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I recently spent a week in Honduras working with some very dear friends. On our second day I had the opportunity to drive for several hours with Pastor Nahun Flores. His truck was having some trouble and we needed to take it to the service station three hours away. We had a great time traveling and talking about life, family and ministry. During the ride I shared with him a worship song that has been very touching and encouraging to me. It's a great song of worship to God. I listen to it every day.
Once we arrived at the service station we discovered a few extra items on his truck that needed repair. Fortunately we were able to get all the expected and unexpected items taken care of for him. When we left we had exceeded his expectations and he was blessed. I know because he told me so. !
So which part of the day was worship?
Like most people I know, I love worship music. I love the feeling of an outstanding team hitting that right chord, that perfect key transition, powering out that awesome chorus. Like most people I know, I literally get goose bumps when the music is just right. The song I played for my friend brings me to tears almost every time I hear it. I love to experience worship music.
But the faith Jesus calls us to, is about more than an experience. Life with the Christ is not as much about what I can experience from Him as it is about what I can become with Him.
The excerpt from the book of Romans says that my life can be lived out as a sacrifice of worship to God. It's amazing that my simple, seemingly small life can be worship to the God of the universe.
Don't get me wrong, it feels a lot better to sing out a great worship ballad then it does to pay for car repairs. So, at times, true worship feels more like work, or ... sacrifice.
I believe that our Father in Heaven loves to hear us sing to Him. And I believe even more that He loves for us to serve His greatest creation, our fellow man. He has been so kind to us. Let us each then make sure we worship Him purely by our kindness, our sacrifice, our life lived out for the care of others.
Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. (Galatians 6:9 NIV)
Ten years! That's how long Javier Mendoza and I have been working in Cusuna, Honduras.
Some times it seems like we took our ﬁrst trip only yesterday. I still remember the ﬁrst time a seven year old Julio put his little hand in mine. I remember sitting behind Jorge Amador on the 8+ school bus ride getting my Spanish lessons. I remember the ﬁrst time the children ran along side the bus as we drove into town.
The memories are fresh and clear and now coupled with the new memories of a 17 year old Julio lifting me up on his shoulders. Or watching Pastor Adonis (a 12 year child on our ﬁrst trip) now pastor the Church of God in Cusuna. To see the children of my once young friends now serving God and full of the same Garifuna joy is simply amazing.
Not only amazing but also fulﬁlling. It is literally the fulﬁllment of 10 years of hard work. On this last trip we witnessed 2 especially amazing events. First, we watched as Pastor Adonis lead this outstanding congregation in worship. This is so signiﬁcant because Adonis is the ﬁrst Garifuna pastor at this church. Cusuna has been called the center of the Garifuna world.
The Church of God is the only evangelical church in Cusuna. So for this congregation to now have a Garifuna pastor is the fulﬁllment of a long-term dream. And the results are evident. You can see the new sense of life and joy in each church member and leader as they are being lead by one of their own people. I'm certain the exponential impact into the Garifuna people will be felt for decades to come.
Secondly, we installed solar panels and a battery system on the Aquaponic system. After three years of building Aquaponic systems in the most remote places it was truly a profound moment to simply watch the sun move the water. Solar power has become the new equalizer in the developing world and we are quickly taking advantage of this sustainable power source.
Today, this food producing system is now even more efﬁcient and productive thanks to the power of the sun. It was a miracle to behold.
A ﬁnal thought on these last ten years is how humbled we are to have not walked this out alone.
While Javier and I have been the ones physically going, we have had such amazing friends and family partnering with us every step of the way. From our amazing wives to our ever supportive parents to the friends who have spent countless hours praying for us and those who have put their hard earned financial resources to work on our behalf. We have never been alone.
I am proud to say that we have not given up and as promised, we are reaping a harvest. And that harvest fuels us for the next ten years and more to come.
Thank you to everyone who has been praying for and keeping up with our travels. We were just in Honduras and had a great time. Our travel involved assembling a team made up of Four from North Carolina, One from Texas, and Travis Moffitt + MYSELF from Florida.
We started our trip by meeting up in Atlanta and grabbing our flight to Honduras. It was pretty evident right away that we had a very solid team and that everyone made me very excited to be on the trip. This was the first time any of us had met each other in person all except for Travis who had met each of us separately.
Our flight and process through immigration was pretty smooth except for the loss of one Team bag (which was reclaimed at the end of the week.)
This team was great in so many ways, it is incredible still to think about it. Not only were we introducing them to a brand new experience in an uncomfortable environment but there were also some unplanned pit stops, and through it all everyone had such amazing attitudes. Even through a lot of tire trouble!
One of the major things on our to do list for this trip was to upgrade the already existing system at our friend Jorge's house. We brought with us a timer and other electric supplies to add solar power over to the system. This will allow for faster and more consistent movement of the water, and in turn will create bigger fish and veggies, faster. Over all we accomplished some big updates for this and for future systems. It was great to be able to work along side Jorge and hear his passion for creating and maintaining these sustainable systems.
Another component of the trip was facilitating the delivery of several hundred pounds of Children's and Prenatal vitamins as well as several dozen Medicines and ointments. These were a huge blessing to the very ill funded clinic in Cusuna Honduras. Dr Enrique is a very humble and hardworking man who, as the only full time doctor, has his work cut out for him. He is very grateful for any and all support he receives and was more than excited to have one of our team members who is also a doctor in NC assist him with his patients.
The Church in Cusuna, is a marvelous light in the dark. Newly into it's second pastor and after 14 years of existence it continues to be a place where good drives out bad. Many new faces were in attendance for our last minute service Tuesday, and during regular service times there are no open seats. Pastor Adonis has inherited a great congregation, and I expect him to continue the growth of the members.
Our friend Jorge and His Wife Janeth just celebrated their daughters 1st birthday. We all were very happy to see and meet her. Our week was decidedly better for having them all there. Please keep them in your prayers. They have a hard job and are still adjusting to living with out consistent electricity, and are in need of reliable transportation.
Pastor Nahun Flores
We also had the pleasure of traveling with Pastor Nahun, Edenia, Abigail, Danny, and David Flores. One of my personal favorite families of all time. They have worked tirelessly in Cusuna for over 14 years, and we have literally watched the kids grow up. This family is very special to everyone who has met them. They work hard and do it all with smiles on their faces. I know that none of my trips to Cusuna over the past ten years would have been nearly as enjoyable if they were not there.
Thank You to all who have kept us and this community in your prayers. It truly means a lot that we have so many people both Cusuna Alumni and otherwise that care so deeply for the work that we do in Cusuna. We are very excited about what the future holds. Lets continue to partner together in order to positively create sustainable solutions for some of the problems that exist in Cusuna.
Connect Global Missions
Pack Bug Spray
Mosquitos and other insects can really ruin your trip. That is why we suggest to bring a potent bug spray that you are comfortable wearing all day and even while you sleep. Mosquitos are not just pesky, they can be downright dangerous to your health. Preventing bites is key to preventing malaria .
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
Matthew 11:28-30 NIV
I hope that no matter what your worried about or dealing with this week. You will be able to find rest and rejuvenation this weekend.
When you visit a new country, it's helpful to anticipate what it's going to be like. Otherwise, you may end up with a case of culture shock that'll paralyze you mentally (and emotionally) until you're on the plane ride home.
Why you should overcome barriers
A large part of an effective mission trip is embracing the community and culture as they are. If you're taken back and completely "shocked" by the smells, customs, and food, you'll be less likely to embrace the people and their community.
Nothing is more exciting than writing your mission trip support letter! I mean, who wants to go to the movies on Friday night? Not me. Give me a pen and paper and let's write a support letter!
Ok, this may be an exaggeration, but writing a great support letter is still a crucial part in raising the financial, relational, and spiritual support that you need. A support letter is also a great way to complement any other fundraising efforts you make as you prepare for your mission trip.
However, most support letters tend to be boring and unengaging. If you want your letter to be effective, it needs to be exciting and engaging. Here are 6 ways to improve your support letter.
I’m still decompressing and processing everything I experienced during my week in Haiti, but I wanted to share a little bit with those who helped me to get there and everyone else who has asked how it went.
Monday morning, as my husband was driving me to the airport, I was filled with an overwhelming sense of fear and all I could think is, “I can’t do this!” I almost told him to turn around and go home. The reality of not seeing my family for a week and possibly not speaking to them hit me hard and fast. I kept my mouth shut, reminded myself that God had a plan and that He would sustain me throughout my trip and boarded my first plane. After the first flight was over, I felt significantly more confident.
When we arrived in Haiti, we were bombarded by men whose only means of income was basically begging at the airport. Some were pushy, some presented themselves as helpful friends who just wanted to lend a hand. Most people automatically think, “Get a job”, and then the reality of your location sets in and that annoyance, for me, was replaced with compassion I don’t think I’ve ever felt. Lesson/confirmation #1 - if I am pursuing the heart of God and my desire is to imitate Christ, compassion shouldn’t be secondary, it should be my primary reaction.
I was the only woman in our team of 6, and they’d never had a woman on any previous trips so none of us were prepared for the cultural differences and honestly, in my American naivety, I just figured they’d ignore me, pat me on my head for not knowing any better and move on. Instead, the Pastor’s wife made sure I had extra clothes which was incredibly uncomfortable for me because I’m not a dress or skirt kind of gal. I was ready to dig in the dirt, run around with some kids and instead I was introduced to the world that the Haitian women live every day. They work hard to maintain their homes, all day, every day. The fact that we were there and that they wanted to give us their very best meant that they worked harder. They didn’t have the modern conveniences that I personally take for granted literally every day of my life. They don’t have electricity most of the time, so that means no washers and dryers, no stoves, no refrigerators to store your meat and freeze enough for the week. It means daily trips to the market to pick up fresh vegetables, fruit and whatever meat you’re cooking for that day. It means sitting in the yard, drawing buckets of water from the well and spending hours washing clothes and hanging them out to dry.
I am married to an amazing man, who busts his tail to provide for our family and treats me like a queen even when I probably don’t deserve it. He does it because he loves us, he has a heart to serve and he is blessed because of it. I’ve grown to appreciate him in a new way over the last few months and actually started to feel bad because I feel like I don’t reciprocate that nearly enough. It never bothered me until recently, and before I even started to plan the trip, I started to pray for motivation to be more committed to being a more productive wife and mother. Lesson/confirmation #2 - I have NO excuse to give my husband and my children anything less than my absolute best every single day.
I couldn’t have hand-picked a better group of people to travel with and I’m so glad God put together this particular team.
There was a “papa bear” type who looked out for me throughout the trip because he knew any good man would appreciate knowing that someone had his wife’s back her first time out of the country. One of our team leaders floored me the first time I met him at a marriage seminar last year because he was so open to the Holy Spirit and told me things about myself that absolutely blew my mind. From that point, I was eager to be more open to that kind of guidance and I always look forward to any time I get to spend with him because I see the passion in his heart for the vision that God has given him. His partner has that same fire and a great sense of humor to go along with it which brings great levity to sometimes awkward situations and makes any encounter with him a great one. 2 of the guys were much younger than the rest of us, 18 and 20 and I was SO impressed by their fearlessness and desire to go wherever God leads. I had that same spirit when I was younger and allowed myself to forget it over the years so I was inspired daily by these two young men to continue to rekindle that fire.
7 days is a lot to process, and I’d fill up the internet trying to share it all with you. I cried a little, laughed a lot and I’m sure God will continue to help me sift through everything I experienced but I know that I definitely got what I went for and so much more. Thank you again to everyone who helped me get there, you’ll never fully understand just how wonderful you are to me and how large your role was in this particular part of my life, but I will be forever grateful.