A Flashback to Honduras

Nicole Chacko shared her testimony from her first missions trip to Honduras. She’ll hopefully be heading back this year and you can, too. Start praying about going – the dates are August 29-September 2. 

On the first day of the missions trip we went to the Pastor’s house and told him our story and he told us his. We spent half of our day with him, ate lunch and took a tour of his land. After that, we split into groups and went to other homes in the area. Our group went to three houses on the first day. We met some amazing people that day. We went to church that night and unexpectedly found out that we had to sing on stage. We were not prepared at all.

On the second day we went back to the pastor’s house to talk about the people we had met. Then we split into our groups and went to some more houses. We went to one house and met a wonderful person. Her name is Margarita and she is so sweet and kind. It was a joy to spend time with her. That night we had a soccer night, where all the boys played soccer, and we painted the girls’ nails and did face paint. We also did their hair. It was so much fun. That night we went to church and sang on stage again, but we were way more prepared this time. That was the last night we saw most of them so we took pictures and had a great time.

On the last day we went back to the pastor’s house, then split back up to go to a house we had already been to or one other house. So we went to Margarita’s daughter’s house and got to know her. Then we went to Margarita’s house to say our goodbyes. The rest of the day we went to the market and hung out. That night we ate dinner with our missions coordinator and his family, the pastor and his family, and our amazing translators.

I had such a good time on this trip, and I wanted to thank you for the love and prayers you gave me during this trip. On this missions trip God led me to meet some amazing people and I hope to build great relationships with them in the future. I can’t wait until next year’s trip.

Goats, Grace, and Glory: A Reflection on My First International Mission Trip

Goats grace glory

Goats…small-ish, but powerful animals with bulging eyes. Not the ideal cuddly animal, but a beloved creation of God nonetheless. In Los Ciles, Honduras their purpose is simple but very much so needed. A staple of sustenance for many Catracho (Honduran) families. In Dallas, Texas, their purpose seems more convoluted. I say this as I sip my $5 artisan coffee and watch a group of smiling Americans participate in an atypical Sunday afternoon activity. Goat Yoga. Yep, that’s right. Goat Yoga.

From what I gather, the goats are put on people’s backs as they do certain yoga poses. For what purpose, I am not really sure, but a part of me longed for the simplicity of a goat’s purpose to wander the green hills of Pastor Laudolino’s backyard, to wander and commune with fellow goats (and chickens) alike, and to perk its ears when its called so that it can give what it has to the forever grateful Honduran family. Brothers and sisters, I long for a simple purpose like the goats of Honduras.

Brothers and sisters, I long for a simple purpose like the goats of Honduras.

(Note: If you’re still with me, I applaud you because I reckon this will not be a three paragraph summary of the Honduras Mission Trip. Sorry, Pastor Sam. 😛 )

Let’s backpedal for a second. My prayer for this mission trip was to be humbled and return back to the States grateful for all that I have. I knew that I struggled with pride in many areas of my life, most notably with ministry and work, so I very much so desired for God to grant me freedom from that struggle. A bold prayer, you may think, but I did not know that at the time. I thought it was a ‘right’ prayer to pray, not a powerful one. But friends, God answered this prayer faithfully and at the right time.

One of the great things about God is that He is good, and with His goodness there is grace upon grace. And I needed grace during those five long and stretching days in Honduras. Like the goats of Goat Yoga, my life’s purpose seemed to be dictated by other people’s demands. In my case, it was more so other people’s “perceived” demands. I had believed the lie that in order to truly have purpose, I needed to be a good servant leader, serve others with a sacrificial love…always disregarding my personal needs. I did not have a choice, it’s what I (mistakenly) thought I was supposed to do.

Like the goats of Goat Yoga, my life’s purpose seemed to be dictated by other people’s demands. I had believe the lie than in order to truly have purpose, I needed to be a good servant leader…always disregarding my personal needs.

That’s why serving in Honduras was so hard. I was there in this foreign country and my purpose was to just be there. To be present in activities that seemed to be frivolous. To be present in sitting with others and nothing else. To be present in conversing with others and nothing else. I just had to be all there, and I felt extremely awkward and inept. Didn’t I have great interpersonal skills? Why did I feel so off? My American purpose ceased to exist, and I felt like I was a pampered Yoga goat trying to understand the purpose of wandering the simple Honduran landscape with my fellow goats. I seemed to forget the purpose of being a part of a family. Of just being a part of the Body of Christ.

Before I left for Honduras, a wise sister in Christ told me, “Things always seem to become clearer during mission trips,” and I will say God’s grace in His great love for us became that much clearer to me. I can just be me, and He would still love me. I can serve Him by just simply recognizing the importance of being just a member of the Body of Christ, and He would still be glorified. No strings attached. I had truly believed the lie that I had been serving solely for His glory, but in reality, I was serving to fulfill my purpose to be needed and give glory to my many accolades.

But by God’s grace, he lovingly humbled me and opened my eyes to see that my purpose was shallow in comparison to His purpose for my life. To simply live my life for His glory. It is all for His glory.