Well, today we finished up. The last bits of trim on the walls, the final patching of the missing plaster, the remaining masonry blocks moved from the street to safe storage (well, most of them), the last words with Honduran friends. Because it’s Valentine’s Day, about 3/5 of our party – Margaret, Lorain, Bill, Pete, Brendan, and Steve – went up to the school in San Rafael to make Valentine … [Read more...]
Since 2003, Trinity has sent an adult mission group once a year to work in Honduras. In 2006, 2008, and 2013 we also sent a youth mission group.
We are working under the auspices of the Episcopal Diocese of Honduras, whose Bishop, the Rt. Rev. Lloyd Allen, has ambitious plans for building churches throughout Honduras. To date we have assisted, financially and physically, in the building of the Church of the Holy Spirit (Iglesia de Espiritu Santo) in Santa Rita de Copan, the Mission Church of San Nicolas in El Quebracho, Copan, San Antonio, St. John the Evangelist and Santa Cruz.
The Department of Copan, in the mountains adjoining Guatemala, is home to 36 small Episcopal congregations and is referred to, within the diocese, as the “Mayan Region”. They share one priest, Fr. Arnoldo Mejia, and are, for the most part, isolated communities with lay leaders and little or no financial resources and no worship space. In many cases the people walk for miles to attend worship service. When a church is constructed, it quickly becomes not only a place of spiritual celebration, but a center for community activity, including educational and health programs and possibly micro-enterprises.
In addition to church construction, the diocese has a non-profit agency called Angladiche which carries on home improvement projects in remote villages were many people die or are sickened by poor sanitation, smoke from unventilated indoor fires, contaminated water, insects and molds from thatched roofs and dirt floors.
Our work has been mostly construction, and more construction. It is hard work, of the most primitive kind. It is pick and shovel, hand wired rebar, cement mixed on the ground and carried by the bucket, rocks passed person to person up or down steep slopes. But it is work done with joy, with purpose, and in communion with our brothers and sisters in Christ. Sometimes we are able to spend time doing simple craft and game activities with the children. We seem to be the equivalent of the circus coming to town, there is so much enthusiasm for anything we offer. We are now known and welcomed as part of these two communities and to worship with them has become the highlight of our trips.
What we give to this mission work is our time, our money, and our labor. What we get from this mission work far surpasses the value of all that we give. The people of Santa Rita and Quebracho do have one resource in abundance and that is a spiritual joy which they have generously shared with us.
This is what we are called to do by the Gospel. The need is great, in Honduras and all over the world, including here in our own country. The world is both big and small, local and far away. We are called to serve in the world.
You can help us to pay for the materials we need by purchasing the organic shade-grown coffee that we bring back from Honduras. It is available at Trinity for $10.00 per pound. You can also help by coming to our monthly Spaghetti Suppers on the first Tuesday of the month September - June. A free will donation is collected to support our missions to Honduras.
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With only two working days remaining, we are already starting to think about finishing up. While tasks are still in progress, there are some that we are steering toward completion. Painting, for instance, reached its big conclusion today – and mostly because we’d used up all the paint! The church interior is a beautiful sunny yellow. The church façade is an apricot/peach color, with bright … [Read more...]
In our Epistle reading in church today was the thought “One plants, another waters, but God gives the growth.” I know this because I looked the reading up on the English-language Lectionary.net website. I could not have told you that based on the Spanish-language reading in church. I am getting better at reading Spanish, at least in small doses, with common phrases. But hearing Spanish is a … [Read more...]
Not all the Mayan remains in Copan are in the acropolis. That’s where the major temples and plazas and ball court are, to be sure. But there are stelae, stone pillars carved with the images of kings, set in several places in the area. Many are concentrated in a section of the archeological park; many are lost; but a few can be found still standing in the countryside. The archeologists tell us … [Read more...]
It seemed as though the common theme today was “I’m tired.” Lee and I said that to each other almost as soon as we woke up. Oakley mentioned it before breakfast. None of us were quite so sprightly jumping up into the back of the pickup truck to ride to the church. Whether we were moving block or building walls or painting rooms, everything seemed to go a little slower than yesterday, with more … [Read more...]
My main job today was chipping away old paint. Yesterday we worked on painting the worship space of the church in Santa Rita. There were two big sections, however, along the bottom of the streetside wall, that we could not paint, because the surfaces had deteriorated and needed to be scraped clean before new paint could be applied. That job fell to me. I am not a builder by trade, nor a … [Read more...]
Today we went to work at La Iglesia Espiritu Santo – the Church of the Holy Spirit – which was the very first church this mission group worked on when our trips to Honduras began. The church is growing right now: they're seeing more young families with small children: and they're considering ways they might expand. The church building has already grown a couple of times; in addition to the worship … [Read more...]
Travel can be exhausting. It seems strange in a way: travel involves a lot sitting around – sitting in airports, sitting on planes, sitting on buses. How can so much sitting around be exhausting? And why is it, when we arrive in Copan some twelve hours after leaving our hotel in Dulles, are we so worn out? It wasn’t all sitting, of course. Some of it even approached running, as our flight from … [Read more...]
Later today Lee and I will drive up to the DC environs, where we'll spend the night before boarding a very early flight to Atlanta – the first leg of our trip to Copan, Honduras for Trinity Church's 2017 adult mission trip. From Atlanta we fly to San Pedro Sula; and from there it's a bus ride that gets longer each year, as each year the roads get worse, into the mountains to Copan. It makes for a … [Read more...]
We've left Honduras now, but I am still thinking about something we did at the end of the working day yesterday. Lee and I, along with Pete and Brendan, hired a moto-taxi to take us out to the community of Nueva Esperanza (New Hope), where we were going to meet Cruz and his family, leaders in the Episcopal church there. They named their church Mision Santa Cruz – the Mission of the Holy Cross – … [Read more...]