To say that our mission trip to Tegucigalpa, Honduras was a great one would be an enormous understatement. My husband, Will, and I took two of our four boys with Point of Impact on our first-ever mission trip to the capital of Honduras. The experience was powerful, convicting, emotional and rich. Our plan was to serve and spread the Good News to the impoverished, crime-ridden community (and the Lord delivered). However, we felt like we were the ones who received blessings. What God taught us through the Honduran people has eternal value and we pray we never forget it. —Paige Thompson
“I noticed how happy the children were and they didn’t have anything,” our son Hall, 8, told us. “I was surprised and sad when we delivered mattresses and water because some houses were made with cardboard and didn’t have roofs. But I was glad seeing how excited they were to receive our gifts and visit with us. We asked how we could pray for them, but they wanted to praise God and pray for us. They were full of joy.”
It didn’t take our children long to discover that things can’t buy happiness. We’ve told them (and ourselves) plenty of times, but this experience proved it. From the second we arrived in Tegucigalpa, our group of nine adults and 11 children took off eager to accomplish the down-to-the-minute schedule. Our journey was chock-full of hands on discipleship and loving interaction. We made water truck deliveries; served at two different POI outposts sharing bible stories, making crafts and doing lice treatments; fed and ministered to the men and women of the drug and alcohol dependency center; played with the children at the blind orphanage; encouraged the workers and loved on the children of the special needs orphanage, and fed and ministered to the community at the city dump. God was everywhere! And it was awesome.
In preparation for the trip, we received recommended vaccinations, did some research and prayed hard for God’s will and our safety. We really didn’t know what to expect. As we journeyed through the week, we were blown away by the magnitude of poverty and crime. Our eyes had never seen a place as destitute, and it was hard to digest. Men in the backs of pickup trucks and on street corners with “AK 47s” (the boys found this very cool), gang members controlling the city dump and barely clothed families living in toxic garbage were just some of the images we will never forget. Danger surrounded us, but we felt incredibly safe (big thanks to Zarco and the POI team of guards). We knew that it was the peace of God and it allowed us to confidently share the gospel and live in the moment.
“Honduras was amazing. We had so much fun playing with the kids, and it was neat seeing how other people in the world live,” said my oldest son, Van, 9. “God loves us equally and you don’t have to have much to be happy. We went there to serve the people, and they served us back. We told them how special they are and how much Jesus loves them, and many of them told us the same.”
Other than the tear jerking experience at the dump, the toughest part of our trip was visiting the special needs orphanage. We had already seen a lot, but nothing could have prepared us for the heartache from that visit. The workers were lovely, but there weren’t enough. The facilities were not up to American standards by any means, and we left feeling hopeless. It was a gift to love on them, but it was heart wrenching to have to leave them in their situation… among flies and filth. It was difficult knowing that many have to be sedated because the facility is so understaffed. Accepting that their existence on this earth will ultimately be miserable is extremely tough. We left with so many questions and tears. Why would God bring children into this world with debilitating illnesses, abandoned by their parents and left in such bleak conditions? Why are some fighting for their lives at the city dump, while we’re in our comfortable homes with too much of everything?
It’s incredibly frustrating, but I do know that He will use the gifts He’s given us to be His hands and feet, loving people like Christ and glorifying Him along the way. We have far to go, but we humbly accept the challenge…wherever it takes us.
We want to thank David and Ruth Hamilton for letting us serve alongside them and for teaching us how to serve with such grace and humility. They’re the real deal, and our hearts are forever changed from this experience. The Lord started something big, and we’re confident He’ll finish strong.