It is difficult to put into words all that took place today. In short, we experienced some of the most authentic and captivating Honduran culture.
We woke up bright and early and traveled with youth from Peña de Horeb to Puerta Grande, a small village on the Southwestern coast of Honduras. Located there is Sea of Galilee Evangelical Presbyterian Church. These congregations collectiveley planned for us an incredible lunch adventure and an all-day fellowship at La Playa Negra. The surprise... we had to take small motorized fishing boats 20km to an island not far from El Salvador. I cannot even begin to describe the beauty that enveloped the experience, along with the occasional nausea, as we cruised the Gulf and Pacific waters. Lunch was fried fish...whole fried fish...and it was delicious. A service of worship also took place under a canopy, as each church contributed some element and the local pastor's son spoke about utilizing one's gifts in the church. All in all the day was a great opportunity to further fellowship with our new friends and continue to develop relationships with Honduran Youth.
Another element of the day was the opportunity to learn of the eco-stoves that the PCUSA World Mission has begun to construct in homes. Many in the villages have continued to cook over open fires, which causes bronchial difficulties, heat exhaustion, high cooking expenses (for wood), and significant deforestation. However, these eco-stoves are able to reduce the amount of wood used by 60%, save families money, and eliminate health and heat hazards. This may sound like a minor change, but the results are significant. Each stove only costs $60.
Our group of 19 and Peña de Horeb's group of 12 (or more?) painted their entire sanctuary, which had not been done for years. It was a lot of work, yet the best part was the opportunity to be together, work together, and swap stories together.
After we finished our first coat of painting, we set up the room in a circle of chairs and entered into an intentional dialogue with the youth. Mark Wright posed two questions to be discussed in small groups made up of Honduran and American youth:
What do you value most about your church?
What would you like to see your church do differently?
The hope was to engage in intentional dialogue that can begin to provide a working framework for a potential partnership. The responses varied tremendousl, yet the cnversation was a first for the youth of Honduras and the Imago Dei Youth of Westminster. I am eager to further process this conversation and look forward to how we can take another step in the direction of a missional, youth-to-youth partnership.
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