Friday, January 06, 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 seventh day.
Today was our last day in Duyure. All of us tried as best we could to soak up every moment, knowing we would not see this place that has captured all of our hearts again for a while.
Antonio greeted us with his million dollar smile as always and jumped in the back of the truck for the ride down the mountain into Duyure. Once we arrived in Duyure we picked up our tools and a new friend – Victor. Victor is eight years old. That kid put in some serious work alongside us at the adobe home site. He shoveled just as much dirt as any of us.
We had to dig out the side of the hill where we were working to get enough dirt to level the floors in the two adobe house rooms. I would guesstimate that we loaded close to 150 wheelbarrow loads of dirt today. We also had to remove two gigantic, stubborn stumps that were located in one of the rooms. We chopped and chopped at them with pick axes until we were able to rip them out of the ground. We dug out another hill and made a pile of dirt for the next group to use for mortar. We loaded in about four pickup truck loads of adobe bricks for the next group as well.
While we weren’t able to see the completion of the house, we did notice a significant amount of progress. We were able to get eight levels of adobe bricks and mortar and the floors completed. The finished product will have 12 levels.
One of the crews stayed at the Iglesia de Cristo and school. They made and poured dozens of piles of concrete for two rooms at the complex.
At the end of the day we said our goodbyes to our new friends in Duyure. We exchanged hugs and started back up the mountain. We dropped Antonio off at his house. He went home with, as Alexander McMeen put it, a small department store’s worth of stuff from our guys. A few of them literally gave Antonio the shirts off their backs. They gave him jeans, hats, gloves and lots of food. It was so incredibly neat to watch those college kids melt this week around those kids. Ryan Terry got in a conversation with Antonio about school coming up next month. Antonio told him it takes him an hour and a half to walk to school each day. Ryan came up with the idea for us to buy him a bicycle. We all agreed to pitch in and this week a brand new bicycle will be delivered to Antonio.
I talked at length with Cameron tonight at Mission Lazarus about future trips. We talked about the size of groups, bringing alumni and friends with us, different kinds of projects that we could be involved with as far as Lipscomb Athletics and furthermore setting the table for what’s to come.
We played our nightly game of Farkle tonight. Thankfully I didn’t lose this time. We saw the first scorpion on the trip up around the fire. T.J. McCloud quickly introduced him to the Tennessee one-step.
Alexander McMeen kept us up to date on the Lipscomb-Belmont basketball game score throughout our Farkle game. As the game got close to ending we dialed up the Lipscomb broadcast and listened as the good guys pulled out the huge win at Belmont, 85-74. We were all excited. Alexander ran through the pavilion screaming and yelling like a crazy man. Tonight was the first Lipscomb-Belmont basketball game he has missed, home or away, since the early 90’s.
The guys are still up at the pavilion sitting around the fire. They are laughing and having a good time. I am glad. They have absolutely worked their fingers to the bone this week. Today was another absolutely backbreaking day of manual labor.
This is a great group of guys. We have had some very deep conversations on the ride to and from Duyure each day. I have asked them some very tough questions. They are men of purpose and are seeking to live lives that honor God and serve people. I have been very impressed with who they are and what they want to do with their lives. I fully expect all of them to come back next year and recruit others to join them. There are some serious leaders in this group. We just need to equip them and stay out of their way.
Tomorrow morning we will wake up early and take a horseback tour of the Mission Lazarus property with Cameron. Our final destination will be the coffee plantation that is on a mountain visible from the pavilion where we eat. I haven’t ridden a horse since Emily and I took a horseback tour through Teton National Forest on our honeymoon. That was 14 years ago. The guys are really excited about the tour. They are also eager to get home. We will drive to Tegucigalpa tomorrow afternoon so we’ll be ready for our Sunday flights home.
Please continue to lift us up in prayer. We know many of you have been doing just that. I plan to point out some very specific ways we’ve seen prayers answered on this trip in my final update on Sunday.