Sunday, August 10, 2008
This past month(July 19-27) eight people from across the US went to the country of Honduras for a mission trip to work in the Osman Hope Children’s Shelters. Glenna Depew, Gordon Brewer, “Sister” Brewer, Rebecca Brewer, Donna Adams, Brian Dennis, Kimberly Dennis and Ed Warnol went for a week of ministry in Honduras in all three of the shelters run by Osman Hope, Inc. Osman Hope partners with local churches to provide day shelters in Honduras for children living in extreme poverty. Osman Hope is an ecumenical non-profit organization committed to working toward the Millennium Development Goals. Osman Hope is dedicated to ending poverty in Honduras and Central America by providing, nutritional meals, safety from the streets, help with schoolwork and spiritual guidance to the poorest of the children of Honduras.
Honduras is a country of contrasts. On one hand you have a country that is filled with tropical forests, lush green mountains and abundant in beauty. On the other hand, it is a country in which the majority of the people live in extreme poverty on less than $2 a day. Honduras is the second poorest country in the Caribbean and the poorest of the Central American Countries. Most effected are the children. It is not untypical to have several young children left to fend for themselves for weeks at a time while their parents are out trying to find work and/or scrape out a meager existence just to support the family. It is also, not uncommon at all to find a 6 year old left to care for children younger than they are or even infants.
Our week was spent traveling first to the town of Santa Cruz de Yojoa located about an hour south of San Pedro Sula. In Santa Cruz is the largest of the Osman Hope shelters where about 50 children are served. We were able to help another group in working on a water tower to supply water for new “banos” (toilets) and showers for the shelter. The second half of the week was spent in San Pedro Sula and Villanueva working and playing with the children in those two shelters. (Incidentally, the shelter in Villanueva is run by the Episcopal Diocese of Honduras) Glenna was able to use her expertise in organizing games, art projects and activities with the children. We had a great time playing and interacting with the children. It was truly a ministry of presence in that most of the kids get very little love and affection at home.
Another highlight of the trip was to visit a new project that Osman Hope has become involved with in an area outside of San Pedro Sula called Rivera Hernanadez. Rivera Hernandez is a slum area developed on a levee of what is called the Rio Negro (Black River or River of Pollution). The families are squatters, living illegally on government land. In the middle of this muddy and disease infested village is a church. The church is run by Pastora Maria Flores. Pastora Flores has started a children’s feeding program and young adult literacy project program in this area of Honduras. Osman Hope has made a commitment to help with this project by subsidizing their feeding program.
Whenever you return from travel outside of the country, it seems like it is only natural to need a few days just to be re-acclimated to what is familiar and “back in the groove” of life in general. Even though this was my fifth trip to Honduras, it always takes me a few months to reflect and get my brain around all that was seen and experienced. The extreme poverty we witnessed is truly overwhelming to see and experience. It would be very difficult for one single group or mission trip to make a major difference. But I truly believe that lives are changed and enriched by mission trips. Not only on the receiving end, but it is ten fold on the giving end. It would be fair to say that our lives are changed by having been in Honduras, interacting with the families and children we encountered. Sure, we were able to give some things away and provide a lot of fun activities for the children in the shelters. But he significant change came through building relationships and sharing in the lives of the people. As a result, in the words of St. Paul, we were “transformed by a renewing of our minds”. I can dare say, that for most of us in the group, we gained much more than we were able to give. At the same time, we felt God’s presence along the way as we attempted to minister to the children and families of Honduras.
For more information about Osman Hope you can visit the website: www.osmanhope.org or contact Gordon Brewer at firstname.lastname@example.org.