Lesson on Simplicity – Honduras

MoroceliThere is nothing like fresh air. That thought was fixed in my mind while my body was bouncing in the pickup truck of the priest who picked us up at the airport. The drive to Moroceli is about 1 hour from Tegulcigalpa. It’s located in a district with a name that certainly does it justice: El Paraiso. I totally ignored the bumpy dirt roads as my eyes feasted on the raw beauty of the countryside in Honduras. This trip was a missionary one. I volunteered to translate for my fellow parishioners. We are part of a team working to help our sister church. Like any experience of this nature, there are lessons learned on the journey. Here are mine:

Part of the goal of the trip was to document the progress of current church projects. One of them is a scholarship program. Children in Honduras must wear uniforms and bring their own school supplies in order to go to school. Most parents are not able to provide this for their children and so our church provides a scholarship program for them. It was amazing to know they would all like to continue to go to school and graduate from high school. Half of them dream of going to higher education. As a parent, it’s impossible not to daydream about what they and the town of Moroceli will become in the future. Investing in others reaps the highest returns.

Mission trips are not vacations and there is much work to be done while overseas. I was lucky to have time to immerse myself in their culture and daily lives. I had plenty of questions and they happily answered them all. I personally thought I was just going to translate but I surprised myself by being able to offer ideas for some of their projects. One of them is gardening, which is not a hobby in their community. It’s a matter of survival as they depend on their crops for their meals. Fr. Carlos gave me lessons on how to grow chayote squash, lemongrass and ginger. The last day of our visit he wanted to give me several root cuttings and some of his baby chicks to take home. I sadly had to turn him down explaining to him I wouldn’t be allowed to take the items out of the country. Keep in mind his rectory is a small 1 room building with another room built on the outside with a couple of 2 x4’s and tarps. This is how he lives with his wife, mother in law and 3 children. Even while living in this extreme poverty he was willing to share some of his precious food supply with me. We all have something to share. Moroceli

When we returned from the trip we arrived right in the middle of Thanksgiving and Black Friday. Every year we get an overload of commercials, flyers, ads, spam, you name it. You just can’t ignore it. I sadly saw in the news how people trampled each other because somehow, objects have become more valuable than human beings. I couldn’t help thinking about the people of El Paraiso and how they manage day by day with so little compared to what we have. They place a high value on their relationships and show it by helping each other. Objects have not clouded their appreciation of other human beings. Having lots of material things does not guarantee happiness, well being or progress.

I can’t stop thinking about my trip and especially the children. I’m counting the days to my next trip to see my new Honduran friends. If you’ve been thinking about going on a mission trip, don’t ask yourself if you should go…ask yourself when.

I took tons of pictures while in Honduras.  You can see them here

I heard on the news last night Polk County has 1,300 homeless children.  So sad.  What are your plans to reach out to others during the Holidays?

Linking to Transformation Thursday and Inspiration Friday.


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