Greetings in the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ! We as members of New York Presbyterian Church Youth Group and English Congregation are extremely blessed to have consciously experienced God’s grace and His love for us in the land of Honduras. I would like to encourage all of our readers to have an open heart and take heed in experiencing God’s holiness and sovereignty through our reflections and testimonies in this booklet. As Honduras Missions team, through all of the people we have met and the situations bestowed upon us we were once again reminded that all authority on heaven and earth is solely held by our Lord Jesus Christ. May all glory and praise be to God! In preparation for this short-term missions, we tried to spend our weekly time together practicing for VBS and just genuinely getting to know one another. The perfect unity of Jesus Christ given to our team and our maintaining of it was a pivotal blessing in our team gathering and fellowship. Being that unity was foundational in every aspect of our ministry and preparation thereof, we were able to experience a profound level of trust and unconditional love for each other. Eight very different people with respective personas gathering and having a deep-spirited care and concern for each other, and thus serving each other unselfishly was truly encouraging and amazing to witness. I am confident in making the statement that we as the church are united in the front of thinking that the next generation of Christ-followers be trained in “the way he should go [for] even when he is old he will not depart from it”. As a youth group teacher, and particularly as this team’s leader I had in my plans to be able to model discipline and Bible meditation for our members to follow. My utmost desire for Honduras Missions trip was so that our younger brothers and sisters can genuinely experience the character of God. At the same time my prayer was so that we can be witnesses of God’s covenant to Abram written in Genesis 12:2-3, to make him a father of a great nation and bless all families through him – even the families in Honduras. Through this, we as one team will be able to testify to God’s redemption plan for all people in all nations that He has called His own. Particularly because we were able to spend much of our time with the children during VBS and at free play, we were able to witness how God has been working through Missionary David Lee(이동철 선교사님)’s ministry for the past twelve years. It is not merely on a level of Christian discipline and training perspective that I speak from, but from witnessing God’s Spirit being upon the children of the different schools and church that we visited, and especially in the little island of La Mosquitia. My belief and continued prayer is that God will work in the hearts and lives of the children of La Mosquitia to transform the community to a God-fearing community and bring up leaders that will bring about Spiritual change, and thus transform the society. As I conclude, I give thanks and honor to God our Father for keeping us protected spiritually, mentally, and physically and furthermore for allowing us to take part in His amazing redemption work even in the land of Honduras. It is truly a blessing to have walked into that land as eight different people within our respective positions of teachers and students and walking out as brothers and sisters enabled and encouraged to be intercessors for the Church and co-workers in the establishment of God’s Kingdom. Lastly, I thank all of you New York Presbyterian Church, as you have fervently prayed for us and the land of Honduras that we together as one church, stand.
Passage: Acts 28:26-31 Before going on any missions trip, my mom always told me to spread the gospel of Christ in that area, and to pray that at least one person will come to Christ. This was my mom’s message to me before I left to Honduras this year. I kept her message close to my heart as I prepared to leave for Honduras. When we finally landed in Honduras, I looked out the window and I was welcomed back by the familiar view of endless trees and mountains. I remember during my first year being sucker punched by the heat, so I was mentally prepared for the worst. As this was my third missions trip to Honduras, I knew all the logistics, I knew the schools, the churches, the kids. I thought I would know what to expect from this trip, but God had other plans for me. This year in particular, I was faced with many obstacles. For one, there was a new leadership for this year’s missions team. Not that I’m saying the new leaders were bad in any way – in fact, they were great leaders and were the reason why I learned so much. In my previous years, Deacon Helen and Pastor Paul both lead the team and have been to Honduras a number of times so they had a lot of experience working in Honduras. This year however, Hannah Jang and I were the only ones who have been to Honduras and became co-leaders with Joseph Cho and Jenny Lee teachers. Personally, it was difficult sharing the pressure and work of leading this team. I faced a lot of internal warfare and at times became overwhelmed with the work in front and ahead of me. Honestly, by the time we got to La Mosquitia, I began to shut down. Physically and mentally, I was drained, the heat and humidity made everyone easily ticked off and discouraged, and the constant bug bites and itching became a major distraction to our ministry. I felt like I had no more energy to serve anymore and the biggest thing on my mind was the flight back home. However, it was at this low point that I realized that it’s not about me. Missions is not about how I feel or what I want to do. I was in Honduras to do one thing and one thing only, which is to serve God’s kingdom by sharing the gospel to the people in Honduras. By God’s grace, the Holy Spirit humbled me and lead me to a verse in the bible – Isaiah 41:10, which reads: “Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” I realized I was trying to serve in Honduras by my own strength and lead our team through my own knowledge, instead of relying on God’s strength and sovereignty. God also revealed to me that missions never ends. After coming back home from missions, it’s so easy to slip back into our sinfulness and hide from responsibilities because we are back in our comfortable homes. Even after coming home from retreats, we are re-exposed to the secular world and slip back into our sinfulness. I realized the invisible truth that nonbelievers exist back at home too, including at our own church. Many of us struggle with our own faiths and our personal walks with God. As important as it is to minister the gospel to people across the globe, it’s also important to minister the gospel to the people within our own communities. Make it your mission to serve God’s kingdom here in our church. Let’s continually build God’s kingdom in our own community through prayer and inreach to the members within our church. And make it your life mission to serve God in everything you do, and be the salt and light wherever you go. I’ll end with a bible verse: 1 Corinthians 10:31 – “So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.”
You know, Honduras was really something that I had never experienced before. I’ve been on mission trips before, but nothing even came close to the experiences that I had in Honduras and the wonderful things we did in God’s name. We had QT every day, believe it or not, and those times were when we were able to really read God’s word to set up each day. The QT sessions were all centered around Paul, a man who feared God in everything that he did. Paul is someone that we all should look up to as Christians, as he was a man who risked everything for Jesus Christ. Through his many experiences, such as the shipwrecks and the MANY times he was imprisoned, he LEARNED. He learned to keep faith in God in the worst of times, and to always put God in front of himself, and to be honest, almost all of us have yet to learn that too. We can learn from him, and praise God, even when we are doing day-to-day activities. When we went to Honduras, reflections were a main part of what we did, and it allowed us to look back at the day we had just finished, and analyze everything we did, and how we could fix it. This helped us fix our mistakes, and we hope future teams can learn for the years to come. We looked at God’s word daily to prepare for the following tasks we had on those days, and that really helped, because God always came through whenever we needed him most, even though we were completely undeserving of such care. Looking at the communities of Honduras, I really saw the differences between the communities and people of the U.S. In Honduras, the people and children of God are perfectly happy, no matter what conditions they are in, and that really surprised me, as it did many people. Here in the U.S., where we have everything we need, we are less grateful of God in our daily lives, but the communities in Christ that live in Honduras really have this burning passion that I simply see less of in the first world countries. Our group actually fought a lot less than I thought we would, but I learned from that. When we were able to work together without any problems, we worked harder and got more done, such as more worship, or more bonding. However, the main point of Honduras was to spread the gospel to those who may have not received it in the past years in their life, and to praise God in everything that we do. As Psalms 100:3 states, “Know that the Lord, he is God! It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.”
This year, I went on my first mission trip to Honduras. Since it was my first mission trip, I was overwhelmed-I didn’t know what to expect of a place with a completely different environment and people who didn’t even speak the same language as me. I had been doubtful, because I knew there would be obstacles during the time of ministry, whether it was preaching in a setting that wasn’t ideal or the language barrier. Despite my doubts, God completely changed my perspective during my time in Honduras, especially on our last day of ministry in La Mosquitia. When I was on stage doing body worship, I saw the kids singing as loud as they could and trying their best to do the moves. I could see the life in their eyes and how engaged and focused they were. I could really tell that God was really working through both the people of La Mosquitia as well as myself. God had opened my eyes to see that no matter how different we were, we were connected through Christ, and we bonded through the Holy Spirit. Throughout the mission trip, I also learned to rely solely on God. Through Him, I was able to find myself reaching out to the kids, and I could see that the children were opening up their hearts to God. All in all, it was an unforgettable and eye-opening experience and God really allowed me to broaden my perspective through this mission trip.
Honduras was really a wonderful experience. I feel like the impact it has on me will make a lasting impression, as it has helped me in many ways. First, let me just go over our trip to Honduras. It lasted for 11 days, and I feel like those have been of the best 11 days I have ever known, simply because of how much it has been able to teach me. When I first decided to go to Honduras, I never really thought it would change me, I just thought it as another uniform mission trip, with us going, working with the children and parents there. However, as I arrived there and served for the 11 days we were there, I immediately knew that something was different. I felt different, and felt actual bonds to the children we were working with. Most of all, I really learned to be humbler, as the children there were able to worship God with all their hearts even though they were in conditions much worse than ours. When I was there for the first few days, when we were able to go back to the missionary’s home every night (which had air conditioning and working showers) I didn’t really feel much of a difference (as to my normal life at home). However, once we arrived in La Mosquitia, I really felt a difference, and felt many new responsibilities on myself that I had never felt before at home. I felt like I had to contribute a lot more to what we were doing as a team, and I tried my hardest to do everything to support our team. I looked around the area a lot, and really questioned myself on how the people were able to live God-centered lives while even living in those conditions. After arriving back home, I take on many new responsibilities in my daily life that I wouldn’t normally take on, and feel a new set of responsibilities that I have to fulfill.
Honduras was my very first mission trip. Therefore, I didn’t really have much thought in what to expect or what to be expected of. However, when the first day of ministry with the children in Buenos Aires began, my ears began filling with the body worship songs that we’ve been practicing for months. It felt different hearing the songs in Honduras than hearing it at church during practice. Everyone around me was smiling while doing tiny motions, imitating the dance leaders in the front. I then had a sensation of hope that I would open up the hearts of the children in Honduras and preach God’s words. As the first few days flew by, I realized that I needed God’s help to open their hearts and minds. I desired his help throughout the days of ministry in Honduras. I really felt his presence and assistance on the last day of ministry with the children in Honduras. We were in La Mosquitia performing in front of 300 kids and more when I also felt my heart truly opening up to God. I was called up to perform “One Way” in the center, in front of everyone. It was a thrilling moment to have every single kid look in my direction at the same time. The children weren’t just looking at me. They were also mimicking every dance move I made. It was an incredible yet short time that really helped me strengthen not just the children’s relationship with God, but mine with God. My time in Honduras helped me see the potential and capability of mission trips. It was definitely an unforgettable time that lifted me to grow in Christ. Acts 1:8 “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
A really difficult thing for me at Honduras was remembering my job. This rooted from many sins– I couldn’t willingly submit to others because of my pride, for brief moments it slipped from my mind that I was there to serve the children because of a lack of patience, and my actions at times portrayed that I had forgotten I was there for missions, because I was not entirely focused on God. Conditions I was unfamiliar with urged me to complain and mope. But with these sinful lapses and struggles, I became more aware of my duties in my team and ministry. Time with my team was the most significant to me. While working with my group, I began to realize the important roles that each team member had in the foundation and function of the group and missions. They were all encouraging and helpful in my spiritual growth. As a team, we were able to show God’s love to each other and the kids, and even plant seeds of faith. I personally loved the QTs because they helped me grow in Christ. That was a constant prayer topic of mine that I hadn’t been working to achieve. The QTs helped me to discover my sins and thoughts I had never been able to reflect on before. I reflected on my pride, how I had ignored God’s warnings, will, and commands, how I had not been active in my faith, and worried although I knew God has a plan. QTs prepared my heart for the day and the overall mission trip. Most importantly, I was reminded of who my God is; a merciful God who keeps his promises, works in ways unfathomable by men, and who has a plan that may not always be a rose petaled path but is always for his glory and my good. Reading and meditating on God’s Word every day made my heart and thoughts more open to Him. All these experiences in Honduras molded me into a more gospel-centered person that could not have been reached anywhere else, especially in the worldly and distracting America.
Every year I go to Honduras, I am strengthened by the reminder of His work being done through Missionary Lee. I had a strong calling to go this year as I looked forward to serving alongside the YG kids and the rest of the team. As I learned last year in Honduras, I really value the continual relationship with the Honduran people that is built by consistency, and hoped to see some familiar faces as I went to the schools and churches. I first was blown away by God’s faithful work on Missionary’s Lee land. One year ago, there was no chapel the courtyard for his school were just pillars standing on the grass. In a span of one year, a dentist clinic, a chapel, and a courtyard was built. Missionary Lee’s cafeteria for his school was already in the making during our missions. It was such a humbling reminder that God’s work is always moving. I really looked forward to our team’s ministry with all the students and parents that we would meet at every single place we visited. Every year I always witness how Missionary Lee and his ministry team strengthen their relationship with every single place we visit. The continual source of resources, encouragement, and love that is given is received in the hearts of the students, teachers, and anyone else who is watching. It was a relationship that took years, but this year I was able to see how softened the people’s hearts have become and their willingness to extend an opportunity to hear God’s message to them. I see how the helping hands of NYPC, our work of arts & crafts materials and body worship were all continually translated in a loving manner. Despite language barriers and cultural differences, God always provided a space where our team was able to communicate with quality time and a loving attitude. Even in La Mosquitia, a place where I have last gone 2 years ago, the children remembered my name. As soon as I stepped foot ashore at the village in La Mosquitia, one of the girls said my name. I was able to witness how important the presence of God’s people in every corner of the earth was. As our team worshipped with the La Mosquitian people for Sunday worship, prayed for the pastor and his wife there, and as our team lead body worship in front of all who would see, I knew that God was speaking to these people and changing their hearts. I was also really encouraged by our own team’s unity and willingness to serve one another so that we can push through the day for God’s kingdom work to be done. As a member of the 2016 NYPC Honduras missions team, I can fully testify that God’s work is being done in the land of Honduras and this is a land that continually needs the gospel to be preached-even in places as difficult as La Mosquitia. I am excited to see and hear more of the things that God has in store for each place our team has been to in Honduras.
I’m not a person who welcomes change very easily, especially when things are good. When I heard the news that Deacon Helen and Pastor Paul were not joining us for this year’s missions trip to Honduras, I was taken aback. For the past two years that I went, Deacon Helen and Pastor Paul were both there to lead the team. I tried to be open minded about a new leadership for this year’s team, but I honestly did not know what to expect. The Honduras missions team also began their weekly meetings on the Sunday I was returning back to Geneseo to finish off my last semester. While I was busily studying for finals, I was missing out on our first chunk of weekly Honduras meetings back at home. I have never talked to Joseph Cho teacher or any of the four youth group students before this trip, so I thought it would be difficult for me to build relationships with them within the short amount of time before the trip. Right off the bat, I felt like I was missing out on such a critical moment for our team – the beginning foundation for team unity. However, things took a pleasant turn when we arrived to Honduras. As we traveled around Honduras to visit different schools and churches, we spent a lot of time together in the car and had many opportunities to build our relationships. Looking back, one of the most cherished moments that I had were times spent during car rides. This is because I believe that team unity is the foundation of a team, and leads to words and acts of encouragement as we spread the gospel to the children in Honduras. Our mission is to serve God and build his kingdom in Honduras, as well as serve one another and encourage one another as a unified team. Being a part of this year’s vision challenge team to Honduras was yet another eye opening and truly humbling experience. I was able to witness God working through Missionary Lee and his wife, and their dedicated hearts to serve Him in Honduras. I was also able to witness the growth of Christ in the hearts of our youth students. For most of our youth students, Honduras was their first missions trip and it was very encouraging to see how God is changing them through this experience and surrender themselves to serve His kingdom. The passion in their hearts was reflected on the children in Honduras and brought joy and laughter everywhere they went. I thank God for giving me the opportunity to serve in Honduras and serve this missions team, but more importantly, for giving the youth students the opportunity to experience God’s love in a new way. They got a first taste of what it’s like to go on missions trips, and I hope that they will return again in their near futures.