The first day we flew into Tegucigalpa, the capitol of Honduras. I had slept the whole time because I did not sleep at all the night before. I didn't wake up until we landed and every one was applauding. Come to find out the fact that we landed was something to be celebrated because Tegucigalpa is the Second most dangerous airport to fly into. So we made it safe to Tegucigalpa. There we met Alejandrina, Also known as "Ale" who would be our leader from Honduras Outreach Inc. for the week. Ale lived in California for a long time and learned the whole English language in 6 mnths time. Amazing! I looked so forward to getting to see her each day!
Then we all traveled through the beautiful Mountains and Valleys to Rancho Del Paraiso where we would stay for the remaining week.
From day 1, I was amazed by the people, how grateful and gracious they are. How incredibly real they are. They are not putting on a smile for anybody, they are just genuinely excited and overjoyed to see you.
I was on the education team the majority of the time. So I got to go into the villages of San MArtin, Santa Anna, Culuco, and Pecura to share, play, sing, and dance w/ the kids! I couldn't speak the language except for "un pocito" , very little. My friend, Cristina, has known the language since she was a little girl. She inspired me to learn it w/in the next year. So I was always asking her and Yoli how to say everything. My communication w/ the kids came from smiling, singing, dancing, and doing handstand walks:) They loved that!
one of my favorite days was when we went into the village of San Martin to deliver the 50 chairs that the construstion team created for their schools. The whole village there to greet us. Mariella, the head of their education and Health/Wellness Programs prepared a fiesta for us complete w/ refreshments, cookie, and a boom box. They played a remix of UB40's "RedRed Wine" and I forget the other 2 songs. Most of the kids were bashful to get up and Dance at first but after the 1rst song we were able to get a lot of them up there. My dance partner, little Luis was a pro. He had the moves like no other. I was so happy and having so much fun my face hurt from smiling so much.
Every night and day, the GREAT and I do mean great musician and lovely mother, friend, Mrs Karen Hooper led us in music and Pastor Mark Gardner would center us w/ devotional. Mark's messages were moving and right on w/ where we were at in our journey each day. I learned so much from them. The spirit and gift passion that they possess for people, places, and their faith was rejuvenating, and inspiring each day. They grounded the group w/ such grace.
Senora Yoli and Cristina, were our translators aka life savers. They kept us in communication w/ each community that we were in w/ such patience, fortitude, and persistence on getting the message across about why we were there. They radiated such love even in on those long days that they could've taken a break but kept going like soldiers. Cristina especially, she had a stress fracture in her ankle and was on crutches the whole week. She was a warrior. She trudged on regardless w/ joy written on her face.
Kristen and Carol were the leaders of the Education team. They kept us on pt. running smoothly and energetic the whole time. We were never short anything because everything was accounted for by them including the team. They made sure we were all taken care of and ready to go to each adventure, which everyday was an adventure.
Dr. Tom, Dr. Harold, and Dr Melisa, saw over 100 patients a day. Their consistent and unwavering determination and compassion for each individual was amazing. I got to be w/ them in the clinics for a short time and just thought how I wish I could somehow be a part of what they were doing. I wished that I could translate and help. Brian, who was with us, is 19 yrs old and speaks spanish. He was translating. Next time I will be able to work closer w/ them as I will speak the language w/in the next 2 years. My friend Cristina is going to hold me to it.
The construction team worked and assembled from the early AM into the dark PM. After dinner, if there was something left undone that they thought might keep them from exceeding their deadlines they went back to work after dark. They were relentless in work ethic, persistence, and discipline. I got to work on the construction team 2 of the days. The 1rst day I was on chairs. Karen, Ruthie, and Me varnished 50 chairs. Aside from my brain being a bit high off the varnishing liquid I was energized. Geri, Susan, and Brian also helped.
The villages were my favorite times. This is where I got to see the land of the people, their lifestyles, and the children. The children were my main inspiration and their faces are flashing through my mind as I write this. My heart was so full w/ them. They gave me a gift w/ out even knowing it. I wanted so badly to be able to speak more to them but even w/ what little of the language I knew I felt connected. I wanted to teach them Crossfit - they would have loved it! Next time I go I will be able to communicate so I can teach them about the Crossfit Lifestyle. I wonder what they are doing right now.
The Ranch Del Paraiso became home away from home. We awoke each morning to the Mtns. surrounding us. The kitchen bell ringing to come have brkfst together. Then we were off on our mission each day. Then we returned to recap, reconvene, and have fellowship in what is possible. Anything is possible. That is the way that each day should be. We all have our daily missions. Waking up in the morning should be an event, never taken for granted. Everyday is an adventure. Every person is a gift. All the darkness turns to light and all the doubts we have about who we are are realized to be fear, which can then turn into strength like a rock. That strength entails dancing, singing, playing, loving, and being who we are to the nines. When you put on your clothes, and you get ready for your day try on happiness. Take on the idea that happiness comes from athenticity. Authenticity comes from Humility. Humility comes from Grace. Grace comes from Compassion and I believe that is where passion is found. My prayer on this trip was to follow my heart. I journaled most days w/ daily prayer.
Jan 23 2012,
I pray that my actions would be in your Name, your Will. I pray that I would fuel my body so that I am energetic, enthusiastic, and efficient. I pray that I would open my eyes and heart to the people of Honduras. I pray that I would go fearlessly. Help me understand my path God. Help me understand where you want me. I pray for freedom from anxiety, fear, hindrance, and hesitation as these are my constant fears. I pray for BOLD transformation. Most importantly Lord, I pray to truly understand the art of Love in a world that is afraid of it. Help me grasp the possibility that ANYTHING is POSSIBLE,... Anything is possible! I pray that the children of Honduras know wholeheartedly their dreams and desires are heard and validated. I pray that I would set aside any pains, aches, that come up as they are minuscule. Lord bless my family, friends, and the people Lord. I pray for grace and am ever so grateful for your infinite grace. Thank you for this opportunity.
I love you Lord,
The last night we returned to Tegucigalpa, Honduras to an amazing hotel where we all got to celebrate the week and express our thanks to Honduras Outreach Inc, Alejandrina, our leader and be together. I was not ready to leave, but I will return... Lord know I will..
Alejandrina and Me at the last evening in Tegucigalpa
Harrison, Elma, Cristina, Me, and Carlos David at the Ranch!
Tegucigalpa on the last night from our Hotel Window.
Tommy G and Matteo at the Mennonite bakery on the way back to Tegucigalpa. There is a couple from Indiana USA that owns and runs it.
The Mural on the library wall of the Culuco Middle School. Our construction team made most of the chairs, and furniture that made this library possible in earlier years.
Cris and her beautiful smile!
The view from the back of the bus.
The Tree of Life in Juticalpa, Honduras
Me, Ruthie, and Cris on the last night.
The incredible Karen Hooper at our trip to Culuco.
The view from Culuco Middle School
Dr. Tom and his awesome "Yo Love Olancho", Honduras hat.
Meridian and me at the Ranch
Me and Cris w/ the 2 stars of the play we did that day in Santa Anna.
My little Diego in San Martin. A treasure. I can't wait to see him again. He smiled the whole time. It was like God had painted a permanent smile on his face. It never left him. When we were boarding the van to leave he came running back up to me to give one last hug. I will never forget it.
Thank you every one that made this trip possible. Since I have been back I have been acclimating back to my lifestyle here in the US but I know this trip has changed me. I am still experiencing the transformation. Just one week was not enough. I will do what it takes to make even more of an impact. This means studying the language, building my career, throwing myself into life's opportunities full steam ahead, and following my heart - no matter how painful it may seem at first. I have faith. I know that I am a meant to be a rock, we all are. If I don't stand for what I am designed to do and fulfill on the dreams that I desire so deeply, then I can't stand for others. My 2012 motto is "Lose Yourself" meaning lose yourself in the service of others. Thats what I will do no matter what it takes. Be the stand that I will love each person 1rst as Jesus did. He stood for every walk of life regardless of their plight. He walked w/ them.
Thank you again - there are no words to express my gratitude. I can only act on that gratitude and build from its foundation. I love you all.