Memories for a Lifetime: My Extended Honduran Mission
by Catie Richardson
The vast, colorful landscape of Honduras is indescribably beautiful, but not as beautiful as the people that reside within its borders. This past summer, I had the immense honor of spending six weeks living among the people of the Agalta Valley at Rancho Paraiso. During my time in the Valley I taught English at Aldersgate Elementary, the school sponsored by HOI and its Pathway Scholarship donors. I also was able to work at the Ranch’s onsite clinic.
I loved spending time with the kids each day and learning about their lives. Each one of them came home with me in spirit, and will forever be in my heart. I could feel God’s presence each day while working with them, at any time of day. It may have been the way their faces lit up when they answered a question correctly or maybe it was the smile on their faces while they were doing a craft, or perhaps it was in my daily hugs goodbye from several of the children. Either way, I could feel the presence of God in each and every one of them.
The children all have such an energy (which can be a bit overwhelming sometimes) and a joy of learning. They loved being asked how to say words in English. They also really enjoyed acting out words they were learning. I would say a word in English and they would have to act it out to demonstrate understanding. Creative teaching methods like these helped facilitate learning and made it fun for everyone. It was truly a blessing to work with them.
As much as I loved working with the children, I really enjoyed my time with the HOI staff and the local villagers. I have never felt more immediately welcomed and loved than I have in Honduras. Every person I met invited me into their home and asked if I needed anything whenever I came to assist them. I will never forget my first week there in the village of Jocomico. I helped a group at the Ranch with their VBS and the craft projects. On the group’s last day in the village, the children gave us all handmade blankets and crocheted doilies – every single one of us! I had never been shown such generous hospitality from adults or children alike. They know what it means to share the love of God without reservation or hesitation. Out of all that I learned and experienced, the authentic love and generosity of the villagers towards me is what I cherish the most and have brought back with me to the States. From the children at the school to the people in the villages to the staff at the Ranch, I learned how to share love and joy with those around me. For this, I am forever indebted to Honduras.
by: Catie Richardson
Catie is a student at Florida State University and is studying Religion. She spent 6 weeks as an intern in Honduras teaching students English. To learn more about becoming an HOI Summer Intern please contact Laurie Willing for more information.