The Gifts of Honduras
L-R: Caroline Falcone, Grace Gehlken, Hannah Young, Marlene Baber, and Cornelia Graham
God is my witness. I cannot express how glorious the St. Philip’s Honduran mission trip March 3–8 was for all of us. Our group experienced love, joy, hope, and faith from everyone we met. It was more than we could ever expect––all through God’s work. It is almost impossible to describe in detail the feelings and blessings that are personally received until you witness and participate––first-hand––God’s work in action.
The group consisted of Connie and Jeff Rink, Hannah and Caleb Young, Justin Fouts (soon to be son-in-law of Jeff and Connie), Marlene Baber (Jeff’s wonderful dental hygienist), Caroline Falcone (delightful and loving friend of Mims Weldon), and yours truly. There may have been a slight bit of doubt on the “calling” for some of us; however, once together, the Lord made it perfectly clear that we were all supposed to be on this mission, and oh how He was right. When you are blessed to hear God’s call, you just know. You may not be able to explain the feeling to others, but if you have experienced a call, you know it is a feeling like no other. This mission was the Lord’s trip, and we were his happy servants. “Who is the man that fears the Lord? He will instruct him in the way he should choose” (Psalm 25:12).
God does have a sense of humor and He throws in tests of faith as He writes our “passage.” The Lord tests our faith even when we think it is strong. The major “challenges” experienced at 5:00 a.m. on the day of departure were:
1) The Honduran immigration website crashed and most of the group could not access the forms necessary to allow entry into the country.
2) Justin’s plane was delayed for hours, and it was questionable whether he would make it.
1) Caleb befriends a doctor while waiting in the Miami Airport. The doctor works with the President of Honduras, and behold, she (the President) writes a letter for all airline passengers to be granted admittance due to website issues.
2) Justin’s plane changes, the pilot flies faster, and the arrival gate changes to a gate near our Honduran departure gate. He made it.
God made it happen. We were on the plane, faith secure, prayers answered, and free with the Holy Spirit.
Arrival at Casa LAMB was a warm and inviting evening full of testimonials by the older children and songs of praise and joy. Everyone was filled with happiness and awe. The next morning, we arrived at the LAMB Children’s Home and set up the designated blue cinder block building in the way Jeff and the staff needed things to be for it to serve as our dental clinic for the next few days. When it was time for our team to begin seeing children, we all dispersed to where we were needed without discussion. We just moved to where we were spiritually directed, and that was that. It was perfect. When serving the Holy Spirit, you follow.
The blessings began to flow. Children began to arrive (somewhat apprehensive as many were unsure of what to expect from “teeth cleaning”) and they were smiling. To say that we met children of God is an understatement. To encounter so many hearts full of love for Jesus when they have experienced such extreme hardship is to witness a love so strong, there can be no doubt of the power of God. While we were there to mission and help the children, we came to realize that they were helping us. We were in a place with people that by no means have the material comforts we know in Charleston, yet the feeling of contentment, calmness, and overwhelming love was all we needed and more.The fellowship we shared during clinics, church, breakfasts, lunches, dinners, school visits, children’s programs, and testimonials made it clear that God was working his miracles through the hearts of these children.
Many have asked what stands out as the most memorable moment of the trip. With a smile, I think back to the meals and songs shared, devotions and bracelets made, stickers and slap bracelets given, and friendships that bloomed and blossomed. There is one gift I was given as I entertained all the wonderful children while they were waiting to be seen. A gift more special than the others (if that is possible).
She was with her two sisters (11 and 14 years old). She is 13 years old. They all three were new to LAMB, and two had children. The 13-year-old had a 1 ½-year-old child, and the 14-year-old had a 4-month-old child. Everyone was helping them with the babies. The 13-year-old and her 1 ½-year-old sat with me while they waited to be seen. I was able to share how she could make as many necklaces or bracelets as she wanted while she was here. As she relaxed and began to fall into her world of making jewelry for herself, I watched her smile and laugh. She was finally being a child herself (and maybe for the first time in her life) as her own child was sitting next to her. She was safe and happy, for possibly the first time in her life. She decorated herself with many bracelets and necklaces that she made for herself. She was so happy yet still so reserved (the past can creep into a struggling heart). That day, I saw a twinkle of hope and joy from a bruised soul that was a child. Now God has her under the wings of Suzy McCall!
The story I bring back from this mission trip is, God is Good (as we all know). When you sit next to the children in church and they ask you to help them write their prayer, which is “I want Jesus to love me more,” and they see it on their paper that they will take to the prayer wall, they smile. I smile back, hold their hands, and say, as Jesus did on the Cross, “It is done.” And of course, they smile back.
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