A few weeks ago Gina, Noah and I stood at the Hedman Alas bus station in La Ceiba, Honduras waiting for our heart recipients to arrive. A group of 6 young ladies whom we had never met, but already loved. Little did we know that our hearts would be extracted over the next month and placed in each one of them.
It was already dark, and still 85 degrees, by the time they arrived. Gretchen, Hannah, Ryan, Kate, Brittany and Amber came pouring out of the bus with another half dozen Americans. They were tired from a long day of travel and weighed down with their huge backpacks. We were their 11th country on their WorldRace. Their 11th host. Their 11th ministry stop. Just one more location on their journey home? Maybe we could be more.
A few greetings with our new family of strangers and we were off to get them settled into their sleeping quarters and then dinner. Over the next month we visited orphanages, hospitals, police stations, churches, schools and feeding centers. We laughed together. We cried together. We prayed for the sick and fed the hungry together. And in all of these activities and meals and conversations, our hearts were slowly excised. Piece by piece this cardiac transplantation took place.
We heard the stories of their visits to other countries. We heard their family histories back in the US. We got to know their brothers and sisters through pictures and tales of family Christmas and sorrow and joy. They hugged my wife. They played Uno with my son. They have our hearts.