On our most recent mission trip into Honduras, we were in the mountains. We would fly into Comayagua and then our next several days would be spent 4 hours away, high in the mountains. We were there to support the efforts of a local pastor in a small rural community.
The pastor had put together a list of his congregants that needed prayer, encouragement, and some food packages. We quickly learned our trips to visit were not like those in the States; call ahead, drive to the home, come on in, share a word, pray, and then leave. No, these visits were a little different.
We could drive for just a bit, then we were hiking to the remote homes. These homes were a few hundred yards to a mile into the jungles. Hiking tiny trails that had been worn into the jungle by generations of Honduran peoples. Up steep mountainsides slick with clay, vegetation, and moisture. Every step would seem to be placed with great care as to not slip and slide to your bottom. Did I mention steep and slick?
We would all be drawing deep breaths, each of us trying not to show how much we were struggling – must not show weakness! LOL. Each member (“gringo-member” of the team) in their own ways, remembering to keep one foot in front of the other and repeat…and repeat…and repeat. Thighs and calves burning as to scream… ”Hey, remember, I’m 53 and 370 pounds!”
Then comes a break in the trail and a small structure comes into view. It’s made up of block, mud, steel roofing, a makeshift door made from debris and branches. This was a home. Out steps the tiniest of women- all of 4 feet 6 inches, to greet our group. The pastor steps up, with a smile, a touch, as to say you matter and you are important.
She looks about at all our winded, yet smiling faces, and invites us in. It doesn’t take many of us to fill her small home. You notice the multiple pinholes in the roofing, passing light through onto the floor, the small bed, clothes hanging over the rafters all the while thinking how much this must leak when it rains. You notice the dirt floors, the campfire smells of smoke from the small adobe oven and open fire keeping the house warm and for cooking. There’s a makeshift lamp shade from part of an old 2-liter bottle sitting next to small baggies for a pantry, some beans and rice. You notice they’re not very full, in fact you would have tossed them out in the trash because they weren’t enough to do anything with. But here, these will be the next meal.
Dialogue: there is a lot of speaking going on and it’s all in Spanish. You’re now drawn back onto the small details of our guest’s clothes, her feet, her hair. We’re told she has said to have received a huge blessing because the Lord would send several of us to pray with her. She steps to the middle of our group and start singing and praying… hands lifting high.
Jesus Bumps! I call these moments when the Holy Spirit moves, and you have bumps all over… Jesus Bumps. As she is praying with such intensity and singing, you notice tears down her face and a power in her words – despite not understanding the language. She is in the presence of Jesus in Heaven. Each of us raise our hands in the posture of worship and start praying along with her. It seems as though there were hundreds of voices all praising Jesus for this moment he has created.
It’s in this moment I see with my eyes, looking around at everyone, drinking in this time and place that Jesus reveals to me – it matters not about the language we speak. It matters not that I don’t understand all the words because the one universal language is LOVE! We were there because Jesus sent us – in LOVE. This precious sister in the faith, received us, not as strangers but brothers and sisters because of… LOVE! Because this was of God’s hand in each of our lives, for his glory and in this moment…we were experiencing an agape love. Often described as love in action.
Jesus words in John 13:34-35 are to LOVE one another and he has loved us, in fact he commands it. Sacrificial, grace filled, no judgment, no prejudice, just LOVE of a person. Genesis teaches us that we are each created in God’s image and that God would want for every single person to know his son and his son to know them. There are no agendas or conditions placed on this type of love. We love without expecting anything in return.
What freedom there was in that humble home, in the Honduran mountains with our group. It changed each of us- as God’s presence and word does. What an incredible God, what a loving Father, what a precious Savior… that he would have asked a few “gringos” to come to Honduras – way outside most comforts, only to LOVE on us in such an intimate way!
2 Corinthians 5:7 is this: ”Walk by faith and not by sight.” Why don’t you walk in the trails of Honduras to meet God’s people and experience him?
Mike is the Outreach, Evangelism, Missions Pastor of Church220, a church which was planted 4 years ago. He's been in ministry for over 25 years, and leads teams to volunteer with VER International in Honduras.