Building a Three Way Bridge
Every team that travels to Honduras or Nicaragua with HOI gleans something a little different from their mission trip experience; however, one thing always remains the same: they each see the love of God manifest among them in new and exciting ways.
Beverly Chernoff, a member of the First Presbyterian Grapevine team from Grapevine, TX led by Lester Strait, reflects on her team’s journey in Honduras this past August. It’s truly amazing to see how God is a co-laborer with us in all of our efforts. In this story we see how God joins with us to create a beautiful “three way bridge” between HOI, our mission teams, and the Central American villagers we work alongside. Watch and see how God works!
August 8 – 14, 2015
Rancho Paraiso, Honduras
Of our nine-member team, two were making their tenth trip, several have done it a handful of times, and three of us were on our first ever mission trip. Because HOI worked so closely with our mission team leader, we arrived full of expectation and excitement, not nerves. Throughout the trip, we were in the excellent hands of the HOI team and under the watchful eye of God. It was a trip full of hard work, friendship, and exploring what the HOI camp director called “building bridges”, between God and the villagers and amongst ourselves.
Our assigned village, Octoal de la Contienda Gualaco, has 134 people from babies to elders. Of the 35 homes, 8 needed latrines, 13 need pilas (water infrastructure), 22 needed cement floors in some rooms, and 18 needed the new fuel-efficient eco stoves. This is not counting the number of families with no stove chimneys. During our week, we worked alongside the villagers to build two latrines, four pilas, and two eco stoves, install a metal roof, and lay more cement floors that we could count. Additionally, our team has a long history of bringing medical supplies to the HOI Ranch doctor, school supplies to the village school and church and to the HOI schools, and dozens of soccer balls and 400+ tennis balls. Our team included a retired teacher and the educational director from our church, two wonderful women who along with several others shared stories of Christ through three afternoons of Vacation Bible School. It was hard to tell who enjoyed VBS more, the children or their families!
While the work was hard, getting to know the villagers was priceless. Neighbor helped neighbor, older children watched younger children and did family chores so the mothers and grandmothers could work on the construction projects. Elder villagers passed on cement making and construction skills to the younger generations. And, numerous teenagers showed up every day to work on projects!
As a former HOI executive director told us on the bus from Tegucigalpa to camp, “The villagers don’t say thanks for helping them build latrines or a new roof. They say thanks for giving them hope and new friends. They know we care, we take off work to come help them, and we give our time and energy for them.”
While it was heartbreaking for us to leave the village, we know that we cannot solve all problems, but we can “create opportunities”.
Thank you, HOI, for creating the opportunity for us to come to Honduras, for protecting us, and for creating a wonderful ranch environment.
If you would like to share a your team’s story or a personal story of transformation and impact from one of our mission trips feel free to submit them to Louis Deas at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’d love to hear from you and feature your story!