This month a team of families from Presbyterian Day School in Memphis, Tennessee traveled down to Tegucigalpa to spend a week serving alongside POI. On their team was Mitchell Huelsing, a 24-year-old, soon to be, physical therapy student.
I had the opportunity to serve with Mitch a few weeks ago and as we spoke the first day in the lobby of our hotel, I soon found out that he was passionate about children with special needs. I remember telling him, “Well you’re going to love tomorrow!” I don’t think either of us knew the impact the next day would make.
“I think back to earlier that morning and going to the special needs orphanage and their need for physical therapy and equipment. Just recently accepted into school, I think maybe God wants to use me as a tool…”
Throughout the week Mitch and his team also had the opportunity to visit the city dump as well as some of the homes where the POI programs are located.
“Hundreds of buzzards flying above meanwhile two young children celebrated as if it were Christmas…They jumped up in down, ankle deep in trash, because we were bringing a handful of rice. As I handed out food I couldn’t help but notice the majority of these people were my age or younger. What did I do to deserve this life? Why am I here and they are there? Only by God’s grace…”
Home to hundreds of dump-dwellers, the crematoria, as it is referred to in Spanish, is by far the most devastating place in all of Honduras. As my pastor would say, “every North American needs to make a trip to the dump.” It will wreck your heart and certainly make you question your own life…Mitch can surely testify to that. As people scrounge through garbage to find plastic to sell, it is evident to us all that our world is plagued by grief.
Later on in the week, the PDS team carried “tubs of love” to some of the neighboring families in our programs. Filled with basic necessities for a family, these tubs are a simple way we can show our brothers and sisters that they are dearly loved. Mitch was a part of the team that scattered amongst the streets to deliver these tubs and his eyes were certainly opened.
“These homes are thrown together with scrap metal, wood, and junk…People really live in there? I was thinking only one or two people could live there…Yet after entering some of those houses I realized seven or eight people were staying in houses half the size of my own bedroom. This was their whole house…No running water, no kitchen, no privacy. I look at myself and realize I have been so ungrateful.”
One of my favorite things about traveling with teams each year to work with POI is getting to have the opportunity to watch people’s hearts be wrecked. It is a constant reminder that this world will never stop aching, but we have the ability to comfort it in all its pain.
Mitchell was one of hundreds of POI trip participants who left with a wrecked heart.
“I believe God has been preparing my heart, showing me avenues to use tools that I will acquire, by His grace in the future, to help people of all nations…I feel like this trip opened my eyes and my heart. It has really encouraged me for the upcoming physical therapy program in which I want to grasp all the knowledge I can…to benefit others.”
Who is blogging?
Hannah Hamilton is the daughter of David and Ruth Hamilton, founders of Point of Impact Ministry. She first traveled to Honduras at 6 years old and has been passionate about advocating for the impoverished ever since. To read more, click here.