My family and I are moving back home to Memphis, TN, towards the end of this year. One of my biggest excitements is the opportunity I have to work with Point of Impact Global Missions. My husband and I have traveled to Honduras a few times now to serve. But the most moving experience I ever had there was the trip when I first laid my eyes upon the children of POI for the very first time…
As I walked off the plane in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, my heart grew heavy. As I said, we’d been to Honduras before—and immediately those memories and emotions were coming back. There were the sweet memories…but the tough memories were there too. On previous trips we’d ministered to pastors and their wives, and boy was that something. We were humbled and amazed by how God was moving in and through those servants of the Lord. He was their Elohay Mishpat—The God of Justice. He was their Elohim Chaim—Their Living God. But on this particular visit, the Lord revealed a different side of Himself to me.
Our days were long but our team was ready…so we thought. We went from place to place learning about all the wonderful things that POI is doing in Honduras. We started with the day programs for the kids and boy were our hearts full! We witnessed hundreds of children hearing beautiful stories about the God of Creation. Our Saviour. Our King. These children were poured into by their teachers. They were truly being invested in. “Lord, please save these children. Lord, please save these children,”—that was my constant prayer as we went through the day. You could see the pride that the children took in their education…in their clothes…in life itself it seemed. POI had made a deposit in the hearts of these kids. And you could feel that their efforts were bearing fruit.
The next day we went to “the dump.” They warned me ahead of time: “April, you may have to stay in the van. You’re pregnant and we want to keep you safe. On top of that, the smell is so putrid. We don’t want you getting sick.” We curved around the mountain leading to the dump and BAM—the smell hit me like a ton of bricks! It was rancid. I had never smelled anything like it. I couldn’t imagine that there might be people really LIVING there. Then it happened. We drove to the top of the hill and saw hundreds of people living in and among trash. My heart sank.
I sat in the van as everyone jumped out. The team began greeting our neighbors. As I waited patiently in the van, I turned, looked, and noticed the most precious little boy. He couldn’t have been more than 2 years old. My heart broke for him. I instantly got out of the van and tried to make my way towards him. I don’t know why. I had nothing for him. But I had to go and love on this sweet boy. His clothes were so tattered. They were barely hanging on to his filthy body. He wore no shoes to cover his feet.
It was at that moment that the hope of the gospel was being translated as our leaders began preaching a short gospel message. And as soon as the message had ended the food was brought out and distributed. The people at the dump swarmed like vultures and began reaching for the food. It was then that I saw the little boy again. He was with an older man in the back of the pack being lifted into the air in hopes that someone would see him and offer him food. I watched as meal after meal was grabbed right in front of him. At this point he was crying. And truth be told I was crying too. He eventually got food but the picture has never left my mind.
We went back to the hotel where I continued to wrestle with what I’d witnessed. That little boy’s face was etched in my mind. I prayed asking God what I was to do. He didn’t answer. So I prayed my prayer from the previous day, “Lord, please save these children. Please save them.”
On our final night we went to share the hope of Christ with people on the street. My husband and I served pretty regularly at the homeless shelter in our city so I thought that I had an idea of what to expect. But this was different. Nothing could have prepared my heart for this. We saw children strung out on drugs who’d been abandoned by their loved ones. And they were doing whatever it took to stay alive. One young girl walked up to me with a glue bottle in her hand—so drugged I could barely see her eyes. As we communicated with them through translators I learned that she was only 12. Her father had left her for another family 2 years before. Most nights she ate food from the trash cans that lines the barely paved road to serve as her meal for the day before she found a dumpster to sleep behind. My eyes welled with tears. I felt as if there was no hope for her. This girl had no education. No family. No promise of the next meal. Nothing. My heart couldn’t take it anymore. At a loss for words I prayed again, “Lord, please save these children. Please!” Only this time it was more of a plea of desperation. My heart was weary as I saw the injustice in this young girls life. Why her? It’s not fair! Why was I born into such privilege yet this girl is barely living?
We went back to the hotel where my husband and I shared our stories and the weight of the night with each other and the Lord. And it was in that moment that the Lord reminded me that not only is He their Elohay Mishpat—the God of Justice and Elohim Chaim, their Living God, but He is their Abba, Father and El Roi—the God who sees. It was then that I realized I didn’t have to have all the right answers, God does. He sees each child and He cares. He cares more than I ever could. He is their Father. The Father that holds their life in His hands. I learned that day that whether it was the child in my womb or a child at “the dump”, God loves them all enough to give His son for them. Now THAT is a Father’s love. Right there in that hotel room I was drawn to my knees in worship. I left again with sweet memories… and tough memories. I sat on the plane going home praying, “Abba, Father, please save these children!”
Through POI, and so many others, God is doing just that—saving these children. I’m excited about what’s ahead. I’m thrilled by the grace extended to me to be a part of it. Let’s jump in and see what God has in store!