El Progreso, Honduras | third time around..

This trip was nothing short of amazing. This time around, I realized a lot about myself and what areas in my life that struggle. Mainly, I need God more in my life… Even though I thought I was going through the journey of life having my relationship with the Lord in the front, if I’m honest.. That’s not how it has been. Obviously there’s always more I can give and pay attention to. That being said, I have been an absolute mess this past week after leaving Honduras. I don’t understand how I have any more tears to shed. (FYI: this does not mean you will experience my crazy emotions - I am just on a rollercoaster, party of one.) I am crying because of the fact that we can’t save the world in one week. I am sad because of all the things I take for granted. Before this trip, I was straight up stressing out on what I was going to wear to all these wedding showers, baby showers, and weddings I have coming up. liiiiike WHO CARES? I am longing because before this trip I thought I loved these kids so much, but somehow they made me fall so much more in love. I didn’t think it was possible. I am moping around because I am not in the place I love the most, and that’s El Progreso, Honduras. That city has it’s own kind of demons all around, but I am my happiest when I am there. Now, I realize it’s okay to sit in these emotions and feel how deep they are, letting them linger only feeds my heart to return as soon as possible. While I am sitting here with a heavy heart, half of it is filled with so much joy from those sweet smiles I will carry into tomorrow. I probably should find a solution to all these emotions but for now, I’m choosing to sit here and feel it to the fullest extent. Homegirl Mother Teresa said it best, “If you can’t feed a hundred people, then feed just one.” 

This trip I realized how much I truly love these kids. The whole group flew to Honduras Saturday while I was shooting a 12 hour wedding. I flew to Honduras that Sunday on a 5:30 am flight - I only slept maybe a good 20 minutes but I WAS SO EXCITED. Plus it was an eventful flight.. there was a man that passed out in the aisle next to me. He picked good flight to pass out on because there was about 15 doctors on board.. I am not trying to make light of the situation but I am just sayin’ God has his eye out for him. (He walked off the plane, totally fine. Alive, I promise). So there I am waiting in the customs line realizing that I am the only one who doesn’t know Spanish right now... what an awkward feeling. But! I finally made it through that hour and half line and saw the most familiar faces! It was like every emotion I was feeling disappeared and pure joy washed over my entire being. My sweet Joseph and Sindy baby were waiting for me. Joseph smiled the biggest smile missing his front tooth, I flipped out and squeezed him even more. Sindy, of course, giving me the best hugs you could ever imagine. Sigh! I knew this is exactly where I am supposed to be squished between those two big hearts. I could live in that moment forever.

I was so eager to get to the orphanage; I wanted to burst out of the van once I saw the gates to COPPROME. This being my third time, I didn’t have to introduce myself to any of the children, which was amazing, realizing they remembered me and greeted me with huge hugs. I am sure I am known as the crazy woman with the camera in their face at all times, but whatever, works for me! 

All the children from COPPROME and the group with Friends of Los Ninos went to go see Finding Dory! But people, please don’t be mistaken, it was in Spanish. I know you’re probably thinking, obviously Alex! But for a moment there, I hadn’t thought that far ahead. Which only reminded me more that I really should learn Spanish. When I came home Saturday, I found all my Spanish class note cards and work books.. It’s been a week now and I have practiced every single day. Hey, that’s the best I have done so far. Pray for me!

Half way through the trip I stumble across this letter I wrote myself when I was in fourth grade. Haha! So much information I fit into one letter to myself. But what really got to me is that I mentioned multiple times how I wanted to help the poor. Maybe it’s normal for a fourth grader to write this, I don’t know. But to get to read that letter again while I was on a mission trip, really tugged at my heartstrings. It’s like God put these desires deep in my heart that my little fourth grade self was slowly coming to grips with. It also said that I want to play for the WNBA…… Clearly that’s for later in life. Haha! When we are children, we have all these ideas that don’t seem crazy at the time. So to fulfill one of my dreams for myself, melts my heart and helps me realize anything is possible. One of the missionaries on this trip recited this quote, “Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up.” - Pablo Picasso. Wise man. I think we all need to keep that little child in us to keep our dreams alive. 

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We visited a new village on this trip. There was 240 families that lived there and greeted us with open arms. They are the definition of poor but were so proud of the accomplishments they have made in a short time. As one of the leaders spoke to us he said, “Thank you for coming to visit with us, because no one takes the time to visit the poor.” We had nothing to give, but they were so grateful to have us. This man’s comment summed up the importance of why we go on this mission trip with Friends of Los Ninos. There is hope in greeting a person and treating them as an equal. It was a great reminder on how and why we are serving.

I have said this before and I’ll continue to say it, Honduras recharges me. COPPROME gives me so much motivation and inspiration. I wish I could explain the feeling I have when I am there…imagine having all of your most favorite people including celebrities in one place. Doesn’t even come close to how I feel around those kiddos. So many smiles lighting up with joyful laughter floating through the air.

Going to Honduras is always a constant reminder on how important photographs are for the people there. As we visited some of the children's from COPPROME village,  I went inside their parent’s home to find a wall of photographs that I had taken of their children. These photos let them see their child’s face every single day… If they didn’t have those photos they’d only see their child twice a year for an hour. Nothing is like getting to squish your little babies face and kiss them but being able to capture the warmth of their smile in a picture for their mothers and fathers to hold on to while they are away, is a gift I will continue to give to these families for as long as possible.

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With all these emotions, I am reminded again and again that God is LOVE, LOVE is God. It’s honestly that simple. Every emotion I have had this past week is just an illusion that this fallen world has made up. If I would of simply choose to love, I think this blog post would of started out completely different. Not so many tears and heartache… Friends of Los Ninos purpose is to be present, serve and LOVE. Oh man, did we love. We loved so hard. I don’t speak Spanish (yet) but we all speak the same language and that is love. 

This was the largest group Friends of Los Ninos has had.. Katrina & Rudy rocked it! Forever thankful for you two. I am already so excited to be back in November. Hopefully something happens to where I have to stay there forever! Haha, a girl can dream, okay! For now, I’ll leave you with these thoughts and know I am counting down the days until I return. 

www.friendsoflosninos.org <-- check out Friends of Los Ninos website if you have any questions for the next mission trip or would just like to donate. Continue to keep this fabulous organization in your prayers.. 

Thanks for reading and going on this journey with me. Until next time. 

Alex