To be completely honest, I’ve been putting off sharing my story for quite a while now. Every time I sit down to write, I’m completely overwhelmed by emotion and usually can’t even see my screen through the tears. But my mom convinced me that it’s a story that should be shared.
My first trip to El Progresso was with my mother and aunt. My mom decided to go to support my aunt, who had already been before, and I decided to go because my mom hadn’t ever been so far from home and I didn’t want her to go feeling fearful or nervous. Never in a million years did I expect to be the one so heavily impacted by the trip.
Many months before, my mom began sponsoring an incredible young man named Kevin, who lives in June22. I had fallen in love with Kevin through the letters he wrote to my mom, but had never interacted with him directly. He was so full of love and faith in all things! When we drove into his beautiful village, I was shaking. I was so nervous! Kevin didn’t know me, he couldn’t have been excited to see me, and the whole experience was definitely going to be awkward! I was sure of it and I couldn’t have been more wrong. Meeting my little brother was one of the most beautiful moments of my life. Kevin didn’t care about anything besides the fact that his “American family” was here. He embraced me without any reservations. I’ve struggled with rejection and judgement throughout my life and when that sweet boy wrapped his arms around me, I could feel so much of my pain and worry disappear. If I had traveled for 6 hours from San Diego to Atlanta, then another 5 hours from Atlanta to Honduras, and had only the time to see Kevin and run back to the airport, it would have been so worth it!
But obviously, there was much more to the trip. We traveled to the banana plantation to see the workers and all the intense effort they put into producing quality products for other countries. We visited Campo Llano, where I was honored with the task of painting a mural for the children’s library. We visited with the locals who had to fight to survive everyday, while trying to support their families and battlle homelessness and starvation. We fed the community and showered them with love and understanding at La Mesa, while they opened our eyes to a world so far from our own. There were so many small moments during all of the incredible outings that I was simply in awe. The people of this country are so warm and so welcoming, even though their day to day lives are wrought with hunger and pain. The people of Honduras inspire me everyday. They remind me to be grateful, to be generous, and have faith.
Speaking of which, my faith hasn’t always been the most secure thing in my life. My relationship with “the church” has been complicated at best. I’ve always been inquisitive and a little unusual with my personal taste and style and some Christians had turned me away for that. I was convinced that I was not worthy and was so fearful of church that I would be riddled with anxiety if I was convinced to attend. I was so lost, but Hope Through Him, and more specifically Brad and Cristy found me and I, in turn, found Christ. In Honduras, in the high heat of the day, on the patio of the Hope Through Him home, and holding the hands of Brad and my mom, I surrendered my life to the Lord. My life has been changed forever and my heart is open and free in a way that I have never known. Since coming home to San Diego, I’ve found my home church and friends who share my faith, but more importantly my love to serve in the name of God. I’ll be returning this summer to see my sweet brother and my new Honduran family and I can’t wait for what the Lord has in store for me this time!