As someone who will often describe myself as cynical, skeptical, sarcastic, and harsh....today was one of those days where that kind of attitude and personality proved to be impossible. Today was a day in which the joy and genuine love of others was felt deep within my soul. And although this may seem cliche or farfetched...maybe a brief recap of the day will be of benefit.
As we woke up, wiped the sleep out of our eyes, loaded the necessary supplies, packed for a day of work and play, and slowly made our way to the bus...we departed the house and headed to the village, Nueva Oriental, which we had previously worked at on Monday, which proved to be another incredible experience.
Like Monday, half of the group played with the local kids and the other half built a house for a local family. And all of the while we got to join in work and play alongside many of the same individuals from Monday.
Mike's group built a house for a family of four (mom, dad, two daughters + one on the way due in January). And all went smoothly... Building the house was a great opportunity to bless a family in a way we can't even imagine. It is giving them one of the best Christmas presents possible. The family was so happy to have a house that was twice the size of their other house. It is hard to imagine that giving something that takes five hours to build is the best things for a family. It was great to see the site go from a house approximately 6 feet by 6 feet being torn down. Then the frame of the house to the roof and the floor being put on. To finish, the door to the house was cut and the family was able to walk into a new 16 feet by 16 feet house. There was so much joy in the family's face. It was a great to be able to give this family a hew home for Christmas.
Ashley's group had another fantastic day of playing soccer, duck-duck-goose (Honduras style of course!), serving hot meals to the kids, and occasionally checking up on the other groups progress and offering the occasional helping hand. Noteworthy events include, slightly embarrassing spills on the futbol field, ridiculous amounts of beans and rice served to the kids, too much duck-duck-goose for one college kid to handle, and enough piggyback rides to throw 20-year old back out of place...
All of this to say, the love that we experienced today is hard to describe. The community here in the villages is astonishing...and we can not help but be reminded of what the Church ought to look like. As we look into the eyes of these people, we are bombarded with genuine love because they are willing to share whatever material blessing they have.
If you ask us about this trip, it is likely that we will point to one particular moment or story that seemed to stick to our brains and cause our heart to scream something...whether it be joy or sorrow. And today I had one of those moments...
As I played with the local kids the past few day, I made a special connection with one little boy in particular, and his name is Daniel. Daniel was that kid that everyone kinda got annoyed with at some point because he had a tendency to pick on the other kids and hit too hard. Nonetheless, Daniel found me to be particularly interesting and so we spent some quality time. Daniel and I hung out a lot and communicated with the little Spanish that I do know. But more than words, Daniel spent most of today up on my shoulders giggling and bossing me around. Needless to say, I did not have to worry about my neck burning because he was constantly clinging to me and playing with my blond curly hair (which isn't the most common sight in Honduras).
And as we all gathered around the bus at the end of the day to say our goodbyes, the air was bitter sweet because we were kinda celebrating the great friendships we had found, but also missing the people already, before we had already left. This moment was memorable to say the least.
As for my friend Daniel, I was introducing him to one of the other friends I had made this week, and so I pointed to him and said, "Daniel es mi amigo" (Daniel is my friend)....but he quickly corrected me by saying, "no, mi es tu hermano" (I am your brother)...
Today a lot of us found brothers and sisters in places where we might not have expected to find them. We experienced love and generosity from a group of people whom embody what Christ calls us to....to be the Church. A loving community of people who share and live together.