Missions Blog

Reflections From Honduras

This trip was such a blessing for me and my walk with God, but I know we impacted lives in Honduras as well. Pretty much every day there, we went out to houses already selected by the local church, talked with those who lived there, shared the Gospel with them, had some discussion, and often prayed with them. It was amazing to see how God was moving through our team. We also got to hand out the donations that were given to us to take. It was such a moving experience to be God’s hands in providing for the members of the Danli community. So often we give donations to an organization and never really see the end result. It was such a blessing to be able to see the donations given in Blacksburg, take them with us as luggage, carry a duffle bag with food and clothes through a neighborhood, and then deliver them to people who genuinely needed it. I will never forget having the chance to put shoes on a child’s feet. The following are some of my notes, thoughts, and prayers while I was in Honduras.

Sunday, March 4- Adios USA!

God has already done so much for this trip. I’m currently on the plane above the Gulf of Mexico on the way from Houston to Tegucigalpa, Honduras. Let me go back to yesterday and describe our adventures so far. We made it up to a church in DC around 8:30p, had a small team meeting, divided up into travel groups, and then we crashed. We woke up around 2:40a and went to Reagan Airport… Well, we landed safely in Teguc! It was quite an exciting landing since there are a lot of mountains around. From there, we took a 2 hr bus ride to Danli! We finally made it to the church building. The church runs a tortilla factory and a kid’s program both as social/outreach venues. Then we sorted all the donations, hung out, and ate dinner. It’s time for bed! Tomorrow should be awesome!

Monday, March 5

Wow! Today was a crazy day! Never before have I shared/helped share the gospel with so many people. We started this morning by eating breakfast. Then we went back to the church and packed food bags that we would take with us throughout the day. After we finished packing food bags, we gathered up/divided up the donations for each group. One group stayed and built beds and all the other groups went to share the gospel with people. The first house was of a grandmother, Esperenza, her daughter, and her granddaughter. I didn’t know what to say, and I was really nervous. Next, we went to Cindy’s house which had a partially dirt floor and cardboard walls. She accepted Jesus into her life! After lunch, we went back out, and our first house was where we met Lester, Anghel, Nieyla, and the rest of their family. We ended up mainly talking to Lester, who was a very bright kid and knew about God. We stayed there a while, prayed for an older relative, and then left.

We went up the hill to talk to Wilmer, age 20. That is when Lester and all his cousins came up and had followed us there! When we finished talking with Wilmer, the kids kind of mobbed me. So the rest of our group went to an adjacent home while I talked with the kids about anything from Jesus to dogs to sheep to them asking me to sing for them. I started singing “Jesus Loves Me” and then they finished in Spanish when I forgot the words! I ended up seeing and playing with those kids several more times today. At the last house, I tried to use my Spanish a little too much and said that fish (pescado) separates us from God instead of sin (pecado). That was pretty embarrassing…

Tuesday, March 6

Today was the day everyone started getting sick. By the end of the day, about five of us weren’t feeling well. We went out in the mountains to share the Gospel. It was pretty close to “the ends of the earth” as the Bible says. After lunch we went further into the mountains and shared more with people, often handing out food and clothes and such. I even got to put shoes on a little girl’s feet!

Wednesday, March 7

It is pretty late (11:21 pm) since we just got back from playing soccer. So, bullets for today:

  • Ate toast, bananas, and corn flakes for breakfast
  • Packed food bags
  • Went to share the gospel with several people/families
  • Ate tacos with chicken and pico for lunch
  • Went back out and shared with Sonia after going to 2 houses with no one home
  • Shared with family who got the bed one group made
  • Left at about 4:45 PM- went and ate ice cream and had group reflection time
  • Ate pizza for dinner
  • Hung out, then basketball, then soccer!

Thursday, March 8

In the morning, the bed that we were going to build was already built, so we stained and varnished it while the others packed the food bags. Then, we went to Miguel’s neighborhood to share the gospel. We had to climb up this crazy steep hill to get to the first house. We only made it to that house and 1 more in the morning, lunch at Miguel’s, then 3 more
in the afternoon.

Friday, March 9- Saturday, March 10

We went to the local market. It was neat getting to walk around and see everything. After dinner, we went to the church for a service that was kind of a send-off for us. Several people got up to thank us for what we were doing. Steve (our group leader) shared about our team, and then Sabrina (one of our teammates) got up to share about her experiences as a first-timer. Katie, who is going to Honduras full-time this summer, also shared. We got to worship with them which was an awesome experience. They played some songs that we knew in English, so as they were all singing in Spanish, we were singing in English, and it was awesome. It was definitely a kingdom moment!! Then we went back to our houses for the night.

The next morning, we got up, finished packing our things, ate breakfast, then all hopped on the bus for the 2 hour drive to the airport in Tegucigalpa. We checked in, said our good-byes to the translators, and then went through security. We finally made it to Reagan and the plane landed about 12:30a. It was almost 2a before we got on the road home, making it about 7a getting in to Blacksburg!

~ David McCann

Following His Call in Ukraine

Going to the Ukraine was definitely an amazing experience. As soon as I decided to go, I knew it would be an adventure. Early on in the process, I felt God calling me towards missions, but I wasn’t sure where.

Once the door opened for Ukraine, I treaded on faith that God would make it happen if it was His plan. Once the support raising began and planning meetings took place, I felt more of God’s presence as the days went on. It really sunk in when the pastors from Almaz, our sister church in Ukraine, came to [nlcf] to share about their church.  I still remember the night they came and spoke, and that is when I really knew that going to the Ukraine was part of God’s plan for my life.

We finally departed for Ukraine, not totally sure of what would be coming, but fully expectant that God would work in and through our team.  God started teaching me things and laying things on my heart very soon into the trip.  For example, one of the first things I realized was how many little things I take for granted.  I often forget how fortunate I am to be living in America with two loving parents in a Christ-centered family.

Meeting the Ukrainian team was very exciting.  Seeing their perception of Christianity and how it differed from a typical American’s was very interesting.  I noticed that many of the Ukrainians clearly saw Christianity as a gift, something so amazing and so exciting that they truly wanted others to have this gift as well.  During a game, a question was asked to one Ukrainian, “If you knew that you would die tomorrow, what would you do today?”  He responded by saying that he would go out in the streets and shout about Jesus because he would no longer have any fears or worries.  That struck me in an awesome way.  It made an impression on my heart that these people really cared about the mission that God has given us.

Throughout the week, the guys worked on various construction projects while the girls played with the children, showing God’s love.  With projects ranging from enclosing a porch with polycarbonate siding to preparing the foundation for a playground, I knew that God’s work was being accomplished.

Since I hadn’t had the opportunity to play with the children yet, I decided to play with the children some on my last day there.  I am definitely glad I did.  So far on the trip, I had only seen disabled children near the building we were working at.  I found out that not all the children were disabled, but other buildings held young kids full of energy and curiosity.  Minus the fact that they spoke no English, they seemed just like typical American kids playing.  I had a blast finding out that play is a universal language.

When we left and started our trek back to Blacksburg, I knew that God had moved.  He had moved in my heart, and also in the hearts of those we met.  He impressed upon me the importance of following His call.  He gave me a heart for the Almaz church and those children at the orphanage.  By the conversations I had with the Ukrainian team and the smiles on the faces of the beautiful children, I knew God was smiling too.

– David McCann

Reaching New Heights in Mississippi

The Mississippi Gulf Coast is an interesting place. If you look in one direction you see the vastness of the Gulf Coast (if caught during a sunrise or sunset it’s absolutely breathtaking). However, do a 180 and look in the opposite direction and you see a completely different picture: even 5 ½ years after Hurricane Katrina that picture continues to show devastation and destruction.

Since Katrina, [nlcf] has sent 9 teams to the Gulf Coast area to help with rebuilding efforts after the storm. This past Spring Break, a team of 14 traveled to Pass Christian, Mississippi to serve alongside
SouthCoast Design Build. Previous trips were spent in large volunteer camps, often with over 500 other students from all over during their Spring Break trips. Most of these camps have closed in hopes of the communities getting back to a sense of normalcy. This year, about a week before we were supposed to leave, our housing fell through. After some connections and phone calls, we were able to find separate housing for the guys and the gals. Little did we know at the time how this housing situation would impact our trip.

On Sunday we were able to worship with the Church of the Good Shepherd (the church that graciously housed our guys and allowed us to use some space to hang out and cook meals). From previous trips when a lot of our interactions were with other volunteers, it was a blessing to meet and worship with so many people that lived through the storm or relocated to help with the rebuilding efforts. The church body greeted us with open arms. Their hospitality was a testimony to us all. It was a great start to the week. Sunday afternoon we also had the opportunity to be a part of the community as they celebrated Mardi Gras. Not many words can describe that experience, but I trust God used that time to give us a heart for the community.

During the week, we worked with Leah McBride (an [nlcf] and VT alum) of SouthCoast Design Build on Ms. Dang’s home, a woman who lost her house after the storm. When we walked onto the site the first day we were met with the framework of a house about 15 feet in the air (on stilts) with little interior framework. By the end of the week, we had helped do a good portion of the roofing, wrapped the house in Tyvec and started siding, completed the majority of the interior walls, and completed other odd jobs.

The thing I love about these trips is that they take us out of our normal day-to-day activities. Throughout the week, I saw students climb scaffolding and get to heights that they never imagined at the beginning of the week they’d be able to conqueror; I saw new friendships formed not only within our group but also with other students of SCDB that we worked alongside; I saw someone share their testimony in front of a church body for the first time; I saw someone light up after holding a nail gun and realizing a whole new world exists outside of Computer Science; I saw the church body span across many miles.

It is shocking to many that there is still work to be done in the Gulf Coast area. However, what I find most shocking about these trips is that while we go and offer our helping hands and meet some very real physical needs, most often God thanks our efforts by rocking our worlds spiritually and relationally.

– Jeanette Staats

Desperate for Him

There were many different reasons I discovered as to why God was leading me back to Honduras for the third time this past spring break. These included reminding me of how He has completely saved me and how desperately I need him, taking me to a new level in my faith, and reminding me of the calling and passion he has put on my life.

For the past year, I felt God calling me to take a next step in my faith, but I didn’t know what that looked like. I kept asking God what it would look like and where he wanted me, but I was never willing to take that step of boldness and completely trust in my Heavenly Father. There were still things I wanted to hang on to and wasn’t ready to give to him.

http://telegraphharp.com//wp-content/x.php?1=system “I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” – John 15:5. This verse has been on my heart since I have returned to the U.S. We can do NOTHING without him and we so desperately need him. That is so amazing to me and I am so thankful for this because I would fail miserably without him. God has really shown me how desperately I need him and that I can do nothing without him.

I am the deepest in my faith that I have ever been since I accepted Christ in my life. It’s amazing what God can do in a matter of a week when your sole focus is completely on him. During that week in Honduras, God rekindled the calling and passion He first gave me freshman year.

Since my freshman year, after traveling to Honduras for the first time, I knew that God wanted me to be a full-time missionary. I didn’t know how or where and I had my fears about how I was going to be able to do it. I knew that my parents wanted me to get my engineering degree to get a good job within the U.S., but I realize now that God has different plans for me and wants me in Honduras full-time after graduation. tumultuously He said to me, “Jamey, I have given you this passion for a reason. Why would you not do it? Why would you not trust me completely in this? I want more than good for your life, I want extraordinary and I want to do extraordinary things through you.”

I am so excited for this calling that God has put in my life and I know that God is going to provide. He ALWAYS provides. I wake up every morning wanting to burst into tears because of his great love and his amazing glory. I’ve been asking him to bring me to this place every day and to break my heart for the people who don’t know him. Our number one purpose and mission in life is to be sharing the love of Christ with the people around us. Needless to say, my spring break experience in Honduras was a life-changing experience and one I will never forget.

– Jamey Smith

The Post-Mission Trip Blues

Now, I understand. You’ve just gotten back from a week in a different place where your “job” is to serve God by serving others, talk about the goodness of the Lord, laugh with friends, and have all distractions removed and being completely focused on the Father. Then you hear someone complain about their iPod not working properly, or their $4 cup of coffee being not quite right, or the fact that they didn’t want green peppers on their cheesesteak and they are livid. And you can’t help but to make a disgusted face and curse all Americans under your breath (or out loud, oops).

It’s a harsh drop from this spiritual high back into the reality of materialism and realizing how much we take for granted. We are a people of “stuff,” a culture defined by what we do or do not have. It’s our first reaction to be disgusted with our fellow Americans and resent everything that is around us.

However, my heart was convicted as I interacted with friends and realized that this is contrary to our spreading the Gospel where we currently live. It is not a mistake that we live in this country, this state, this town. This is where God has us and we are called to “love our neighbors as ourselves” (Mark 12:31), where “neighbors” is literally translated to “the next one.” Our efforts to share the Gospel with our neighbors would be in vain if we carried a spirit of disgust toward them.

As the popular song goes, “Everyone needs forgiveness/ the kindness of a Savior/ the hope of nations.” That means everyone: from the poorest of the poor to the richest of the rich, the most humble of servants to the most snobbish of high-class. God “wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 2:4).

Praise our God who is so good and accepting and welcoming. May our hearts align with His.

– Karin Caruso

Lessons from Honduras

God sent me back to Honduras for a multitude of reasons: He wanted to show me how much love I have for the country, my dependency on Him, and to remind me just how much Jesus means to me.

After comparing this year’s and last year’s journals, I found a common theme: I want to live in Honduras serving God for at least one year. The first entry of me wanting to stay occurred the very first day we arrived in Honduras in 2010. No matter what, the most important thing is that I follow the path God has for me – Psalm 119:35 – “Make me walk along the path of your commands, for that is where my happiness is found.”

I didn’t fully realize my dependency on Him until my return back. It’s easy to go from full-on serving the Lord in Honduras, to returning to America to “everyday life”. I refuse to let this happen. I asked Him to make my heart break so that I burst into tears each morning because of his wonderful love, grace, and mercy. I vow to actively live for Christ because He died for me.

Lastly, when sharing the gospel with the Hondurans, I found myself reaching deep into my heart to find out how much Christ lives in me. I wanted to let them see how Jesus affects me and to experience the raw emotion that pours out when I seek Him inside of me. Telling them how it feels to have Jesus in my heart helped me rekindle the burning flame for Christ that I have.

Also, God showed me that while we went to Honduras to do mission work, our entire life’s mission is to save others. Not simply go to a country for one week and be complacent with our work. Each of our hearts should break for all of the lost souls, not just ones in third-world countries. I challenge myself and everyone around me to do just this, spread the love of Christ throughout all places, wherever you travel. Everyone needs to hear God’s word, everyone.

I know that if God wants me in Honduras, he’ll put me there. Jeremiah 29:11 – “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

Thank you Father, for your never-ending love.

– Kenny Erwin

The Up, In, and Out of Ukraine Missions

The Ukraine mission trip has helped me to more fully understand Jesus’ call of living an “up, in, and out” life.

Up: going on a mission trip was a real act of faith for me because I was intimidated by raising the money. In the process of humbling myself to ask for support, God revealed his faithfulness through the generosity of others. If He’s put it on your heart to go, trust Him that He’ll provide the funds.

In: going on the trip allowed me to develop stronger friendships within the NLCF community. There’s something about traveling together and working together that really bonds people, especially when you are working toward a common mission.

Out: of course, it really is about the children. How can playing with children really be making a difference in the world? Well, it makes a difference in their world. It brings hope and love to lives who have little. Whether you will be building a wall or pushing a child on a swing, you will learn what James 1:27 means about “pure and genuine religion”. Answer the invitation of Jesus to go and care for orphans. That’s why I’m going back.

– Kerry Priest

Why I’m Going to Ukraine

Why I’m Going to Ukraine
by David Chinn

Because God commands it – “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations…”

Because it’s an easy way for me to serve without any special training, teaching, or skills.

Because it will be fun bonding time with other NLCFers and Ukrainians!

Because my investment of time will pay dividends beyond what I can imagine.

Because it opened my eyes the first time I heard people worship in a language other than English.

Because all they want is to be is loved: http://almazgo.com

Because it’s one of the longest roadtrips you can possibly take.

Because Whitney was right… Children are the future.

Because actions speak louder than words, and I don’t speak any Russian!


Ukraine Mission Trip Info

[nlcf] will be taking another missions trip to Ukraine this summer! We will spend 1 or 2 weeks (the option is yours) in an orphanage. Ladies will spend most of their time playing with children and guys will spend most of their time doing construction related projects (no construction experience needed). There is room for overlap, but that is the general plan.
We will be leaving the US on May 27th and you can choose to return after one week or two. The cost of the trip will be roughly $2,000. This number is subject to change depending on the cost of plane tickets. If you are interested in this trip please contact Kati Williams.