Reflections on Mission

Reflections Day 1

Consumerism in the form of western food chains met my eyes first. The dirty, crowded streets of this capitol city in  Tegucigalpa are not unlike that of most other capitol cities in the world…at first glance.

Driving through the city to AFE, we first passed a shopping mall with appearances equal to that of any in my own home state of Florida. But upon further driving I quickly saw why this is a third world country.

House upon house on this mountainous land are stacked one upon the other and side by side. The windowless houses are made of crumbling bricks and  gray stone with the occasional brightly painted dwellings rising to the surface in bright blues, oranges, and yellows.

House upon house, row upon row of crumbling dwellings turn into cardboard shelters built upon resourceful foundations of tires piled five high to protect against erosive rainy seasons.

Beautifully dirty, brown skinned children walk home from school, slide down one-rail banisters into busy streets. Roads filled with the constant sounds of beeping horns vying for taxi customers and right of ways primarily void of stop signs and traffic lights.

As we near AFE’s school campus, the smell of trash wafts through the air. I am reminded  how this woman was once a girl who avoided Saturday’s trip to the land fields most weekends has now grown into a woman purposely seeking out the poorest of the poor in the trash dump of Tegucigalpa, Honduras.

In the foe leather seats of the school bus, I remember that missions is God’s love poured on the saved inviting them, commanding them, to serve His created people and make disciples of all nations. God has invited me into His glorious work among a loved people whose outward poverty and physical uncleanliness signify the filthy rags of righteousness I offer Him.

AFE, Amor Fe y Esperanza, translates to Love, Faith, and Hope, and is the ministry we are partnering with through Lakeland based Student Ministry Essentials. AFE works strictly with the people of Teguicigalpla that live and work on the trash dump.

We were given a tour by one AFE employee, Adam. He told us of the daycare/preschool program for the babies of workers who would otherwise join thier parents’ in a days work on the trash dump if it were not for this program at AFE.

Each day 14 brown-skinned, brown-eyed toddlers are brought to AFE for bathtime, two meals, and two snacks. They are taught skills commenserate with their learning leavels and are loved on with the hands and hearts of God’s servants at AFE.

Next, Adam invites us to go into the building and look at the school rooms and see the children. It is nap time and the room is dark.

Approaching those sleeping or resting children their cautious brown eyes stare out of railed cribs; some stacked two cribs high. I instantly want to touch them with the love God has given me for children. I desire to speak a blessing over them and extend the love that is theirs for the taking.

I smile and wave as I follow team members doing the same. I slip my camera away as some moments are to be soaked and simply remembered. These are God’s children wordlessly communicating why we have come.

I lay my right hand on a sleeping boy who reminds me of my own precious son miles away and pray a blessing over him. As I turn to look again at a timid little boy intently watching our white-skinned team invade his haven, I see a male teammate trying to keep the puddles in his eyes from getting the better part of him.

We step back outside into the sonlight and more of our team file out. Jesus loves the little children and uses them to speak to His beloved bride and we await more words from Him this week as we serve.

I want to leave you with some prayer requests for the ministry of AFE. In our tour of the school challenges were conveyed so as to paint a picture of the culture and everyday lives of the students within their ministry. Adam did not mention any of these specifically to pray for; this is what I walked away with. Please take a few moments to pray over these today.

1. Pray for the retention of male students. In a culture where males are pressured to work as early as possible and start families of their own. The delayed gratification of a greater return with a completed education is marginalized.
2. Pray for the direction of the school that they may continue to know and do the will of God with the resources He has blessed them with.
3. Pray for workers; specifically for medical partnerships in the community to address the many needs of the students and their families.

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