When I first came home after having spent three months in Honduras, lots of people asked me, 'Was it amazing?/Did you have an amazing time?' As if it was the holiday of a lifetime, something that Thomas Cook would advertise. I found myself saying yes because it was easier to and thats what people wanted to hear. And in many ways it was amazing. The children at AFE amazed me. The people amazed me. The church amazed me and God amazed me.I definitely had him in a bit of a St Marys-(my church)-white-middle-class-God-box. But he is the same God all the world over. I didn't always understand the Honduran culture, or Spanish but I did understand the God they were talking about, and the cross they were talking about, because our God transcends culture.
I say the people amazed me because of their faith. Some of them would go to church hungry, with hungry children and yet still be completely ready to praise God. And to be thankful to him - and many of them were thankful to God for everything, good and bad! And when they spoke about Mitch (the hurricane which destroyed their homes and left them with nothing) there was never any bitterness or anger, simply gratitude for 'The Miller' (their new community.)
They were also incredibly hard working - the children to. They came to school and had their lessons. And then went to work on the dump for 5 or 6 hours, just so they could eat dinner. I found this incredible because school isn't easy when all you have to do is school.
There was a day just before I left where all the children in the Prepa (thats reception class to us) were running around, having finished or given up on their work, except for Nolvia, who was normally the first to be running around. She was sat at her little plastic table, pencil in hand, writing away. It was nice to see the Prepa progress bit by bit.
Simultaneously it was difficult to see Denia (Nolvia's younger sister) a few days before looking filthy. Her, Nolvia, and Lucy were all sent home that day because they hadn't washed. Their mum had been hurt in an accident and had been unable to get water to clean them after they'd been up on the dump. Seeing Sara (another member of the prepa) was always sad, she is a beautiful little girl but she had the worst nits that Hollie had ever seen in her two and a half years at AFE, let alone that I had ever seen. Her mum isn't well enough to look after her properly.
God's faithfulness and provision amazed me. At times in Honduras I was homesick but he sustained and encouraged me. And the first time I ate beans, eggs, cheese and avocado I really didn't like it. By that I mean I gagged all the way through! But it grew on me. By June (the end of my three months) I even quite liked it.
It wasn't easy, it wasn't what I would call the holiday of a lifetime, but it was an amazing experience. And I am definitely glad I went.