A Letter from the Mission Field (28 March 2012)
I am making great progress in the study of Spanish, thanks to the tireless, patient efforts of my teachers at the Ixbalanque School. In addition, I have become involved with the local church, offering my design services, as needed. I have provided several sketches for the Holy Trinity Church in La Ceiba (on the north coast) and construction plans for the Church of the Holy Spirit's parish hall in Santa Rita (a few miles from Copan). Furthermore, I have a request for a schematic design of another evangelical church in Santa Rita.
Beyond architecture, I feel called to reach out to the very poor. However, because of the overwhelming and unyielding needs here, it is hard to know where to begin.
On the edges of life, I have seen great hardship.
The other day, I saw a man, without legs, drag himself through the streets by his arms. He had strapped tire treads to the trunk of his body to protect himself against the concrete and the cobble stones of the street. On another occasion, I passed a man with a cleft palate. He obviously had no access to medical treatment. When I was in Guatemala, a woman begged for help from a cheap, plastic chair. (She could not even afford a wheel chair or crutches). She told me that a snake had bitten her foot a few years ago. By the time she had received medical attention, she could not walk.
What response can one make to all this suffering?
Sometimes, the misery is overwhelming.
Guest of the
Church of the Holy Spirit
in Santa Rita
As I try to find my way, I have learned to listen to the Spirit for discernment. As a need presents itself to me, I do as as I can, both in prayer and action.
I also remember the advice of St. Benedict, "Put the love of Christ before all else and never turn away anyone who needs your love."
Recently, as I was measuring the parish hall of the Church of the Holy Spirit for a renovation in Santa Rita, I learned that the church was sheltering two homeless people. They were living in a make-shift home, on the construction site, behind the church building.
According to Don Concepción Santos, the lay leader of the church, they had lost their homes and had no place to live, nor family to receive them. (In Honduras, government resources for the homeless are minimal, unlike the U.S.) Therefore, out of concern for their plight, the church allowed them to remain behind the building, providing from its meager income the assistance that it could afford.
|Make-shift Living Room|
I was very moved by the charity of this poor church. I inquired, if there were any further needs. DonConcepción told me that they were without beds. They had only one mattress, which was so filthy that it was a health hazard. So, for only $60, I added to the church's generosity and bought them two beds, mattresses and bed clothing.
The needs of the church's two guests still remain great. However, this summer a brigade of short-term volunteers are coming from the U.S. to work on the parish hall and to improve their living conditions even further.
Please keep them in your prayers. Their names are Ignacio and Reina.
Also, pray that they can find work and begin to make their way in world again.
Peace and goodness,