If I started typing at the beginning…there would be no end. It is true, but even still you all deserve some introduction to the girl who feels like this is only the beginning of a story that will unfold in the years ahead in Central America. The real beginning began before I realized I wanted to be a missionary. It began in the hills of Vermont where I made mud pies with my siblings, threw said mud pies, and hosed off the mud patties from our bodies in obedience to Mother’s insistence. This passion for mission began playing church, singing to Jesus in the woods, and crying over the deer I had just shot before gutting it. The desire to serve rose from childhood to my now twenty years of life. My passion and desire rose like a well filling with water. That passion, fostered from childhood, finally flooded my heart and spilled over into Central America just a few short weeks ago. La chica con los zapatos rojos landed on her feet once again. This time she landed in Honduras.
Big hands looking big picture…pre-Honduras meeting
The plane hit the runway and engines fired up from all sides. Intense change in velocity reminded me how fast we had traveled from Eastern Time to Honduran. From Miami to Tegucigalpa. After the plane stopped everyone started cheering and clapping. The commotion beckoned my curiosity. Peering outside my window I realized just how close we landed to the edge of the runway. Ten more feet and we would be yet another statistic supporting the claim that Tegucigalpa not only has the highest murder rate per capita, but that it also has the world’s most treacherous airport upon which to land 600 km per hour vessels of flight. Nonetheless, our pilot did marvelously.
awaiting customs inspection
Made it through customs…no problemo
Predisan staff greeted us warmly with a great big sign and hugs for everyone. We dragged our luggage to the waiting land rover and bus for loading. I reached to lift my 45-pound suitcase and received a look from one of the Honduran staff that said, “I got this.” I stepped back, smiled in thanks, and boarded the bus for the journey to Catacamas. Though we had landed, I had no idea the hours of travel before us as we left Tegucigalpa to travel to our hotel in Catacamas.
Bus trip and the traveling continues
I think back to that bus ride and realize how much that time together in close quarters mattered to overall team unity. While laughter and conversation bubbled up around me, I asked Pastor Chris’s sister Ms. Lauren to share her story. In that moment, God began to show me His constant desire to redeem. Her testimony revealed that theme. On that bus, we braided hair. We shared neck pillows. We told stories. Shared pictures. And created ties that would hold us up when we felt like falling down. At last we reached La Plaza María, unloaded, unzipped, refreshed, and brought together our items for the blessing bags. Digging through my suitcase, I pulled out my toothpastes remembering the kind donation and support from back home. Together, we would put together 150 blessing to give to the children in Las Flores and San Antonio. Cristian, a little boy whose father either owned or managed the hotel, willingly helped us make the bags. When Señor Poortenga started strumming his guitar, however, Cristian lost all desire for the bags, and clutching his sheet of stickers that we had given him, started singing with Señor. I tasted a little bit of pre-dinner worship before experiencing our first Honduran meal of (can you guess?) … beans, rice, and plantains. I loved the taste of it all—the Spanish phrases rolling off my tongue and the refried beans going down my throat.
Finding the rhythm for creating the blessing bags
Worship, Bible study, and prayer followed dinner. Pastor Chris talked about what giving and receiving looks like in service. “We, as a group…as a team,” he said, “were called together from all walks of life to this point in time. As a group, we must think like a group and hence work like a group.” One word stuck out to me. COMMUNICATION. I felt convicted over the many times I had failed to communicate with my own team back home—team Bassette. My homecoming after my freshman year of college could have been much easier had I communicated and gone the extra mile to make sure my plans fit into the family’s busy schedule. It meant I probably would have had to sacrifice some things, such as “limiting my autonomy for the benefit of the group…” Little did I know that God was convicting me to be the missionary at home that I desired to be in Honduras. When I would leave in a few short weeks, God would test me in church, at Grandma’s, at school, and with my siblings etc.
Cristian (center white shirt) looking quite pleased
As individual team member of TPS, Pastor Chris further pressed that “we as individuals are not THE team.” There is always someone so much bigger than I. We are part of God’s team. Each of us had to ask ourselves, “Is it what I have done…or what Christ has done?” “Is it what I will do…or what Christ is doing?” It became very clear that we can only serve purely when we are overflowing with Christ’s goodness.
We are fragile jars of clay as 2 Corinthians 4:7 says–jars that contain precious treasures (God’s glory in us). In that moment seated in a cool room, with glass doors to keep the bugs out, and tiled floors to lie on, I felt rested, strong, capable, and ready. God’s word reminded me the dangers of relying on my own strength. What I held to in strength, I would soon lack after a few days of work without Christ as my well-spring. In less than ten hours, I was headed into those flooded mountains where the little quebradas swell daily from the afternoon rains. With the pains of swelling waters, the wells filled and the livestock drank. On afternoons when we traveled back to base camp quickly because of the rising waters, I hung my head outside the land rover and looked to heaven. I let the rain slap my face clean from the sweaty days in the village.
On those weary days, I remembered God’s words. On those days when indeed my body failed me, the Lord renewed me from the inside out with water, sweat, and tears. Bumping along the dirt roads, my face rested on my arms as the afternoon rains came pouring down. Water fell from the heavens, water rose up from the earth, tears spilled from my eyes, sweat streamed from my neck. Never before this time had I felt so alive nor so in tune with my calling. Since that moment, I have eagerly accepted that I truly am an unfinished clay pot. The Potter is molding, shaping, smoothing, and spinning me to test me in the flames of the furnace. Though I feel my heart is breaking, I pray I am overflowing with His goodness. When the sun comes out, I become firm again, maybe stronger and more equipped than if the heavy rains had never come to try to melt my unfinished, unbaked, body. That is the never-ending road to sanctification, my friends. Thank God for water, thank God for sun, thank God for “team” when life seems undone.