By Darlene Winans, ANM trip participant
As the team prepared for our missions trip to Honduras, I felt insecure. I felt inadequate for the task at hand. I was filled with doubts that I could speak effectively to hundreds of women – in Spanish. I’m a Spanish teacher, but would I be able to communicate well in front of so many native speakers?
But then I read a post that Autumn Nims posted that said: “Leadership 101: recruit for the vision, not perceived problems or deficiencies.” These words were just what I needed; it caused me to focus on the vision, the reason I was going to Honduras, not on my own deficiencies, fears, or inability.
The vision for the Honduras trip was to share the freedom we have in Christ, the freedom He gives us as we break out of fear and bondage. This vision was expressed in the theme for the conference, “No Longer Slaves (“No más esclavas”). I was ready to share stories from my own life – stories of great losses that the Lord has brought me through. Stories of walking through the fire and being refined by that fire. I wanted to tell these beautiful Honduran women that “Dios es tan fiel (God is so faithful)”. As far as my fears about speaking in Spanish – these women were so loving, supportive and accepting, that a few minutes into my first talk, the fear and the nerves were gone. They loved the stories I shared from my own experiences, especially stories about my son, Robertito!
When I share, I smile a lot. I tell funny stories. I love to laugh. So in Honduras, I became known as the smiling speaker-lady. I’m friends on Facebook with many of the women we met in Honduras, and they often tell me they love my smile. I love their heart!
What usually happens when you go to be a blessing – whether in your community or in Honduras – you find you are also blessed beyond measure. I went to tell my story, but I was so blessed to be a part of their story as well. Every woman at the conference was so thankful that we came, so gracious, so loving. At the end of each conference day, we were greeted with hugs and kisses and, “Dios la bendiga (God bless you”) from every single woman there. At the second conference, we were greeted before the conference with a song, 100 beautiful faces singing, “Bienvenidos” (“Welcome”). I’m in love with the women of Honduras. We couldn’t have been more blessed.
The trip was not only about the conferences, however. It was about interacting with the pastors and their families. Pastor Mario’s family was so gracious! His sister, Reina, cooked our meals on most days. His niece and grandniece entertained us and showed us the city of Choluteca. His wife, Marlen, shared stories with us of the great work they are doing in Los Rincones. She works at her dress shop in Choluteca, is a pastor’s wife, and runs a sewing school in Los Rincones. She even found time to make each of us a beautiful blouse before we left! We visited with pastors from Choluteca all the way to the Gulf of Fonseca, on the Pacific side – the hardest working pastors one would ever meet. And all the most gracious and loving people, our brothers and sisters in Christ. What a beautiful family we have in the family of God!
If you are considering a missions trip, remember that His perfect love casts out all fear. God is so faithful! Go in faith that our God will provide all that you need. Go to be a blessing, and you will find that you are blessed in the process – before the trip, during the trip, and afterwards.
If you would like to get involved in short-term missions trips to be a blessing to women, contact Autumn Nims at Advancing Native Missions for more information.