Opportunities to serve are bountiful at Briar Cliff, as are opportunities to travel abroad to study and immerse yourself in cultures different from your own. “Mission: Honduras” brings together the best of these opportunities in a life changing trip where service and faith collide.
During the first week of January, Sister Janet May, director of campus ministry, and Gil Ridenour, associate campus minister and instructor of theology, will guide you through a journey that will build your faith, character, and relationships with people who may have been strangers to you before the trip. I was a new follower of Christ before going on this trip, so it definitely felt like a leap of faith. If you’re new to your faith journey or not so sure about it, don’t let that steer you away from this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to help others and change your perspective.
Before leaving on the trip, we knew very little about Honduras and it put some of us on edge thinking we were about to go into a third world country known for corruption and dangerous living conditions. But we were there on a mission: to rebuild and furnish dorm rooms at Flores, a school sponsored by the Association of Franciscan Boystown and Girlstown.
When you go to Honduras, you might have the mindset that you are going there to change these people’s lives. You would never guess that your life would be drastically changed in the process.
When you meet children like Roberto and Kevin and caretakers like Esdras and Elder, you realize that they never think about themselves first. Even when having little to nothing, they put others first. When Roberto, the youngest kid we met who was 8 or 9 years old, was asked what he wished he could have, his answer was more dorm rooms. Thinking it was so they wouldn’t be so crowded in the rooms they already had, he corrected us and said, “So we can help more children.”
The biggest thing that is engraved on my mind and heart is their endless patience, gratefulness, and love for us and everyone else. With such a big language barrier, we were like chickens with our heads cut off a lot of the time, but not once did anyone, whether we were buying food from a vendor, trying to get instructions on our next task, or trying to talk to the children, did someone get frustrated with us. I think about how in our country, you see people getting angry because they can’t understand someone because they don’t know the language, but in Honduras, they never acted like that.
They live a simple life, getting and using only what they need, not buying stuff or clothes just because they want it. They are grateful they have a roof over their heads and clothes on their bodies. It doesn’t matter if it is the newest trend because that isn’t what defines a person. What defines a person is what is on the inside.
At the end of the trip, I felt like we gained more from them then they did from us. They deserve so much more than what they have, and the trip will make you want to go back again and again to keep helping these people build their country. They love their home and want to stay but often can’t because of circumstances out of their control. So, every little thing we can do as a missionary group could help Hondurans stay in their beautiful land that they cherish so much.