Lipscomb associate director of athletics for spiritual formation Brent High checks in with an update from day three of the trip to Mission Lazarus in Honduras
Any peace, rest and relaxation from Sunday quickly melted away today in the hot, tropical sun of Honduras. We greeted Roberto, director of operations for Mission Lazarus, around 8:15 a.m. He explained to us what we’d be doing this week. While we waited for a couple of his guys to go get some tools, our folks broke out into a game of “Ninja” in the parking lot (I have never seen or heard of this game before today). Others threw Frisbee. Some threw rocks in a target practice game. This crew never has a dull moment. As I write this update they are engaged in a major game of Farkle up at the pavilion.
We were encouraged to hear about the place we’d be working this year. It’s a little town called Nuevos Colorados or “New Colorado.” The old town was completely wiped off the map by Hurricane Mitch in 1998. As much as 75 inches of rain fell on parts of Honduras during that storm. So the residents picked up everything and moved up the road to a new colony. We were also encouraged hearing the story of Nashville’s Healing Hands who came to Nuevos Colorados and dug a clean water well for the town. They then worked with the residents to dig thousands of feet of trenches to run pipes to the houses. Now all of the people there have clean, running water in their homes.
We will be working this week on the beginning stages of a real brick house for the Church of Christ preacher and his family who serve in Nuevo Colorados. When we arrived at the site today, the trenches for the footers had been started. There were six squares in the ground that will eventually serve as the base for six rooms in the house. They were piled high with rock and dirt that had been dug out of the trenches. Our first job was to remove all of the dirt from the foundation footprint one shovel full and one wheelbarrow load at a time. By day’s end we had completely cleared four of the six squares and gotten about half of the remaining two squares cleaned off.
The second job was for our big guns. The corners and the midpoint where the walls will be had to be dug out to 1 meter in depth and about two feet wide. This was brutal, backbreaking work that had to be completed with a giant bar, pick axe and small mason tools. By the end of the day four of the six holes had been completed.
Speaking of holes, there was so much digging today there were several references today to the famous movie Holes. Thankfully we didn’t dig up any demonic iguanas today.
The third major job of the day was making rebar for the concrete forms that will be poured in the corners and mid-points of the walls later this week. The rebar had to be cut and bent into shape by hand with nothing but a hand saw and some boards with nails driven into them. Two of the six rebar forms were completed by the end of the day.
The very last thing we did today was deliver food sacks to 11 needy families. That was an eye-opening experience for many of our team members who had never done anything like that before. We prayed with each family before leaving for the next home. Each family got 5 lbs. of corn, 5 lbs. of beans, 1 lb. of sugar, soup and spices – enough for a family of four for 15 days.
Our athletes were warriors today. It never ceases to amaze me how strong they are. They have tremendous endurance and their work ethic is second to none.
Just like my first two trips here, it didn’t take long at all for young children to congregate around our work site. There were about 10 there in the first 30 minutes. They stayed all day.
After finishing our lunches, some of the guys went outside and started a soccer game with the boys who had been hanging around the work site. There is a gigantic, rocky field next to our work site with two goals (no nets). Those little boys played all out, barefooted. Our guys were ultra-competitive with each other and the game ended in a tie.
I noticed a young boy, probably 9 or 10 years old, inside the work site area that was walking with significant effort. It looked as if he had a case of cerebral palsy. Later in the day I watched him walk back and forth from the temporary house in the back of the church grounds all the way to the front gates about five times. Each time, with a smile from ear to ear, he took two cups of water with him and handed them to the boys waiting outside the gates to the church grounds. I asked him his name. “Nehemiah,” he said. Immediately the symbolism struck me as we were literally building the walls of a house that he would live in later this year.
It was thrilling for me to sit back with my long-range camera lens when we were delivering food and capture some moments involving our athletes and the sweet children that live in Nuevos Colorados. Big Gil Rehwinkel would toss kids into the air time and time again. Our five ladies on the trip were amazing with the young girls.
We are getting ready for a devotional here around the fire. We can hear fireworks going off in the distance. We were told today that people in Latin America view New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day as sacred. They know how to celebrate!
Thank you for your continued prayers. Everyone is doing really well. There are a couple of pink shoulders but nothing serious at all. We are dispensing water and sunscreen throughout the day.
We’ll be back at it hard in the morning at the work site while you are eating pork, black-eyed peas and turnip greens and watching football. Happy New Year from Honduras!