The group represented four area churches — Beech Springs Baptist, Benton Station Baptist, Clingan Ridge Baptist and The Church at Grace Point.
The trip was hosted by Calvary Baptist World Missions, a mission organization based in Cleveland. The group’s primary objective during the week was teaching in public schools in Honduras and delivering much needed supplies to these schools.
During the week, the group taught at elementary schools in El Zarzal and Cofradea, Honduras, and a high school in Cantarrannas.
The subjects taught were “Developing good character” and “How to become the right person, making good choices regarding dating and sex.” These subjects were requested by the local principals and teachers of these schools.
The group studied and prepared for several months before embarking on their trip. The majority of the teaching was done by the teenagers on the trip.
One principal commented to the team “The affect on our students is far greater when someone their own age instructs them. They are more attentive and take the lessons to heart. We applaud your young people and whole heartily ask them to return next year.”
Plans are underway for a similar trip next summer.
The team also delivered school supplies to the school in Cofradea. Cofradea is a village of about 825 people located two hours from the capital in a very remote agricultural area.
The school was in need of all the basic supplies that we take for granted.
Staples, Superior Dry Cleaners, Beacon Baptist Church and Calvary Baptist World Missions all donated school supplies to help the students in this agricultural community.
The only school in the village ends at sixth grade. If a child wishes to continue their education after that, they must move to a larger village or the capital. Over 3,000 pencils, pencil sharpens, note books, scissors, glue, and other school supplies were delivered to this village.
This amounted to over 250 pounds of school supplies. Needless to say, the school teachers and administrators were very thankful. The children also expressed their gratitude in thousands of hugs and smiles.
Morgan Greer, one of the youth who participated in the trip put it this way — “It was a very rewarding and humbling trip, I can’t wait to come back next year. I love these children.”
Another thing the team did was distribute soccer balls to the schools, surrounding communities and churches.
First Baptist Church’s recreation pastor, Rusty Asble donated 25 new soccer balls to the effort. Soccer is the main sport of Honduras and every school is always in need of new soccer balls.
Delivering the soccer balls was like delivering gold. Every person or organization that received them, expressed gratitude and thanks numerous times.
“There are no words to describe the joy on the faces of the children when they saw the soccer balls and realized they were for them. There is nothing better than making a child happy,” note Danny Poole, team leader and board member of Calvary Missions.
The team also provided four beds, mattresses, and bedding for a family of seven.
During the week, the team discovered the children of this family were sleeping on a concrete floor on a blanket with no covers or pillows. Upon hearing of this situation the youth visited the home to assess the situation for themselves. Upon returning, there was not a dry eye among the group.
Lauren Silvers said, “this is not acceptable, we cannot see a need like this and not help. We are going to see these children have beds to sleep on, no matter what it takes.”
“God put these people in our faces everyday for a reason, we can help and we are going to help.”
Providing help for this family turned out to be one of the most memorable aspects of the trip.
“This is what it means to be the hands and feet of Jesus,” said co-team leader Nicholas Poole.
The team also participated in church services at five different churches in four villages. They also put on an American-style Vacation Bible School in two of the villages in the afternoons with over 100 in attendance each day.
The VBS was for adults as well as children. It was so much fun to see adults doing crafts alongside 7 year olds. On the last day, the group also participated in a baptismal service where 13 individuals were baptized.
The baptism took place in a stream, in the jungle, where a small dam had been made to back the water up. The team had to hike down the stream bed for several hundred yards to come to the make-shift pond. It was truly an adventure.
“There was really no time to rest during the trip, we were always doing something. This is one trip where we literally emptied our tanks and left it all on the field,” said Eric McNelly, another member of the board of Calvary Missions.
“But that’s what we came to do and I feel we accomplished exactly what God intended for us to do, even if we left the country exhausted. It was a very productive and rewarding trip.”
The team consisted of Eric, Julie, Nathan, Hannah, Chloe and Silas McNelly; Ivan, Jane and Ethan McNelly; Danny, LeAnn and Nicholas Poole; Keith, Tracy and Morgan Greer; Olivia Hatcher, Lauren Silvers, Nattalie Miles and Nick Mowery.