Archives For hope

Lay the First Brick

Erik Cooper —  December 3, 2010 — Leave a comment

Yesterday I spent the morning across a coffee table from a heart wrenching story. A young man who’s past is marked with substance abuse, felony charges, and broken relationships.  A lost decade.  And the reality of beginning a journey he should already be well into is simply too much for him to carry.

Alone.

Scared.

Paralyzed.

The distance between where he currently is and where he knows he should be is so great, he’s completely unable to see the other side of the chasm.  No vision means no hope means no ambition means no action.

Means despair.

Grace is free.  God makes beauty from ashes. But there is no “Extreme Makeover Home Edition” waiting to magically re-build your life in seven short days (barring inclement weather) while you vacation in Disney World.

It’s a process. One you can’t do alone.  One you don’t have to do alone.

It’s time to lay the first brick.

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.

We have an undeniable propensity to see the church as an entity instead of a people, an institution instead of a movement. So almost involuntarily over time, our focus turns toward acquiring and keeping resources that sustain the organization. Efforts which may or may not lead to the expansion of the Kingdom of God.

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Fuel for the Imagination

Erik Cooper —  July 29, 2009 — 4 Comments

If hope is the message of the church, why are we so often lacking in imagination?

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Eyes of Injustice

Erik Cooper —  July 22, 2009 — 1 Comment

You can see a lot in someone’s eyes.  Joy, fear, peace, happiness, hunger, pain.  Even after six weeks, I’m still processing my experiences from La Ceiba, Honduras…mostly when I look into the eyes of my own children.

Eyes

The eyes on the left belong to my 7 year old daughter Anna.  I’ve met very few girls as care free and in love with life as this little one.  She spends her summer days playing with dolls, dressing up like a princess, riding her new purple bike, and playing with her friends.  She’s getting a passion for fashion, so it’s not out of the ordinary to see her in five different outfits on any given day.  And in the midst of all her carefree summer daydreaming, when Anna looks into the future the possibilities are endless.  Actually, it’s involuntary.  She doesn’t even question it, because she innately knows her future is full of limitless potential if she’s willing to pursue it.  She has the creativity, the relationships, and the culture around her to make it happen.  You can see it in her eyes.

Honduras 2009 113The eyes on the right belong to Lourdess, a 7 year old girl we met in La Ceiba.  She lives in a square, wooden-box of a house with cardboard for “drywall,” about the size of our family room, with her mom and dad (a rare blessing in this community) and a plethora of brothers and sisters.  Dad is constantly struggling to find work in this depressed economy, but unlike so many other fathers from the neighborhood, has chosen (at least for now) not to leave his family for work in the USA.  Lourdess loves to play, too.  She had a doll, some crayons (she even gave us a picture she had drawn), and an old worn-out Disney princess dress.  The same dress hangs in my Anna’s closet here in Indy.

But as I wrote from Honduras, the greatest struggle for me is not the lack of money or even the awful living conditions.  It was in the eyes.  The hope, the encouragement, the possibilities that impulsively fill the gaze of my little Anna aren’t even in the lexicon for Lourdess.  In fact, when we asked many of these young children about their “sueños” (or dreams of the future), they required further explanation.  Not only did they have no vision for the future, they had no context in which to even understand the question.

Honestly, I don’t know what to do with all this.  Guilt is not a valid motivator, and God doesn’t use condemnation to push us in His direction.  But I do know we all need to embrace the journey, to ask God what He wants from us.  He never holds us accountable for what we don’t have, but He has high expectations for us to properly use what we do. That’s why we’re partnering with organizations like Mission of Mercy to try and do what we can to make a dent into the hopelessness we encountered in Honduras.

How do we fill both sets of eyes with the same limitless hope?  Not hope for the American way of life which is found in a temporary, man-made culture; but the Hope of the Creator of life, the limitless God-possibilities woven into our very being and intended for eternity.  The truth is, you don’t have to go to Honduras to find the injustice of hopelessness.  Just look into the eyes all around you.  Time for God’s people to right that wrong.