147 Blog

Faith, Hope, Love

When Ty asked me to write a blog entry about my experience in Honduras I tried to find the perfect words. I thought about it for most of the day. I stared sentences. I deleted sentences.  Here I sit at the end of another amazing day, still stuggling, and finally realized that my words don’t need to be perfect. Life isn’t perfect.  What I have seen this week though is God’s perfect love.  When we pulled into Olivos for the first time I thought that the people had so little that it was hard to believe.  It didn’t take long to see that the people in the village have more than words can describe.  So how can people with what seems to be so little appear so happy?   I wanted to learn from them and I did. I learned that it only appears that they have little.  In reality they have riches beyond words.    In imperfect words – I have seen men and women who value God, church, family, children, education and community. That may sound familiar to many of us.    But what I have seen on this trip this trip is an entire village doing this under the most challenging of circumstances AND with a joyful heart. The “AND” is the most important part. I have seen Julio, the proud leader of the village, lead a church service in a partially built church. I have heard the beautiful voices lifted in song.  I heard the lesson about making the choice to walk with Christ.  I have seen 3 men make that choice and attended a baptism in the local creek.  I have laughed as I worked along side men and women mixing concrete with […]

By |August 6th, 2014|147 Blog|0 Comments
  • JULY11-163
    Building Community Building Community

    Building Community

Building Community

People here take care of each other. The men and women know how important hard work is in order to make a safe and secure place to live. They dream that their children will have a chance to make it somewhere special with education and will do anything to make that dream a reality. That’s why men work until they’re drenched in sweat and then work some more. That’s why elders in the community shovel back-breaking amounts of rocks to mix concrete. Some of the men don’t even have children, they work for their neighbors kids, bc they also know how important an education is. People are kind in the village, they are eager to talk and make friendships, but most importantly they know what sacrifice is and they see it thru our work. Being surrounded by that mentality is a huge blessing to everyone on this trip. Although there is a communication barrier, smiles are the universal symbol of happiness, gratitude, and of course laughter. in many ways what you experience in Olivos is what you wish the world to reflect. As Bertine, a father on the village, handed me a note addressed to the team and the “bike guys” as we have been commonly known as, he had tears in his eyes. He read it aloud in Spanish – it is the story of Olivos and the hardships the community (including his family has faced) he concluded the letter with this, “this place that we have is because of you guys, we are thankful for you guys, now we live better, we are a happy people with our children. Thank you – Bertine. James Richfield

  • IMG_0332
    Scars…but the wounds are healed Scars…but the wounds are healed

    Scars…but the wounds are healed

Scars…but the wounds are healed

Our first day in Olivos was a good day.  The whole village was excited and active…smiles and hugs coming from every corner, from every doorway.  The school is progressing rapidly.  While the footers were only dug and poured the last week of June all of the walls are completed and we are now pouring the vertical support columns, followed by the top bond beam and then it will be ready to roof!  The school has become an iconic building in the community.  It means so much to them and is symbolic of God’s abundance, their progress as a community and the hope they now  have. Last night at devo Jessica Helton talked about how we can learn from the impoverished we work with and gave examples of things she learned while in the mission field for 18 months in the World Race.  As I listened to her speak my I knew what I had learned from a woman today.  Her name is Maria.  She came to Olivos from another village seeking help on July 3.  She had had a seizure and fallen into her stove.  She was badly burned.   As she removed the sticky rag from her arm that covered the wound that ran from her wrist to her elbow I got a little light headed.  When she lifted her shirt to reveal another large burn that covered the right side of her back from shoulder blade to hip I thought “God, I can’t do this”.  But, she needed help…a deep breath and lots of prayers later the wound was cleaned, medicated and wrapped.  She came back every day we were there to have the wounds re-cleaned and medicine applied.  When we saw her the […]

  • JUNE25-1-2
    Redefining Blessings Redefining Blessings

    Redefining Blessings

Redefining Blessings

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.” (Matthew 5:3) For my lifetime to date, I have always been taught the verse,  “my God will supply all of your needs according to His riches in Heaven.”  So, I should have food on my table and clothes on my back and a nice house for my family with furniture, air conditioning, appliances, and a locking door. My trip with 147 to Honduras was not my first “mission trip”.  I have seen poverty – I have been in Mexico City, Matamoras, Sao Paulo, and the Appalachian mountainous areas of the Southeastern United States.  I have believed (sincerely) that through earthly provisions, the poor find joy and well-being here on this earth.  And then I went to Monte Los Olivos, Honduras and fell in love with some of the poorest yet most joyful people I have ever met. They have no way to make even $3 per day.  They know not where their next meal (typically a bowl of rice) is coming from.  They have no electricity, no clean water, no furniture, and often no shoes.   A small cup of fresh, clean “agua” is a blessing worthy of gratitude and praise. They work hard – wash clothes in a small creek on a rock and carry heavy buckets of unclean water to their homes without shoes on their feet.  Yet, every day, they smile and find their wellness in God’s simple blessings – friends, family, and nature’s bounty. So, in one week in Honduras, God taught me an incredibly significant lesson.  My interpretation of His blessings and gifts is completely biased by my worldly stature and my possessions.  When I pray for God to “give us this day our daily bread”, I often expect […]

  • IMG_0928
    Every Brick Matters Every Brick Matters

    Every Brick Matters

Every Brick Matters

  Kayla and I recently had the opportunity to visit the village of Olivos in Honduras with 147.  Our task…to help build a school.  Our materials…cinder block and cement which we mixed by hand.   It occurred to me, as we place one cinder block at a time…God does the same.  One life + God’s grace + love and kingdom forms. Many blocks formed the foundation just as we benefit from those who have gone before us and give their hearts and lives in service to Christ.  There were blocks placed in a parallel path, just as we walk alongside those God strategically places in our “circles”.  Finally, there were blocks placed on top…possibly representing the next generation or simply a friend who needs support and our help “bearing a burden.” We consider it both a pleasure and a privilege to have worked alongside the beautiful people of this village and plan to continue kingdom building in whatever form it takes.  Thanks 147!       Kelly Wegner

  • abby
    A Helpful Heart A Helpful Heart

    A Helpful Heart

A Helpful Heart

Today was our first full day at the orphanage. I’m not really sure what I was expecting, but the experience exceeded all of my expectations. We played with the kids and did various chores around the buildings. . One moment that stuck out to me happened when my friend Gabby and I were washing dishes after lunch. We had just begun to scrub the massive pile of plates when we noticed we had a shadow. This little boy had snuck over and was just watching us clean the dishes. Soon enough he was the irreplaceable third part of our dish washing dream team by putting the washed dishes out in the sun to dry. This moment struck me because it showed me that even though we are here to serve them, their hearts were more than willing to serve us as well. He may not have been able to reciprocate any material gifts but he gave us all that he had: his helpful heart. Abby Broussard

  • Kayla02
    Love Needs No Translation Love Needs No Translation

    Love Needs No Translation

Love Needs No Translation

Work gloves:  check Sunscreen:  check 147 Shirt:  check You spend days packing (or a day in my case), but that does nothing to prepare your heart for what you’ll experience.  On one hand, you heart breaks when you listen to the story of Miriam, who was in college studying English when she had her first child, and now lives in one of the houses 147 Million built.  But then it is stitched back together with each right hug and genuine smile you receive from the children of Mt. Olivos and Copprome. After all, love needs no translation. I got a shirt just before the trip that said, “love needs no translation,” and this past week has made me realize the true depth of that phrase far beyond what I thought it meant.  I was a bit nervous coming on this trip, to be honest.  I’m deaf, and while I use sign language about 75% of the time, that other 25% is spent trying to figure what everyone is saying…in English!  So, I thought, throw Spanish into the mix, and I would spend the week wandering around, trying to follow the conversation.  All those fears went flying out the window when a littler stranger names Said, of about 2 ½ feet, held up his arms, begging for me to pick him up. Love needs no translation. I was constantly reminded of this fact with every smile shared with the people shoveling dirt, every laugh among team members at dinner, and every selfless gesture between team members and the people of Mt. Olivos.  Before arriving, I expected the days to be long and full of manual labor, I had prepared myself for that.  Instead, our days were […]

  • carlita
    Some Kind of Extraordinary Some Kind of Extraordinary

    Some Kind of Extraordinary

Some Kind of Extraordinary

Mark 10:21 Jesus looked at him and loved him. “One thing you lack,” he said. “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” After reading through this piece of scripture this morning, my written prayer was simple; I asked: Lord Jesus may I follow you in the little ways today. Might I continually—hour by hour—choose to put off my old self and let go of what I have on this earth, in order that I might have more of you. Might my posture within my work for you today be like that of the ultimate servant, your Son Jesus. Following Jesus looks the same whether I’m at home with my family, at college with friends, working with clients on a job, babysitting kids, or here in El Progreso, Honduras. Following Jesus means saying no to me and yes to Him whether I’m tired, hungry, joyful, bored, angry, confused, or whatever other emotion I am engaged in at that moment, and whatever my circumstance is. One of my favorite authors, Bob Goff, writes: “Following Jesus is about having your paradigms shift as you navigate a wide range of emotions while living the big life Jesus invites us into. Because I know Jesus, where I once thought of things in one way, now I think of them in another way. It happens all the time, every day.” I have traveled to this country of Honduras to work here with the people several times now, and it could be said that, yes, there is a certain model, or paradigm if you will, to how we run these trips. The construction we do is similar each time, the […]

  • Titus
    Can we come back? Can we come back?

    Can we come back?

Can we come back?

From Day 1, Titus, my 11 year old son asked; “Dad, can we come back next year?”. Our team had barely arrived on Honduran soil and he was asking to come back. It may have been the children at Copprome, or the adventure of being in another country, but early on his heart was bent on coming back. Several months before that moment my wife and I decided that Titus and I would go on a mission trip, of some sort, over the summer. We knew that he was at a critical point in life, as he is entering Jr. High, and that we needed to encourage his faith as much as possible. At first, he was apprehensive, then he dove into the adventure, and now he was asking to come back. Throughout our week, I saw Titus serve alongside men and young adults bigger and stronger than him. I saw him mix concrete, carry buckets, kick a ball and give piggyback rides to children whom he would consider friends. I saw him overcome language barriers, sickness, and a strange culture all because he wanted to serve and to love one more. The spiritual implications of our 5 days at Mt. Olivos could not have been more significant. We dug a foundation for a school that will impact generations to come. We watched a team member run electricity for the shop and saw lights come on in the village for the very first time. We saw people of two very different nations and backgrounds serve alongside each other as the body of Christ. Day after day the importance of this week was etched into my heart and soul and I hoped that Titus was seeing […]

  • 715-1
    Light of the World Light of the World

    Light of the World

Light of the World

In coming home from Honduras, I have been able to reflect on all that I saw, heard, and felt.  There are times when I feel anger rise.  I am angry because of the conditions on which people live, angry at the circumstances children are born in to, and angry that I am guilty of living my life with a “first world” problems view.  Aren’t we all guilty of that at times?  Our food is too cold?  Someone jumped in front of me in line?  My flight is delayed?!@?  I don’t think I have been ever been angry because a cow is standing in the creek that I wash my clothes in, or there is no medication available to heal a simple ailment, or because I have no idea how I am going to feed my children.  In a place where there is so much darkness, where is the light? In the midst of many hard things to see, I saw hope!  In the village of Mt.  Olivos, there is hope.  Houses have been built.  Through a well system, there is clean water.  There is food.  A school is being built.  People are being taught skills to sustain income.  Families are being empowered.  Children are remaining in families instead of having to be placed in orphanages. But with all these great things, the people still had no electricity.  While we were there, I experienced one of the most humbling things I have ever witnessed.  147 provided a generator to the village to provide power.  I was in the school, when I heard the loud rumbling of a generator, followed by claps and cheers.  I went out to see what was going on.  Do you know what […]