Going into my internship with El Ayudante, I was really unsure of what to expect. The only thing I was certain of was that God had everything planned out and would be walking along side of me wherever I went and with whatever I would be doing. At that time, despite my uncertainties, I could feel and trusted in that to be true.
My very first day in country, I got to EA in the late afternoon. After about an hour of being there and getting settled in, Beth and Tristan invited me to join them in visiting a couple of families in their community of Lo De Reina. We stopped and chatted at a couple of homes of people. In that moment, I didn’t realize that I would soon come to know these families very well and interact with them much more than I thought.
The role I had with EA during my 10 weeks was one so precious and one I’ll forever be thankful for. I was given the unique opportunity to really focus my time and energy into the community of Lo De Reina. I taught English and worked with teams and other EA staff on establishing gardens in many homes in the community. These two jobs gave me direct access to the homes and the school of Lo De Reina and this provided me with the opportunity to really build relationships with the people and get to know the community. Practically every day I was in Lo De Reina, working with the students at the school, working on gardens, or visiting people I was building relationships with and getting to know over time.
There were challenges. One of those challenges was language. My Spanish language level was pretty basic, conversational Spanish when I first got to Honduras. After my first couple of days in Honduras, Salvador went with me into Lo De Reina to meet families and talk about the gardens. I was nervous to go. Salvador works for El Ayudante and helped me tremendously with the gardening project this summer but he doesn’t know English. So, I was nervous to go into the homes of people I would just be meeting and struggle with communication.
My first couple of weeks in Honduras, there were many times I couldn’t understand what people were saying to me or be understood. This was frustrating and uncomfortable. But, these moments of discomfort were the best things for me as they were growing me. Growing me in language development, growing my relationships with the people and growing my relationship with Christ as I was going out of my comforts and following Him. And by the time I left, I had no hesitancy or discomfort in walking to someone’s home, sitting and talking. At the end of every day, was each sentence I said or every word that was said to me perfectly understood? Nope. However, at the end of every day, despite differences in culture and language, Christ and His love was shared. Shared through families running to grab a chair for me to sit in as I chatted with them, cups of coffee that were poured, mangos given to me, holding hands walking to school with my students, hugs, laughter, smiles, tears… all ways in which love was shared.
Lastly, I will forever be grateful for the refrigerator rights given to me during my time. (Literally and metaphorically.) In our own homes we have no problem going into our own refrigerators to grab food. This may be true of the fridge at your parent’s, sibling’s or best friend’s homes. To have so much comfort that you can help yourself in a fridge that is not your own, and be willing to take what is offered, that is refrigerator rights. I am thankful to Lo De Reina for the refrigerator rights they gave me. Although many people gave food to me, I mean much more than that. I am thankful for a community that so freely opened their doors to me, showed me kindness, generosity, and made me feel so loved, comfortable and at home. Not only am I thankful for the “refrigerator rights” given to me, but I am thankful for being taught how to give refrigerator rights- to give of myself openly and vulnerably, of my possessions (that are not mine to begin with but His) and my time. For me, being brought up in a culture that is so possessive of time, items and money, I learned a lot during my 10 weeks engrossed in another culture. At the end of the day, through gardens and English, my job as a Christian was to show people their refrigerator rights to Jesus. To whoever is reading this, I encourage you to think about how you can give refrigerator rights to those around you. To El Ayudante and Lo De Reina, thank you for refrigerator rights and for the 10 weeks that taught me how to give and receive them.
(Summer intern 2016)