On June 22, a team of six went to Renacer, Honduras to work at an orphanage for the week. We arrived early enough on Monday to play and spend time with the children. There are about sixty children of all ages at the orphanage, and they were excited to be pushed on the swing and shoot baskets with us. The one surprise when we arrived, however, was the lack of running water at the cabin we were staying in. Everyone remained in good spirits, though, and treated it as a camping experience.
While the children were at school on Tuesday, we began our work of planting a garden for the orphanage. However, it was much more than digging in the dirt – we had our share of work cut out for us! The guys (Jay and Paul) cleared grass and land with a machete, while Ron went into town to purchase the 60 fruit trees that they would plant. Meanwhile, the girls (Stephanie, Amanda, and Lauren) learned how to hoe rocky ground to prepare the soil for planting onions. In the afternoon, the guys helped hoe, and we were able to plow most of the plot. Not only did the work require lots of strength, but it was very hot and sunny out too! Around 4 we stopped our work so we could spend our evening with the children.
On Wednesday we continued our work outside. In the morning, the guys continued clearing the land for the trees, and the girls finished hoeing the land for the onions. After lunch, the whole team learned how to hoe and rake a bed for the onions. We were able to start making rows of beds in the land we had hoed, and the guys were able to start planting the trees. That evening, we popped popcorn for the children and had a movie night. All of the children came to watch the two Spanish Max Lucado movies, which had Christian themes and lessons. Although the movies were intended for younger children, even the older ones were enthralled at watching a movie. And they all loved the popcorn! After the movies, Jay gave a short talk about the Christian walk. Nahum, our translator, translated for the children, and the older children were particularly intrigued in his message. That night we drove an hour into Tegucigalpa (the capital) to stay at a house for mission groups – and it had running water! We were all very thankful for flushing toilets and nice showers.
On Thursday we got right to work at the orphanage. The guys were able to plant about 20 of the 60 fruit trees, and then they helped the girls finish making the beds for onions. During the process, Jay learned how to plow the land with two bulls! After having Will, a Honduran farmer, teach him, he got the hang of it and plowed the rest of the land. Once the beds were completed, we were able to pick the onion sprouts that had grown and replant them in the beds. By the end of the day we had planted 1,000 onions! We spent the afternoon playing with the children, carrying them on our backs, pushing them on the swings, and playing soccer. However, our plans for the week changed on Thursday due to political unrest in Honduras. We got news that the airport had been shut down because of a poll that was taking place on Sunday, which was the cause of the unrest. The Honduran president lost all support of the military as well. That evening we toured Amor, Fe, y Esperanza (Love, Faith, and Hope), which is a school ministering to 150 children of the trash dump in Tegucigalpa. After talking with Pastor Jeony Ordoňez who began the ministry, we returned to the mission house that night and planned to fly out on Friday.
Thankfully, the airport reopened on Friday, and we were able to fly back to Miami. Although we were supposed to return on Sunday, we are blessed that we left Honduras early. On Sunday, the Honduran president Manuel Zelaya was kidnapped from his home and taken to Costa Rica, and an interim leader Roberto Micheletti was put in charge. There is still a lot of confusion and unrest over the situation, and the airport remained closed for over a week. God was definitely watching over us, and the trip provided a lesson in trusting in Him. Even though we returned home early, the experience of working in the fields was humbling, and it was a joy to spend time with the children at the orphanage as well.