WELLSPRING

SUNDAY MORNING WORSHIP | 9 + 11 AM

Honduras: Day 3

Let the games begin

We’ve reached a new level of exhaustion - and contentment. Our days are packed but taking time to kick things off with praise and worship has been amazing. Our Heavenly Father is the reason we are here and each component of the trip is directed by Him. This is anything but a vacation but our hearts are so full!

We are also so thankful for every one of our team members and the hard work they have put into this trip at the Lord’s leading. The team that has planned our worship sessions have ushered us into the Lord’s presence day after day.  And for that we are so thankful! We have truly been sustained by His grace and strength during these very busy days. 

After worship and breakfast, we had time to grab some final supplies for our events and participate in the OneEgg Lessons at the local school. 

As the day progressed, you could feel the anticipation of the team growing for the events planned for the day. Somewhat concerned about space constraints, we moved the VBS program to the location our team is staying. 

It was our first day of VBS today and for over an hour buses, cars and trucks brought kids by the loads and many walked to the VBS location. This year we tried to offer two teen nights in hopes of encouraging the teenagers to attend those events and not VBS. Our oldest group was intended for ages 9-11 but it turned out to be more like 9-21. This first day was over 400 kids participating in VBS. 

Our VBS format is similar to what you may have experienced at Wellspring - except for the language translation part of things. It starts with a special greeting from our team and then music & motions. We provide three different 20 minute stations; lesson/story, craft and games. We end with a large group time then get them loaded up to head home. 

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Today, Emily Bolduc taught the creation story and shared how God has created each kid for a special purpose that is only theirs. It was a beautiful reminder to each of these kids that they are a unique and special kid made in the image of a loving, caring Father. Many of the kids connected to this ministry and from this area come from hard backgrounds. 

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Oscar is a young man who has become a sort of honorary team member - riding with us, canvassing with us, working alongside us. He comes from a broken family with very little means yet possesses one of the biggest and brightest smiles you have ever seen. David who manages CAFFIN told us he is always helping and working around the school and building just trying to help out where he can. He is also one of the recipients of a tuition scholarship from a generous Wellspring donor. When Oscar received the news that his school was paid for he was so grateful and filled with joy - and reportedly he wants to do good in school to make that person proud of him. Doug Kerkstra is a new team member this year and has started to build a special bond with Oscar. They were spending time together after teen night using google translate to talk to each other. 

Being our first day, and in a new location, we had some hiccups and delays in the start but we were pleased and look forward to watching God work tomorrow!

Between VBS and teen night there was a little time to clean up and run an errand. We had trouble finding hot dog buns in the morning run so a small team went out to find 200 buns to cover our first and second night. We found a local bread maker that also has a few coffee shop style stores in town. Our interrupter helped us to secure the buns at the local store and we drove to the warehouse location to pick them up. This is the story of hot dog buns lost in translation! As they began bringing out our order someone said, “I think they ordered us 200 packages, not 200 buns”, sure enough we were the proud new owners of 1,200 hot dog buns. We wish we could tell you this is a story of Jesus turning 1 hot dog bun into 1,200 but it was not. But we shall see what the Lord directs us to do with these buns!

Teen Night Number One

Teen night kicked off with food and fellowship and many of the kids and our team members playing soccer. Even when a downpour ensued soaking them all, the intensity and fun continued. After hot dogs and chips we moved inside CAFFIN for a lesson prepared by team members Doug and Matt. The lesson focused on Mark 2 where the four friends helped their paralytic friend through the roof. The lesson provided a great description of how hard it was to get their friend in front of Jesus and how important it is for us to try. They reminded the group why Jesus was “famous” at the time and they shared a perspective from two different groups of people. One being the people like the four friends that were in awe of the miracles that he was doing and wanted to pursue him. The other being the Pharisee types that wanted to question him and pick him apart. The men then challenged the kids to think about what group they want to be in, the one that questions Jesus as being the son of God, or the group that does whatever it takes to get their friends in front of him. 

We ended the night with a wordless book bracelet craft, allowing the team to share the meaning at each table as they made them. 

The team devotional focus for Day 4 comes from Romans 12:3-5, “Not thinking of yourself more highly than you ought” (vs. 3b). In one sense, you are a child of the King, yet at the same time you are asked to live a life that puts others first. As we proceed through the day, consider what living a life that reflects “not thinking of yourself more highly than you ought” looks like. Challenging ourselves to look for ways to demonstrate this concept in thought and deed - not only to those we are here to serve but also in regards to those individuals with whom we are serving. 

Honduras: DAY 2

Many of our biological clocks wake us up much earlier than necessary but it is an amazing thing to experience mornings in Honduras. We start with daily devotionals as a team, spending time worshiping and praying together before we set off on our busy day. According to our agenda, we were planning to spend most of the day finalizing preparations for the events to come and canvasing the area with invitations.

 As we were starting to get to work on the prep, we were informed that we were needed at CAFFIN for about an hour. We needed to draw upon that 'flexibility is our friend' motto as we had no idea why they wanted us there. Upon arriving, we found out that they were hosting an art show and contest for the 7th grade class. They delayed the presentation that morning in the hope we could be a part of their event. It was such a blessing to join the students and their family members, and share in the celebration of their creativity. The art show was being judged by interns currently serving at the school and each student was given the opportunity to talk about their work with the judges. It was a beautiful a mix of sculpture, paintings and a working volcano. It was amazing to see all the creativity and work that went into their pieces.

For many families at home, a 7th grade art show might be nice but not necessarily news worthy. However, public schooling in Honduras concludes with 6th grade. If a student's family can afford to enroll beyond 6th grade, CAFFIN offers a local, Biblical education for an annual tuition of $150 US dollars. This amount can be extremely difficult for many students to cover and sometimes they can only fund a portion of the year. Last year, scholarships from Wellspring Church provided tuition assistance for 13 students. The opportunity that these students have been given to attend 7th grade and be part of an art show, at a Biblically based school, is a simple yet powerful show of the work God is doing at CAFFIN. We observed that we didn’t really know most of the kids in the 7th grade class as they are new students to the school. Andy shared that CAFFIN is drawing this group from all over the area, not just near CAFFIN. They are growing in number of students and have a strong reputation. The community sees the school affecting change and doing things for the futures of these kids they never imagined possible. One amazing story involves a student we highlighted last year. He was 20 years old and in 7th grade at this time last year. When he is not in school, he works the coffee bean fields to support himself picking 100 pounds of coffee beans - earning around $5 US dollars for that 100 pounds. It's eye opening to stop and think about how often we pay that amount for a latte or bag of coffee at our favorite specialty coffee shop back home. This student worked with David at CAFFIN and was able to connect with a local person who can roast the beans for him. This allows the student to turn his 100 pounds of coffee into 100 -1 pound bags of coffee that he sells for about $3 US dollars. The hope is that the school can expand to offer grades 9-12 starting next year. As the school grows, this need for support and tuition assistance will grow as well. We invite you to prayerfully remember these students and consider if you are able to help further God's Kingdom through the financial support of their education.

Following the art presentation, we began to set up for VBS and Teen Night (which will be kicking off on July 9). This also gave us all an opportunity to continue to interact with all the kids at the school - creating and strengthening relationships where possible. The trip is not always about trying to get things done, it is stopping and listening to what is going on in their lives, praying with them and of course having a little fun as well. Their culture is very laid back and relaxed so often times, we have opportunities to just hang out and get to know them. 

Unfortunately, school has been cancelled for the week in Honduras for almost all public schools. This takes away the opportunity for us to go visit for the the OneEgg program. Currently Andy and Carmen serve one egg per day to children at one of three local schools. The Lord has enabled the Castillos to add a unique twist to the OneEgg program in Honduras. The principal of the public school gives the Castillos 15 minutes per day to distribute eggs but also to share a Bible lesson! This program has been a part of our trip since we started and has been a highlight. One school will be open for a few days so newer team members were able to be a part of that today. We'll share more about OneEgg later this week.

We finished our day logging many steps through our outreach. We are in the mountains so most of our travel (foot or vehicle) is going up and down. It can be hot and exhausting but the team was overjoyed to be out in the community inviting people to the events we had been praying for and planning for so long. The teams were divided up into two vans and then sent to different barrios (neighborhoods). Once there, we split up again in order to cover as much area as possible. Almost every home has a fence and a gate, so we would approach and call out a greeting then wait to see if anyone would come to the door or window of the house. It was a beautiful walk not just in the scenic views of the mountains but in the interactions we had as Jesus’ hands and feet. As we wrapped up, we stopped by a local store for a nice cold drink. This gave us additional opportunities to hand out even more invitations and interact with some people in the San Francisco barrio. Our feet were achey, we were sweaty but our hearts are swelling with joy as we are trusting the Lord to bring the community to CAFFIN for these special events. We can't wait for God to be glorified through these next few days!! It is truly a blessing to be serving alongside the Andy and Carmen and their ministry team here in Honduras.

Though tiredness threatens to creep in - the team kept at it and took advantage of some additional time in the evening for final VBS and Teen Night prep. We were all hanging around an open area that we call the Gathering Place. There was an infectious buzz of activity with team members practicing the motions for songs, finalizing crafts and hearing others practice their lessons. We are again praising God for another amazing day and are looking forward to sharing the genuine love of Jesus with an overwhelming number of people in the coming days!

The team devotional focus as we start Day 3 comes from Matthew 28:20. God has promised us that any time we step out in faith, He will be with us. This promise is perhaps most precious to us during times of sadness and discouragement. Today, we challenge ourselves to consider what it means for God to be with us - looking for ways to demonstrate and live out this truth in both thought and deed.

Honduras: DAY 1

Family Reunion

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We spent most of the day making our way here. The team met at the Grand Rapids airport at 4am and the plane was wheels up by 6. We are praising God for uneventful flights, correct paperwork and no lost team members! Our large group arrived in Honduras around noon and were greeted by some of our friends. This was such a highlight as we had been looking forward to seeing them for so long - and they us. Now to get ready for the next adventure of travel - boarding a large school bus that would bring us bumbling up the mountain roads. This vehicle required a slightly different and longer route than previous years with speeds much slower than the vans we typically take. Traveling from the airport in San Pedro Sula to Siguatepeque normally takes around 4 hours; stopping about half way for lunch. Within the first few hours of being here, you experience a jolting juxtaposition of the magnificence of God's creation - as this is a beautiful country, but you also can't ignore the countless reminders of the brokenness and devastation of the area.

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 As we near our destination and drive by CAFFIN, some of the neighborhood kids were jumping up and down in excitement, waving to us - it was great to recognize many of them from previous trips. Upon arrival, we planned for a few of us to make a quick trip into town for water. A smaller van was brought for this purpose and some of the boys that many team members have come to know very well, talked their way into riding in the van as well to come pick us up. When the van arrived and the doors opened, it was like a very exciting, surprise family reunion! There were many cheers, hugs and even some tears as we greeted each other! THIS. This is one of the biggest joys in returning year after year; these kids feeling known, invested in and cared for. Andy once told our team that the kids are excited to meet us the first time we come, but a return trip feels like they have a relationship with you and it is so much more impactful. Many of us have now witnessed this first hand and without a doubt know that it is true. Our young friends are able to use social media to contact team members throughout the year, keeping the relationships going. They share updates on school, how their family is doing and their personal aspirations; be it to join the soccer team, learn english or even someday travel to the US for school. One teen reached out to a Wellspring team member to share that he had chosen him and his family to pray for during their church 28 days of prayer campaign. We may be in the country for a 'short term' mission trip but there is something so much more ‘long-term’ about everything God is allowing us to do here while we support Andy and Carmen.

The team devotional focus as we start Day 2 (our first full day here and Outreach day) comes from 1 Corinthians 9:19-23. We are challenging ourselves to go through the day and think about ways we can truly become like those we are serving and those we serve alongside.

Please pray specifically for the team to remain flexible. We've done a ton of preparing for the trip as we have 'planned it' but we want to keep our hearts open and receptive to those times when God will show us that He is in charge. We are here to serve as needed. Also, as mentioned, (July 8) Day 2 is our outreach day when we will be visiting the villages, speaking with people we meet and inviting them to the planned events this week. Pray for fertile ground in the hearts of those we meet.