Tuesday, September 04, 2012

Back Home Again

Today I made personal history on two fronts. First, I wore a pink shirt to school and not just to school, for the first time in my life! (To see why this is a big deal, go to http://www.stevehawley.blogspot.com/2012/06/pink-shirt.html.) Secondly, I used a power point presentation in class about my trip to Can Tho, Vietnam this summer. There are always mixed feelings after a mission. This entry, from July 24, 2006, explores this emotions.

It was over as soon as it began. My eight day mission trip to Honduras with sixty-nine fellow Christians was too short in time but left me with an eternity of memories. My ninth trip was unique, as the other eight were, but contained the constants that have me plan my summers around this Central American pilgrimage. We laughed, we cried, we worked, we played, we loved, we taught, we helped, and we served. And in the end, we were the ones most blessed.

The day after is the hardest. The euphoria is overwhelming as I prepare for the trip and during its duration but I'm semi-depressed when it's over. There's always one more lesson to teach, one more child to hug, one more mouth to nourish, one more smile to cherish. You never finish; you hope you lay groundwork for blessing those who have less materially but ironically, seem to possess much more joy than their North American counterparts. I got dinged a bit. Mission trips can be physically demanding, especially when your role is one of manual labor. My right arm bears two new scars where flesh rubbed raw was coated with powdered concrete and allowed to bond. Skin was torn from toes on both feet as I continually crossed a mountain stream in my Nikes- I discounted the pebble factor. And, I took the worst fall of my life as I disembarked from the back of a flat bed truck. What I feared was an ACL tear in my right knee appears to be nothing more than a scare but visions of surgery with months of rehab flashed through my mind. We are promised help for our service from the maker of the universe in 1st Peter 4:11 and I survived. For six days, I mixed concrete on the ground with Honduran men who get paid two or three dollars per day for backbreaking labor. They looked much older than their years but they never complained and never stopped. They are thin but tremendously strong. We are heavier but weaker. We are rich but they are content. We pity them. Maybe they should pity us.

Only fifty-one weeks until my next mission! The battle Jesus described in Matthew 25's Sheep and Goats Parable is still being waged on many different fronts, though. Sometimes in Honduras, we quiz each other on the first thing we want to eat when we arrive in our native land. (My favorite all-time answer came from Trina Agee- KOOL WHIP!) My meal of choice on my return to Texas is two Whataburgers chased by two pints of Blue Bell Ice Cream. As I walked back to my apartment with my bag of burgers, only scant hours after our plane touched down, a man stopped me as I prepared to cross West Bellfort. He told me he was diabetic and hungry. He asked if I could help and he asked me to pray for him. I just happened to have some extra money. Leaving Honduras via the airlines requires paying a exit tax of thirty-two dollars. Chad Hedgepath, our terrific mission leader, gave each of us forty dollars for the fee with instructions to keep the change for lunch. It seems the rich just get richer. Chad's generosity paid for my passage onto the Continental jet as well as my new friend's supper. Poverty apparently does not recognize borders or nationalities. It's an equal opportunity curse. The cure is complicated but in any equation, it requires love...and Jesus.

Applicable quote of the day, # 1:
"Nobody made a greater mistake than he who did nothing because he could only do a little."
Edmund Burke

Applicable quote of the day, #2:

"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it is the only thing that ever has."
Margaret Mead

God bless,
Luke 18:1

E-mail me at steve@hawleybooks.com


Jon said...

Hope you had a great time!!!! Your relatives did a great job!!!

David Michael said...

It sounds like another great trip. Will you receive a Purple Heart?