"¡Hola! ¿Cómo estás?" This is how a lot of conversations began this past week. The verbal language may not have progressed much past that point, but the gestures and facial expressions allowed us to continue communicating with our brothers and sisters in Christ in the village of Las Trojas in Honduras.
On June 23, 2018, nineteen of us left Kentucky and took a mission trip to Honduras to work with HOI. We came to work with the residents of Las Trojas to build latrines, mix concrete for cement floors, provide Vacation Bible School for the children of the village, etc. These skills may not be ones that we use on a daily basis (if ever before), but everyone in our group came with an eager, helpful attitude, hands to help, and smiles on our faces. We were greeted with grace, patience, and smiles on their faces equal to our own.
The village gathered together at the school and greeted us warmly with songs. Kevin Burney, our group’s leader, was presented with a key to the village of Las Trojas. We reciprocated the musical greeting by singing a couple songs of our own (including My Old Kentucky Home
Our group spilt into teams with skilled members of the village and proceeded to head out to the various job sites for the day. We were taught how they mix concrete, making concrete volcanos, in order to make floors for some of the homes. Pouring a concrete floor for a person’s home may not sound like much, but for the residents of Las Trojas having a concrete floor verses a dirt floor is a world of difference for the health of their families. It helps to eliminate the breeding grounds for insects that spread diseases.
During our time in Honduras we stayed at HOI’s ranch, Rancho el Paraíso. On the ranch they are continually working on ways to help improve the lives of the people around them. Rancho el Paraiso’s reach covers over 300 miles of villages and
towns. HOI provides a clinic at the ranch for many medical, nutritional and dental needs to the residents of the area. HOI’s agricultural department is developing techniques to teach the local farmers about growing different crops and raising better breeds of cattle among other things.
We saw God working in so many ways on this trip. Yes, we were in place to help provide physical labor with the various jobs, but we also received the beautiful moments of God at work too. The beauty of the land, the camaraderie amongst us all, the joy and laughter that was shared, were treasured God encounters.
On our last day in Las Trojas, after completing the morning’s projects of painting the school, mixing more cement, etc., the residents of the village and our team came together for a celebration. The children recited the Bible verses and sang songs they worked on all week in Vacation Bible School, we gave them school supplies, and they gave us hand-made creations we will all treasure. (Just ask the Bishop about Larry the Llama.)
Then we laughed and played together for a while and enjoying each other's company. From what we learned about life in this part of Honduras, there is not always time to “play” for the adults of the village and they enjoyed the afternoon of fun as much as the children did.
Upon saying our goodbyes, you could feel the genuine affection and joy that spread over each of the hearts in the school yard. Nineteen people left Kentucky to fulfill a calling to let God work through us to provide help to those in need. Nineteen people came back home to Kentucky with hearts a little more full of love – not because of what we did in Honduras, but because of the grace and love that was shared with us from the people of Las Trojas. This mission trip was a blessing to be a part of and next year’s trip is being scheduled as we speak. Mark your calendars for the last week of June to join the 2019 Honduras Mission Trip!
- For more photos from the trip, click here.