St. Philip's Youth Mission Trip to Honduras
June 10-19, 2017
What is a Journey?
by David Gilbert, Youth Minister
In the tragically selfish era of the 1980s a band emerged and attempted to question music, life, and our relationship to God and each other. They created an album called Remain in the Light, and on that album was a snapshot, a glimpse into the creative soul of questioning what society says is truth. The zeitgeist of our society must be questioned by the eternal and by brave souls who are willing to risk it all. The snapshot was a song called Once in a Lifetime. The whimsical and highly rhythmic music created a trance like sound to propel the lyrics to the center of your consciousness:
“You may find yourself living in a shotgun shack. You may find yourself in another part of the world. You may find yourself behind the wheel of a large automobile. You may find yourself in a beautiful house, with a beautiful wife, and you may ask yourself, ‘Well, how did I get here? Watching the days go by, letting water hold me down, letting the days go by, water flowing underground, into the blue again, after the money’s gone, once in a lifetime, water flowing underground … same as it ever was!’”
The song creates a contradiction: the main theme is money vs. water--what society says we should chase vs. what God says we should pursue. What happens when the money is all gone? What happens when what we think life should be about is wrong? What happens when all we want our kids to pursue is education, sports, getting into the right college and securing a good job? What would you say if your child said, “I need to take a gap year with the Anglican mission program called A-gape Year,” which teaches theology while working in inner-city missions and then takes the kids for 3 months of international mission work. What if they said, “I need to go to work with the victims of AIDS and genocide in Rwanda.” What if they said, “I am lead to work with victims of sexual trafficking and work with orphans in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, one of the most dangerous cities in the world.” Or, “I am being lead to sell my million-dollar company and start a non-profit business that will help eradicate the global water crisis.” Their statements would get you to question the norms and realities that we place as safety nets in our lives. Live without a net.
The parents who agreed with the Lord to send their teenagers on a mission trip this summer took a great risk and questioned the system of our culture, just like the lyrics to Once in a Lifetime. Mission trips, like the song, question reality; they question the zeitgeist of our culture, and they question the soul. What am I here for? What is life truly about? How can people who live in shotgun shacks in another part of the world, and who have nothing, be so joyful? BOOM! The bubble of our little world is popped, and the Holy Spirit soars in with profound wisdom. As you get older, the days seem to blur into one creative picture that tells more than 1,000 words. It becomes hard to differentiate one day from the next (same as it ever was). When you are on a mission trip, time almost seems to stop. It is like the Lord wants the memories to bleed into your heart vault so that they can be cherished in vivid recollection for years to come.
Our group of nine embarked on a mission trip for ten days. We fled the cozy confines of our Charleston bubble to experience the reality of a developing country in need of clean water...
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About Water Mission
In 1998, Water Mission founders, Molly and George Greene, were operating an environmental engineering company in Charleston, South Carolina when they heard about the devastation in Honduras caused by Hurricane Mitch. After receiving a request for multiple water treatment systems in Honduras, and being unable to find existing systems that would work, George and his team of engineers took action to build such a system – and thus the idea for Water Missions International was born.
When the Greene’s arrived in Honduras, they were shocked by what they found. The river that flowed through a nearby village was the color of chocolate milk, deep brown with toxins, bacteria and hopelessness. The residents of the village referred to it as the “River of Death” – no one survived once they drank from that river. As one of the newly built water systems became operational, the local villagers were still terrified to drink any water from the river – whether it was clear or not. So Molly and George placed their own lips to the hose and drank the newly purified water. With that action, Molly and George bridged the final gap and the villagers swarmed forward to drink the water.
In the aftermath of their Honduras trip, Molly and George discovered the sad truth about the global water crisis – that billions are forced to drink dirty water every day. In 2001, the Greenes took action to combat this reality and founded Water Mission.