Thursday, January 05, 2012
Eight student-athletes led by Brent High, Associate Athletic Director for Spiritual Formation, arrived in Honduras Saturday for an eight-day mission trip to assist with the rebuilding of buildings damaged by recent flooding. This is Brent's dispatch from their sixth day.
Today was another memorable day for our team in Honduras. We started at 7 a.m. with scrambled eggs, toast and ham. The cooking here has just been over the top and shattered all expectations any of us had going into this trip. Tonight we had chicken, rice, tortillas and vegetables. It was delicious.
We made our daily trip into Duyure. Antonio, the 11-year-old boy who lives near the home site, was waiting for us by the side of the road, just like he’s been waiting the last two days. His smile is as wide as the mountains are tall here in this special place. We pulled over and he eagerly jumped in the back for the ride down the mountain.
We picked up our tools just like we always do at the Iglesia de Cristo in Duyure. We dropped Tyler Burstrom and Nate Mueting off there to work on a foundation project in one of the church buildings. They spent a lot of time moving rock and dirt and got a lot accomplished today.
A second group spent the day making more adobe bricks. According to the local men we are working with, we are now done making bricks. We may have to turn them over tomorrow to let them bake in the sun but mixing the straw, bricks and water seems to be over.
I worked with the third group up at the home site. We had to get a couple of loads of water from the creek down the mountain. We have to reach over a small waterfall and collect the water in five gallon buckets and then pour it into a large plastic reservoir in the back of the truck. We added three layers of adobe bricks and mortar to the house today. It’s really starting to look like something. The guys did a great job of making mortar, shoveling dirt, using pick axes to get more dirt out of the hill, laying bricks and otherwise lifting countless thousands of pounds.
We met some new friends today at the home site. We met 3-year-old Franklin, a little boy who stayed all day watching our every move. His sister Carla and Carla’s friends Erica and Sandra were there most of the day too. Our buddies Antonio, Jorge and Ronnie helped us again and really started to open up to us. They even decided to challenge our athletes to a mud throwing war near the end of the day. Their smiles just absolutely melt your heart. The guys have been really good about giving the kids some of their food. They are also giving them candy and the yarn bracelets are a hit that Ben Wiles sent down with us.
Our team grows closer to each other with each passing day. The conversations are deeper each day. The honest, open, transparent communication you hope for in meaningful relationships is starting to flow much more freely. Tonight the guys were talking about different ways to stay in the Word and better themselves after they get home. They are already making plans to come back next year and talking very seriously about their teammates they want to encourage to come.
I miss Emily, Houston and Hunter terribly. I also can already tell that I am going to miss this place God has led us to greatly. I will miss the mountains, the lack of technology, the fact that I haven’t answered a phone call since Saturday, the temperatures (highs in 80’s, lows in 60’s), the sound of the wind blowing through the pine trees and the smiles of all the beautiful, happy children. While I covet the simplicity of life these people seem to embrace and enjoy, I will be haunted by the scenes of dozens of people carrying old jugs to a pond for their drinking water. My mind will not rest as I think about the three little girls I saw in the dump yesterday looking for anything at all of value. I want to be part of making things better for them.
No one can see what we’ve seen and experience what we’ve experienced and not be changed radically. All of us are going to have to process that individually as we start to think about heading home on Sunday. I am eager to listen to all of our guys in the next coming days as we ask them about what they’ve learned and what they’ll take home with them.
It’s almost midnight. Some of the guys are outside doing some extra exercises on the porch of the cabin. Evidently we have a couple of golfers who are determined to be able to complete a dunk on a lob pass. Next year I seriously want to figure out how to measure where these guys are with their strength and conditioning and then reassess a couple of days after they get back from this trip. Aaron Spragg told me today that after going through this week going to weights for baseball will be easy in comparison. I don’t doubt that at all.
I am so proud of our guys and everything they are doing in the name of Jesus for these people here. They are being pushed to the limit every day physically in what is demanded of them. No one has quit. No one has asked to sit out. Everyone is working extremely hard. The only work I can think of that I have experienced in the past that compares to what we are doing each day is working in the tobacco patch and clearing trees in Paducah after the ice storm four years ago.
I lost another game of Farkle tonight. The consequences were dire ;)
Thanks for your continued prayers.