The hot dry weather of July means the mountain road through the Cangrejal River Valley in northern Honduras is open. Therefore, July tends to be our busiest trip! We are able to travel farther up the mountain than in other months. So, we hit the streets of Honduras running, accomplishing much in 7 days . We visited 3 orphanages, 3 schools, a jungle hospital, the Naval academy, as well as 2 villages, delivering needed food and supplies, taking part in street side ministry, and most importantly delivering the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We came alongside our partners in Honduras including ProNiño, Helping Honduras Kids (HHK), Give Hope 2 kids, Institute El Rey, Eagles Nest Church, and Margie Dipp, Mayor of La Ceiba. These ministries and people do the hard work day in and day out and AICM works hard to support and supplement their efforts. We do that in the months and weeks leading up to our departure date, gathering and organizing donations. This trip, we delivered 30, 50lb bags of supplies that included clothing, shoes, school supplies, toys, tools and medical supplies. At each stop we took time to visit with the leadership on the ground, tour their facilities, and listen to their needs. We were able to share the gospel through dance, teaching, prayer, good ole fashion fun.
IF YOU WANT THE DAY BY DAY DETAILS OF OUR TRIP, KEEP READING!
DAY 1 IN HONDURAS:
We left Orlando late Friday and arrived in San Pedro Sula in the early hours of the morning. We drove a little ways out of the city caught a few hours of sleep in a quaint little hotel before starting our journey up the coast through El Progreso and onto La Ceiba. Because our goal in July is to reach Give Hope 2 Kids in the remote mountain regions, our stop at ProNiño in El Progresso was short. We spent a few hours ministering through songs, puppets, magic tricks and then we took time to deliver gifts, play some soccer and basketball, do a little face painting, took a short tour, grab a group picture, and then we were off! (We’ll get to spend more time at ProNiño in November and February 2016).
Most of us were tired from our overnight travel and spent the 3 hour trip to LaCeiba sleeping in the van. To save on gas our driver and awesome brother in Christ Franklin will cheat on the air conditioning. He has, however, installed fans in the back of the 12 passenger van to help keep us from overheating. So we tried not to lean on each other and slept or dozed sitting up! lol.
I said most of us slept, because the drama team piled into the small 4×4 pickup truck and spent the 3 hours rehearsing the skit they would be performing when we arrived in La Ceiba!
We rolled into the city of La Ceiba, hot and tired, but full of excitement and anticipation for what God would do. We went straight to Eagle’s Nest Church where we took part in their youth night, worshiping with them, playing games, and then they asked us to preach. Dave and Elena Dunbar, the founders of AICM, led the teaching and a few of the team members were called on to give their testimony. The drama team performed their skit and we quickly realized the signs we had made to use in the performance were too small to be read in the back of the church! We would have to change that before tomorrow’s performance at Sunday morning service!! Also during our time at the church were introduced to Honduran flexibility and ingenuity. The church is a large open air, concrete facility- no air conditioning, just large fans attached high up on the walls. Half way through the service the electricity went out. Without missing a beat, one of the members stepped outside and started a generator… on came the lights and on went the service. We were to learn quickly that power outages are common in Honduras and thus really no big deal. The people just find a way around it or do without.
Our time at Eagles Nest Sunday morning was very rewarding. The HHK kids were there and they sat with us during the service. Most were excited to sit the americans, especially, the returning members of our team: Dave, Elena, and Sara. We had fixed our signs and the dance went off without a hitch. The people were very moved by the message we brought and we found that we were quickly falling in love with the people of this church. Dave and Elena have been visiting Eagles Nest for the past few years and the relationship and bond of love in Christ was evident. It was clear, by Sunday afternoon that when our work in the mountains was complete we would be returning to La Ceiba to meet with this group of brothers and sisters in Christ for some exciting ministry opportunities! They blessed us, gave us a costume for Jerod our team member playing Jesus and sent us on our way.
We left the church and stopped by our hotel long enough to grab a bathing suit and headed to the ocean inlet to meet the kids of the Hogar de Amor. We spent the afternoon swimming in the river with the kids and picnicking at the pavilion.
At the end of the day we were tired and headed up the mountain to the Jungle River Lodge for some much needed rest. The Jungle River Lodge has a rustic beauty. It is located on the banks of the Cangrejal River. Famous for its majestic views and white water rafting and ziplining, the lodge is popular among backpackers, hikers and those seeking adventure. It has no air Conditioning or hot water, and our lodging consisted of a large room with 7 beds, and one bath and a spectacular river side view… This was gonna be fun! and it was. Perroski, the large Rottweiler who resides at the lodge, kept guard outside the girls dorm each night. In the morning he would leave the door to sleep near the kitchen. : ) Oscar the owner (and builder) of The Jungle river lodge met us with a traditional Honduran breakfast of eggs, corn tortilla, refried black beans and salty cheese. (some of our team members opted to eat a powerbar, but i found the breakfast to be very tasty… even the salty cheese in small bites).
Monday, was our big day…. we left early and turned our van up the dirt road, winding our way through the mountains. We drove for 2 hours through the remote countryside until we reached GiveHope2kids. What an amazing facility and awesome people!! we spent time with the kids, performed our skit and toured their facility… we even bought a pig!! we put the little guy in the back of the pickup truck and headed back down the mountain where we changed clothes along the roadside in preparation for our visit to Instituto El Rey. There Dave and Elena preached again and we once again performed our skit. Many of the students and teachers were moved by the performance which opened the doors for us to pray for them individually. They thanked us by serving us the most delightful refreshments of fresh juice and crackers… and air conditioning!! We rested for a just a few minutes before grabbing a quick group picture and running across the street to the Jungle Hospital to drop off a few supplies and see the progress on their labor and delivery and surgical suite expansion. We had to hurry though, our new little pig was overheating and we had to get down the mountain quick before he died! No worries, Raphael made it just fine and we dropped him off at the AICM land project before heading back to the Jungle River lodge for a nap and a quick dip in the river before dinner.
Most of Tuesday was set aside as a work day on the AICM land just across the road from the lodge. But before that, we left early in the morning and headed down the road for the Jungle School. We met the kids getting off the bus and climbed the steep stairs made of concrete filled tires. The steps led straight up the side of the mountain! We preached sharing the story of prodigal son and what it means to be the son of a King. It was an awesome time of ministry. We left there and headed to the land to tour the progress and meet the care takers. Most of the work was being done by local hired help, so we spent time visiting with the caretaker family and the children. Some of the team found a few hours in the afternoon to go Ziplining. This was the first trip were we couldn’t take any of the HHK kids with us, because of a scheduling conflict. In the evening, we drove into La Ceiba and treated the leaders and staff of HHK and Eagles Nest Church to dinner. It was a special time of bonding, sharing vision and dreams, and just getting to know one another… the food was pretty good too!
Wednesday was suppose to be a rest day, but Margie Dipp the Mayor of La Ceiba had invited us to visit a public school in town. The team decide not to take our vacation day, and instead preach at the school and what an amazing time it was!! God moved mightily. We spoke in front of 200 children and their teachers. We had 3 news crews there to report on the story. When we finished our skit, the children were so moved that the first 2 rows of children left their seats and ran to Jerod, our team member playing the part of Jesus, just so they could get a hug. When the call came to accept Jesus, all 200 hundred kids raised their hands without hesitation. And when we were all done and were packing up, several children lined up just to get a father’s hug. It was an amazing time.
When we were done, we drove back up the mountain to gather our belongings and headed into LaCeiba to check into our “air conditioned” hotel!! We quickly showered, ate and headed out again this time to the Naval training base, where we were invited to speak. We met up with our friends from Eagles Nest Church and together shared the gospel through teaching and dance. The response from the Honduran Naval men and women was no less impressive. The Holy Spirit again moved through the use of the dance, preaching, and teaching. Men and women raised their hands for ministry and prayer.
Thursday was our last full day in La Ceiba. We rejoined our friends from HHK and Eagles Nest Church and loaded down our trucks with rice and beans, clothing, and a few pinãta’s and toys for the many children and families of a remote village called La Bamba. The last time we visited this village was 1 year ago the we were told the people were excited to see us return. Last year, the wife of the pastor in the village was very pregnant and past her due date. The doctors had told her she needed a C-Section, but the family had no money for such a procedure. They had prayed to God for a safe delivery but determined to trust God no matter the outcome. Our team had arrived just about that time. Two of the team members, Elena Dunbar and Sara who serves on our board are both labor and delivery nurses. They assessed the pregnant woman and with her permission performed a procedure they were confident would induce her labor quickly. They prayed for her and the baby and left last year not knowing what the outcome would be. They received a message a month or so later informing them that the baby – a little girl- had indeed been born 3 days later safely and without complication! PTL!! So this year Sara and Elena couldn’t wait to meet the little baby, who was now a year old.
Our team was welcomed with open arms in the village church! We shared the gospel through puppets and storytelling. We made some balloon animals, distributed the food and clothing, and prayed for the sick. The children had fun with their piñatas filling their pockets with as much candy as they couterpreter that the village people had made sweet bread to sell in the market to raise the money to buy the chicken to cook the soup we were served. We were all humbled by their generosity. They had given so much to honor us. The soup was the most delicious we had ever had. We met the little baby who was born safely 1 year earlier. They had named her Sara, after our Sara! She was precious!! Needless to say, there wasn’t a dry eye in the group! God is so good!!
Even though Friday was our departure day, we met the Eagles nest church leaders at a nearby village of La Ceiba. This time we would go door to door delivering food, sharing the gospel and praying for those who wanted prayer. Several people accepted Christ that day. And one man who – we believe may have suffered a stroke a year or more before our visit, was deaf and dumb. The family asked us to pray for him. To be honest, we weren’t really confident that God would answer our prayer, but David Dunbar and the Eagle’s Nest pastor prayed. Suddenly the man said “I can hear!” and he began to speak the word of God quoting scripture as he spoke. We were all amazed and gave glory to God!!
We finished in the village by noon and drove back to our hotel where we grabbed a quick lunch and headed to the Hogar de Amor to spend a few minutes with the children and say our last goodbyes. Of course we cried and took a million pictures before piling into the van and truck to start the long drive back to San Pedro Sula where we would grab coffee and dinner, and spend a few hours meeting Elena’s family as well as Franklin’s (our driver/interpreter) beautiful wife and kids. It was a sweet time of storytelling and long good-byes. And then, we were heading back to Orlando.
We arrived home Saturday tired, spent, and thoroughly blessed. Filled up to overflowing with the Spirit of God. So grateful to have been allowed once again to be a part of HIS STORY in Honduras. ld hold! We preached to young and old and then the tables were turned on us! We were told that the village pastor and his wife had prepared a meal for us and that our whole team was invited to dine with them. They lived in a small 1 room block home. They had set a table for 5 in the house – the rest of the team would eat outside. They had cooked our food in their outdoor kitchen and we were told by our in