate dinner in a food court where they could pick whatever they wanted for dinner, and took them to see a movie--a real movie in a theater.  They hardly knew what to do with themselves in the theater because they were so full of excitement.  We saw Nanny McFee, a very fun kids’ movie that they all enjoyed.  We stayed in Pastor Lee’s house, a friend of the ministry who runs a bilingual school about an hour outside of San Pedro Sula.  He had a big house with some extra rooms with bunk beds and a big yard for the kids to play in.

Saturday we piled back into the van to head to Tela, a beach town about an hour away.  Again, the beach was another first time experience for most of our kids.  They loved playing in the waves, burying each other in the sand, and finding little rocks and seashells along the shore.  That night back at Pastor Lee’s house he led a devotion with the kids, encouraging them to take hold of the dreams that the Lord has placed on their hearts,   to trust in the Lord, and to work hard to accomplish their dreams.  Sunday we took the kids to the best anthropology museum in San Pedro Sula, ate bagged lunches and headed home.  Saturday night I came down with some sort of intestinal sickness.  I had not been as careful with the things I ate that weekend, so it was probably a bug of some sort.  The kids were so sweet to me, giving me hugs, telling me to feel better, giving me the best seat in the van so I could try to rest, and showing me their love through their hugs and smiles.

It was just an amazing thing to see these kids experience so many things for the first time this past week. Their eyes were literally opened up to so many new things these past few days.   Many of the kids who come to our programs don’t have the same opportunities as most children that you and I come in contact with in the States.  They go to school, help their parents gather food and firewood, make meals, clean the house, take care of livestock, and raise siblings.  They are given so much responsibility at such a young age that they barely have time to simply be kids.  This is something that we try to provide for them at UrbanPromise Honduras--a place to dream, to have fun, to be given new experiences, and to just be kids.

I would love to write more but I am still recovering from being sick the past couple of days and am still pretty weak.  If I feel better later this week I will be joining the youth on their end-of-the-year retreat to La Saba for a few days.  I hope to write again sometime next week.

Please Pray:

-  For my health and strength to come back after being sick for the past few days.

-  For the UPH staff as we take some time over the next two weeks to evaluate and plan for the future of UPH and what next year’s programs will look like.

-  For wisdom and discernment as I continue to work on a sponsorship program for UPI.

-  For details to start coming together for my time of service in Malawi starting in February.

-  Praise the Lord for the wonderful experiences that the children have been able to have over this past week--for their dreams and big hearts.