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United Church of Christ

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or where you are 
on life’s journey, you are welcome here.”

 

   
Outreach


Reports from Teupasenti, Honduras

 
 

About
Children's
Rescue
Mission

Teupasenti
2005 Trip

Mission Trip to Honduras – June 2003

The village of Teupasenti is a village surrounded by beautiful mountains. The people of Teupasenti are kind and the children have the hope of any other child. We feel so blessed to come visit this country, but, at the same time, our hearts are breaking. The families of Teupasenti have very little. Most young children run around with no shoes and ripped clothing and empty stomachs. Many of the houses are 1-2 rooms and have dirt floors and windows with no screens. All the roads are dirt and when it rains, many of the roads wash out.

While Carolyn, Elizabeth and Shirley had knowledge in the Spanish language, and many times acted as our interpreters, we all learned the basics – “hola” – hello, “buenos dias” – good day, and “Que es tu nombre?” – What is your name? Smiles and hugs are the universal language and we met the risen Christ while walking on the dirt roads of Teupasenti.

Mostly, we observed – observed the tiny villages outside Teupasenti and the feeding programs sponsored by the Children’s Rescue Mission. We visited the farm that we helped to start and “met” the cows and the chickens we helped to purchase. We observed the classes at the mission – sewing, music, computers and hairdressing, and Pat even got a haircut!

We observed the trust of the people as they welcomed the “gringos” into their community. We helped plant cane that will come up from year to year. We held hands with children and gave them the gifts we brought from you.

Each one of us had our “moments” that we will share with you throughout the summer and will share the pictures and video that we took.

The trip to Teupasenti changed our lives. We are different people. We would love to share our experiences with you – just ask us!

And thank you – for your support, your prayers and your love. You came with us in our hearts and together we were able to bring God’s love to God’s children.

Faithfully,
Melinda and Sarah Keck, Karen, Elizabeth and Carolyn Hughes, Pat and Shirley Howe and Jennifer Miko-Hans (Melinda’s sister)


MY MISSION MOMENT
by Sarah Keck

When my mom asked me to talk about my “moment” I had the hardest time trying to decide which one I should use. While I was in Honduras I experienced so many things that amazed me, things that made me love my life and hate it all at the same time. I didn’t think there was anyway that I could narrow it down to just one event that could be classified as a “moment”. But then I realized that what I needed wasn’t just any one moment that was special to me. You’d be here forever if I talked about all of them. What I needed to share with you was the moment that I realized (when it all became clear to me) that this trip was going to change me in ways I never thought possible.

36 hours before we left for Honduras, I went through a huge milestone in my life: I graduated from high school. Following the ceremony, and the pictures and hugs, I proceeded to my best friend’s house, where we went back to the high school for an all night grad party. We got back to her house at about 5:30 the next morning, and only had time to shower and change before leaving for New York City with her family to see some shows. We didn’t even get to take a nap before we left.

I remember getting back to her house that night a little after midnight, and crawling up her stairs, because since I hadn’t slept in close to 48 hours, I was too tired (and out of it) to walk upright. Her brother looked at me, (on the floor) and asked me if I was sleeping over, because it was so late. And I looked up at him and said “Nope, I leave for the airport in two hours” Needless to say, her dad had to drive me home that night, because her parents didn’t trust me to drive home alone that tired. When I finally got home that night I managed to sleep for about an hour and half before Cliff Burnett came to pick us up and bring us to the airport. At this point I was going on less than two hours of sleep in a little over 50 hours.

Approximately 12 hours later, after security checks, small, cramped airplanes, uncomfortable airport chairs, layovers, and customs, I walked off of an American Airlines 747 directly to the outside, and my feet touched the ground of Tegucigalpa, Honduras. After gathering our luggage, we went out to find the two cars that Miguel had rented for the week. Since space was limited, Elizabeth, Carolyn, Danny, and I were volunteered to ride in the back of the truck. Not knowing what was in store for us, we jumped right in.

Over three hours later, after periods of unfinished roads, hills, bumps… down pouring …and all of this from the back of a truck, we finally began to approach Teupasenti. At that point, all of us in the back of the truck were wet, had back cramps, our faces hurt from being windblown, we were starting to feel woozy, and we were, as my Aunt Jennifer put it (looking at us from the car behind) “no longer smiling.”

All of a sudden I felt the truck begin to come to a stop. I looked around the side of the truck, and realized that the road that we were about to drive over was flooded, and there was 3-4 feet of water flowing across where we were about to drive through. I knew there was no way that we were going to get our truck through that water without us in the back getting wet. And then without warning, the truck began to move forward. The four of us in the back shrieked, and tried to lean as far into the middle as we could to avoid getting wet as the muddy water sloshed up around us.

At this point I was up to almost 70 hours without sleep and was in no mood to joke around. As we got through the “road,” I looked behind me. There was a car parked at right before where the wash out was, with two people sitting in it, and the windows were open. The man in the driver’s seat (who could tell by the look on my face what kind of mood I was in at that point) leaned out, sent a huge smirk my way, and shouted “Welcome to Teupasenti!!” Now how could I not smile at that? As we drove off, and I waved to the man, and all I could think, was, “this IS the day that the Lord has made, so let us REJOICE! And be glad in it!”

This was my moment. The moment that I realized that if someone much less fortunate than myself could smile and joke in the midst of poverty and hardship, then I could smile despite a series of long, painful, weary, and, at some points, wet days. It was at this point that I realized that I came for a cause, I came with a purpose. I came to give what I had, to make a difference in someone’s life. I wasn’t on a vacation, I was on a mission: And that mission, was the Children’s Rescue Mission.

During Vacation Bible School this year, I taught the story of Saul and Ananias. During my time spent with the children, we talked about the importance of reflecting God’s light off of us. When I first asked them how they’ve been a good reflection of God’s light, I looked back at a stretch of blank stares. It wasn’t until I explained to them that being a good reflection of God’s light didn’t mean that they had to house the entire homeless population in New York City, or save all the endangered species of the world, or find the ultimate cure for cancer; at their age, they don’t have the ability to do that. I told them that in order to be a good reflection of God’s light, all they had to do was just share a part of what they had with others. Not necessarily material items, but a part of who they are-to the best of their ability. This is the case for everyone. In the case of these young children, these gifts can be helping their parents in the garden, making their beds, or not fighting with their siblings. However, as I stand here before you, I am no longer a young child. Yes, I can still help my mother in the garden, or make my bed, or not fight with my sister. But as I’ve gotten older, I’ve gained the resources to do more, to give more.

In the book of Deuteronomy, Chapter 15, verse 11, Moses said “Since there will never cease to be someone in need on the earth, I therefore command you, ‘Open your hand to the poor and needy neighbor in your land.’ ” I may not be able to save the world, but this past summer, I was able to bring joy to many children that are involved in the Children’s Rescue Mission. I may never be rich and have the ability to turn the mission into Beverly Hills, but I can go there, I can dig in the dirt with the farm workers, I can get my hands dirty and plant with them. I may not be able to provide the mission with an endless supply of food and clothing, but I can collect as much as I can while I’m home and send it over so that the children can have a part of what we have. I may not be able to erase years of devastation, but I can bring hope to the children, even if it’s just being there to hold their hands. I cannot only do as Moses said and extend a hand to them, but I can open my arms wide. This is how I want to reflect God’s light off of me. I support this mission not because it is a nice thing to do, but because I believe it is the right thing to do.

 

 

 

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The Rev. Melinda Miko Keck
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