Student Blog: Social Work Students Minister in Honduras
You know those moments when you’re just at a loss for words because of how great our God is? That’s how I felt after my trip to Honduras.
I was sitting in one of my social work classes this past fall as my professor began to explain an opportunity to travel to Honduras in February 2016. The main focus of the trip would be to minister to girls who had been sold into trafficking, some of which became pregnant as a result. I immediately knew this was something I wanted to be a part of. The spots were limited, so I signed up as soon as I could.
My team of about 19 other students and professors from Southeastern’s social work program departed for our trip from Tampa to Miami, and then from Miami to San Pedro Sula, Honduras. I’m going to be completely honest with you — I had no idea what to expect when we arrived. Our trip was much different than any other mission trip I had been on before. It wasn’t focused on a set schedule but rather on the opportunity that we had laying right before us.You know those moments when you’re just at a loss for words because of how great our God is? That’s how I felt after my trip to Honduras.
The first day involved going to two different schools, one that was a private school and one that was considered a public school in a poverty-stricken area. The two were complete polar opposites, BUT the kids’ hearts at both schools were full of love and completely open to a group of Americans just simply wanting to play games and do crafts with them. For me, there was a language barrier that challenged me the first 24 hours I was in Honduras. Everyone spoke Spanish, and I only knew about five basic words and how to count to 10. Nothing impressive. I hadn’t even thought of this being a problem until I arrived there, but the girls at the home where we stayed didn’t care at all. We would just smile at each other, point to things, and a meaningful conversation was had.
I played Bingo about 20 times while we were there because that was their favorite game, I had a soccer ball hit me in the forehead, I tried new food, and I experienced the bumpiest bus rides of my life … but it was worth it. The second day involved a spa day for the girls. We did their hair, painted their nails, gave them facials and just had a relaxing day. On Sunday, we went to their church, and it was so great. Everything was in Spanish, but the presence of the Lord was still so evident in every aspect of the service.Everything was in Spanish, but the presence of the Lord was still so evident in every aspect of the service.
There was one girl there who I connected with, and her story is incredible. She is 13 years old and has a 3-year-old daughter, meaning she was 10 years old when she gave birth. Sounds crazy? That’s the typical story for most girls there, and that’s what made them so much more special. When you look into the faces of these girls, you would never guess that any of them have a child or that any of them had been sold into trafficking for who knows what reason. I realized that sometimes we think it is important to know the story behind everyone, but in reality, we just need to smile and show the joy of the Lord in our words and actions. I could never imagine being in the shoes of those girls, but that just means their story is meant for them and is going to impact so many more people in years to come.
I say all of this to challenge you to show love to all. Show the love that God so graciously gives to us every day to the least of those around you, to the parents who just lost a child, to the peer who is struggling with depression and anxiety and to your professors or pastors who pour out their time and energy to you on a daily basis — because I know that if those girls who experienced things I could never even imagine or grasp are able to sing praises every day to the same God who loves me, then why can’t I do the same here in the comforts of America?