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Journey through the eyes of a leader. #PeakeYouth2013

November of 2012. This month began our team’s journey in preparation for their 9 day, God-filled adventure in Honduras. From day one God knew exactly the team he would piece together. And on July 23rd., we took off for the skies…eager, energized and hyped up on caffeine.

This is a little taste of our adventure. #honduras13

Oh the joys of traveling with 26 teenagers and leaders. It’s like a party every day.

I really love travel days. They are filled with intentional moments for great conversation, Starbucks in every airport, and an excuse to eat poorly because, “Hey we don’t have these places back home.” Despite the long day of travel and over-full bellies, it wasn’t until we landed that the reality of where we were going fully hit a lot of us.

The teens quickly learned God is an artist. When we landed in Honduras, we stepped foot onto a giant canvas with breath-taking mountains and skies that ran blue for miles. Everywhere we went, our eyes were fixed on sights like this. Bottom line—you can’t go to Honduras and not be in awe of the creation. We spent much of our travel day soaking up the beauty, charging up for the work about to begin.

 

 

I remember driving up the mountain to our new home for the next 9 days and thinking, “My days as a youth on these trips are over. And I am so ready…right, God? Man did I have so much to learn. A pleasant mix of beauty and challenge, with a sprinkle of surprise—all for the glory of God and the spiritual growth of these fantastic teens.

The next morning we jumped into our first piece of the trip—vacation bible school. I say a piece because through our willing hands, we were able to install water filters and build latrines for families, hold a three-day vacation bible school at La Playitas, demo a wall to create space for incoming teachers (at the same school we held vbs), and conduct fluoride treatments for children at La Playitas. The pictures above are a taste of the constant excitement and joy these kids brought to our lives. Our, “rock on” and “peace” signs made their debut in many photos throughout our week.

We loved vbs. Not because we got to dance and sing with the kids, although that was reason enough for some of us, but because of how Jesus was revealed to us. Our theme of the week was, “who Jesus is”. This permeated throughout every piece of our trip, from our quiet times with God to every moment spent in the community.

 

 

 

 

I love when God shatters an expectation I create because it shows how big he is. These lovely beauties (see above pictures) showed us what it meant to be Jesus. I watched 7 year olds grab the hands of teens and bring them into their world. They shared their life stories, helped us as we stumbled through our Spanish, and loved us like family. They showed us unconditional love without expecting anything in return. Just someone to play with and live in the moment with them.

A sweet story: These two girls in the middle connected with two of our teens. To show their love and appreciation for visiting their school they wrote a beautiful letter in Spanish. The content revealed their strong and maturing faith in God, and a desire for our teens to continue growing in their faith while being a light to others around us. Such beautiful and goofy girls!

 

It was hard to anticipate the life-change that occurred on this trip. We prepare as much as possible…but God has the mightiest of plans and for that I was blessed. Installing water filters and building latrines was an experience I will never forget. Our teens realized two important lessons those few days. One, the needs of kids and families in Honduras may not look precisely the same as our needs in America…but we ALL have needs. The variance of need doesn’t make us different; it further shows our need for community and our God. Talk about humbling! The second lesson we learned was how much we didn’t trust God with our needs. A lot of these families knew what it meant to trust in God alone. They lived it every single        day. We realized how much we take God’s blessings for granted, and how our trust in God depends on how “good” our lives are or how much we have. Seeing the strength of their faith in the midst of such trying times blew us away. They loved God so much. Even with dirty water, limited food and homes too small for their family. #realitycheck

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On our last night, the teens shared how they were afraid to lose what God had been teaching them. We sat around a bonfire and prayed for the people we met throughout the week, and for God to help us through the struggles waiting for us back home. How do we take a life of simplicity and full devotion to Jesus Christ back to America? After we talked it out we concluded that full devotion to Jesus is normal no matter where you are. It’s normal in Honduras, and it’s normal back in the little crab state of Maryland. #thankful #heartstransformed

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