I found out this morning that I will be returning to Honduras in the Spring of 2013 with the MTMO mission trip.
It is a remarkable country.
We often create this notion that people in third world countries are all kind and loving, sweet people. That they were born into an unfair life of poverty and did nothing to deserve it. They speak another language, and since we cannot directly communicate with them, we think for some reason that they are incapable of doing wrong. They're poor and pathetic and we want to save them.
But that perspective is so inaccurate.
I've been to Honduras three times, and as I found out today, will be returning this coming year. I hadn't planned on going because I was supposed to be off at school. But my life took a different path, and now the team leaders have worked out a way for me to go. I was overjoyed when I found out.
I remember having this idealistic view of the people the first time I went. But it was only in the years to come that I realized their humanity was no different than mine. They not only have the capacity to lie, steal, take advantage, and generally wrong others, but they do. They also have the capacity to love, thank, help, honor, and serve others, and they do. They are not different from me because they speak another language, wear tattered clothes, and live on dirt floors. And they don't feel different. They are humans, as I am human. The only thing separating us is the economical differences in our lifestyle. But they don't know any other life than what they live, and so they are often content.
In saying all of this, my purpose is not to point out how wretched they are (though all of us can be wretched). In fact, it was only after I learned to see these people as I see myself that I loved them more and cared more to help them. I don't think anyone on Earth has God figured out, and I don't trust anyone to tell me what to believe; but I know that none of us deserve what good we have in our lives, yet we are given good things and allowed to experience moments of injustice for the sake of mercy and grace. The people in Honduras do not innately deserve what we give them -- clothes, medical care, water treatment, etc. -- but neither do I deserve the clothes in my closet, the health care I'm provided with, or the food sitting in my fridge. And being able to recognize the undeserving nature of human beings gives me more joy in being able to help those people. Like I said, I've not got all my beliefs figured out, but traveling to Honduras has been one of the most eye-opening experiences of my life. I can't wait to return this January...