Wineskins Archive

February 11, 2014

A Trip For the Less Fortunate (Jul-Aug 2002)

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by Kevin Lee
July – August, 2002

I took a trip to help the less fortunate, to worship with them and serve them.

Honduras is one of the poorest countries in the world. Here in Nueva Esperanza, a barrio community of Danli, about 60 miles east of the capital, I expected to find people who had lost all hope for a better way of life. I expected to see starving children who spend their nights on street corners begging for handouts, children who cannot afford shoes or who are on their own because their parents can’t afford to feed them. And make no mistake about it, poverty, unlike anything I’ve seen before, is what I found. But, as I’ve said, I expected that. The amazing thing about this journey is what I’ve witnessed that I didn’t expect.

I never expected to see worship services held in a house no larger than an average American living room, a house without windows, with open shutters for ventilation and sawdust on the floor to keep the dirt settled when a breeze comes through the open door. I never expected to see people carrying their chairs to and from the service so they can have a place to sit or to see chickens and dogs wandering freely among the worshipers. I surely never expected to see people so eager to learn about God that they would welcome every opportunity to do so, even under these conditions.

I never expected Bible study to continue when an electrical blackout occurred on a cloudy night. Who would have thought that every adult in the room would have a candle with them, just in case? I never thought I’d see children so eager to learn about God that they’d fight each other for a front row seat, or crowd into an open window so they could participate from outside. I did not expect to meet people so enthusiastic about worshiping that they’d ask me to play the same song over and over again so they could dance and show their love for Christ.

I never knew how much joy one stuffed teddy bear could bring to a child who had never owned such a thing. I surely never expected the hug I received the next day from that same child as she passed me on the street. I never knew a simple yo-yo could provide so much delight and so many hours of entertainment for a whole neighborhood of children. I never expected to receive a stuffed toy from a little girl I had given a cross to the day before and I will never forget the way she shook her head and pointed to that cross when I asked if the stuffed toy was her favorite possession. I never expected that people who have so little would be so worried about world events that they’d weep for their friends in Texas when they spoke of September 11.

I am confused. How can these people love and appreciate God so much? They have nothing. How can they love me? I have everything. Don’t they realize that I have windows in my house and that I own not one but two cars? Do they know that I watched the horrific events at the World Trade Center from the safety and comfort of a three-bedroom home, with the air conditioning on? I came here to teach people how to recognize and appreciate God’s love and I’m the one who’s learning. Many of these people do not have enough food to feed their families at night, yet I have never in my life witnessed the passion, enthusiasm and joy with which they worship God. How can that be? How can passion, enthusiasm and joy be found here?

In three days I’ll return home. I know I’m on a “high” right now and that sooner or later I will have to come down. As I reflect on this past week, though, I realize that next to my marriage and the birth of my children this trip has been the biggest blessing of my life. I never expected to feel so loved and appreciated by a group of people for whom I have done so little. I started out with a guitar in hand to teach people how to worship God through music. I wanted to make a difference in the life of someone less fortunate than me. I will return from this trip without the guitar. I found someone much more qualified to sing of God’s love than I am. And I did make a significant change in someone’s life – mine. I learned first hand the true meaning of the words “God’s love knows no boundaries.” Maybe I was the less fortunate soul I was looking for all along.New Wineskins

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