Saturday, August 2, 2008

Took me long enough

I promised another blog with new pictures a while ago. I'm just now getting to it. It feels like it's been so long since I was in Honduras. Life's just back to normal again, and I next-to hate it that way. I'm sitting here listening to the Spanish CD containing all the songs we sang for the kids. I'm missing it a lot. And I've had dreams galore about the children.

I'll start by saying this; God gave each of us on the trip a specific role and purpose to be played out for the week. I don't think we really know what that is until we get there and He reveals it to us. Some had the smarts, some organization, some people skills, some entertainment skills. Whatever they were, I could see in nearly every individual on the trip a specific purpose in their being there. Great how God works that way, yeah? I just love the diversity He places in the Body of Christ. Anyway, I quickly found my purpose; to simply love. Many times on the trip I felt rather useless. I felt out of place, like I was supposed to be doing more, but wasn't. Like the time we did VBS at the really small, one room church. I couldn't even fit in the building. While most of the group squeezed in and sang songs, I sat outside on the sidewalk, watching the rain. Or when the bus got stuck in the mud, I had no part in helping push it out. I didn't really involve myself in the games or the crafts but a little here and there. There was a lot that I could have done to help, but didn't do. And often this gave me a gigantic sense of uselessness. But a few days into the trip, and especially towards the end, I realized my true purpose for being placed in Honduras. God gave me the ability (because it could never be on my own) to really just connect with the kids and love on them. So many times I would hold a baby with broken shoes in the back of the room or teach a little boy sitting by himself how to say words in english. I sit here, thinking back on all of the special little times that I was surrounded by children, hanging on my shoulders, holding my hands, begging for me to take pictures of them, their smiles just beaming up at me. And I feel like my role there was none other than to allow the love of Jesus Christ to pour out of me onto little ones that Father loves so much. The ones that would seem the most unloveable because of their condtions. The ones that don't experience love on a daily, weekly, monthly, maybe even yearly basis. God used me to express that love somehow in some way. God, how do you do it?

Mid week we visited an incredibly poverty stricken community. These people had nothing. They were living in sickness, in filth, in dullness. The houses themselves would break your heart. And then those kids, dirty, some sick, would just make your stomach churn in their conditions. This was where I met both Lysette and Elle, two girls that made the biggest impacts on me. These kids were hungry for your love and attention. Children here in the states don't crave attention, they demand it, because it's what their used to. Children in Honduras don't demand it, they desire it. They hunger for it like you would never imagine, because they really don't know what it's like to be loved. They want to know and understand the love that you can offer, and trust me, when over there, you're willing to do whatever it takes to give them exactly what they're searching for. I recall a specific time there, when my group was handing out shoes and care packages and such, I was just sitting indian style on the ground with a little girl in my lap. I can't remember her name, and in full regret I'll admit that I didn't even get a picture of her. But she was the most adorable thing you'd ever seen. She was probably about five or six years old, and had beautiful soft hair and the most beautiful little smile. She didn't talk much at all as she wrapped her arms around me and layed her head upon my chest. I couldn't tell you how long we just sat there, on the dirty ground, her just soaking up the enjoyment of having someone to hold her. She would look up at me, throw me a huge smile, and they would squeeze her arms around me tight while she buried her head in my neck, like she was trying to get as close as she possibly could to me. She did this over and over again; smile, bury, smile, bury, smile, bury. Then more came. Another one sat on my lap. Then another. Then one came from behind, wrapping around my shoulders. They would squeeze in just to be able to fit on my lap. At this point, I had gum stuck to my leg, my shoes were digging into my thighs, I was sweating and in a little pain from all of the pulling and hugging. Junior came up and I expressed to him my uncomfortability, and he, in spanish, told the children to get off of me. They all jumped off, stepped about two or three feet away from me and just stared at me. They didn't look sad, they didn't smile, they just looked. I couldn't take it. I would have rathered of been more uncomfortable than ever just to have them back to love on. So I nearly immediately welcomed them back to my lap, and they joyfully accepted my invitation as they hopped back on, fighting for a small spot on my lap.

Last night I had a dream about Joseline. Joseline was a little two year old that I held and fed chicken and rice to in the poor community. By the end of her meal, she was smiling and laughing with me. I even got her to say my name. I met her mom shortly after who, by what Spanish I could understand, told me was the same age as me; seventeen. I was taken aback. She was gorgeous, and had the most beautiful eyelashes. Such a sweet spirit, and let me hold Joseline for as long as I wanted. I adored them, I really did.

Aside from last night's dream, I've had two dreams about Elle and one other about another little girl I met in the poor community; the one I talked about earlier that sat in my lap and just embraced me, digging her head into my neck and smiling. I can't get these people, these children, out of my head. I can't say it enough, they've stolen my heart.

God truly protected us and provided for us. There are so many stories I could write about; our bus getting stuck, riding in the cattle truck, seeing souls won for Christ. God did so much in such a short amount of time. I remember the very first night in Honduras, I opened up my Bible before bed, and the very first verse my eyes were drawn to said this;

"Call to me and I will answer you, and I will tell you great and mighty things which you do not know."
Jeremiah 33:3

God had some big stuff planned for me and the entire group, and He worked out every single plan and purpose, I believe. I feel like I completed (through Christ) every single task I was put there for. I was ministered to more than anything, though. I was given the opportunity to know and experience the act of sharing the love of Christ. I took part in what it meant to serve in Christ and "do unto the least of these". I loved on the unlovables. I loved on the unloved. Most of those children were sick. Lice ran everywhere on nearly every head you looked at. But you know what, you didn't care. None of those things mattered, and they all faded when you looked into the eyes of those little children. The only thing that remained was love, the love of Christ and the desire to serve Him and bring Him glory through ministering to the ones that so very little receive love.

I remember one little girl in particular. She was probably about four years old. I don't remember her name. But one of the last days we were there, we split up into groups and went door-to-door inviting people to church that night. This little girl's family came with us, and she, too, wanted to join. She held my hand and walked with me. The road was long, steep, and very rocky. That was when I noticed she wasn't wearing shoes. My heart immediately sank and I wanted nothing more than to help her. As I began to pick her up, I was warned by some of the ladies of her bad case of lice, which could have easily been seen from five feet away. Though scary, this problem quickly faded and I held her anyway. I can honestly say I would have rathered come home with lice knowing that I was able to share a little bit of love with someone that probably didn't get it very often. I would hold her while we walked on the rocks, and put her down when we would get to solid ground. I knew, as did everybody else, that she didn't need me to hold her. When asked if her feet hurt on the rocks, she answered 'no'. I knew that her feet were used to it, that they had basically turned to leather by this point. But regardless of all that, I had a burden for her that I couldn't push away. And every time we would leave a solid driveway, and get onto the rocks, she would walk a few steps and then look up at me, as if to wonder if I was going to pick her up again. And each time my heart melted and I gave in, taking her into my arms. We eventually got to a really steep hill, one I was not prepared for. I've always had asthma. And though it's calmed a lot over the years, it doesn't take a lot of physical exercise to trigger it and shorten my breath. This started to happen. My legs started to hurt. And I had a forty pound weight in my arms. Everybody told me to put her down, that she'd be fine. And I knew she would. But that wasn't the point. With every steep step the only thing running through my mind was Christ on the cross. He was the only thing I could picture. I knew that if Jesus Christ could suffer hours upon hours of agonizing pain and torture, eventually leading to death, all so my soul would be secure in eternity, I could carry Him a few steps up a hill when He didn't have any shoes. Because whatever I do unto the least of these, I do unto Him. I did eventually put her down about mid-way up the hill, and she scurried along like it was nothing. But that wasn't the point. It was the simplicity of love and the desire to share it, even just a little bit.

All in all, the trip was incredible. It was life-changing, everything I thought it would be and so much more. That's so cliche, and it's something I'm sure you'll always hear people say after they've gone on missions. But until you've experience, you could never understand the depth and the fullness of what God can really do through you to people you would never even think you could reach. God is good, ALL the time. He's so much bigger than we often give Him credit for, and He's powerful enough to use small people like me to make big impacts in people's lives, bringing so much glory and honor to Him. He's beautiful, wonderful, amazing, incredible, awesome, perfect, loving, kind, gentle, and everything good. He's my Father and I would never change that for anything. My heart is in Honduras, and I'm going back. I can't thank God enough for the opportunity to serve in His name.

Thank you, Jesus.

1 comment:

Laurie said...

Kristi, you have an amazing collection of pictures and stories. I enjoyed reading them very much. I too serve in Honduras, and Honduras has captured my heart too.