THE WAY I SEE IT....THOUGHTS FROM JOHN FULLERTON ON LIVING THE WAY OF JESUS

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

On the Streets of San Francisco

My morning team out in front of the YWAM base camp
This morning they let us sleep in. Mercifully. We all slept like rocks. The other teams went to go on a "homeless plunge" where after a night of sleeping on the floor at base camp, they go wander the streets for half a day and have their meals at homeless feeding places like San Francisco's version of Clearwater's Homeless Emergency Project (HEP). The leader's said that our trip here was not far off from the homeless experience so we would do something else.

We went on a scavenger hunt. The point was to be on the streets interacting with and praying for people while making our way to some sights of the city using clues given to us. Our team stopped at a Japanese Peace Plaza and prayed for peace in the middle east, in the places with active wars, in families, and in the Tenderloin neighborhood where we are staying. Justin said of his prayer, "I don't know where those words came from." His prayer was a fervent appeal to God to intervene in places with conflict. So cool. We also went to the Fillmore Heritage Center where we prayed for St. Andrews church member John Corl who we heard while there was in that very moment undergoing open-heart surgery. It was great to share with them later the news that he came through the four-hour surgery well. While we prayed a woman whose store we prayed in front of came out and said, "I hope you were praying for me." We told her we would love to pray for her, gathered around her, and prayed for her and her family. The scavenger hunt ended with us going to the location of the home in which a TV family - the Tanners from the show Full House - was filmed, including the Alamo Park across the street.

When we came back, we had an orientation to the community luncheon we were about to have. Unlike other food programs which concentrate on feeding the homeless guests and "get them in and out as quickly as possible," this lunch was much more relational and spiritual. Two people on the teams sat at each table. Two waiters waited on the guests.  Other teams poured water or tea, worked in the kitchen, welcomed them into the luncheon, and cleaned up after. Almost everyone here went out for about 35 minutes ahead of time to invite the homeless in the neighborhood. About 100 showed up.  I was a waiter at a table at which we had 3-4 guests, each of which we got to know a little. One man, Patrick, was bright, articulate, personable, knowledgable, and had a great sense of humor. We don't know how or why he is homeless, but we did learn about this life and his family. Nicky Clark prayed for him before lunch was over. It was great.

After lunch, we cleaned up, went to small group time to process our lunch outreach, then began a time of worship. During worship, we were given the Old Testament story of Joseph, divided into groups, and told to act out the stories. Let's just say that when you get a group of youth to act out a biblical story with 15 minutes preparation, entertainment is sure to follow. Our part of the story was when Rueben defended Joseph. Rueben was played by a guy named Dan from San Jose who played Rueben with an Asian accent. None of us will look at the role of Potiphar's wife the same again after one of the youth guys from Texas played the part convincingly. In the end, however, the story of God's care and control in the story of Joseph and the story of God using difficult circumstances to work out good came through loud and clear. It was an important teaching moment.

Dinner tonight was out. We went to an Indian cuisine restaurant called Chutney near where we are staying. We had naan bread, curried rice with lamb, a chicken dish with a cream sauce, an eggplant dish, and another potato dish. It was all delicious and for many students it was their first time with Indian food. This area is a melting pot of international persons and restaurants.

The final part of today was a hot chocolate outreach. This base camp here in this Tenderloin district has been doing hot chocolate outreach each week since the 1980s. The homeless know that a good, warm cup of hot chocolate and a friendly face is available once a week here. It was another of an increasing number of times to get to meet and interact with people who happen to be homeless.  Whether they accepted the hot chocolate or not, the homeless welcomed and were grateful for the act of kindness shown to them.  Many opened up to us about their lives and their needs. We prayed with many of the people. Seeing 12 year-olds MacKenzie and Lyric alongside of 17 year-old Charlene and 19 year-old Justin smiling and encouraging and praying for the people on the streets was powerful. These students are learning to look past the labels and see and seek to bless people. Fellow humans. Children of God. It is beautiful.

The leaders talked tonight and we are beginning to see spiritual movement on our team. Some more than others, but God is opening eyes and hearts. That is a fire within that we pray the Holy Spirit will turn into a blazing fire.

Time to rest...

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Getting to San Francisco to Serve

Yesterday, a team of 10 people left from Tampa to travel to San Francisco, California. It is a youth trip and I am one of the leaders. We are staying in a Youth With A Mission (YWAM) “base camp” located in a neighborhood in the city called the “Tenderloin.” This neighborhood has great need, particularly with the homeless, and YWAM has set up base camp as a permanent site to minister to and with the men and women of the streets. I will write more on the ministry as we go through the week. This entry is about why we are here and a little about the challenges getting here.

After spending eight days in Honduras earlier this month - our seventh trip to that country as a church - and now spending this week in inner city ministry, the question arises once again of “why are we spending all of that money to go far from Dunedin to take care of people when we have needs right here in our own backyard." I hear it every time along with questions about why I'm gone on these trips and not in the pulpit. The answer hasn't changed over the years. We think it fulfills the gospel call to make disciples of all the "people groups" (Matthew 28:19) and be Christ's witnesses throughout the whole planet (Acts 1:9).  I struggle with those who think it is okay to not help those beyond our church or community. I've heard of churches who say that. We only take care of our own people. That is NOT us. I've said it before: I want us to be inwardly strong and outwardly focused. Car Care Ministry, strip club outreach, Homeless Emergency Project (HEP) and all of these mission trips are ways of us being outwardly focused. And as for me being on these trips and away from the pulpit and the church, I am not the kind of leader who leads from the back. I lead from the front. It's who I am. That takes me away at times. It is part of who I am as a pastor.

Being on this particular trip has had an interesting start. To get from Tampa to San Francisco, it took 26 hours, three airplanes, four states, three limo buses, two trains/trams, one hotel, and a whole lot of patience. Our planned route took us through Milwaukee and put us in on Monday evening. We got to Milwaukee without incident. And then the plan went awry. The flight was delayed three hours and then, because they couldn't get a crew and airplane together at 10 pm, the flight was cancelled. They drove us to a hotel near Chicago's Midway airport, a 90 minute drive away. We got into Chicago at 1 am. We had to leave for the airport at 4 am. It was a short night. We got on the airplane, landed in Los Angeles and were welcomed with another flight delay, this time it was the final leg to San Francisco. FINALLY, we landed, caught the mass transit to the YWAM site, and stopped moving. I told my daughter Christina we are "stupid tired." Sleep will be welcome tonight.

The best part of all has been the "no problem" attitude of the team. They have been content no matter what is happening. The patience displayed has been great, especially since this is the very situation in which others come unglued. We lost a day of being on mission which is a disappointment, but we all know that God is in control and somehow this was a part of this journey we needed to experience. As Nicky said when we prayed in Chicago, "it was late at night and we were uncertain where we would sleep for a while and we are going to serve the homeless of San Francisco who experience this as a way of life. Maybe God is preparing us." Well said, Nicky.

YWAM base camp has several mission teams here now and all of the teams gathered in the dining area tonight for a pizza party. Not pizza we at; rather, pizza we prepared so we could bake and serve it tomorrow to the homeless for lunch. Afterward, our team leader, Daniel, took us for a walk around the Tenderloin district. We stopped for coffee at Philz Coffee, a place coffee lovers rave about, and then to pick up some congestion medicine for a few on the team who are feely stuffy.

And now...bed. 

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Looking Back on the Journey

For the final day of the mission trip, I've asked the "Queso Grande" (Big Cheese) for the trip, the team coordinator, Gene Ginn, and his daughter Sara to share thoughts on the trip. 

Gene Ginn and his daughter Sara.
Gene's Thoughts
As a reflection of our mission experience in Honduras visiting the village of El Mico we are reminded of Gods power to bond us all as one in the spirit. The mission teams were successful in completing our work projects to improve the lives and health of the villagers, such as, concrete floors, latrines, room additions along with two new projects. The new projects were a Pila, which is a water basin and shower along with a new eco clay stove which uses minimal wood to create a very hot cooking surface. Every year the improvements are visible to the visiting group, due to the work HOI is doing in the Agalta Valley with Gods help along with a few crazy missionaries.

As we drove to the ranch the group had a lot of questions. Especially the "newbies" What will we do? Will I be able to do that type of work? Without revealing everything they would be doing I gave them just enough information to stay safe. I feel it is up to God to reveal what they should be doing and why they are in Honduras on a mission trip with 27 others.

The team began the week with a "we are going to get this done attitude" and with God on their side they were physically strong and full of God's grace. The projects were many during the week and all of them were completed and with a group this large the projects were finished in record time. Martha our Honduran group leader came to me on the last day and said, " I don't know what your group is going to do tomorrow, you are almost finished." I said, "it must be time for a fiesta."

During the evening devotional it was repeatedly revealed to me that God was at work. Bringing stories back from the village of relationships were rekindled and new ones being made. The daily VBS was enjoyed by the children acting out the bible stories they were learning. One of the most memorable days was when I had finished working at one house and to get to the next project Sara, Jen, Brad and I had to walk by the school yard and all the children were outside on a very breezy day and the pinwheels they had made in VBS were spinning so fast they were about to take flight. The laughter of the children was truly infectious. God is Good and again I am reminded why were are here in Honduras letting our light shine.


Sara's Thoughts:
Hola Mis Amigos y Mi Familia! So now that I have been surrounded in a complete Spanish environment, I am pleased to inform you that the remainder of this letter will be in Spanish. Is that okay? No? Okay, English it is!

Many of you know that my parents have been going on this trip for seven years and the fact that I finally would be able to go was very overwhelming. Things like packing for a week and constantly contemplating "Do I need this? Do I need that?" followed by flying into the Tegucigalpa airport. A local called the airport TNT because it is one of the most dangerous airports in the world due to the fact that it is surrounded by glorious mountains of extreme height and houses that made me feel like I was invading their privacy because of how close in proximity they are to the runway. However, I do believe that on this trip, I have learned one very important thing. You don't need anything but the grace of God and His will.

You may ask why I say that. For those four days that we were in the rural village of El Mico, I saw more love, compassion, strength and hope than I could ever comprehend between a village of 45 families. I was awestruck in wonder when I saw how much they had spiritually versus how much materialistic things they didn't have. They always had a smile on there face and PMA (Positive Mental Attitude). Thanks to Brad Byers for that catchy slogan. They were a community of people who were connected by several things, the most prominent being their grace in God. These people had an unfailing love, just like God.

One of my most memorable experiences was the second day I was in the clinic. There was a woman who had brought in her daughter. Mirian, our lovely translator and nurse, looks at all of us and tells us "This child is anxious and nervous but we have nothing to fix that with." Quickly Marcia, also a nurse, brought a piece of paper with a prayer on it for good health. So we sat and prayed for her worries and her health. It amazed me that we were led to do that at the exactly right time for her.

I was truly blessed that someone my age, could experience something as life changing as this trip. I've heard the stories and seen all the pictures. However, I was blessed when God gave me the chance to see with my own eyes what I had seen in pictures, and now having my own stories to share with the world. I also came walk away with 27 new friends who I have become true brothers and sisters in Christ with, and let me tell you, my cup is overflowing from what I have experienced thanks for your prayers and support for making this possible form me and my Dad. I am proud to have represented St. Andrews in Honduras.


Friday, July 11, 2014

The Last Full Day in Honduras

Today's guest's bloggers are Linda Dremstedt and Mirian Andrade. These two had not met prior to the trip, but those who didn't know would have guessed they were lifelong friends. I've asked them to share their thoughts on Friday of the trip. 

Miran (in blue), Linda (in center) and Jen dancing at the concert
Last night the Honduran security guards who work for the sending organization Honduras Outreach, Inc. (HOI) put on a fabulous concert for the four mission groups staying in the compound. We danced and sang and Tyler White became part of the band playing the “cajon” like he was born to do so! The guards had guns on their hips but musical instruments in their hands.

After many days of travel, hard labor, fun and fellowship we are finally ready to leave. All tasks were completed in the village thanks to great team work among ourselves and the villagers. It’s up at 5am, luggage on the bus at 6am, breakfast at 6:15 and gathering of all employees and missionaries at the cross 7am. We sang songs together and then the pastors and HOI president shared inspiring messages encouraging us to carry on with God’s work as maturing Christians. We thanked each employee as they greeted each one of us.

On to Tegucigalpa! It was a bumpy and dusty six hour ride much of the way, but knowing our destination was getting closer to home made it easier to take.
About midway we stopped at the Mennonite Bakery for lunch and shopping from local vendors. The couple who owned the bakery came here over 40 years ago with their family from Indiana and was there to greet us. A few hours more and we arrived at the fabulous Honduras Mayan Hotel. What a treat!!! Flushing toilets, big beds, hot shower, swimming pools, internet, and even a beauty salon. Oh my!!!!!

At 6:30 we met for dinner in the hotel and had a celebration of Christina Fullerton’s birthday. Jayne Dowdy had the tables decorated for the occasion and birthday cake was shared by all. Following dinner we ascended to the top floor over looking a spectacular night time view. We gathered around for our final time of sharing and reflection. Gifts were exchanged from group to leaders and leaders to group. We truly appreciate all the work it took to keep us all safe and productive.

Our Honduran leader, Martha Espinoza, translated a letter written by a person in our village of El Mico. They were very grateful and thankful for our willingness to share our blessings with them. They wished us a safe trip back home. They wrote about our hard work and all we had accomplished in God’s name. They thanked us many times and sent us on our way praying for safety and health. We were all very moved to be so appreciated and were reminded once again why we had come here, to be God’s hands and serve.

Lastly, Pastor John led us in a time of affirmation as each of us was blessed individually with the hearing from our peers what gifts they saw in us and how we contributed to the mission as a whole. What an uplifting and humbling experience it was!! Pastor John stated we were indeed the “Light of Christ in the world" and “well done" for what we had achieved and learned on this journey.

The youth were amazing on this expedition!! Mature beyond their years, open to God’s direction and showing Christ like love for each other and the Honduran people. Parents and church could not have been prouder of them as they shared God’s love to the village through hard work and joyous play.

We had the perfect group for what we needed to accomplish. God has a way of bringing us where we are needed and where we need to be. It was a trip we will never forget. As always, we received more that we gave and that too is God’s way of keeping our hearts open and wanting to keep giving of ourselves.

Mirian and Linda

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Finishing and Saying Goodbye

Today's guest bloggers are Brad and Jen Byers. Many of you know Jen as our former Children's Minister. She retired from that position when Brad took a new job on the K-9 department of the Sheriff's Office and his hours changed. This is Jen's second trip here and Brad's first. Both of them were energetic, hard working, and pure joy. They let the love and light of Christ shine! This is Day 4 of work through their eyes.

Jen, in-country leader Martha Espinoza, and Brad
Our day started with a group picture at the cross with our team shirts, tired smiles and a beautiful mountain background.  On the way to the village for the last time I read our bible verse on the back of our team shirts, Matthew 5:16.This made me reflect on why we are here.  I truly believe that as a team we Glorified God.  St. Andrews and St. Mary’s accomplished so much. Each team member has a special gift and shared with the people of El Mico. Not only did we build latrines, floors, wash basins, eco stoves and mudding we built relationships.  

Our team today was Gene, Sara, Brad and Me.  We started at Martir's home to finish pouring a concrete floor on his front porch.  We were so relieved to see a small porch with a little pile of sand.  We worked quickly and were ready to move on to help another team and family.  After walking all the way across the village we were happy to see that they were also close to being done.  We visited with this family and Sara really enjoyed playing with one little girl that was extremely shy. After several blown bubbles she opened up with a big smile and popped a bubble.  The man at the last home was able to speak a little english.  He enjoyed sharing pictures of his family and friends.  I really feel that we made a connection with the people in the village and earned their trust.
 
Our work was done in the village so we headed toward the school house but on the way we stopped to visit the homes and families of projects that were completed.  All the families were grateful and proud of their homes.  We made it back to the school house and prepared for the fiesta. 

Many of the villagers arrived at the school house wearing their sunday’s best. They are very respectful and proud people. The fiesta started out with all the people of El Mico singing beautiful songs in spanish and the Honduras national anthem. We then sang our national anthem. After singing everyone prayed the Lord’s Prayer together at the same time. They said it in spanish while we said it in english, it was awesome. The pastor’s wife represented the village and gave every team member a gift of a carved piece of cypress wood shaped as fish saying Jesus. For a short time everyone was able to have some fun and fellowship together while eating watermelon. As we said “Adios Amigos” it was very obvious that it became a sad time because it was time to leave. But knowing that the village of El Mico are believers in Jesus and will be blessed was comforting as we left the village. 

Our team devotional time after dinner will be based on the theme “Eternal Life” and one of our verses being Matthew 28: 19-20.This seems to be appropriate timing as today is our last day in El Mico. 

Jen and I want to thank you for all of your prayers. We know that you are with us in spirit. Your prayer letters give us motivation and strength to fulfill the mission to glorify God and spread the love of Jesus.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

The Last Full Day in El Mico

Today's guest bloggers are a mom and dad plus their son who are on the trip this year - Brett, Julie, and their 17 year-old son, Zach Phillips. This trip was a trip filled with parent/child combinations. My daughter, Christina and I were together. Gene Ginn and his daughter, Sara, were here. Barry and Jayne Dowdy had their son, Darren (aka here as "Dorito"). Debi Fiegle and her son posted the other day. And now, here's the Phillips family. 

Brett and Julie Phillips
Brett’s day:
My day began with a great ride with my family to the village of El Mico. It was a beautiful morning with a short walk to the first home which had dirt floors. Our mission was to concrete the floors so the family wouldn’t have to walk on the parasite ridden dirt and improve their health. The meeting of the family was great, and they were filled with joy and happiness to see our team arrive to help. After that, we went to two more homes and met and worked with more of our brothers and sisters in Christ. Although there was a language barrier, the mission was completed and relationships were built. The labor of the day was a great success not to mention joyful and fulfilling!

Julie’s day:
My day began with a great stretching exercise led by team member Brad Byers. Once we were all stretched we loaded the vehicles and visited two local HOI, Inc. schools. After that we headed to the village and I had the pleasure of working with Gene Ginn on a shower and sink. We shoveled concrete and sand and managed the crater dance [the method of mixing concrete on the ground] once again. When our job was complete we went back to the school and watched Jayne Dowdy finish passing out the last few water filters to families without clean water to drink. A total of 43 families, received a water filter and this village will be a pilot program with ongoing education and support from HOI, Inc. God is good!

Zach’s day:
My day started with stretching out as a group to prepare for our day. When we left in the cars for El Mico it was a sunny warm day. When we arrived at the school Jen, Marsha, and myself were assigned to help a family put in concrete floors into there home. After a few hours we completed our assignment and headed back to the school for lunch. After lunch I was invited to go with both Pastor John and Father Roy to go to houses with people that needed someone to pray for them and I happily took the opportunity. Every house we went too was amazing and special in its own way, but one house was extra special to me. The first house we went too had an elderly woman laying on her bed. Her son explained to us that she had no feeling in her legs and without a wheelchair she was bound to her bed. When we entered the room you could see that she had almost no emotion or even motivation. We gathered around her, put a hand on her and each said a prayer to her. Once that was complete we all shared in saying the Lord’s Prayer. The change in the woman was amazing. She looked at us with a smile so big you would think she was an eight year-old on Christmas Day. It made me feel good because she didn’t need anything to smile or to be happy, All she needed was someone to show her love and feel like people do care. She thanked each of us individually before we left and hugged us goodbye. That moment was very special to me and I’m glad I could experience it with such a great group of people.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Hunkering Down

Today's guest bloggers are my daughter, Christina, and her boyfriend, Tyler White.  This is Tyler's mission trip and the first time he's needed a passport to leave the U.S.  Christina has been on this trip before in 2012.  This Tuesday post went up on Friday when we returned to the capital city of Honduras, Tegucigalpa. The internet at the ranch was completely out Tuesday and Wednesday. It was fixed on Thursday, but frozen molasses moves faster than the internet speed. Here is Christina and Tyler's post.

Christina and Tyler with Eduardo in background
Last night Tyler helped lead a group for our evening devotion and the topic was spiritual growth. They asked where each member of the group saw any kind of spiritual growth and it was amazing to see that almost everyone spoke about some way they had their eyes opened by God.

We as a couple wanted to share our individual days with you, to get two perspectives on our lives here, and speak together as a couple to what specifically God has opened our eyes to with this team.

Christina’s day:
How can someone attempt to describe a transcendental God movement with words? I will attempt it, but I pray you hear more than just my words when I say this.

My day began with breakfast, seasoned with the ever-present hint of hand sanitizer, before heading to the village. Tyler and I were excited to be assigned our jobs for the day, and (one of) the wonderful things about working here is how Gene separates people who know each other well (i.e. family or significant others) so we can get to know other team members better. Needless to say, we were separated.

My team and I headed off to a house that needed a latrine finished. Finishing the latrine called for tasks that are now habits for us: passing concrete blocks, mixing concrete, sifting sand, you know, the usual. 

While there were many people there working with or watching us today, one girl in particular stood out. Her name is Rosa and she has Down’s Syndrome. She seemed fascinated with us right from the get-go, and her mischievous smile indicated that she was planning something. 

To entertain her and a couple other children around, Zach Phillips, a 17-year-old member of the St. Andrew’s team, made the wonderful decision to pull out his bubbles. Man alive, did Rosa love those bubbles! We blew a few for her until she realized she could do it, then she promptly blew a few all over Zach’s face, and this laugh, this infectious laugh, bubbled up out of her as she realized how funny she thought she was. 

As we took turns entertaining Rosa, we finished building the septic tank, and concluded the day by putting the walls of the latrine together with mud. This family is special because they are able to make their latrine a room addition, thereby having indoor plumbing.

Somewhere between the concrete and the mudding, I realized that all of my dreams as a child of Little House on the Prairie being the ultimate life is literally the life that these people live and it drew up conflicting emotions. On the one hand, I have always dreamed of living that simple life of Laura Ingalls Wilder that these Hondurans have, but on the other, I found myself pitying them. 

It wasn’t until we got back to the ranch and I read a letter from my prayer partner that I realized something. The letter spoke of happiness versus joy in their letter today and quoted Oswald Chambers: “The Bible talks plenty about joy, but it nowhere speaks about a “happy” Christian. Happiness depends on what happens, joy does not. Happiness is not a sign that we are right with God; happiness is a sign of satisfaction, that all is well for the moment,—but that all of us can be satisfied on a lower level. Jesus Christ disturbs every kind of satisfaction that is less than delight in God.” 

Rosa had joy, and many of the other children had joy, and I realized that my mind has been too “me” oriented in that I have only seen this village through my American eyes, pitying those less fortunate than us, and I need to take those blinders off.


Tyler’s day:
To understand what truly happened today, let me back up to yesterday. I was placed in a group with Debi and Brad. Debi called me and Brad her “go-getters” because of our ability and eagerness to work hard and fast. 

It was frustrating at the start, since both Brad and I struggled to find a way to apply our acquired knowledge from previous time in construction/carpentry work to the crooked logs and “foreign” crew of Honduran men before us. It was Debi’s veteran suggestions of patience and facilitation rather than the “git-r-done” attitude of two “newbies” that greased the wheels enough for work to start slowly, modestly, and with more patience than either of us wanted to muster. 

As the day moved on, Brad and I each noticed how the growing relationships with the Honduran men facilitated more trust with the tools and construction. Brad described it aptly, “As soon as we started getting to know each other, everything went mucho rapido.” He developed a working relationship with the mason Alonso, and Debi spent some time with the elderly couple who owned the property before stirring several volcanoes of cement. The whole project was started and finished in that one day; a first according to Debi.

My perspective, which started with determination to work hard, was shattered in favor of an overwhelming connection of brotherhood with the 21-year-old Jose Luis today. I worked very hard, broke a hard sweat, and impressed him with my abilities with a hammer and saw, but that was merely the media through which we connected on a fundamental level. Jose Luis continued to work with me, this time on his grandmother’s house. 

Our laughter, camaraderie, and brotherhood echoed from the previous day into today, and was reinforced with new love and companionship. The laughs from our bellies boomed into existence through smiles that somehow stretched wider than the day before as we moved onto the next house to see my new partners Jason and Jill play with an 8 year old girl whose name escapes me. They moved from bubbles to tennis balls to Jason’s magic tricks hiding pebbles and picking cards. As Jason and this little girl giggled so hard in each others’ faces that they ran out of breath, I saw the face of Jesus manifest itself: the childlike unadulterated joy that we all are called to pursue and grant others in order to pass through heaven’s gates.


These two stories from our experiences today are consistently echoed throughout the group and the core of our sentiment is reflected threefold: God’s love is moving everyone here, Jesus Christ is alive and thriving, and the Holy Spirit’s voice is facilitating communication purely from heart to heart despite any barrier it may encounter. 

We as a couple reflected upon this in a rare moment away from the group as we noticed the strengthening of our spiritual bond regardless of the relatively short time we have spent together since arriving. 

One thing has become increasingly clear as the relationships between Hondurans and Americans, as well as among our group, transforms into brothers and sisters in Christ (hermanos y hermanas e Cristo): the physical poverty is truly great in Honduras, but the spiritual richness is greater.