Long-Term Change from a Short-Term Mission

Today’s guest post comes to us from Kyle Mitchell.  You can read more from Kyle and his wife Lynea at kyleandlynea.blogspot.com

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Kyle Mitchell visited the Hogar de Niños, a CRF children’s home in Catacamas, Honduras in 2003. His experience there changed his life and we want to share it with you!

During the summer of 2003, the course of my life changed forever. I was 19 and had finished my first year at college. My best friend was interning at the Branch Church of Christ in Texas that summer, and insisted that I go with his church on a trip to Honduras. I’d never been out of the country before and was reluctant to answer yes. But answer yes, I did.

I raised some money and headed to Texas to meet the group that was going. And off we went with our matching t-shir ts and our little bit of Spanish.

We finally arrived in Catacamas, Honduras at the Hogar de Niños. I remember not knowing exactly what to do or say at first, but that soon changed as we began to play and spend time with the kids. Their energy and joy was contagious, and we played for hours. I couldn’t remember experiencing that kind of joy before. I couldn’t believe how well the older ones took care of the younger ones, and how they all got along so well as a big family. How could these kids who had almost nothing be so full of life?

Looking back, the part of the trip that impacted me the most was being with the kids at the Hogar de Niños. They showed us an unconditional love that I had never experienced before. I thought we were going to Catacamas to be a blessing to them, and they actually ended up being more of a blessing to me.

When I returned home, I went back to my college, but something had changed. I decided to quit the basketball team and change my studies.

The next year, I decided to switch colleges and study Bible. I was getting ready to go to Honduras again for the second time, and this time I planned to stay 3 extra weeks by myself after the group left.

So in the summer of 2004, I went to Catacamas again, to the Hogar de Niños, the place that had altered the course of my life.

After 5 weeks in Catacamas, I returned back to the U.S. destined for a new college and different studies. I met a girl who would be my wife at that college, a girl who had an experience similar to mine. She was willing to live and serve in other countries. We graduated from college, got married, and moved to India to teach for 2 years.

I can’t imagine what my life would be like now had I not gone to Catacamas, to the Hogar de Niños, in 2003. Through this trip my perspective on life and the world have been changed forever. My view on what is necessary to live happily and completely is different now. I have committed myself to living a life of simplicity — sharing, and serving. My picture of the church has grown to a global vision, with people from all nations and all tongues praising God in their own language.

When people ask me how I got to be where I am in life, I start by saying,“When I was 19, I went to Honduras.” For better or worse, Honduras and being with the kids at the Hogar de Niños has been one of the defining moments in my life. I’m pretty positive it was for the better!

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