For our final work day in Copan we once again all went to the school. And that formed a nice sort of book-end: the first day we all went to the church, most other days we split up according to job, and on the final days we all went to the school. Good symmetry there. The strategy for today was to help the secondary students learn some basic construction techniques. Kind of a vo-tech unit in … [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.
Visit the San Rafael School facebook page.
Today we bucked our trend and all went to work at the same place. Well, almost all – one was feeling a little sick and stayed at the hotel to recover. But the rest of us went en masse to the school, where a variety of jobs awaited. It can sometimes be a little tricky to make sure our visits to Copan do not become a kind of "voluntourism." That's when people go to faraway places because they … [Read more...]
Today we split into two groups again – seems to be a theme of much of this trip – to go worship in two churches. On Wednesday we met Padre Hector, who is the new priest for this area; with me visiting they have two priests around, which is a rare luxury for them. Hector was committed to be at Espiritu Santo in Santa Rita today, but the congregation at Santa Maria Virgen asked if I would be willing … [Read more...]
Saturday and Sunday are not working days on the Copan trip. Sunday is for worship, of course. But Saturday is for play. And, as you would expect in any group of more than one person, there are different ideas of what counts as play. For five of us, the thing to do on our play day was to go visit the Mayan ruins outside of town. Actually, the ruins have been here far longer than the town: the … [Read more...]
We split into two work groups again today – three of us (the three with the most construction experience) went to the church, while the rest of us went to the school. The plan was for the workers at the church to pour concrete for the floor of the second story. What we've seen so far at Santa Maria Virgen is only the first story, what will eventurally be meeting and classrooms, and two small … [Read more...]
Our group split in two today: 8 went to the church site and 6 to the school. Lee and I were among those who went to the school. The Escuela Francisco Morazán in the community of San Rafael is across the river and up a mountain on the way to a coffee plantation opposite Copan. The ride from town to school is on a road that reminds me of snowmobile trails in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan: … [Read more...]
Today is Ash Wednesday. It was also our first work day on this trip, and the whole lot of us went to the work site for the church. We planned to work all morning, break at noon, have a very brief Ash Wednesday service for ourselves and the local workers who joined us, then eat lunch and then get back to work for the afternoon. If you want to hear God laugh, just tell him your plans. The … [Read more...]
One of the things I really enjoy doing on the Honduras mission trips is writing short (well, short for me!) blog entries to send back to the parish website. Sometimes working on a construction site all day, breaking rocks so we can dig a trench so that we can pour a foundation – yes, that is the sort of thing we do on these trips! – can feel a little overwhelming. It can be as if that labor … [Read more...]
On Tuesday Ted Jordan filed his final report from this year's Honduras trip: "It finally was sunny today and we gringos said it was hot but the locals said it was still cold so I think we should count our blessings. We got a lot done and had a good time doing it and we are able to leave enough money to get at least the base structure of the second floor (roof) done. Everyone seems tired but … [Read more...]
Ted Jordan continues to update us from Honduras: "Monday was chilly all day. That is not a sentence I have ever written in Honduras before. There was no real rain too speak of but mainly cloudy and a persistent breeze and temperatures I would guess in the 60's. In fact it was perfect for hard work so we were not complaining. "The last of the rebar towers were tied and we continued to pour … [Read more...]