As I gathered with the group at the airport on Friday night to drop Molly off I thought how much I would like to go with them. It felt familiar: this excitement, sense of adventure, curiosity, camaraderie. Twice before, I traveled to Honduras on trips like with this one, and with folks from this current group. We have a shared appreciation of what it’s like and I wanted to be part of it again.
On Saturday, I checked in with a couple of other previous travelers and we planned an after-worship meal for the next day at St Andrew. It helped to think about cooking some food that I knew the group in Honduras would be eating – black beans, rice and that beautifully salty cotija cheese. We planned to host a conversation over this meal on Sunday around why this trip to Honduras has become so important to St Andrew, what others might be wondering about it, and whether there are any specific questions for the current travelers.
On the other side of our time together on Sunday I am equally glad I get to experience being with the community that waits at home offering support and love to the travelers and to the home they are visiting
During our time together on Sunday, St Andrew prayed for the group. We shared part of a letter Scott sent updating us on their progress. We noted what time the NPH community would gather for mass thinking and appreciating how we would be connected in those relative acts of worship.
We talked about the importance of NPH’s concern to protect their children from “voluntourism” and our perception that the leadership and structure of the trips takes care to guide the visitors to understand that the family at NPH are not a “project” but rather offer a place of joy and care and love to their friends who visit; a place where we can get a glimpse of how the generous Spirit of God is at work in the life of the ranch and in the visitors’ lives. We looked at pictures of the many people and multiple relationships that have grown over the years with folks at NPH in Honduras and beyond. Roger noted the line of a hymn we sang in worship that spoke to his journey with NPH:
Will you leave yourself behind if I but call your name…
Will you go where you don’t know and never be the same.
and speaks to the possibilities that exist when we leave behind our assumptions and bring sense of vulnerability and humility to our encounters with the others, whether on trips like this one or in our everyday lives.
The group came up with a few questions we’d like to ask the travelers. If they have time, maybe some of the group can reflect back what they think of these via the blog or on July 22nd when we hear about the trip at church. We also love reading whatever comes up for you as you make this trip.
We are holding you in prayer, dear travelers, and praying for our family at NPH.