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.