Archives For child sponsorship

I hate when people tell me about their missions trips. Like I’m supposed to share their passion. Feel what they felt. Really. Come on.

So I’m not going to tell you anymore (at least for now). I’m going to let a couple of other guys do it.

This is raw video footage from our team’s download session early this morning. One of our guys, Andy Wiseman, wrote a song from the overflow of his experiences in Honduras this week. This is just the last chorus. Oh, by the way, Andy is almost completely deaf. Yeah.

And then our resident Puerto Rican, Mike Perez, slayed us all with another of his spoken word pieces you have to hear (I have his permission). So not right Mike!

You want to listen.

YouTube Preview Image

Heading for the airport at 4am, and taking more home with us then we ever could have brought.

Adios Honduras. Hasta el proximo vez. Te quieres.

Today was our last at the projects. We packed up the tents, the crafts, the dulce (candy) for the last time on this Honduran adventure.

The kids cried.

We cried.

Time to head home.  But the damage has already been done. None who have walked these streets, sat in these homes, interacted with this beautiful people, will ever be able to scrape the images and encounters from our minds.  Nor do we want to.  But will this week really change us?

I guess that remains to be seen.

Love can’t be an event. Not something we block out for a week on our busy calendars.  Not something that stays here in Honduras as we head back to our real lives in the United States.

But that will be the temptation.  The direction the current will naturally try to take us as the intensity and focus of this controlled, planned experience abruptly morphs back into the comfort and familiarity of home.

That’s why trips like this can’t simply be something we do. Time moves on.  The trip comes and goes.

These experiences have to be about what we become.

Tomorrow we have a day to relax and process together before heading for home.  A day to drive these encounters into our DNA.  To make sure this act of worship called Honduras 2010 wasn’t just a self-righteous photo-op.

As we loaded the bus this evening, almost too surreal to believe, a rainbow appeared in the rain clouds engulfing the mountains that look down on Las Delicious.  Coincidence? Maybe.  Cliché?  Could be.

Or was God actually trying to remind us that there is hope?

Hope for all of us.

Fix You: Honduras Day 5

Erik Cooper —  June 16, 2010 — 6 Comments

Fix You isn’t only an epic song by the band Coldplay.  When you come to a developing country like Honduras, it becomes a constant battle you fight.  And lose.

Today we visited another impoverished neighborhood in La Ceiba, home to 13 children sponsored by people from City Community Church.  The kids were energetic.  Grateful.  Full of joy.

But the conditions were what you’d expect in a neighborhood slum.

Enter the dilemma.

I can’t fix what I see here in La Ceiba, Honduras. I want to.  I want to bulldoze these wooden shacks and their pitiful dirt floors.  I want to build suitable structures to house human beings.  I want to make sure every child has two parents, and every parent has a respectable paying job.  I want to stop people from living this way.

I want to.  I really want to.

But I can’t.

So many layers to any mess that creates this kind of poverty. Corrupt politicians.  Socio-economic injustice.  Drug cartels and gangs.  And no ability to imagine a different future.

Poverty cycles.  And then recycles.  You can’t unwind it in 7 days.  You can’t just make a few phone calls, call a town hall meeting, give them the Eliminating Poverty for Dummies book, and fix the system.

But you can help one.

Mandy and I can help Jorge.  The LaGranges can help Anna.  Bill can help Caroline, and the Browns can help Jose.  Andy can help Angel.  Lindsey can help Kenneth.  Mike can help Isis.  And CityCom can walk alongside a little block-wall church called Lilly of the Valley in the outskirts of an impoverished Honduran neighborhood.

But maybe more importantly they can help us, too. Help us lose our self absorption.  Help us separate our understanding of God’s Kingdom from our American way of life.  Help us find Jesus living here among the least of these.

Some days I wonder if those aren’t actually the things that need the most fixing.

I know just enough Spanish to be dangerous. And the longer I spend here in Honduras, the more confident I get.  That is, until I say something stupid.  Really stupid.

For the last two days, I’ve asked countless children to smile for the camera. The Spanish word is sonrisa, however somewhere in the (evidently small) portion of my brain that stores Hispanic vocabulary, I pulled the word sangria from the filing cabinet. Innocent enough, right?

Except sangria just happens to be the Spanish word for bleeding. I must have sounded like some kind of horror-flick-loving American psychopath.  “Look at the camera kids.  OK, now bleed!”  Oops.

Glad I didn’t say that to the crazy guy carrying the machete.

But the ultimate slip of the Spanish tongue came while visiting our sponsor child Jorge yesterday morning.  When we first arrived, he was incredibly quiet.  Shy.  You might even say embarrassed.

And in my attempt to address the issue, I did what all intelligent Americans do when butchering the Spanish language:  I added an “o” to the end of the word.

That usually works, right?  Hungry-o.  Tired-o.  Bathroom-o.

“Jorge, tu estas embarazado.”

Thinking I had so smoothly told young Jorge he was acting embarassed, I was a little surprised when he and his brothers couldn’t stop laughing.

Embarazado = Pregnant

Gringo estupido.

Honduras Day 3

Erik Cooper —  June 15, 2010 — 4 Comments

No blackouts today.  No racing buses.  No rock throwing.  No sense of imminent danger.

Today we went to Jorge’s house.

Jorge is the seven year old boy from La Ceiba we began sponsoring through Mission of Mercy last year. He ran to embrace us as we came up the little dirt walkway to his meager home in the Las Delicious slum.  His joy was real.  Contagious.  Proof again that the Gospel transcends culture, geography, and socio-economic status.

We quickly reacquainted with Jorge, su hermanos (his brothers), su primas (his cousins), y su abuela (and his grandmother).  The new soccer ball we brought caused a huge grin, but when I asked him to go down to the field to teach me some moves he got quiet.

No shoes.

(We’ll be remedying that on Thursday)

Amidst the gifts, the stories, and the laughter, we again sensed that something special about Jorge that drew us to sponsor him after our first visit to La Ceiba last year.  I sense he innately knows it, too.  That there is a special place for Him in God’s Kingdom, regardless of what reality appears to be shouting.

He wants to be a doctor.  I’d bet on Jorge.

His only requests for prayer centered around safety for his policeman father (who no longer lives in the home), and help for his mother.  She works long hours in a clothing factory for very little wages, often forgoing her own dinner so her three boys can eat. A far cry from the creature comfort prayers that so often pass my lips.

And far too much weight for a seven year old to carry.

Just part of everyday life in Las Delicious.

Mandy and I weren’t the only ones to meet our sponsor child today.  Andy visited Angel, a 5 year old boy with a love for soccer.  Nathan and Trish re-embraced Anna, the spunky 10 year old who could be the Honduran twin of their own daughter Lauren (seriously eerie).  And Bill met Caroline, the shy, little 10 year old he recently sponsored to honor his own little girl who passed away four years ago next month.  They would have been the same age.

It was a beautifully messy day.

In the midst of this seemingly unnecessary heartache, God’s presence is near. And even though I believe we are bringing something beautiful to La Ceiba, Honduras, we are undoubtedly encountering something supernatural as well.

God lives among the least of these.

We’re not bringing Him here.  He had already taken up residence.