The pequeños are old. The smile I saw from the pequeños are some of the brightest smiles I have ever seen, but it is important to remember how those smiles got to be so bright. Those smiles are so bright because the faces they are on know and understand darkness. Darkness is a thing that many cultures (especially ours) see as taboo and something not to be spoken about with one another. As our week progressed and the group grew closer I realized something that I'm going to try to take and keep with me, that darkness is not only ok but something to be acknowledged and recognized; because without darkness, as we all know, there can be no light. About midway through the week I took a play from the pequeños’ book and attempted to tell the group about my fight with depression during one of the check-ins, after that check-in I laughed harder and bonded with the rest of the group. This trip reminded me to acknowledge personal struggles in order to achieve future happiness. This trip reminded me that no matter how I feel, my struggles may be simply incomparable to someone else’s. This trip humbled and motivated me – touched and inspired me – exhausted and filled me with gratitude. There is always darkness, and there is always work to be done. The pequeños are old, the pequeños are wise, and the pequeños are not broken.
The Honduras 2015 Group Covenant
We trust that in our heartfelt desires, the things that bring us joy, we get to glimpse something of what God desires for us and how we might bring life to the world. In terms of the trip to Honduras we desire to:
Getting Where We Want To Go
Traveling as a group to visit, learn, and serve can be a thrilling, sometimes life-changing experience. Experiencing new things, encountering new people and their stories, is so very worthwhile. But as with all worthwhile things there can be challenges. Balancing our own needs with the needs of the group can make things hard.
So this week the group traveling to Honduras met to draw up a covenant. Our hope is that this covenant will help us remember what we want and need both individually and as a group, and that it will help us to keep in mind the gifts we have received and the ways we can pass on these gifts to help the group gets where it wants to go.
By Julie Kae Sigars
I am so excited about this trip and happy for the folks who are going. And here’s the thing. This is something I probably will never be able to do personally. All the hustle and bustle to get there, traveling with twenty-three people, my senses bombarded by new experiences and new people, my own personal neurology would be a mess.
Alright, maybe too much information for you…J.
But I do love reading the blogs from folks while they are down there, being present in that way. And I am ready to do my part by contributing to worship preparation that holds our assembly here and those in Honduras together. As we attempt to sing in Spanish, as we hold them in prayer, as we contributed our gifts and talents at Talent Night to raise funds…these are all my way of contributing to this important and joyful ministry.
By Lisa Phillips
This summer, July 9-16, I will go on a mission trip, visiting and working at a home for children who have no family to care for them. NPH, as it is known (Nuestros Pequeños Hermanos - Spanish for "Our Little Brothers and Sisters"), provides a home for over 550 children who have been orphaned, abandoned, abused, or shuffled from one family member to another. They come from alarming poverty in the most violent country in the world, to NPH Rancho Santa Fe, a place where they find love, security, and a place to call home.
NPH is unique in that it specifically seeks to keep siblings together and is not a typical “orphanage” because the program does not seek to place the children in adoptive homes. When children come to NPH, they are told they will never be asked to leave, and many stay to complete their college education, followed by a Year of Service at the ranch. NPH Honduras has a preschool/kindergarten, primary and secondary schools, training in technical skills, and medical facilities. They grow much of their own food.
Twenty-three people, mostly members of my church, are taking part: four middle school students, six high school students, five college students (including my daughter) and eight adults. While there, we will do chores on the ranch while the children are in school, then interact with the children through activities, meals, and homework. We’ll spend one evening with the NPH staff, volunteers, and Year of Service students, and will also visit the NPH home for severely disabled children.
Why am I going? I suppose you could say my reasons are entirely selfish. I think it will be a life-changing experience. In today’s world, riddled by hatred, violence, and terrorism, I hunger for a way to renew my faith in humanity. I am particularly eager to spend time with the youth in our team; I know they will be amazing. I am godmother to Yadira, a 9-year-old girl at the ranch; I’m looking forward to meeting her for the first time. And maybe…just maybe…I can do something to bring joy to others while I’m there. And come home with hope.
There’s a sense in which this trip has snuck up on us. As I write this we are only five weeks out from our July 9 departure. Three years ago (you can view our 2012 blog here) when we made the trip it seemed like there was such a swirl of activity and anticipation. This time around, not so much. The activity is there, but not the “swirl.”
But, as I think about it, it isn’t because we are any less excited or energized about what awaits. If anything, I suspect those of us who made the trip in 2012 to NPH Honduras are looking forward to it even more. We know what awaits. We have people we want to see again. Aldo was in a wheelchair when we last saw him. Now he is walking. Maybe Amber can catch Chele again and see what he’s doing with his art, and tell him about her candle-making. Josue, Elzer, Santos, Adriana, Bernice, Breylin, Carmen, Eduardo, Esther. All these remarkable, clear-eyed, enchanting children; all these committed self-giving adults!
We remember the hope that is stirred within us when we encounter this extraordinary Honduran community, this “family” of about 600 who nurture these kids and make up this remarkable place with such an infectious spirit, and speak to a larger NPH community throughout Latin America. We remember well the gift of faith that we brought home with us as we saw firsthand what people committed to one another, what people who followed after their founder’s refusal to believe that we can be more generous than God could create, and then shared those stories again and again. The Christian short-hand for this, I think, is Kingdom of God.
No, this isn’t about a lack of energy, but an absence of anxiety. It is about an increase of faith rooted in memory and an increase in proficiency. We know the territory. We have a pretty good idea of what to do. We’ve effectively raised the nearly $20,000 in funds we need to make the trip with a quiet, but no less inspiring display of generosity that is remarkable to those of us who’ve had an insider’s glimpse. We’re on schedule to complete all the steps necessary to make the trip with an inter-generational make-shift family of our own. The papers are in order; the flights are booked. A couple of final meetings will help us to address final tasks and, more importantly perhaps, clarify our goals and commitments as a group.
There is no lack of energy. There is an absence of drama. That’s what happens, I think, when we remember that God is in the mix, and seems to especially show up among the so-called “least” we look to visit who are so profoundly rich.
So I hope you’ll follow along as this story develops. We’ll have pictures to show you and stories to tell. And you may just find your own faith strengthened as your prayers and energy join with ours to see what God is up to.
News and updates related to our July, 2015 trip to NPH Honduras. Most recent posts are at the top.