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Gods Hands in Honduras Pt1

June 11 - July 4

Adventure- that was what I said “yes” to when I decided to join Sparrow Missions for the summer of 2018. Even though I had come down for one week to serve in Honduras the summer of 2016, I had no idea what to expect with an intern-type role, let alone living with people that I had not previously known. Honestly, I had a negative perception of what these people would be like before meeting them, because by only knowing someone from their social media platforms, it can be easy to make false assumptions. Even from just my first couple of days down here, God showed me how inaccurate my perceptions had been of these fellow human beings. I can know honestly say that these people are sincere friends to me, who make me laugh, and care about me.The Lord had reminded me “...that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose,” Romans 8:28.

Because of the truth in this Bible verse, we do not need to worry or fret when we do not have the answers. When we feel confused, or disappointed, we are given God’s gift of peace to rest with assurance that He cares for His people. The second part of this verse mentions that we are called for a purpose, the cause for Christ. This means that God will sustain those who love Him, and are devoting each day to Him. These kinds of people have such deep respect and adoration for The Lord, that any time they go against God, and His commandments, they instantly feel remorseful, and will confess their mistake to The Lord. This is the type of person I am striving to become each day- someone who makes obedience to God their priority. As we grow closer and closer to our Heavenly Father, our heart becomes more like His heart, and we will strive not to sin. When we witness corruption, our heart aches, and we want to reach out to the people who suffer.

Here in the Cortes region of Honduras, where Sparrow Missions is located, we interact with people on a day-to-day basis who barely have enough to survive, are victims of sexual abuse, live in broken families, and/or have experienced gang violence. These situations can be found all across the world, but as a member of the SPRW504 Summer program, I am able to interact with these people many times in a week. Although many of my friends down here do not have easy lives, I am so grateful that we can bask in God’s glory and love for us. The people I have met down here are some of the most open and loving people that I have ever met. They show kindness to each person that they meet, and are eager to talk about Jesus, and share the Truth of the Bible.

As I have been allowing God to continue shaping me into the person he wants me to be, He has opened my eyes to truth, and more than that, He has also shown me the ways of deception, and how Christianity can be so screwed up. Like my dad, I have a bold personality when it comes to standing up for what is right, and that confidence can only come from the Holy Spirit. A common theme that I have heard from fellow Christians down here is the “once-saved, always-saved” idea. Based off of what I have read in the Bible, as well as the convictions that the Holy Spirit has given me, this philosophy is only true if the person who has been saved radically changes how they live. Yes, I know that we are all sinners, but if someone continues to willfully sin, and be a friend to the evils of the world after accepting Christ, then no, God will not give them eternal life because they were never truly repentant. God tells His people, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments,” John 14:15. That is a bitter pill to swallow. The Lord knows that we cannot be perfect, but we better be trying our darn best to obey God, because of His infinite love for us, and why would we want to dishonor our Loving Father who gave His own son for our righteousness? It simply does not make sense to continue going against God’s commandments if we have truly accepted Jesus into our hearts.

This is my daily conviction, and I am relying on the Holy Spirit to prompt me, if there may be a time for me to share this truth with the group. Otherwise, I will continue to seek God, and listen to what He may be telling me. Another factor that has shaped my time in Honduras is flexibility. As a sociable and joyful follower of God, I enjoy spending time with my friends who also love the Lord. From my trip in 2016, I had met several awesome friends who are native to Honduras that have stayed in touch with me. I have really been wanting to spend time with them, like at the fair, mall, movies, or downtown, but I cannot get my way. I understand and embrace that ministry is the priority down here, but it is honestly a pain to not have the same freedom that I do at home. On several occasions, I would have loved to get in my car, and go drive to meet with a group of friends, or even just do a coffee run, but that would not work, for multiple reasons. My mom and dad are very trusting of me, because they recognize my respect for them, so they allow me to spend lots of time out with friends back home. Speaking of my family, I miss them like nobody’s business! Honestly, the Holy Spirit has given me comfort in this area, but it is still difficult. I miss my dad’s goofy songs in the morning, and his big hugs, and words of advice for his daughter who is quite a bit like him. I miss my mother, and her smile, encouraging words, and spontaneous coffee runs. With that being said, I am beyond excited to return home with my family and companions, but for now, I shall be content, and embrace each day as more chances to glorify God, and love His people.

Easily the most enjoyable aspect of Honduras for me is the national language- Spanish (aka my favorite language.) Every day, the Lord equips me to share His love with the natives, and I am so grateful for the gift He has given me with languages. From tiny babies, to people of the “tercera edad,” we are able to interact and share the love of Christ. My favorite ministry sites would likely be the Downtown Ministry, and Sparrow Academy. Downtown Ministry is basically public evangelism. We gather in the city square, and go up to people, inviting them to join us for a service about Jesus’ love (and free food.) This type of proclamation in the Lord’s behalf is probably to people who are not saved. It is possible that they have gone through frustrating situations with people who call themselves “Christians,” so we must be prepared for that in these events. On one occasion, I was sharing verses with the people from Matthew,and telling them what it looks like to follow Christ. Publicly sharing our faith forces us to think good and clear about what we want to say, so there are no miscommunication. I enjoy the thrill of speaking in front of people and was relying on the holy Spirit to convey love and direction through my words. During that whole time, I had been speaking in Spanish, and using my Spanish Bible. Afterwards, some of my friends were shocked about what had just happened, and they asked me if I had prepared ahead of time, or memorized what I was going to say. I replied, “No, I did not prepare anything, but I just gave it to God, and I’m glad the Holy Spirit spoke through me.” Being God’s hands and feet is empowering because it is not us doing the work, is God, and His plan being fulfilled through us. What an empowering concept that the power of God is within us.

At Sparrow Academy, many of the students live in one of the closeby riverbanks, where we also do ministry. These children are spunky, full of love, and always ready for a piggyback ride. They enjoy braiding my hair, and have also given me drawings and letters. They show me what generosity means even though they have hardly anything. I show them that worship does not just mean singing. We also can bring honor to God through spreading joy and love to others, as well as dancing! I have an affinity for electronic music with a fast rhythm, and am seeking more Christian music artists that embrace this style. A few of my personal favorites are Capital Kings, Hillsong Young & Free, Rapture Ruckus, and Marshall Marshall. I use dance as my expression of worship, to point the glory back up to God. Also, since our bodies are His temple, dancing helps maintain fitness, and care for the bodies that The Lord has made for us. All of us are just a part of one big body, which means that all followers of Christ are working together for a common purpose, although we all have unique spiritual gifts. The purpose of believers is to spread the Gospel, because if we are not doing that, then why are we here?

Keep up with me on Facebook-Maria Salow(:

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