Two tickets to Heaven please, oh, first class, window seats please
Can I get two tickets to Heaven please, oh, first class, window seat please…..
Three hundred sixty two thousand four hundred dollars.
Average family lives on $1.17 per day.
Day laborers average $3.17 per day.
A banana costs $0.01.
Medical consultation with medicine costs $0.53 at the Lazarus Clinic.
$10,000.00 builds a nice church building.
$2500.00 builds a nice wood house.
Three hundred sixty two thousand four hundred dollars. That’s how much money was spent by Americans this year that came with mission teams for short term mission trips to Honduras.
I was born and raised in the church of Christ. I was baptized on July 12, 1987 at the age of 12. I was given a King James Version Bible with my name on it in gold. I read scripture, passed the Lord’s Supper, missed camping trips and ball games to be at church.
I had all of that but I had never let the Holy Spirit touch my heart. Change my life.
On a whelm I went on a mission trip to Honduras in July of 1998. My first mission trip. This was the first trip of the rest of my life. It’s hard to explain what happens, but a change takes place when you go to a third world country on a mission trip. In my case, I was helped much more than I was able to help the people we came to serve.
Now as a missionary living full time in Honduras for almost six years I get to see both sides of the short term mission trip. Let me see if I can explain it.
First from the point of view of the local peasant in Honduras.
The vast majority of the peasants in Honduras proclaim to be Catholics. Not because they go to church, know the creeds, or read their Bibles, but because it’s their culture to be Catholic. To pray to plastic figurines in their houses, and to have a brainwashed concept of what evangelical preachers stand for. But, the one thing that all of these peasants have in common is that America, the Great United, is the Promised Land. On any day in any village I, a Spanish speaking white guy with a four wheel drive truck, can draw a crowd to hear me preach because of their curiosity about Americans and their longing for the Promised Land. So when a group of Christians follows the Holy Spirit’s guidance, the Bible’s teachings, and their heart and they are baptized for forgiveness of their sins there is much persecution. Family members quit talking to them, neighbors criticize them. However when a group of Americans comes to a village to provide medical treatment, perform VBS activities with the children, or builds a house for a widow, the church is encouraged. That even though they live thousands of miles away, speak a different language, and live a different culture, they are brothers. All having been adopted through the blood of Christ.
Where evangelical Christians are not found on every corner but where everyone admires Americans, a visit of Americans to a young church can leave behind a sense of belonging, a sense of we really are doing what’s right, and the church is encouraged.
If you ever visit the humble jungle village of Las Pitas and you stay for church. You will receive the warmest welcome. Farmers who have a 3rd grade education and live entirely off the land will greet you with a big smile, a firm handshake from their leathery hands, and applause as they welcome you to their service, in the open air heat of southern Honduras. They are happy, honored; they feel privileged to have you with them.
Now from the point of view of the visiting American.
How can people be so excited about walking three hours to church, up and down mountains? How can they sing so loud, off key, and not care? How can flip flops be mended to get more miles out of them? How can 3 hours of church in 115 degree heat be enjoyable? How can barefooted children with busted toe nails love Sunday school so much? How can you live in a dirt house with a dirt floor?
How can you live without cable TV, high speed internet, and telephone in one package? How can you live without a blackberry? How can you live without a washer and dryer? How can you live without shoes? How can you live on rice and beans?
How can you love God so much? The answer is simple; they don’t have all the things in their lives that distract us from God. They can’t get it 90 days same as cash. They can’t super size it. They can’t ask Santa for it. All they have is God.
It’s intangible. It can’t be adequately explained with ink. How can you put a price on what’s its worth to finally understand what it means to be a Christian, to belong to a family that spans language and cultural barriers. To be able to experience Christianity in it’s purest form. Not worried about clothes, hair styles, new buildings, praise teams, politics, time limits, or meetings, just worshiping God. Is that worth Three hundred sixty two thousand four hundred dollars? No, no way, not on your life……….It’s priceless.
Our mission is two fold, serve the locals with God’s love and minister to Americans who only have a third person relationship with God….No matter the cost.