I have so much I want to say about this past week, I hope I can remember everything that happened and that you won´t get bored reading it! A team of Americans from Tulsa, OK came on a missions trip and I was one of the ¨Honduran¨leaders for the trip. Everything they did and everywhere the went, I got to go and be apart of. First, let me say that the 19 teenagers that came were some of the most mature, Spirit-led kids I have ever worked with. They walked and spoke in boldness and their lives and walk with Christ changed me. The came on Monday, obviously very tired, but went right to work showing us their human videos (dramas put to music) and praying for God to use them in Honduras.
On Tuesday we went to the Bordo, which is one of the poorest neighborhoods in the city of San Pedro Sula. The people are dirty and live and barely livable conditions. Their shacks are lined up on the levee of a river and the poverty of these people is overwhelming. We walked around the Bordo for about 30 minutes, inviting people to the event we were going to have in the park. I got to translate for a group, which was an honor for me to do. Its weird because even though I know that I can speak Spanish I still have a lot of insecurities about my ability. So, for the leaders to ask me to tranlate was a really big deal for me, and it was a big confidence booster. The event was awesome and a lot of people came to watch the presentations. The message that the team brought was the message of salvation and the message of freedom. They did a human video about the story of Legion, a man that was full of demons that Jesus set free. "The same Jesus that set Legion free, is the same Jesus that wants to set you free" was the message we proclaimed to the people of Honduras. We prayed with a lot of people, and were then able to invite them to discipleship groups that meet in their neighborhood. Later on that day we went to a school to proclaim the message of Jesus. "Who wants to be free?" asked the pastor who came with the team, "its not your friends life we´re talking about...this is YOUR life. Make a decision. Do you want to be free?" I was in awe as students raised there hand for our team to come and pray with them that they would be set free.
That night we were in a night school. Here in Honduras there is not an option to get a GED instead of a diploma. So, if a student drops out of school for any reason they can go to night school to get their diploma. Night schools are filled with people who are broken and hurting. They have lived tough lives and and are desperately seeking hope. We came offering the hope of Jesus Christ and many students rededicated themselves back to the Lord, or found hope for the first time. As I was walking around, looking for someone to pray for a young man came up to me and said "Karen?? Is that you??" "Ummmm yeah it is me!" But I had no clue who this guy was. "Do you remember me? I´m Franklin." "Yeahhh....Franklin....its good to see you!! Tell me how I met you again.." I was embarrassed that he knew me and I didn´t know him, but I had absolutely no idea how I could have known this guy! When I lived here 4 years ago we always shopped at the same grocery store. We always seemed to have the same bagger and so one day I introduced myself to him. Four years later the bagger from the grocery store, Franklin, remembered who I was. We had a really good talk about where he was in his walk with God and he told me some of the hard things he had been through that had forced him to drop out of school. "After seeing passionte young people who love Jesus, I know that I am not where I need to be in my relationship with God. Do you have something in your church that helps people who feel far from God grow closer?" Franklin was so hungry and desperate for God and I was able to get his information and give it to someone who leads a discipleship group in his neighborhood. It was so amazing to me how God allowed me to speak into his life because I had been kind to him all those years before. Wow. We really serve a God who knows what he´s doing!
The entire week was filled with powerful moments when God used teenagers to bring other teenagers back to a relationship with God and to pray with them to break off chains in their lives. Chains of pride, family dysfunction, sexual sin, fear, addictions, the list goes on and on. And because a team of kids were burdened for the youth of Honduras and cried out to the Lord on behalf of them, we saw lives changed.
On Friday we were off to a small town called Negrito. We have a church plant there and went with the purpose of bringing young people and adults to the Lord, and then plugging them into the local church where they can be fed the Word and discipled by leaders, as well as having a kids VBS to plant Godly seeds. On Friday we split into small groups and went around the town inviting people to come. We were recieved so warmly, and nearly every person we stopped to talk to invited us into their home and asked us to pray for specific things. The first house was akward because most of us had never done anything like it before, and we wanted to make sure that we stayed within approriate boundaries. We were asked to pray for a sick baby who had been crying and having fits for the last 2 days. They didn´t know what was wrong with him, but something obviously was. As we laid hands on him and prayed it was powerful. We did not see an miraculaous moment where he stopped crying and started running around, but I do believe with all of my heart that God dried up whatever sickness that was in him. That night at the service we saw the family of that baby and it was the first time they had ever attended a church service. There are powerful powerful testamonies from each team member and I know that we left just as changed as the people of Negrito. 400 people attended the service and we filled up 3 huge tents. Typically the church fits into 1 tent and so we pray that every person who filled the other 2 tents would not lose the seed that was sown that night, and would continue to hunger for a relationship with Jesus.
As I said earlier, I was used as a translator throughout the entire week. The hard part about translating for this team was that I was translating from English into Spanish. It is always easier to translate into your your first language, so I was really depending on God to help me get His message across to the people and do a good job. For the most part, I did a good job and I was easily understood by people we talked to and prayed for. After the church service in Negrito we were praying for a woman and her baby. We were almost finished praying, and I was translating the prayer. She ended her prayer by saying, "Father thank you for everything you've done tonight. We love you. In the name of Jesus, Amen." So, in Spanish I prayed: "Padre, te damos gracias por todo lo que has hecho esta noche. Nos amamos. En el nombre de Jesus, Amen." I almost had it down, except that instead of saying "We love you," I said, "We love ourselves." I didn't even realize it until after I said Amen, so I never even corrected it!
The people of the chuch in Negrito invited us to stay in their houses on Friday night. Earlier that night I had met 2 girls who were from there, and they said that hoped I could stay in the house that night. As we divided into groups, I happened to be put into the group that would be sleeping at her house. There were 7 American girls and we were given 2 roomes with 3 full beds in each room. They were so excited that we were there they called their cousins to spend the night with us. Then, the women from our church in San Pedro came to spend the night at the house. In total there were 15 females, and 3 young boys. I'm not quite sure how we all fit and used the one bathroom they had, but we did and it was a fun night. We laughed, talked and told stories until 1:30 in the morning.
Saturday morning came super early. After a week of getting 5 hours of sleep every night, by Saturday we were all walking like zombies....until the kids came. Remember that we were having a mini vacation Bible school for the kids in the town. It started at 10:30 but kids were started comming around 9. They came...and came....and came...and came! We had a total of 260 kids. It was awesome. The team gave lessons, danced, sang, did dramas, played games gave snack, made crafts and loved on the kids. They absolutely loved the attention and all that the Americans brought for them.
So this week was full of God moments. Moments where we knew that it was by no other power but God's moving over the people and through our words and actions. In God moments there is always joy, and I cannot remember a time when I laughed more than I have this past week. When people travel abroad a lot of times they have trouble going to the bathroom. We called the Big C to make it less embarassing. This week just about everyone was suffering from the Big C. One night after dinner we were all sitting around the table and one of the girls runs up to her pastor with this look of pure joy on her face. She starts shouting: "God answered my prayer!!! God answered my prayer!!" We all looked over at her, eager to see what God did! "He set me FREE, she shouted, I went to the bathroom and he set me FREE!" hahahaha The rest of the week the Big C was renamed "Freedom". Oh did the jokes start rolling in after that. The smell of freedom, let freedom ring, etc etc. By the end of the week after preaching to the people that Jesus had come to set them free, they too were set free.
I know pictures can say a lot more than words, so I will try to get the pictures off of my camera as soon as I find my cable to connect my camera to my computer. I'm still living out of my suitcases, as I am sharing my room and I have not had time to go buy a closet, so, the pictures will hopefully come soon. :)