It’s the kind of air that sticks to you. As I walked out of the airplane onto the ramp in Honduras I was hit by a wave of humidity. My skin, being used to the thin air of Colorado Springs, breathed a sigh of relief and joy. Instantly cracks that bury deep into my skin began to heal. I breathed in a sigh of the thick moist air, and the excitement of a new adventure began to settle into my head and lungs.
I walked down the terminal to customs and was met by a long line of passengers eager to get home or to the soft luxury of a hotel. Although people were pleasant there was a look in their eyes of longing — longing for the comfort of a bed and pillows. Of course that is the American in me talking, some of these families may not have pillows, but I guess I will find out more about that tomorrow.
As I walked up to the customs agent she said “hello” in broken English and a strong accent.
“Why are you here?” She asked.
I stuttered, “I’m with that group.” Bad answer I know, but for some reason that’s all that came out.
“Where are you going?” She asked.
“The Hilton,” I said slightly embarrassed. After all I’m on a missions trip and the idea of staying in a Hilton seemed hypocritical.
“Okay, have a good day.”
“Que tenga un buen noche,” I responded nervously. Roughly it means, have a good night — and I guess I sounded nervous because I had practiced in the mirror but never in real life.
We all gathered our things and headed out into the thick night air. It was exciting to meet the local staff, and to begin connecting with these local people who deeply care about the children of their country. After we checked into our luxurious hotel (especially for Honduras) we went down to a buffet style dinner. I couldn’t believe it, my first night in Honduras and I’m walking down a buffet line in a Hilton hotel. I felt like a hypocrite, I felt embarrassed, but I was hungry.
To be honest, the penne pasta with an Italian tomato sauce was a little vinegary for me. Yes, I complained about the food on the first night as well, at least until I heard myself. It’s embarrassing to admit this to you all because I’m supposed to be the guy who is passionate about rescuing people from poverty and trying to make a difference in the world. But if I’m honest, I actually complained about the food and wasted some on my first day in Honduras. Embarrassed might not be the right word — I felt guilty.
As the feelings of hypocrisy and guilt settled into my heart I turned to Nathan, a new friend, and said “I guess this is what poverty looks like! Something doesn’t quite feel right about eating this stuff and leaving some on my plate.”
But then I realized something: the purpose of 10 Days Without is to understand how much we are blessed not so that we feel guilty — guilt is not the goal — it’s so that we begin moving to action. We can’t feel bad that we are blessed, we need to feel moved. Our blessing is the opportunity not the curse. Although it can be a curse.
I know this post is kind of blocky, but that’s because it’s late and I just spent the last 16 hours traveling! I don’t know how many opportunities I will have to blog while I’m here, but I will try to update as I can. I’m so excited to be here, and I’m really excited about what I will learn and be challenged with. Pray for me if you think about it over the next four days.
Have a great night or as they say around here, buenas noches!
p.s. I found out later that Compassion had to put us up in the Hilton because it’s the only safe hotel in the area. They actually give Compassion a really good discount as well. But Honduras is not like the US where there are super nice, medium nice, nice, less than nice, and bad hotels — there are simply nice hotels (like the one we’re in), and bad hotels (where we could get mugged or die from bacteria found in the water ) So thank you Compassion for not letting me get some weird disease or get mugged in my sleep!