“Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock." (Mathew 7:24)
This familiar scripture was the first to pop into my mind as we arrived in the small village of Piletas today. After a harrowing bus ride up the mountain on "roads" (if you want to call them that) that had us bouncing out of our seats and subconsciously leaning forward to "help" the bus up some seemingly impossible inclines, we arrived to find a village that was quite literally built on a rock. The ground was basically entirely rock and dust, with very little grass or other plant growth.
We were greeted by the community members, as well as a whole host of farm animals ranging from chickens to a very large pig. The terrain was unlike anything most of us had experienced before, and we found it to be unique and unexpectedly beautiful. This was also a very poor community, with limited access to clean water and no electricity or plumbing. However we were amazed by the way that the community came together to serve each other.
The school where we set up the clinic was very small, and several community members opened up their homes to give our teams a place to work. The dental team was stationed on the porch of a home that opened up into what was essentially a barn yard, and one of the team members commented, "This was the first time I ever assisted with an extraction with a pig staring at me." Despite the less than ideal conditions, it was amazing to see how hard the women who lived in the home worked to accommodate us and serve their community members. They even went so far as to dump water all over the ground after noticing that we were being pelted with dust each time the wind picked up.
Another unique aspect of this community was that it is one of Friends of Barnabas's Advanced Learning Communities. There are currently 10 of these communities. They receive 3 years of monthly education, with topics focusing on improving the health of the community. It was really neat to see this community coming together to create a healthier community for their children. One of the main focuses of the education efforts is teaching the community members about the importance of a safe water supply, and this community is currently in the process of securing a better water supply. The community is also working to create a co-op and grow taro root, which would provide the community with a more sustainable source of income and better facilitate their efforts to improve the health of their community.
Today, we also got to experience many of the ways this community is "building their house upon a rock." While the community is very poor, the way that they anchor their faith in God as their rock was truly inspiring. One team member had the chance to pray with a woman who was experiencing a lot of stress and turmoil in her life. She was intimidated at first because praying in Spanish is very difficult even for those of us who speak a good bit of the language. However, she quickly realized that it was not going to be an issue, as the woman was saying her own prayer at the same time. This team member said it was an amazing moment as they each lifted up their own prayers. She could tell that God was hearing what was in their hearts, even when their words failed. The Bible says that when two or more are gathered in prayer, the Holy Spirit is with them, and the Holy Spirit very clearly showed up to today to cross language barriers and allow two people from two entirely different worlds to come together in the common language of prayer.
Tomorrow, we have a big day as we head off to one of our largest communities. We would like to ask you all for some extra prayers for our team tonight, as we all walk through the challenges of our work here in Honduras and some challenges in our personal lives together.