Mission Team Back From HondurasAugust 13, 2010 at 1:54 PM
Hearts of those who returned home August 7, 2010 from a mission trip to Honduras will never be the same. Dr. Jim Pratt, Director of Campus Life, and a team of OCU students went to the poverty stricken country for 7 days to help with construction at a General Baptist orphanage called Faith Home, work with children at the Faith Home school, and minister to the local villagers.
Dr. Pratt lead the mission team in activities such as painting, roofing, assisting school teachers, food distribution, and caring for the orphans. “One morning seven of us went to a government run orphanage,” said Pratt. “It was life changing. Their capacity was 120 but they had 162 kids there that day and only seven staff members. Also, one-third of the kids are special needs. There were two babies in each crib. They weren’t crying just sitting there but once I held them and then put them down then they cried. That was hard.”
Whitney Goostree, Math Education major, described her experience at the orphanage. “I walked into this room and there were 24 babies with one woman to take care of all of them. Seeing those babies like that, helpless, is what really broke me. On the way home from the orphanage, I kept thinking of the verse in James 1 that says religion that God our Father accepts as pure is to look after orphans and widows in their distress.” (To read Whitney’s blog about the trip, click OAK blog on the left menu bar of OCU’s home page and then go to Guest blogs.)
There were only a certain number of people allowed to go to the government run orphanage. Dr. Pratt recalled being proud of the team in the decision-making process of who would serve in what capacity. Laura Kinder, Education major, worked in the Faith Home School. “I was basically like a teacher’s aide. It was hard for the teachers to work with the older students while the younger ones needed attention too and so I helped keep the little ones focused and then got to play with them at recess.”
On Tuesday, August 4, the team witnessed a church service at Faith Home where the kids sang and did skits in Spanish. “My favorite part of the trip was the children’s church service,” said Kinder, “No matter what their background, poverty and abuse, those kids got up there with the biggest smiles and sang. It broke my heart to see that they came from pretty much nothing and had so little, but was still so happy because they have people taking care of them.”
Honduras is the third poorest country in Latin America and the second poorest country in Central America. While the capital city of Tegucigalpa has the appearance of a strong middle class, just outside its borders in the mountainous rural countryside are people living in shanties with no floors, let alone indoor plumbing. Lack of land accessibility, low agricultural productivity, fragile social conditions, hurricanes, and flooding are at the root of the poverty problem.
On the last day of the trip, the mission team went to a nearby village and distributed bags of beans and rice. “You know these people get a ¾ full ziplock bag of rice to feed their family for a week. Here I am thinking about the pancakes I had this morning for breakfast and the sandwich and chips for lunch yesterday and so on. It makes you realize we are so greedy, “said Kinder.
Dr. Pratt said, “Mother Teresa talked about the smell of poverty…after everything we saw, I understand that more now.”
Faith Home Honduras consists of a 5 room PreK-6 school, El Barro church, a medical clinic, 3 missionary houses, a team house, the director’s home, a dining hall, and 8 cottages. Each cottage houses 10-12 kids and their house parents. It is a place designed to provide a safe and healthy environment to raise children who were neglected, abandoned, and abused. To learn more about Faith Home Honduras and possibly sponsor a child or missionary, visit www.faithhome.net.