Let me tell you a little bit of back story before this new story starts. Straight out of high school, I wasn’t sure what God wanted me to do.. in fact, this was one of the most stressful times in my life because I was supposed to have it all down by now: A plan, a Major, and I still didn’t even know what I wanted to do ‘when I grow up’.
What I did know, was that I loved to travel, and I knew the Great Commission. Go into all the world and preach the gospel. So, just a week after graduation, I found myself on a plane to Central America. I joined a missionary organization there called Youth With a Mission (YWAM) with other young people my age, and went through several weeks of vigorous training, both practical and spiritual. From there, there was no stopping us. We would jump on the bus with bagged lunches and walk downtown Panama City, Panama, feeding the poor and sitting to pray with them in our halting Spanish. We built a house in the poorest of the poor neighborhood in Nicaragua and pushed a man’s truck out of the sewer-contaminated river when he tried to cross because the bridge had collapsed. We played futbol with orphans in the street with no future, and told them there was Hope beyond their circumstance, and that his name was Jesus and he cared about them very much.
It was a life-changing time. I came back to the states suddenly finding myself in my twenties and without the same sense of purpose I’d had overseas. I went to school, wasted a lot of time, and still continued to find that one thing I was meant to do.
Ten years later, I got a chance to do it again.
San Pedro Sula, Honduras isn’t an exciting, exotic place. It’s dirty, tourists avoid it like the plague, and an otherworldly darkness saturates the land. I went in with a team of young adults from my church with one goal: To share God’s love with the people, concentrating on the city’s prevalent orphan population. I’ve heard statistics saying that over half of the country’s population is under the age of 18; go anywhere there and it’s not hard to believe.
Most of them are fatherless. Many have been abandoned, sold, caught into the human trafficking/sex trade industry, and have been hardened for it. But they were all accepting of love. They soaked it up like water in a desert.
During our time there, we were able to go into a children’s hospital and talk and pray with the families there. We were invited into a high school/trade school and saw God just open their hearts up to us as we shared what God had done in our lives. We spent time with the children in orphanages, many special needs, simply loving on them and trying to bring light into their world. We saw what one small church in a village called El Plan is doing to make a difference in their community, giving of themselves sacrificially so the poorest children in their community have a place to come, be educated, and have a nourishing meal. We talked to young boys on the street after dark, who had been pushed out of the orphanages when they ‘came of age’ at 12 years old. They huffed glue as we talked to them, their eyes dark and haunted. We talked to young girls that had been raped and sold, and heard their rumored fears that outside their windows lurked a man waiting to rape them again who had AIDS.
This place both broke and blessed our hearts, and I know I’ll never be the same from it. Now, we’re going back this July. We’ve seen the need, and our focus has narrowed. We’ll be spending more time in support of the school in El Plan, and have another chance to visit the orphanages. We know we’re in for another crazy ride, and I can’t wait.
In order for this to happen again, it takes money. Last year, I raised enough money to pay for the trip and to make a nice donation to the work happening in El Plan, mostly in part to my amazingly awesome clients who saw the chance to sow into something great. Last year you helped me raise over $1500. This year, I’m going to do the same thing as last: Every dollar from portrait sessions booked from now until the trip in July will go directly towards funding the trip, any extra funds going to the village of El Plan. 10% of all weddings and all money made from tips will also go towards this fund. If you don’t need family photos for yourself, buy a session as a gift. Or, if you’d like to just donate, click the paypal link at the bottom of this post. If you give a gift of $100 or more, I’ll send you a signed 8×10 photo, your subject of choice.
If you can’t donate, please pray for the children of Honduras, and spread the word about this trip so others can too. Please take a moment to enjoy the photos from last year’s trip.