Expectation vs. Reality
We came to Honduras expecting to do certain things... help at 3 homes for children, sports ministry, gardening, Bible studies, feeding program for street children and so on and so on. As humans, I think we always anticipate 'doing' so many great things for the Lord. Often, God has other plans. Sometimes, He stops us dead in our tracks. Other times, He begins to refine the work, give us a more clear vision and set us on a more purposeful road.
Our reality has been completely different than our original expectation. We simply have had to narrow our focus to several areas. Rather than working toe-deep in 15 areas, we felt we needed to be all-the-way-in on a few key areas.
In the spring of 2011, with our Board of Directors' help, we narrowed the focus of Reach Out Honduras to 3 areas: Discipleship (helping people grow in their relationship with Christ), Education (providing opportunities for God-given talents and skills to be developed in a personal manner for every student) and Sustainable Solutions (providing resources for gardens, chickens, etc.)
As the year has unfolded, we have had some disappointments. The gardening project was not working on an individual family level. The weather here is horrible for growing anything on most properties where families live... it becomes swamp-like quickly. We have experimented in our own backyard and have had some good results with amaranth, herbs, peppers. However, our attempts at tomatoes and cucumbers have not been very successful.
We have changed our gardening focus to larger, community gardens in rural communities. So far, this working well. And yet, we still have a desire to see families succeed on their own property. There is such a learning curve on our part and on the part of individuals. And, more importantly, some people simply will not put in a garden because they know their garden will be ruined by thieves.
Discipleship is an ongoing, living, breathing thing. It begins and ends with relationships... thankfully, this is an effort that is bearing fruit, one child at a time. Not a day passes that we don't have a chance to build into the lives of one child or another. Thank you, Lord.
Surprisingly, the area that has come to the forefront as the heart of our mission is Education. Immediately after we arrived, we felt the desire to start an education sponsorship program. 6 students benefited directly this year with a high school education. We are currently fundraising for 2 college/medical school scholarships.
In December, we will begin a computer lab which will include a computer-based education program for Grades 7-9. This computer lab is only possible because of the success of the Golf Tournament Reach Out Honduras held last spring! This morning alone, we had 2 more students come ask to participate. We don't even have the computers yet. We have a dream to make this much larger - a Christian, bilingual school for middle and high school. Whew.
We have a partnership with a Christian boarding school in Copan, Honduras for middle and high school. It looks like we will be sending at least 10 kids this year, if the sponsorship money comes in. 4 more students came to our house last weekend to ask if they could be included in this group... we need YOUR help! (Please send us an e-mail if you would like more information on this project.)
How did all of this happen? Some days I just sit here with my mouth open. I cannot fathom why God chose 2 ill-equipped, non-teachers (Alex and me) to come and work individually with students on which education option is best for the gifts God has given them. Perhaps, we were just some of the few who said 'yes.' Not sure. I'm sure He is asking others! So much is happening here, God is at work in a multitude of people and ministries. Will you join Him?