Last year around this time, Logan and I headed off on our first mission trek to Guatemala where we felt closer to God and each other more than ever. We were now prepared and excited for our second Christmastime mission trek to Honduras.
We weren’t always excited, though, as fear and doubt started to trickle in before we left. A few days after booking our flights to Honduras, the U.S. Department of State Bureau of Consular Affairs issued a statement that Honduras was a level 3: reconsider travel due to elevated crime.
We had even planned on bringing our boys with us, booking them tickets and making arrangements for them to come like researching child travel vaccines, but ended up canceling their flights for various reasons.
We chose to trek on, though, and the time had come for Logan and I to board the plane for the first leg of our journey to San Pedro Sula, Honduras. To save space on the aircraft, we willingly handed over our onboard bags and settled into our seats for take-off.
And then, the journey (and how God was going to speak to us there), truly began…
Within moments, we were notified that one of the plane’s engines was not working and we would all need to deboard the plane. People were complaining, immediately blaming the airline and were getting fed up with the long lines to talk to an agent.
We learned that the only option would be to switch airlines, wait about five hours to fly to Newark, NJ and then fly five hours to Honduras. It was a major setback and added about ten hours to our travel day. But on we went!
We arrived late in the evening in Honduras but our bags never did. And to sweeten the pot, the next day we drove all the way back to the airport and the airport was closed.
We eventually received our luggage later in the evening of the second day of travel due to a kind airline manager who went out of her way to return to the airport for us, but we felt frustrated.
But before the bags arrived, I lost it. Not just the luggage, but just, it. Like, started to cry while in the line at Wendy’s at the airport. I was exhausted and sick and I just wanted the comforts of the basic items that I had brought with me from home.
After spending the next days at BVSA, though, I quickly learned that God was teaching me to let go of control, to be still and to just simply know that He is God and in control for me.
Located in Travesia, Honduras, about one-and-a-half hours from San Pedro Sula (a drive that we became way too familiar with), BVSA Honduras is a soccer academy for boys aged 10-18. While there, boys have the opportunity to learn, practice and play competitive-level soccer. But besides just sports, the Academy offers the boys life skills training in hygiene, provides a warm meal and teaches them how to be Godly brothers, sons and eventually husbands.
Former Trinity Fitness trainers and Nocatee neighbors, Jeremy and Maria Foster and their two youngs boys, Alek and Jackson, now call the Academy home. It was so heartwarming to see the genuine love that their family (as well as the other staff members) have for the boys there.
The Fosters, who live on-site at the Academy, have already made such an impact on the town of Travesia in the last year of living there. When we asked some of the older Rhinos (the BVSA boys) what they loved about the Academy, they answered that this was their family. That they felt loved. And that they get the opportunity to learn things at BVSA that they wouldn’t have normally had the chance to learn in Travesia.
The Academy is located on the Caribbean Sea and God gifted us with some of the most beautiful pink sunsets I’ve ever seen.
But life in Travesia is not made up of palm trees and coconut water. Dirt roads lead to Travesia from Port of Cortes, signaling the poverty that one is about to experience. Boys are not showing up with new cleats and shirts to play soccer, but instead are sponsored by senders, those who see the vision of what BVSA Honduras is giving to these boys.
Extreme poverty and broken families are the norm in Travesia, requiring the young boys to help their families work for money at a very young age. And so the boys are blessed to have the Fosters and the other on-site missionairies, Jason and Axel, to show them unconditional love.
The Academy is made up of a soccer field, a classroom, a gym and a locker room. This afterschool “school” is a supplement to the boys’ typical schedule and for many, it is what they look forward to all day long.
Visiting BVSA Honduras will be something Logan and I will never forget. We spent hours in the morning, reading our Bibles and enjoying worship time and quiet time with God. We weren’t rushed to be somewhere quickly and we loved the stillness that we felt while visiting BVSA. After lunch with the Fosters, we would prep for the Rhinos to arrive and then we spent the late afternoon and evening encouraging the boys on the soccer field, in the classroom and over dinner. The days at the Academy were the best days of our visit.
Tiny cinder block homes with cold running water and bare necessities for survival are what these boys call home. We had the opportunity to walk around Travesia and see firsthand the conditions that these Rhinos live in daily.
From tiny stores selling soda drinks to abandoned homes and churches, you can feel the brokenness in the town. Job opportunities are limited as the closest main city is a bit of a drive away. Moments like walking around Travesia reminded me how unimportant losing my baggage was and how fortunate we are as a family.
Some of the Rhinos who were performing well at the Academy in November got awarded an excursion day – an opportunity to leave their town of Travesia and spend time doing a special activity with the Fosters and staff of BVSA. We were so excited to join them on a morning out in local Omoa for light hiking and swimming in a waterfall.
The boys laughed and played together, creating special memories that will last forever. The Fosters and staff are so engaging and sweet with their Rhinos that it instanteously warms your heart. For the afternoon, kids were just kids.
I continued to have the opportunity to let go of personal baggage as we then took the boys out to a local restaurant for lunch. For as long as I can remember, I have been petrified of dining out in third world countries, fearful of food poisoning and not having medical access readily available if it was needed.
But God truly stripped me of all of my baggage or insecurities this trip, arming me with Godfidence to let go of control. And instead, I enjoyed a sweet (and yummy!) lunch with the Rhinos and BVSA staff.
Logan felt strongly that God was placing being still on his heart and so he plans to bring that attitude back to the states. We aim to try to keep our schedule more free, to not clutter up our days with activities and instead find peace and solititude in spending time with God and family. Logan also felt a sense of gratitude for his job while we were in Honduras, after seeing the needs of BVSA Honduras and how he could work hard in FL to help support the Academy as best as he could.
“All of my time, a gift from You. Even my job, a gift from You” – The Housefires
I love being in control and knowing what to expect out of situations. But after God continued to give me opportunities, through losing our luggage and dining out in a restaurant I wasn’t comfortable with, I learned that giving up control to Him can be so freeing. I plan to worry less, pray more and be thankful for a God who is in control all the time.
“Learn how to sing even when I don’t feel it” – The Housefires
There is so much work to be done at the Academy and the Fosters, Jason and Axel together are only one year into this mission. A lifetime of work needs to be done in Travesia, Honduras, and there are so many great ways to help them.
Firstly, by sponsoring a BVSA boy (a Rhino) you can create a one-on-one relationship with a boy in Honduras who would love encouragement.
Secondly, the Fosters are in need of a more reasonable way to transport the Rhinos to games, excursions and soccer events in the nearby area. Some sort of bus or van would help transport the boys safely, providing enough space for all Rhinos to be able to attend. Their current method of piling kids in the back of their pick-up trucks is temporary and the prayer is for the Academy to grow tremendously.
Thirdly, send some encouragement to our friends, Maria and Jeremy Foster. They are doing really great things in Travesia and we couldn’t be more proud. They have formed a Christmas wish list, noting what items will be needed as they trek on into 2019. You can send them encouragement on their Instagram page.
“Life is a gift and the Giver is good” – The Housefires