I thought I would take a stab at expounding a bit on the current caravan of thousands of mostly Hondurans walking to the US.
Depending on what news outlet you use, you will get some different views on the motivations behind the individuals making up this caravan.
Often mentioned is gang violence and the general poverty (some outlets report 60% poverty), which is true, and unfortunately, nothing new. This story is in the news cycle now because of the size of the group, but the number of people trying to leave difficult circumstances (in Honduras and in many other countries) to get to a promised land of opportunity has been going on long before I have been living in Honduras.
When you are from the USA living in Honduras, conversations in Honduras will at some point turn to life in the USA, quite often a person's experience with either living in the USA or trying to get there. When you are in the USA, it is very difficult to understand the risks for those that make this journey, not just from "close by" Central America, but from around the world...which also includes many walking through Honduras from South America or even Africa. The risks are huge and certainly real: death, dismemberment (riding La Bestia train and falling off), getting caught up in sex trafficking, rape, robbery, dehydration trying to cross deserts, and more, but not the least of which is getting caught and sent back.
But just facing those risks (as well as the financial cost to get there which is huge) gives you a tiny glimpse into the challenges of daily life for so many in Honduras.
Is there some co-opting of this situation for political reasons? Sure. What else is new? But to think that is the reason behind all this is short sighted.
One of the main sources of income for the country is money sent back from those living/working abroad. The word for that is remittance. I only know it because of how common it is there. If you can get to the USA, the likelihood that you will be able to work, be safe, and have enough money to send some back to support your family is the dream that most find. But it can be difficult because the pressure to provide and sacrifices an immigrant makes are often huge.
I chose the picture above (from a joint service in Cantarranas) because it shows a good representation of some Hondurans that have made the journey, and some of those that currently are, whether or not they are in that caravan. There are big issues here, but when you focus in, you see real people.
From a legality/moral point of view, I certainly do not have any answers to all of this. It is a complex situation, the roots of which I struggle to understand through the lens of history and the factors that have added up to get us to this point over a period of 50 or even 100 years. Big factors and a mountain of little ones, and not all the burden lies on Honduras or countries like it either.
Just this past month, someone that used to work for the mission made it to the border, went through the month long process of interviews and time in front of a judge there (they turned themselves in on purpose at the border), and is now living legally in the Northeast and immediately working 30 hours a week, awaiting more appointments before a judge in the next year.
Bottom line: We pray for so many in so many countries that feel forced to leave everything they know to travel so far to try to make a life for themselves and their family. It can help, it can hurt, but it is always hard, even in the best of circumstances. We also pray that as a mission we could be a small piece in helping Honduras.
I remember a bit from Saturday Night Live from many years ago. Someone answers the phone at a sorority saying "Delta Delta Delta, can I help ya help ya help ya?"
Sometimes talking about the work of the Milk Project can be difficult in terms of just the messiness of life. The same could be said for Church work as well sometimes.
I won't post any pictures or mention any names, but just recently there has been situations that can be hard to process...
1. A young man leaving the project because his father realized he is old enough to work full time and needed the extra help. (He is 13)
2. Another young man running away from home to the Milk project director's house.
3. Siblings in the project who behave well when with us, but having major obedience issues at home with parents that are not there because of trying to find work from very early to very late in the day.
These are just three of many such situations going on every day.
There is a delta, or triangle, represented in what we try to do, three sides that ideally work together, being the parents/guardians, the children, and the Milk Project.
As parents, children, or people trying to help others including parents and children...how can we best help? That is our continual challenge. And helping not just in a physical sense, not just in trying to help familial relationships, or any of the other many ways we try through education, sewing, medical, etc. but also helping others spiritually find The Way.
There are plans, prayer, and ideas. They are most definitely needed. But they only work when lived out, and that means some great highs, and great lows. Working with people is messy, not easy, and not always easy to measure success.
Whether working with now over 100 children in two different locations, or just your own children, family, neighbors, or co-workers...it is a calling for all of us, to each other, to be there to help ya.
Things aren't always what they seem, or even all what they are sometimes. The title for today's post comes from a practice phrase I was given trying to learn another language. Upon reading it, I was sure it meant something deeper. Search as I might...I think it is just a practice phrase for learning. But I like it nonetheless. Sometimes things that seem small might be big, and vice versa. I am speaking metaphorically, as usual, of course.
Talk about culture shock. People still ask how we are doing adjusting to the US. (Thanks for asking by the way if you were one of those people!) To be honest, I don't really think about it that often, we stay pretty busy and so I don't have a lot of down time to dwell on it, and I am also not quite sure how to answer the question.
But yesterday trying to get ready for school, Soren came upon a new (to him) type of milk jug, and when he tried to open it and came upon the pull tab instead of a screw lid...he lost it. Temporarily of course, but it was just a brief insight into the fact that although well adjusted...sometimes that bee can jump up out of the water and make a big splash. At that point, nothing made sense here, everything was weird or different, and it just was a brief melt down about a milk jug.
Sometimes I am not sure how to respond I guess just because things ultimately are just different. I can get used to things either way, but then...I am different as well. Cecilia wishes we had a Ford truck here in the US. Nonsense I say, in my US mindset, thinking that although they are popular, we certainly don't need one. And then, in my Honduras mind, I recognize why she thinks they are awesome and how cool it is to have one. There are many such things that are different, or different about myself being in one place or another. That can be...hard sometimes.
As you can see from the picture, Cecilia is still clearly identifying Honduran (that is the flag being painted on her face) but also very much adapting to living here, and likes especially that she can drive and have a job. Independence that isn't possible in Honduras, at least not for a while.
Negatives? Sure, there are some, but that is life everywhere really, why dwell on them? I will admit to noticing from time to time when I talk with the kids in Spanish in public, which we know probably seems a bit odd to some people but we enjoy, I can sometimes seemingly pick up a negative vibe from others, although no one has said anything straight to our face. Doesn't seem to stop us though, imagine that.
There will be some more adjusting to be sure, and hopefully reflection and growth. That is the idea at any rate, and hopefully making more Kingdom connections for the mission while we are here.
The picture below is something Cecilia made in Honduras, showing ties to family in Indiana. And then she added a caption to it when we got to the US and she hung it up right near the main door to house.
Ultimately it speaks to me in a big way, and also buzzes in my ear.
In September, while Dr. Darwin was in the US, we had occasion to tour the FAME (www.fameworld.org) warehouse again, looking at what they already have on hand that we could use in Honduras at the clinic for a year, or more, depending on whether supplies or equipment. For us, it was a little like Christmas shopping when you were a kid.
So, working with FAME, we are now looking to send a container full of supplies in the spring of 2019!
This is where you come in!
Although FAME has access to so many resources that we need, what they don't have, and what we also need to put on the container is the following:
1. Medicines (ibuprofen, acetaminophen, non-gummy children's vitamins, adult vitamins, prenatal vitamins)
2. Creams (anti fungal, anti itch, antibiotic)
3. Soaps, sanitizing gels
4. Hygiene items (travel sized shampoos, soaps, lotions)
You can help us fill this container! FAME has limited to no access to these types of items that we use absolutely every day in the clinic, and to some extent especially for the hygiene items, in rural areas when we go with groups.
From their warehouse, we will be able to fill quite a bit of the container's space, but there will still be plenty of room for sure for as many of these supplies as we can gather, especially since they can all be squeezed in and around other bigger items and such.
***The key for medicines and creams is that the expiration date needs to be at least June 2019, but the later the better for us to stretch the use of everything as long as possible.***
We have several months to prepare You can email, text, messenger, smoke signal or otherwise get in touch with us about how to get these items to FAME, or how we can pick them up for you and thank you in person, and then get them to FAME in time as well.
You can also donate funds to the ministry if you like, and we will scour and find the best prices to buy these things in bulk and put as much of them on the container as possible! You can do that here
This type of container we have done before, and they have been huge for moving the clinic, and work overall, forward. We are looking to be as strategic as possible with this container, to take advantage of FAME's huge offer of shipping this container, and getting as many things we need on it as possible. We don't want to waste any space if possible.
Please help us spread the word...everyone can help out on this, from one bottle of ibuprofen, to a case, to a pallet!
Also, if you know of good used or new equipment that you think the clinic or general mission could use, please let us know that as well. And pray...for how all of this will come together and be used to glorify God!
Hey, I'll admit it, I could really use your help!
We are looking for members of the group we are taking as a family to Honduras December 29th through January 5th. Have you been before and want to go back? Know someone that you think would be good to go? Think you should go but are scared?
Now is the time! This really will be a very cool, unique group. This time of year is perfect for a unique visit and some special treats. How about an entire town doing fireworks all within a twenty minute span and you get to see it all? How about special day events with the Milk Project kids off site? How about getting to see everyone from the mission together at once for a special Christmas party? All this and more...it really should be a great trip.
But we need more group members to pull off everything we are hoping to do! You can click here for more details, and always just write us to talk through it as well.
Also, part of our adventure serving in the US for these many months is finding ways to connect new partners to the mission, both Churches and individuals. Not just financial partners, although that is part of it, but prayer partners, and more groups throughout the rest of the year like we are doing in December. We need your help to make those connections...either with your Church, talking with us about maybe signing up to be a partner yourself, or even helping us by inviting us and hosting a one time fundraiser with your friends/family/life group?
We have been keeping busy this first month in the US, acclimating, and doing some visits already, but we have to keep striving to do more to get where we have the vision for the mission going, and we most certainly cannot do that alone. It is amazing how much God is doing in Honduras and so much of that through what He is doing in the USA, and we thank Him and you for that. Keep praying, there is still lots going on in Honduras in the mission and we will update more about that next month, but the work continues and almost busts at the seams sometimes for sure!
If you want to sign up to receive these blog posts in your email inbox, email us here and we will add you to the list!