One of the most amazing things about being deeply involved in another country through mission work is the perspective that it brings to one's worldview. That first trip--- it is cultural shock. I remember when we took our oldest, Levi, when he was in 8th grade, for the first time. He saw kids wearing clothes he had donated years ago that were so badly worn and stained, living in houses made out of tarps, the lucky ones having one good pair of shoes, yet he saw the JOY in their faces. How many of us with middle school or high schoolers are battling the race for having the best shoes, clothes, phone, gaming system, etc?! It is exhausting!!! And very rarely do these things bring true JOY.
Cue 2020. We are hit with a pandemic with so many unknowns, on lockdown, kids are home FOREVER it seems, schooling is online, trying to adjust to work from home positions. There are times when we see the bright light of it all--- not rushing around as much, more family time, getting creative with play, washing our hands more :) Then I think we have all also had our pandemic lows--- marital issues, being pushed to the max with work-school-parenting, and for some- devastating family loss. For me, there were times that it was hard to find a joyful perspective--- things just plain stunk.
But again, even when we pandemic, we are doing the pandemic "first world style". We can't go anywhere, but we have netflix, our cozy beds, school systems trying to function, relief from the government, and access to healthcare.
My friends in Honduras dealt with similar problems- masking and social distancing, in person school is canceled, loss of jobs and loved ones. We are so blessed that our 3 Honduran missionaries- Grace, Juanita and Sady, continued to run our programs while facing logistical challenges. Our food bank program continued and our Tutorial Academy and Kindergarten continued by phone and house check ins. The dedication of our staff to their people and country is inspirational.
Then November 2020 came. 2 hurricanes with in 2 weeks.... during a pandemic. While the families we serve did not have the nicest homes--- home was everyone's "safe space" during 2020. For 13 of our families, their homes were demolished. Not only were homes destroyed, but roads were wiped out, electricity out, and crops ruined.
Our staff quickly came to the aid of the families, knowing that they had their own personal disasters to tend to as well. We set up shelters in the school buildings that were not being used due to the pandemic- providing new mattresses, clothes, food, and medical attention to those displaced. Last week, we moved our first family out of shelter and into their brand new home--- nicer than any home they have ever lived in. It was an "upgrade" because they had solid walls, a roof, and indoor plumbing. They family was filled with JOY and appreciation for all of the support and prayers during this crazy time. Imagine that--- being joyful just to have a roof over their head. (Here I am in Richland, still annoyed that school isn't full time and in person)
Our goal is to raise $40,000 total to build 13 homes and continue running our shelter until all of the families are in their new homes. We are just over half way there!!! We will continue annoying people with fundraisers, online events, and posts until we hit our goal :)
So when you are getting the pandemic blues (which for me sometimes comes daily lol), remember our friends in Honduras without homes, running water, living on $2 per day- and find your JOY again. (then stop by our gofundme and donate $20!)
2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters,[a] whenever you face trials of many kinds,3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.4 Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
Wishing you PEACE like a river and JOY like a fountain today,
Beth Wentz, DBH Executive Director