November 1, 2015
Hello everyone! Its been quite some time but here I am! Alive and safe. The last month of mission was incredible and incredibly busy. I did a mountain mission, a couple island missions, retreats in the mountains and helped with music for a retreat in Comayagua. Totally worth it. I am writing this blog to basically sum things up in Honduras. The mission was excellent. Such a blessing. June 2013-September 2015, but the mission continues now at home…HOWEVER. I havent told you all about my awesome experiences in the last month of being in Honduras so I will start there. And by awesome, sometimes I mean crazy or insane. (P.s. The pig is from an all boys orphanage. he was posing for the pic)
A Few Mosquitos
So we went to the mountains to do one day confirmation retreats. We were scheduled to go to three parishes in three days staying one night in each place. We made it around to each place. Success! But in one place, the house where we stayed had a few mosquitos and I didn’t have bug repellent. What a night. So we arrive at the house and the lady who lives there is sooooo kind. She had three beds set up for us in this one room. We go in and she says, ” There are a few mosquitos here so I apologize for that.” But we were like oh no worries…we deal with mosquitos all the time everywhere. But there were more than a few here. There were like 60. Now imagine one buzzing around your head. You wait trying to listen when it stops buzzing because you know it is probably biting you. There the buzzing never stopped. After like 40 minutes of starting to get ready for bed the lady came back and said, ” You should probably leave the light on so the mosquitos don’t bother you.” We tried that…it didn’t work. I slept for like one hour in my burning hot sleeping bag covering my whole body because I didn’t want bites. I couldn’t handle the heat. I stuck my head out and saw mosquitos hovering over Jose Alberto, another missionary up there with me. I killed a mosquito that was biting his hand on his hand! Then I decided to move. I laid on a bench that was a bit small for me but on the other side of the room. That didn’t work either. They followed me. So I moved to the tile floor. I slept there with my back on the cool floor and just said whatever. Eat me I don’t care. I woke up in the morning all good and went to take a shower. 100 mosquitos inside. So I just danced the whole time so they wouldn’t land on me. It worked.
So after all this you are probably wondering why the heck we didn’t have bug spray. We did. It was just in the car. The car that was two blocks away it front of the house where the girls were staying. It was 10:30pm. I gave the keys to the girls ” in case they needed something from the car.” Big mistake. But it was quite an experience. ( The pic is from one of the retreats we did)
Elderly Home in La Ceiba
So most the time whenever I would go to the cost I would visit an elderly home. This last time I was there I visited again and I just wanted to share a bit about this one lady. She is so funny. She has been there about 9 months because I saw her some months after I started going there. When I first met her she told me she had been there a month and started talking to me about how she sows and has a room in a different city and in the elderly home she is not allowed to do much. she also asked me where I live and I told her Comayagua and she goes, ” Ohhhh Comayagua, I’ve been there.” And she went on to tell me about some famous person that she is related to that she went to visit. Very nice lady. So time and time again I visited that same place and I would go to talk to this lady. Even up to the last time. And I promise you we had the same conversation six times. She always tells me she has been there a month and all about her Comayagua experience. Other people there were just so happy to see us. It was a blessing to visit them.
So we went from the mountains to the coast and then the coast to the island. So beautiful. It was so amazing to return back to the islands to see the same people I had worked with and visited before. The water is absolutely amazing and the people too. We even went in a boat to small island off the coast of the bigger islands where there were a bunch of houses and even a gradeschool. We watched as a group of young children from the Catholic Church taught all the island kids about Honesty with dances and songs and prizes. Such an awesome program that the Church was doing there in Honduras. It was a great experience. I will never forget being in church and looking out the window and seeing beautiful islands and the ocean water. Such peace.
Now back to the mountains again! But this time just to hang out. I had the opportunity to visit Mountanuelas another time. This town was one town where there were 300 families that were part of the church there and we did programs with 120 kids, 80 jovenes and about 200 adults. This town was on fire for Christ and I missed them so I went back. I only had about two or three days to spend because I had other missions to do but I made it happen. However it was quite difficult to get there. (The pic is with a family in Mountanuelas)
The day I was going to go visit them I didn’t have enough time to finish the music for mass during a huge youth retreat and still make the bus so I changed my plans to leave the next day.
The next day there was a strike and ALL the buses going that way were stopped like 15 minutes up the road. So I decided to pay for a taxi and I took three others with me, letting two of them pay only what they would have paid in the bus and I covered the rest. Then I got to another place and took another bus. Then I got to another place and a friend picked me up on his motorcycle and brought me up the bumpy hill to Mountanuelas. It was about 25 minutes on the motorcycle. BUT I made it. It was super fun hanging out and staying but I only was there for one night. Some kids wanted to do things so they came to the house where I was staying. I grabbed the guitar, we said some prayers and did some music with dances. They loved it. Me too. I will always have that town on my mind and in my heart.
Now life back in Comayagua was a bit crazy for the neighborhood. Some of the boys that always would come to our young guys group on Tuesdays were having problems with the new time they had to be in class. These families were very poor so a lot of the guys went to school from 6pm to 10pm so they could work during the day, After a few months, the school system changed and added another hour so they would be coming home from school at 11pm. Now my neighborhood is not the safest place at all. So a couple times within the same month, a few of the these kids got assaulted. They were threatened and robbed. There were four guys with guns and one with a machete and they took their backpacks and cell phones. Now that sucks. But what really was sad was that they took the backpacks that had their school books and workbooks so they couldn’t study. And they didn’t have money to buy more supplies. So some thought about dropping out or looking for a different school on the weekends. A few weeks later they were assaulted again by OTHER guys. That time they ran and one of the guys shot his gun a couple times, probably to try to scare them. The gun shots were right in my neighborhood. (The pic is of a family that I visited for two years every week. They already are greatly missed.)
It is a tough situation they have. They already are poor yet they even get the last things they own taken from them. But they ended up changing schools and are continuing. They also are happy because they started getting to go to the group again. But this has to be a reality check for us! WHAT ARE WE DOING WITH OUR LIVES? What are we doing to thank God for all the blessings he gives us? Most of us don’t struggle with hunger or safety or anything like what is happening in other countries but we complain about this or that. Is it worth it? We need to be thanking God and serving others that have it more difficult. We are sooooooooo soooooooo blessed to have the lives we do and to be in the situation that we are. Now I know we have our difficulties too, I am not saying that our lives are not hard, but they have these difficulties on top of the ones we have many times. Problems with their marriages or not being married at all, abuse, infidelity, etc. So let’s take a second and focus on what really matters…the love of Christ. The love of God that we can be to our neighbors anywhere in the world.
God is calling us to be different. The Church needs saints. The world needs people that go against social media even if it isn’t that “cool”. It is easier to just blend in. So why don’t we be different? I am different. Not just because of what I do but because I’m a little nuts haha. But I want to share the love because everyone can use a little more love in their life, especially from a stranger. So be encouraged. If you are in a tough situation, try to change it. Rely more on God and let him lead you instead of you leading you. And serve other more because through that we truly are filled and we end up getting served. ( The pic above is a wonderful family I visited for about a year. I started to visit them after the father was murdered)
This mission has taught me so much. I have grown spiritually, physically and mentally. I have become more aware of what it is like for other people where as before I just lived in my bubble in Anaheim Hills. Life is not all about just being a nice person. Its about being the best version of ourselves. Its about living a life of service, to our kids, to our family, to our neighbors, to those in most need and even to our enemies. That is what life is all about. That is what matter most. And Jesus Christ shows us the way to do. He gives us tons of examples of how to do it. And the saints too. WOOOOOO there are a ton of saints who were normal people just like you and me who did extraordinary things.
Now I don’t want to sound all preachy, even though everything I just wrote is preachy, but its to express the truth about what I experienced. You all have been following me many since day one. You have little these experiences with me. So don’t let it just be a good story that you heard. Let it change your life. We are in this together. And that is why I say, the mission continues. It didn’t end when I left Honduras. No no. It started there and now I’m just starting a new chapter here. Where we are all called to serve. In our own backyards.
THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU to all of you who supported me spiritually or financially during this time. This has been quite an adventure. I want to also thank the Missioners of Christ for having a place where individuals like myself can go to serve in such a radical way. If you all were not in Honduras I would never have gone there. I will miss you all dearly. You are my family.
So just as I usually end my posts, please pray for me because I need all the prayers I can get and remember that I will be praying for you. Hasta luego!!!!
My missionary family in Honduras
A couple pictures from the Island mission. Do you see the jelly fish???
In Honduras- I played music for retreats, preached the gospel visiting houses like the apostles did, prayed with families, drove all over Honduras, acted in dramas, visited families on a consistent basis, visited orphanages, helped with physical therapy, visited patients in the hospital, preached to people on the street, prayed for hours daily, went to daily mass, learned more about who Jesus is, grew closer to Jesus, put on programs for children/adults/youth in the mountains, put on programs on the islands, preached about Jesus on the beach, led youth groups on missions, raised $4500 for a guitar program and implemented it getting around 50 guitars out all around Honduras, attended baptisms, helped with confirmation retreats, visited the sick, visited the elderly, visited the imprisoned, made friendships that will last a lifetime, shared unforgettable experiences and I loved. What a beautiful two year three month mission.