One week in Grace Honduras changed it all...
Dear friends, This July I had an unforgettable opportunity to visit San Pedro Sula, Honduras and spend a week with Pastor Jeony and Katherine, founders of Grace Honduras. My heart melted and was broken to pieces hearing about and seeing the children living their lives; I don’t even know how to begin my sharing. During my stay, I heard many stories of injustice and suffering among the families who live here in the trash dump community. The people, especially the children, need our help! They need our voices, our love, our support! After seeing it all with my own eyes, I believe it would be wrong --even cruel – if I did not speak up and share stories with all of you.
Let us support by praying for the ministry and/or generous financial support, which is greatly needed and appreciated! Honduras has a poverty rate of over 60%, with 42% who are extremely poor. There are thousands of families who live in the dump neighborhood, working 12+ hours a day not even knowing what to eat for their next meal. Working under hot temperatures, many don’t even have means to buy water or food. Normally they find whatever they can from the dump, and if they are lucky they take it home to share with others…. Due to having little or no health education, it is common to have single parents raising multiple children. I met 2 families in which there were 9 siblings living under one roof, with no electricity, no water source, no bathroom, and 2 filthy beds to put their head on. If you are wondering how much they earn, well they need to collect 200 pounds of recycled materials and sell it to gang members to earn at most a $5 USD equivalent. Due to the extreme hunger children face, fainting and hair loss is not unusual.
One afternoon, we went to do a few home visits. During the first visit, a girl and her siblings were peeling off a cucumber with a dirty knife. At first I thought it was a snack, but Pastor Jeony told me it was their usual meal: cucumbers that they found in the dump. They might eat a cucumber for breakfast, a cucumber for lunch, and a cucumber for dinner.
I was so broken-hearted. There is no such thing as KFC or Pollo Loco in their minds, while people in other parts of the world waste so much food! In addition, children often suffer from parasites and skin infections due to poor hygiene. Families usually share the same pail of water for bathing, and the children are the ones to carry it over from another location far away. Here we take water, electricity and food for granted, but there they have nothing!
Grace Honduras School was created with the purpose of bringing hope and love to the children who live in the garbage dump neighborhood, whose parents literally work in the dump. Over the past 2 years God has blessed this school immensely, as it grew from a few students to now over 95 precious faces. Since it is located right in front of the dump, garbage trucks pass by it multiple times daily to enter the dump yard. If the school had not existed, most of, if not all the students, would never have had an opportunity to learn to read or write in their life. Last year they held a graduation which was a huge success! The students are found depressed and extremely malnourished, but in the school, they hear about Jesus and receive His love, get 2 meals a day, and receive education from loving teachers. However, along the path to success, children need sponsors. If you are interested in sponsoring a child with only $36 a month, you are investing in a life! Please click here: Sponsor a child!
For the past 6 months, there is a cook who volunteers her time to make breakfast and lunch for the nearly 100 children. It is a prayer request that this sister will receive a salary soon, but she is serving in faith because of her love for God and the children. There are also 3 teachers bringing the children up in God’s love and guidance, but only two receive a salary. Funds are also needed to provide books, pencils, crayons, notebooks for the growing number of students enrolled. These students, many who come bare-footed and with dirty clothes on, touch my heart with their precious smiles. They have nothing, yet they give me what money can’t buy. The first day I was introduced to the kids, I remember a girl who did not speak one word out of her mouth and I wondered if she was mute. She was just shy because she had never met someone of another ethnicity before. Later that same morning she refused to let go of me. She asked me to write my name on the board, then she wrote her name, and drew a heart around our names.
She looked at me in the eye, smiled and hugged me. Her name is Gabriella and she is so intelligent, she has been learning English numbers and now even wanted to learn Chinese! I was in awe of her motivation.
Sara Jimena, age 6, was waiting for me with the cutest smile when I arrived the next morning. She whispered in my ear in Spanish, “Come to my house”. This little girl, who has never seen a foreign face in her life, just asked me to go to her house that same day. She crushed my heart
with her love and hospitality. My visit meant a lot to her, she was full of joy and started her run up the slippery hill to her place as we arrived. We walked slowly and cautiously while her and her siblings sprinted up with flip flops, we were welcomed by her 13-year-old brother who had quit school to work in the dump with his parents. He was staying to care for his 2 sisters of 1 and 3 years old, who were half-naked and eating poorly cooked rice.
This is one of the families where a single mom lives with 8 children with another on the way. Consider the possibilities of getting sick due to foodborne illness or malnutrition. As a single p