Posted by Tara on Wednesday, January 11th, 2012
Last summer my husband and I were blessed to be able to go on a mission trip to Honduras and take 2 of our 3 children. I was a bit apprehensive about taking our youngest and was not sure how well she would adapt to the conditions in a hot, third world country like Honduras, which is the second poorest nation in the Western World. The trip was to be non stop work once we arrived. Many of the men spent long exhausting hours mixing and pouring concrete the old fashioned way. Some of us taught the children in a make shift outdoor school and delivered food supplies to nearly 100 families. Medical attention was given to droves of Hondurans everyday.
Our youngest was so touched by the fact that most of the young children were infested with parasites from drinking unsanitary river water. 3 weeks prior to our arrival, an earthquake hit in Honduras and closed up the well that Healing Hands International had dug for this small community a few years back. The village had no source of running water, much less sanitary water for drinking since the well was damaged from the earthquake. Our daughter bonded instantly with many of the young girls in that community. They called her by her name, but in Spanish. They would come running to us every morning as we entered the village yelling, Esparanza! Esparanza!
A few weeks after we returned home, our daughter had a birthday party to plan. She mentioned that she felt like she really did not need any gifts - epsecially when those children she met in Honduras have so little. After we tossed around a few ideas for her birthday, she decided to use this time of celebration to raise money to cover the costs of redrilling a well for the village. She made some sweet invitations with photos of the children and she told about her mission trip and about the need for a new well. Instead of asking her friends and family to bring gifts for her, she asked them to bring money, coins, or checks to donate towards the cost of the well. A local cake artist (www.jeniferscakes.com) made the cutest cake shaped like Honduras with a little well pump and a bowl for donations. Our daughter and her brother put together a video presentation of the trip, served up the cake, then played games the rest of the night! It was by far the BEST birthday party ever.
My husband and I were very touched by the generous donations. 1/3 of the cost to redrill the well was raised during the party! A few weeks later, after school had already begun, my daughter and I both got text messages that let us know the well was open and fully functioning. Our daughter said that was the BEST birthday present she could have ever received – for those sweet friends she made in a country over 2000 miles away to finally have safe drinking water.
Our daughter cannot wait to return again soon. Plans are in the works for our church to take another group this summer. Only time will tell if we can make the trip. But she certainly learned a valuable lesson on compassion last year. If the opportunity ever arises to take your kids on a mission trip – I hope you can make it!