After some contemplation and spiritual discovery I decided that it would be a good time for me to embark upon a Mission trip. My week that I spent in Honduras among a church group and fellow missionary’s was really a great opportunity for me to lay my desires down and humble myself.
The week of missionary work that I did was a chance for me to grow deeper in peace and serenity and develop myself through a purification process. In a way I looked at the experience as an opportunity, to start anew with a clean slate and wipe away some blurs of the past.
Spending time in Honduras, away from the materialistically driven culture of America was a great experience for my soul. Getting away from the United States and going to Honduras, I was able to gain some new perspectives on the world and how humanity both suffers and flourishes. Seeing people go through conditions of poverty and living quite happily, made me realize that the most important foundations worldwide are God, family, and community.
The communities that I visited were poor compared to most suburban American town standards, but they were more rich in natural resources and kind sincerity. When I look back I felt like all the children and people I encountered had strong character which was built through their homes and environment.
My trip to Honduras, began after a flight from Houston’s George Bush Intercontinental Airport to Tegulcigalpa Honduras. The flight wasn’t very long, it was merely 3.5 hours of studying Spanish and conversation with neighbor passengers of the aircraft.
After quite a few cups of orange juice and talk with other fellow Americans and missionary’s on the plane, I found myself looking out the window and wondering where in the world was the landing spot? Well following a bit of circling around cliffs and mountains we landed safely on a short landing strip in Tegulcigalpa.
The customs checked my passport along with fellow missionaries and as a result my team and I, all got to successfully make our way through. Outside the airport I could immediately feel the extreme heat. The temperature was in the mid 80’s, but it felt much hotter. One outside we met up with The Missionaries of Christ and placed all our suitcases and baggage on the bus for another journey of travels.
The road trip to Comayagua took about 3.5 hours on the bus through beautiful scenic mountains. Many passengers amongst me passed out after taking doses of Dramamine (the motion sickness tablets). I happened to stay awake and was caught in dismay by all the nature surrounding me outside the bus windows.
I kept myself full by popping some Ricola’s and some cliff bars and eventually after a long first day of traveling I reached the retreat center held by the Missioners of Christ in Comayagua along with a team of missioners.
The center offered feelings of peace and revealed to be a good place, for me to uncover some of my flaws and imperfections of my being. The center which was built by U.S. military officials, was quite a compelling complex. In particular the center spring fountain was my favorite structure, since it helped to offer great reflection and internal revealing to me personally through a combination of prayer and meditation.
During the few days that were spent in Comayagua at the center, I enjoyed eating good food with fellow group members, listening to speakers, and playing some soccer. After a few days in Comayagua I received the news that I would be assigned to go to Pimientillas.
The village of Pimientillas took us about 4 hours to drive to in our white Toyota Tacoma. The ride was quite rocky, consisting of many hills and mountains. The drive was definitely one of the most memorable that I’ve ever had. The drive consisted of such an organic landscape as we drove on unpaved roads with pine tree forests, fields of coffee plantations, and banana farms each accompanying the roadsides. Upon our arrival, the community and the family I stayed with, was very kind-hearted.
Each one of the Hondurans was delighted to see us and happily prepared fresh meals with tortillas, black beans, and queso blanco being the major staple foods. The families were living in conditions that were not necessarily wealthy in monetary terms but the wealth of their hearts and generosity was what made the people and the experience of staying with them so humbling.
The love that I experienced from the Honduran people could cure any sickness. As spoken by the wonderful Blessed Mother Teresa, “All sicknesses have cures. The only one that cannot be cured is the sickness of feeling unloved. I invite all those who appreciate our work to look around them and be willing to love those who have no love and to offer them their services. Are we not, by definition, messengers of love?” I truly felt this love that Mother Teresa speaks of as I experienced this mission.
During my experience in Pimientillas, this sense of love, helped me adjust for survival in the foreign environment as I struggled to communicate effectively with the young children and adults. Despite the language barrier and my lack of speaking efficiency in Spanish, thankfully my fellow missioner and room-mate Rolando happened to be wonderfully blessed in his Spanish speaking abilities, which proved to be quite helpful .
Although my mind wasn’t always able to cognitively filter out good chunks of information during talks, I was still far from completely understanding all local lingo and every bit of content in our presentations. Our course of dramas, music, and testimonial talks were all truly saturated with wonderful messages. I believe that each member of the community who joined us each night of our 4.5 day stay in Pimientillas had some positive takeaways and strong sensations of bonding and trust from our group.
Our mission was to serve, and after being there and walking the neighborhoods house to house, I believe that each member of my group could say that we experienced similar strengthening of the heart and mind. As the father of the delegado in Pimientillas spoke to us on our last nights stay. “Keep moving forward, don’t move backwards”.
As I move on from my mission experience and continue on as a citizen under Gods control I hope that I continue to move forward and not backward. Despite the trials and temptations of the world, it is only through peace, union, and triumph that we help shape our world into a better place for a better tomorrow.
As said by Pope John Paul II, “Do not be afraid. Do not be satisfied with mediocrity. Put out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch.”
My first mission trip in Honduras was a real eye opener. I realized the good in the world, and the fragile innocence of the nature of humanity. But something else that I discovered was how far I am from perfection.
I still feel the need to travel more distances as I continue to discover and aim to change the world. One thing that I discovered through Honduras is that we all live in a beautiful world. Overall the experience has helped me step forward to become a better version of myself. I hope my experience continues to help me as I continue to encounter life’s obstacles.