Every great adventure needs an element of danger, right? Well today we got it (unless you’re the parent of one of our younger team members or someone who may want to travel with us here to La Ceiba at some point in the future. Then, uhhhh…I’m just making all this up).
The day started simply. Sundays are slow in Honduras, so the plan was to use our free hours in preparation for the intensity of the rest of the week. We rehearsed for our programs with the kids, sorted all our supplies, and prepped the crafts. Then we headed out for an early dinner and a trip to a Honduran church service at one of our partner locations.
The sun sets early here in Honduras, but as the warm rays disappeared over the mountains, we noticed it seemed even darker than usual. The electricity was out. And not just for our area of the city, but for the entire country of Honduras.
All of Honduras was pitch black.
This became clearer and clearer as we neared the church in a primitive, poverty stricken slum on the outskirts of the city. Rick Mitchell, the Mission of Mercy VP travelling with us, expressed his growing concern. It was too dangerous for us to stay very long in this darkness. A bus full of Americans in these conditions was simply asking for trouble.
We decided to exit briefly with a small number of the team to greet the pastor and packed house waiting for us in the blackness of this one room, dirt-floor church. The faces of the children glowed brighter than flickering candles. The singing, cheering, and clapping nearly drowned out the darkness. It was a moment.
A rock from an angry neighbor crashed against the tin roof of the church reverberating like a shotgun. The entire room jumped at the sound. But the singing never stopped. Almost as if they expected it.
We did not. Time to go.
We quickly greeted the beautiful faces hidden in the dark, hot room and then headed for the bus. “Hasta martes. Nos vemos en martes.” (we’ll see you on Tuesday).
Then somehow, in the rush of people, two of our team members accidentally ran into their sponsored child! Little Anna Sanchez appeared out of the masses of people to shyly embrace the Browns. As we grabbed for cameras to capture the moment, the pastor suddenly and emphatically insisted, “es hora de irse.” (it’s time for you to go). They quickly pushed us onto the bus and our driver, a native Honduran, hit the gas like the Dukes of Hazzard outrunning Rosco P. Coltrane.
We’re still not sure exactly what went down, but in these blackout conditions, poverty-stricken areas already more prone to crime, can become very dangerous. Word spreads fast and there’s no doubt the pastor of this beautiful little church was feeling a spiritual darkness moving in among the physical.
We’re all back safely in our hotel and the power has returned to Honduras. Thankful for the Mission of Mercy leaders who work so diligently for our safety. But then again, who said the Kingdom of God was safe?
Bienvenidos a Honduras.