By: Mary Boyadijan
Last year God gave my mom and I an opportunity to serve in Tegucigalpa, Honduras with POI. I made wonderful relationships with my team, the translators, and the children. Our first few days consisted of doing VBS. We were assigned to teach the Bible story at the facility in Crucitas. In the beginning, I was just taking it all in, not really knowing what to think about everything, but that afternoon I realized these kids are not much different than me. They have families, they go to school, and they hang out with their friends. I had no reason to look at them any differently than I would look at someone at my school. After this realization, I jumped right in, and tried to get to know them with the little Spanish I speak. (Which is not that much) I mainly learned how they were doing and what their names were.
Our team had the benefit of hosting a fun day for the kids during that week. Fun day is a day when the POI staff and the kids from all of the programs get together to go to a park and participate in many different activities. I spent most of the day with the same kids. They were three sweet boys. One sixth grader named Vector, who was about the same age as me, and two kindergartners named Perci and Jefry. I felt a connection with all three of them, even though we could not communicate that well. We did all of the activities together. We played soccer, did the piñata and ate lunch together. The most special time was when we were in the pool. I took them across the pool one time and the smiles on not only their faces, but all of the children faces was priceless. They were all grinning ear to ear and laughing. The laugh was so contagious, that I just started laughing too. Just going across the pool gave them so much joy.
Saying good-bye that day was one of the hardest things I have had to do. That was the last day I got to spend with them until I return next year. Of course I was crying. They all gave me the biggest hugs, which made saying good-bye even harder. Right when we got home, I began counting down the days until the next year. I also asked my mom if we could sponsor a child. I wanted to sponsor Perci and Jefry, so we could follow them up in the program. Jefry was already sponsored. It was a little upsetting at the time, but we still had Perci. I was so excited that we could stay connected with him throughout the year.
Again, God blessed me and my mom with the opportunity to go back, but this time with my little brother. I was so excited to get to see everyone again. Summer flew by, and it was already time to go to Honduras. We bought Perci some clothes and a soccer ball to bring to him, and we were on our way.
When we arrived, I felt joy. I could not wait until the next day to see them again. This time when we did VBS, we were assigned to do the recreation. It was so amazing to see all of the smiling faces that I missed so much again. At lunch, on the first day back Perci came in the door ready to eat. I turned around to see him looking up at me with a confused face. Once I said hello to him his whole face lit up and he gave me the biggest hug. I was so happy to see him again. We sat down together at lunch, and I met his two brothers Isaac and Odibler. I got out my polaroid camera and took a picture with each one of them and gave it to them to keep. They were so amazed and grateful. For the rest of VBS, I never saw Jefry, but I created a strong relationship with his brother Jose., and many others that will always have a special place in my heart.
We had the privilege of hosting fun day again. I will always remember the look on everyone one of their faces. They were so happy and joyful. I did get to see Jefry that day. He told me that he had been sick for the past week, so he wasn’t able to come. Once again, we had an amazing fun day. At the end of the day, they all loaded the big yellow school buses. Right when they were leaving, Perci stuck his head out the window and said two words to me, “Te amo.” I was in complete tears at that moment, as I waved to all the buses going by with the sweet faces in the window.
Now, we have the opportunity to sponsor Perci, Jefry, and possibly another child. Sponsoring a child is a great way to keep in touch with them, and make a difference in their life. I have spent a total of two weeks in Honduras with POI, and those two weeks have changed my life forever. I pray that God continues to allow me to go back to this beautiful country to spread His Word and Love.