Looking at our group’s blogging schedule on the way here, I wondered what I would write about our first day in Honduras. I assumed my post would consist of a weather update or comparisons to other tropical countries I’ve visited, like Jamaica and Cuba. The project and home visits are scheduled for later in the week so I had no expectations for today; all that was planned was a church service and trip to the beach.
Simple and straightforward; but sometimes it’s in those unassuming times we receive what we need.
In conversations with my coworkers I learned that we each have our own expectations and hopes for this training trip. For some, it is the first time they are in the field without a work assignment; for others, it has been several years since their last trip. Each of us is seeking something and it was great to hear the different perspectives.
This is my first Compassion trip and my desire is simple: I want to see this ministry’s work for myself.
I am an inquisitive skeptic; hesitant to believe in something without first-hand experience so my expectation is that my heart will be opened, my belief in our ministry strengthened, and I can move towards a better understanding of my purpose with Compassion. I believe that my journey starts with being unafraid to probe. This was confirmed in discussions with some group members, but also in a book I just started, N.T. Wright’s The Day the Revolution Began.
Unless someone in the church—in each Christian gathering, in each generation—is working on deeper understandings of foundational Christian truth, it is perilously easy for individuals and communities to drift away from the life-giving meaning of the gospel itself. We constantly need to press beyond the one-line summaries and the popular slogans. The powerful love of God is so counterintuitive that we easily scale it down in our imagination and memory and develop ways of making ourselves immune to its ultimate and life-changing challenge. Or, worse, we distort it and twist it until we find ourselves saying more or less the opposite of what we ought to mean. Somebody needs to be asking “Why?” This must of course be done humbly and carefully, not arrogantly or scornfully. But the question must be addressed.
The place I find myself lately is one where Compassion’s ministry is reduced to just child sponsorship and I overlook the power of the gospel. Today, I saw a reminder of that power that makes me want to continue asking questions.
Located close to a “bordo”—a slum along a river that is too polluted for even the locals to touch—we visited a church that has been running a CDSP program for 8 years. Not only were we invited to worship with them but they surprised us with the project’s first ever CDSP graduation, as well as a CSP graduation (lots of cute babies).
The pastor and project staff spoke with such enthusiasm about the programs and their appreciation of Compassion’s support. But above all, their passion for their community and love for God stood out. The pastor cried as he shared his vision and plans for the people. The staff cried as they spoke of each graduate with such deep affection. The parents and families were proud of their teens and it was clear to me that it was about more than a program.
There was hope in that place. Hope for change and prosperity, a life-giving hope only found in the gospel.
I needed to see it for myself, I needed to know that it’s real and today I caught a glimpse of the impact Compassion’s support can have on a community and it makes me so excited for the rest of the week. I want to keep asking questions to not only get a deeper understanding of what we do but why we do what we do. I know God will answer those questions for me and I hope and pray that everyone on our team finds what their seeking as well.