Sunday, April 10, 2016

Why Honduras?

A friend asked, "Why did you choose Honduras?"

At the risk of sounding corny and cliché, I didn't choose Honduras. Honduras chose me.

I went to Mexico when I was 16, and I always thought I would go back. I never did.

I met my best friend around ten years ago. Much of her family lives in Haiti. I raised money to send there after the earthquake. I wanted to go to Haiti.

We began sponsoring a child through Compassion International three years ago. Nathali is in Nicaragua, and when my husband mentioned planning an international mission trip for the youth ministry, I had hopes it would be to Nicaragua. I wanted to meet Nathali.

My husband chose Honduras because he had a solid contact in our then-town that could help him make the trip happen. I wanted to go, but so did a lot of other people. Since our church had just paid for Corey and I to visit the Holy Land, I decided to opt out and let someone else have that free trip (in any youth ministry my husband leads, chaperones go on trips for free).

I didn't realize how badly I really wanted to go on the trip until I went to see them off. Standing among suitcases and teenagers, my heart broke over being left behind.

Still, when it was time to return the next summer, I chose not to sign up for the trip. Instead, I focused on raising money to build a house in memory of my friend. I knew I couldn't afford to both go to Honduras and build the house. I chose the house.

Then, someone had to back out of the trip and I was given an opportunity to go for free. Luckily, I already had a passport, due to the Holy Land trip a year before. One of my kids was gone to his grandparents' house for the summer and the other would be at camp for part of the trip. A friend stepped in and offered to pick David up from camp and keep him the last few days before we returned from Honduras.

Now let me back up and tell you about my friend, Emily. I met Emily when we lived in Brandon, MS, around ten years ago. She loved Honduras and went there multiple times. She was especially passionate about a ministry called Mi Esperanza, and I have a bag and a skirt from Mi Esperanza, thanks to Emily.

When Corey called me from Honduras on his first trip, I was floored to find out he had actually visited Mi Esperanza. It turns out, he was there with the same group that Emily loved so much, working with many of the same people.

When we landed in Honduras last summer, and our first stop was Mi Esperanza, it was like stepping into a dream, a world I had heard about suddenly became real.

I knew. I just knew that I needed to be there. I wanted to be there for more than a week.

How is it possible to feel like you have returned to a place you never visited before? I don't know, but it has happened to me twice, once in Jerusalem and once in Honduras.

Usually, a few months after a mission trip, the experience begins to feel distant. I expected that to happen with Honduras, but it hasn't. If anything, as time passes, I feel more drawn to Honduras than ever. My heart aches for it.

Jesus and me have been going back and forth about my dreams, about just what it is He has called me to do with my life, and more and more I am sure... Honduras plays a huge role in my future. So I am going to chase after it. I am going to follow my heart as far as I can go.

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