When I was first presented with the opportunity to go to Roatán, I was hesitant. I wasn’t sure what to expect and it was intimidating being an outsider in such a close group. I prayed over the situation a lot. Once I agreed to go, I went to the talent show that the church held as a fundraiser. From the instant I walked in the door, I had the overwhelming peace that I had made the right decision. Everyone was so welcoming and all of my hesitation was gone.
I had the opportunity to work at the Clinic Esperanza, where I spent the week loving on some really great kids. As someone who intends to spend the rest of their life working with children, I loved every second of it. I think that those children taught me more than I ever could have taught them.
Most of the children at the clinic were sick and had been waiting to see the doctor for quite a while. They were so patient and I genuinely don’t think that I would have been had I been in their place. I am in a season of life where I am constantly on the go and I often find myself in a state of frustration when I have to wait on something. We live in a society that is all about instant gratification. We want what we want when we want it. But these children reminded me the importance of slowing down and being thankful for what we do have. So many things that I see as a chore, they see as a privilege. The pastor at my home church gave a sermon on a similar topic a few years ago. You don’t have to; you get to. It has always stuck with me, but the people of Roatán lived it out. Those children lived it out.
I also went with a group to a church in La Colonia, where we did VBS for the kids that lived there. The church was on a hillside and it was a tiring walk, but the people of the community did not let that prevent them from going to church. When we arrived at the church, the concrete room had quite a bit of water on the floor. Before we could even react, the children were cleaning it up and setting up chairs so that we could begin VBS. These people had a desire for the Word of God that I so often pray for. I am so much more aware how much I take for granted. I go to a nice church with more than one room, with video screens, with a worship team, and with so many other things that I fail to take notice of because I’m just so accustomed to them. I have not just one but three Bibles, not to mention access to it on my phone anywhere that I go. Yet I do not spend nearly enough time digging into the Word as I should.
As we traveled around the island, we were all stunned by the state of the roads and of the homes. We were also enamored by the way that they did not waste anything. There were stairs made out of old tires and murals made from plastic bottle caps. Things that we would ordinarily toss aside were things treasured by them. On our way to Corozal and Hottings Sparrow, we drove past the dump. You could smell it before you see it. On top of the piles of trash stood people, just like you and me. This dump is their home. It is an image that will never leave my mind. I spent a lot of time questioning why I get to live in such a nice home with such nice things, while they are living on a mound of trash. Through this questioning I realized that it isn’t what we have or how much we have that matters. Its what we do with it. We were blessed so that we could bless others, and these people remind me of that each time that I think of them.
Far too often I forget that happiness is an emotion. Joy, however, is a state of being. I find myself seeking joy in material possessions and in people. I am met with happiness, which is fleeting. The people of Roatán have so little, but they are so full of joy! They have reminded me that my joy is rooted in Christ. No matter what season of life I am in, I can be joyful because God is with me. That will never change and that will never fade.
I took a step out in faith and God showed up in mighty ways. This experience is something that I think of daily and that has changed the way that I live my life. Roatán is written on my heart. When I came home, somebody asked me, “So, where do you go from here?”
I’m not sure what exactly they meant by this question, but it is something that I consider often.
Honestly, I’m not sure where I am going. I do know that wherever I go, I’m not going alone. God goes before me. Wherever I go, He is with me. But when I think about this question, this is my response:
The question is not “Where do I go,” but rather “Where do we go?” Church, we are one body. We are called to serve. We are called to love. We are called to share the gospel. Not everyone is going to go to another country, but that does not mean that missions are not for them. We could not have gone to Roatán without the people that supported us financially and those that prayed for us continually.
Something the Church so often overlooks is what is right in front of us. There are people in our own backyards that have never heard the gospel. Our lives are a mission field. How many opportunities have we missed to share the gospel because we were just too caught up in our own world? Think of all of the unreached people that we come into contact with everyday. The coworker you eat lunch with. The girl who sits next to you in class. The neighbor you wave to as you drive by. What is stopping us from sharing the gospel with them?
So, where do we go from here? Church, we go everywhere. We go everyday. And we tell everyone.
"I have leaned that I will not change the world. Jesus will do that. I can, however, change the world for one person and if that one person sees the love of Christ in me, it is worth every minute.” -Anonymous