(We asked for guest post submissions from those of you who have been on service trips. This post is from Sheila of One Person’s Journey Through a World of Books‘ son)

Reflecting back on the missions work I have done in Honduras for the past three years is a very overwhelming feeling for me. I worked at a project is Talanga Honduras, where Pastor Jorge Pinto helps homeless children living on the streets. What Jorge has done for the past 10 years is provide a safe environment for children who have been abandoned to the streets. Their stories will haunt you. One of the girls, Michelle, was found at the age of three in a dumpster. Some stories are worse than that. Pastor Jorge puts the children through programs to get them off drugs and hunger.

My parents went to Honduras several years before I did. They asked me to go and I always said no. The year they quit asking me, I asked them. It was my senior year of High School and I said I could do either Honduras or our family vacation but I could not do both. They said they would love to have me experience Honduras with them, and so in 2008, I went for the first time.

The poverty in a third world country is extremely different than what we are used to here in the states. I have seen cardboard boxes used as homes inside a dump, glue being used as a supplement for hunger pains, and children who have been abandoned from birth living on the streets doing anything for money or food. many of the kids who live on the streets have a vacant look in their eyes from all the years of inhaling glue. Glue is the drug of choice as it is cheep and it takes away the hunger pains.

It is so moving to see what Jorge has built in the Talanga community. The children he is able to save work hard and get the help they deserve to grow up and make something of themselves. The Manuelito Project, which is where I have been working at for the past three years during missions trips, has helped local poverty and province-wide poverty for over a decade now. There are many projects in Honduras that fights the daily battle of poverty – many of which have great people working for them and helping the cause.

Working in Honduras and helping any way I can is always a huge part of who I am. I gave Honduras a chance after my parents went for four consecutive years and fell in love with the ministry first day. It is very life-changing to extract yourself from one culture to the other and become absorbed in what they stand for. Hanging out with Hondurans and the children at the project was my favorite part because I got to use the little spanish I know and make some pretty great friends. I didn’t know how much I would invest my life into the country and project, but after that first year I was hooked and decided to go back. Missions work is a great part of what christianity stands for. You may not think you can make a difference, but you will be amazed at how much your giving is not only life changing to them, but also to you.

Carlos and Jorge from the manuelito Project. Both boys were abandoned to the streets.

A child in Talanga Honduras

Boy in Choltecha Honduras

We handed out rice to the povertish community of Choltecha

Me and Christian (a boy from Manuelito – his mom had died from aids)

The dump in Tegucigalpa Honduras. A community lives in the dump – this is where my mom takes people every year to work.

A boy looking for food and things to sell in the dump

Myself, a boy from Choltecha, and Kasey (a girl from our team)

19 responses to “Honduras

  1. I am thrilled that my son Justin has a heart for the people of Honduras. I had prayed that Honduras would someday be a part of his life too – and his love for this country and the children, is more than I ever could have imagined.

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  3. This is amazing! I am totally awed by the fact you get to do this. It shows you have a big heart and lots of love. Just like your Mom:)

  4. What an awe-inspiring story! You can just tell that the Lord moved you to go (He meant for you to!) and you listened…and now your life has changed – for the better and for the betterment of those whose lives you have touched. Thank you for sharing your story.

  5. It is a good thing to experience different cultures. It is also good to see what is the norm for other countries, what their government is will to do or not do for their citizens and most of all to see how good we really do have it here. Too many people are upset with our country, yet when compared to others – we have it all too good.
    I think your example will inspire other teens to volunteer and see for themselves what the world is like. They will also be hooked to help others.
    Thanks for doing what you do.

  6. We can teach our kids reading writing and arithmetic, but we fail our children if we don’t teach them about the world beyond their backyard. As a parent, I hope to one day pass on to my boys the gift of generosity, empathy, and love that your parents have given to you. Justin, you’ve done good work in Honduras, and I’m sure it’s only the beginning of a lifetime of important work you’ll do. Thank you for sharing your experience with us.

  7. Thank you so much for sharing your experience in Honduras with us. It is very important for us, as Americans, to see outside of ourselves and our “land of plenty” and see what other countries live with on a daily basis. My parents went on many medical mission trips to Central and South America after they retired. My Dad called it “spiritual vacations”. It was the highlight of their lives I think for both of them. You will never know what an influence you are to others in this regard – to other teens in sharing of themselves and to the sweet individuals that you touch when you reach out to them – Jesus said that if you did these things to one of his little ones, it was like you were doing it to Him.

    I know your Mom from the blogging world and I know she is so proud of you. We’re all proud of you too!

  8. Thanks for sharing this wonderful experience!

  9. Fabulous glimpse of another world, Justin…I loved the post and the photos and the inspiration you have given us as readers.

  10. you are an inspiration to everyone who is “bored” and doesn’t want to do “family” things anymore because they’re too old and cool

    i’m not either of the above and you are an inspiration to me!

  11. Justin, you rock and I hope I can travel on another mission trip with you!

  12. Even though I’ve read about and watched shows about the horrible conditions in other countries, reading your words opened my eyes like never before to the plight of these people. Especially when I read that there are people, (especially children) actually LIVING IN the dump. My heart hurt reading your words.

    You are amazing and an inspiration to everyone.

    Many Blessings

  13. It is wonderful that your heart is large enough to help and care for people…

  14. Justin,
    your post was extremely moving and makes me want to do a mission trip with my son. We all need to learn how to “give” and you are a wonderful young man!

  15. Great job Justin! It takes special people to do what you and your parents have done for the people of Honduras. Thank you for giving us a glimpse of what their world is like. Americans sometimes don’t realize how good they have it until they see photos such as yours and well written articles.

  16. It is at times like this when I realize that there are some Americans who are sensitive to the plight of others. I am a daily witness to these scenes in my country ravaged by all the evils of being a ‘so called’ Third World Country. I have seen my friends starve and my neighbourhood ravaged by communal riots. I’ve seen children bearing THEIR OWN CHILDREN and little girls being sold as prostitutes. I’ve seen families scarred and marred forever by bomb blasts and constant terrorist attacks……….I have seen people die before me and the developed countries only show verbal sympathy….I have seen children earning for a family when they should be at school. I have seen a lot………but I asure you…..even with all their troubles…….THEY SMILE…..THEY REALLY SMILE ! I guess you witnessed that too……..God bless you and keep up the good work, but…….I assure you……there is more much more…..more pain, more terror and more disgrace than you have seen !

  17. Justin, Thank you for sharing your experience with us. You provide an example, to all of us, of what it means to care about your world and the people we share it with. I hope that Aidan is able to experience what you have.

  18. Thanks for your post, Justin. I was in the Peace Corps in the Philippines for 3 years . It certainly was a powerful experience. Most Americans really cannot imagine the conditions many people in the world must live in. The sad thing is, some in our own country aren’t much better off. We just don’t see them.
    I am glad you finally went with your parents. As you discovered, hearing about it and experiencing it are two very different things. I think it would be most beneficial if all Americans had to give two years service. If they did not want to be in the military, the Peace Corps or one of the similar organizations here in the US could be an option. The point is they would be serving those who need help. There is much that needs to be done and a shortage of funds to do it. As you found, two weeks, two months, or two years, are all enough to make a difference. Helping someone who needs it helps you find out more about yourself and what is important in your life.
    There are good organizations out there helping out. Some have religious affiliations, some do not. The important point is not who they represent, but what they accomplish for the individuals they are working with. Improving their lives and giving them the tools to improve it themselves after you leave should be the main focus.
    Congratulations on going back, Justin. Every little bit you do makes a difference. By making their world a little better for them, you are making it a little better for us all.

  19. This is extraordinary!

    Thank you for this. Thank you for what you do.

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