Our heads and hearts still spinning from our travels:
navigating through two airports,
landing in what I found out after-the-fact is one of the most dangerous cities in the world, (don’t GOOGLE stuff. it’s just best.)
our INTENSE ride over the mountain
and at long last the magnificent valley of El Zamorano
Just shy of sheer exhaustion we simply could-not-wait to meet the children we had traveled so far to see. Pitching our bags into our cozy little room full of bunk beds, we guzzled down a few gulps of refreshing (bottled) water and were back out the door, with our sandals on the sandy road that lead to the casita gate.
We prayed, and gazed at the ABSOLUTE glory that surrounded us.
Beautiful are the feet of those who WELCOME OTHERS ..
As we rounded the corner of the watch tower with no time to focus nor to prepare my stance for the full-frontal-jump-up-and-wrap-himself around me hug from quite, possibly the friendliest little fella I have ever met. Like ever and ever.
David. (Pronounced Dah-vid)
I could think of nothing short of an impromptu ugly cry to reciprocate such affection. So he hugged, while I cried for what seemed like hours. In my highest of hopes I could not have envisioned a more gracious welcome.
It wasn’t until we had journeyed to the other end of the yard, having passed the other nine casitas that I had to surrender my newly found friend.
The baby casita, (the house where the babies live) was the house farthest from the entrance. As we approached the porch gate we were told we would need to take our shoes off at the door and germ-X our hands before entering. (Note to self: dear mom of the Smith household back in Alabama. Get ideas. Make notes. Learn stuff. Not everybody lives skanky like you and your boys on the farm) Noted.
A warm Honduran, “Hola” was our greeting through the metal screen door.
O-LAAH! was our kind, southern reply.
With that, the door flew open and all kinds of goodness flooded that moment I hope I remember always and a bajillion years longer than that. The smiles, and the hugs and the urgent tugs, with a whole bunch of -hurry-up-and-hold-me before I start to cry (and I’m speaking of the 13 babies crying not me) except that we were crying, the whole pack of the traveling sisterhood, again. Tears of crazy, overflowing, unrestricted JOY.
When I was a little girl I had always dreamed of having a house full of kids. I desperately hoped of having no less than at least four of our own, but God had other plans. But then there was this. This moment, so pure and so humbling. These babies, all thirteen of them, ranging in ages of 8 weeks to two years and in that moment, “it became impossible to avoid the call in Scripture to take care of the poor, the widow and the orphan.”-Jennie Allen, Anything
Going into this trip, we weren’t given a fancy itinerary. We had no agenda. No schedule.
We prayed, “Reveal to us Lord, show us who needs you most. May all we think, say and do be pleasing to you.”
And y’all. It was such so good.
Played ball with a bruised mango.
Sang and smiled.
Threw rocks into a pasture. Because rock throwing is universal.
Washed dishes. Changed diapers. Prepared bottles.
Relaxed when the moment presented itself.
Nurtured a sick baby girl.
Helped with meals, swept floors
and LOVED like crazy every moment we could find.
I could go on and on and it soothes my heart to remember these precious ones and share this special place with you but more than that…
Did you notice anything special about those things? That list of activities?
Day three of our trip, I was on the porch early one morning savoring the breeze from Heaven with a rich cup of hot coffee. Not sure which was more heavenly the breeze or the coffee except that it wasn’t either of those things that made that moment so profound.
In the still and quiet my soul almost engulfed me as I realized those things…all of those normal, every-very mundane things I just listed….men and women all over the planet are doing those very, exact things-every-single day in their places.
“TELL THEM KARMEN. TELL THEM TO DO THESE EVERY DAY, NORMAL, ORDINARY THINGS LIKE: DISHES, MEAL TIMES, SWEEPING FLOORS, LOVING KIDS, LISTENING, LOVING, LAUGHING, SERVE, TEACH IN THEIR PLACES- IN JESUS NAME.
a mission trip is not a place- it’s a state of mind.
I want you to know that I get it. I get it that GOING ON A MISSION TRIP sounds oh-so-fancy and holy and all of that jazz except that it’s not and yet it’s TOTALLY worth going.
I WANT YOU TO GO. Because for many, or actually most of us stay so stinkin’ distracted and busy here in our every day normal we forget our mission here. So it takes us GOING to places like Honduras away from our normal and mundane and into the normal and mundane of others to see that our days aren’t that different after all.
So here it is. The CHARGE & CHALLENGE that slapped me in the face on the porch during my coffee date with Jesus a couple of countries south of here:
BE ON MISSION EVERYDAY.
IN YOUR PLACES.
Teachers in your classroom,
Secretaries at the office,
Nurses in the hospitals,
Mothers at home,
Single ladies in the workplace,
YOUR PLACE, where God has you RIGHT NOW..
Be the HANDS & FEET of JESUS in YOUR place.
May this be our prayer from St. Francis Assisi be our prayer for each other as we live profoundly ordinary lives:
“Lord, Make me an instrument of peace. Where there is hatred, let me sow love; where there is injury, pardon; where this is doubt, faith…that I may not so much seek to be consoled AS TO CONSOLE; to be understood AS TO UNDERSTAND; to be loved AS TO LOVE. For it is in giving that we receive; it is in the pardoning that we are pardoned; and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life. Amen!”
LOVE PEOPLE= Amen and amen and amen
much love, always-
PS-Anybody want to buy a family farm or feed store? I may know a girl who knows a family who may have those things for sell.
Jeanne Manning says
Going back ….these words refresh the memories so vividly…thank you my dear sister and friend…looking for someone to privately fund me so I can go…the sooner, the better..
I want to go Jeanne!!!! Take me with you…. LOL Seriously, what a blessing. So glad you guys got to go and experience HIM so fully. Karmen, thanks again for sharing this, it was for sure a treat! Much love!!!
Linda Reed says
Karmen your words are music to my ears. Such inspiring words to encourage us all to have the desire to go on mission for the Lord. I’ve always had a desire to go. I hope who day I will be able to fulfill that dream. But you are telling me that we can go on mission right where I am and show His love through me in all different situations in our life. Girl you and the other ladies that went said a lot of encouraging things about you trip Sunday at church. And my heart was moved to love others more each day and try to do what Jesus would have me to do with my life. I have so much live & admiration for giving your time to go & do God’s Work!
Elizabeth Clements says
This is a cup of cool water for my thirsty soul. Everything I have been praying about and more.
Pat S. says
So beautifully written, Karmen. I fill the same way about mission trips. They are so worthwhile and so good to change my focus. Thank you for sharing.
Kayce Bradshaw says
Karmen, I came across your Honduras post from a mutual friend, and let me say you have me in tears. I went with a team of 10 women to the GSCH back in February and we already have another trip planned for next February. Your words touched my heart so deeply. My heart longs to be with those precious children! Thank you for sharing your heart with us!
Thank you, Karmen for sharing!!!! GSCH/GSCA are dear to my heart as well. My daughter is a LEAD teacher this year-Hayley. And the baby casita is so dear to me!!! I spent a week there last June. Thank you for reminding me that where ever I am; I am to minister there! God bless you!!!!