Sparrow Missions –Team “Wall Street” San Pedro Sula, Honduras March 8-15, 2013 Eyes Wide Open
Team Wall Street visited one of the two villages, comprised of dilapidated shacks, four times during the week. We were stunned by the abject poverty, but equally overwhelmed by the kindness and heart of the warm souls that lived there.Los Bordos
More than 6,000 families live in two separate villages that lie on the borders of San Pedro Sula, connected by a collection of streams and creaks. Dirt floors, open sewage and little opportunity live here also.Main Street
Minor was my tour guide down to his Bordos’ “river”. The only shoes he wears are on the soccer pitch, held for game days by Sparrow Missions. Any other shoes he has been given are sold for food. Because of his toughness, Minor is being actively recruited by local gangs. It will be difficult to keep him with his family.Little Big Man, Minor
The Bordos are built on a collection of streams that become multi-use facilities for water, bathing, clothes washing, house hold sanitation and bodily excretion. In between the shacks are steep paths to the river.Take Me to the River
Minor and friends proudly show me the river. My heart is in my throat watching these babies hop from rock to rock amongst broken glass and fecal matter. Minor is a monster on the soccer field. Taking on boys of all sizes and usually winning.Life on the River
Less than a quarter of a mile from the Bordos, a luxury residential tower has been constructed. I ponder what the children of the Bordos think about as they look up at its white magnificence. I fear from the look in their eyes they believe it is a castle they will never reach.In the Shadow of Opulence
Mercedes and the ladies from the Bordos sewing clinic, proudly show some of their wares, that they sell to visitors or at the local market. Sparrow Missions built the school/ prayer house in the background, which has become a center for learning, prayer and hope.But Hope Springs
While my mom, Virginia Lugo, tells people what to do, I help paint what will be the kitchen behind the school room. My painting skill and neatness leave something to be desired, as I fear many children of the Bordos will be speckled with green oil based paint for weeks to come!Very “Un” Skilled Labor
Melissa Reed and I with some of the children in front of the now closed “pulperia” or small store. On the last day we distributed candy. Our friend Minor came late. Chad Charles had some chicken and rice left from lunch, which he gladly gave to Minor. We assumed tough guy Minor would horde it, and destroy anyone who dared approach. Instead he lined all the small children up and shared a little bit of chicken with each.Tough Kids, Big Hearts
The folks from Sparrow Missions have truly done God’s work. The sewing program is flourishing; the soccer program is giving the boys a reason not to join gangs; the school/ prayer room has created a community focal point; and the kitchen will soon be helping with nutrition. But there is so much more to do.We Are All Responsible
Sparrow Missions director, Justin Ross (deftly spinning the ball), and Sparrow local coordinator, coach, translator, missionary, and general inspiration, Cristian Josue Lopez, have done a phenomenal job in organizing the rag tag boys of the Bordos into a team. Many of these boys only foot wear will be the cleats (aka tacos) that Sparrow holds for game days. Today they wear their opponents practice uniforms since they don’t have their own.Game Day!
Despite not having soccer balls readily available and very little practice time, Bordos soccer is impressive. The boys are skilled. They exhibit discipline in manning their positions (most of the time) and their goalie is an agile wall. But most of all these kids are tough. Tough as nails.Futbol Rules!
Spurred on by the inspirational words of missionary and Kentucky soccer legend, Bo Cracraft, the boys rallied from a 1-0 deficit to win 2- 1 in the closing minutes of the match. Bo’s pregame words regarding family and brotherhood were prophetic, because they truly won as a family.Victory!
Team Wall Street was fortunate to be there while Coach Cristian (left) and Bo negotiated with Paco from Paco’s Tacos (cleats) for the team’s new uniforms. Three days later we were the first recipients of the actual jerseys worn by the superstar boys of the Bordos. Contact me to get yours today!Authentic Sparrow Missions FC Jersey,as worn by the Boys of the Bordos
El Cielo can be translated into the word Heaven. Of all the places Team Wall Street visited, this senior citizens home had the best conditions. While far below the standards we would expect in the US, the facility was well run, clean, with a truly caring staff. Meeting the residents of the El Cielo was truly heavenlyEl Cielo
Apparently Mr. Carlos Arroyo Martinez was a radio announcer during his working days, because he greeted us with his booming announcer voice.“Bienvenidos Sparrow Missions!!”
This woman’s daughter sold her house out from under her, and has not visited her since. Unfortunately that story was replicated many times over here. El Cielo was particularly emotional for my mom, as these women reminded her of my dearly departed grandmother, and great aunts in the Dominican Republic.Forgotten, But Not Gone
Honestly, I think I had more fun than anyone else. We ran around giving each senior mid morning snacks. Each senior would proudly tell you their full names in clear voices.Back off, Sonny!
Maria Gonzalez Castro was my favorite. Standing 4 feet tall, we decided to have our own private meringue party, with music generated only from our mouths. She let go of her walker and spun around in a circle while I did the best meringue I could. The video is something to behold.Dancing Queen
Unfortunately our time at El Cielo was short. We were needed more urgently in other areas of the city. However, the visit was a vivid reminder that time spent is often the most valuable gift you can give a senior. We would be pleased if all the facilities were as well run as El Cielo in San Pedro Sula.Overflowing Love…
Manos Unidas – “Hands United”Homeless Outreach Center
Manos Unidas (Hands United) feeds the poor and homeless in the most dangerous area in San Pedro Sula. Run by a Terry and Shari Sorah, a surly couple from Michigan, who were called by God, Manos services the community every Monday and Thursday. Kentucky’s own Ryan Jackson and I painting the kitchen (left). We will not discuss the gallon of paint I exploded across the main room. (The clean up team did a great job bailing me out, as the floor and ceilings were never cleaner!)Paint Party Sunday
I am holding baby Sara, while Shari and Terry have some lunch before an afternoon of cleaning and feeding nearly 90 homeless men, women and children. Oh, baby Sara is the fifth child of Blanca, a former prostitute and drug addict who is dying of cancer. Shari has been caring for Sara since she was born, 3 weeks ago. Shari is not surly when it comes to Sara.Calm Before the Storm
Gabby and team prepare coffee, juice and lunch for the guests. For many of the guests this will be their only meal of the day. Manos is run without any government assistance, on a shoe string budget. Terry and Shari sold their home in Michigan and now live in San Pedro full time. Most of their life savings has been poured into their service.Rice is On! Check out the Paint Job!
Terry opens the gates, Blanca and family are some of the first ones in. The blurry figure in the sun dress is Blanca, with 2 of her brood in the corner. I could only find this very eerie picture of Blanca, blurred and fading. Hopefully with the help of Terry and Shari, God will “un- blur” Blanca, and she will be able to care for all her children.Please Don’t Fade Away.
My job was the “merch” shop. As guests were signed in I would check their belongings in for safe-keeping. Weapons and drugs went into special metal boxes. I then gave each person a vitamin, a piece of soap, a razor, toothbrush, a dollop of shampoo on their head, and sent them to the outside showers. Apparently I was moving too quickly, as Terry told me to slow it up, chit chat a little, and keep the line in better order. After Terry’s “pep” talk I calmed down a little, and began to enjoy myself.Too Fast Tony!
Honduran brothers with Italian names! Who could love that more than me? What I didn’t love was my new friend Mario’s lip, most likely the result of being burnt too often on a crack pipe. Despite my smile this was our toughest day. Ninety five degrees in a homeless shelter brings smells and feelings that are indescribable. My shirt is soaked through. But more than the heat, these are scary people, who might kill and rob you as easily as hug you. Maybe this is why Terry and Shari must be tough.God’s Children –Geovanny, Mario and Tony
While consensus was that this was our toughest day, the team is still smiling at day’s end. Melissa Reed, Tiffany Heartley and Chad Charles with some of the real children of Manos Unidas. The next day, Chad woke up with food poisoning, and I had a sore throat and cold, while the women in our group became stronger…typical.Day Ends at Manos Unidas –God Bless Terry and Shari Sorah
Minesterio Vida is a self-sustained home for men trying to rehabilitate from drugs and alcohol. These men have very hard stories. The recidivism rates are usually 3 out of 4 returning back to the streets. For the men that can last, a second chance is at hand.Giving A Second Chance
My mom noticed this man, Carlos, withdrawn from the service, looking very ill and approached to see if he was okay. He was seeing ghosts and demons, crying and in pain, from drug withdrawal.Seeing Ghosts and Demons
Four days later, Carlos looks like a new man. He said he originally thought my mom was a ghost of his dead mom, and that demons were around him. He told me he thought of my mom’s kindness constantly, and said he would pray for me everyday. I pray for Carlos everyday. Proud of you, Mom.Carlos Stands Tall
Its not pretty, but its home. The men work together to care for each other. They survive on donations and care of groups like Sparrow. Sparrow’s woodshop project has helped teach the men a skill that they can monetize once they are back on their feet.Taking Care of One Another
Juan Carlos (middle) was one of my searchers at the merch shop at Manos. As these men rehabilitate they give back. They become leaders and examples. On our last day in Honduras, we delivered all of our clothes to the men. After our service the men formed a tight circle around our group, and began to pray aloud. When the prayers stopped, we all opened our eyes to see each one of us crying. We all felt the power of prayer that day. It’s a feeling I want again and again. Thank you Minesterio VidaEarth Moving, Heaven Shaking
Team Wall Street visited this government run home for teenaged girls three times during the week. These children have been brutalized in every conceivable way. Some of the hardest stories we encountered were within these walls. Sparrow Missions has done miraculous work, bringing their sewing clinic here on a regular basis and progressing on a large scale project to bring clean, fresh water to every building on the campus. Currently, the slow trickle of water means girls shower on alternate days, starting at 4 am and cannot flush toilets.Las Casitas – “The Little Houses”
Las Casitas was built to house 50 girls… There were over 80 residents while we were there. In San Pedro Sula if a girl is abused by a family member, the mother may expel the daughter to keep the bread winner at home. In a city with 40% unemployment prostitution is the only option for some, and rape is a way of life.Sweet Faces of Las Casitas
The young lady on the right is mentally challenged and is 5 months pregnant as a result of a rape. Although she didn’t speak she was one of the sweetest souls at Las Casitas, just wanting hugs from every body in the group.Innocent Victims
Glenda (middle) is the last girl allowed to keep a child that was born on premises with her at Las Casitas. Glenda’s daughter, Nicole, is now 4 years old. Most newborns are sent to the facility you will see in the next section, an orphanage called Nueva Esperanza. By all accounts Glenda is a good mother, but she sometimes exhibits aggressive and violent behavior towards others.Babies Having Babies
Some of these girls have difficulty relating to anyone, particularly men, because of the abuse they have suffered. But deep down they are just little girls. Most of the girls just wanted us to take “glamour” photos with our phones. We are having the pictures printed and sent as a surprise.Kentucky Legend, Bo Cracraft, SharingSome Photos of his Family.
Nueva Esperanza is an orphanage for children, spanning 2 days to 14 years old. The 3 times we were there, little Miguel, followed me around yelling Tio (Uncle) incessantly, trying to pick my pockets every now and then. The men spent most of the time with the older children, while the women could not be pried from the nursery.Miguelito, “Tio! Tio! Tio!”
I never learned this young boys name. He is severely handicapped, but managed to climb me like a jungle gym, sitting on my shoulders. He is aggressive, but obviously mistreated. Some of the boys locked him in a room. After we took him out, he stuck to my shirt the rest of the visit.The Face of Pain
With very limited staff and resources its actually remarkable that the facility and children are as clean as they are. Nuevo Esperanza shares a wall with a prison. Guard towers, look on to their playground. But hope and joy are in all of these kids. Through God’s mercy hopefully they will all have a chance.Trying Their Best
Only the poorest of the poor, go to the public hospital. This little angel was having breathing issues but had not been seen by a doctor after four hours.Breathe Sweetie, Breathe.
This little one followed me out of the ward room until Momma came and brought her back. I gave her a pack of cookies, but she couldn’t open them with her hand bandaged. Yet she wouldn’t relinquish them to anybody for help.Her Eyes Cut Through Me
This little package of personality was in the cancer ward. When I first saw Winslett, she had the mask on and a rag on her head. I asked if I could take a picture and she ripped it off, and struck a pose!Winslett, Honduras’ Next Top Model
Wandering down a corridor alone I stumbled into a smile that will stay with me forever. A smile so big I only realized her left leg was amputated after I entered her room. I was truly at a loss. I asked her mother if we could pray together. I didn’t really know what I was doing or saying, but it felt so right. We went back the next day, but the doctors were working on her when we arrived. She was crying in pain, as the poked and prodded her stitches. I went closer to the window to let her know I had come back. Through her tears she looked up at me, and forced the brightest smile she could. In the midst of her agony, all she wanted was to ease my pain and sadness.Marjorie, You Will Inspire Me EveryDay. I hope I can be as Strong as You.
Thank you Bo Cracraft. I am forever indebted to you for introducing me to Honduras and Sparrow Missions. Thank you Justin and Ashley Ross, Ryan Jackson, Cristian Lopez and the whole Sparrow Missions Team. Regardles of Creed, Religion or denomination, you are doing God’s work. Thanks Melissa Reed, Tiffany Heartley, Chad Charles and Virginia Lugo (Mom) aka Team Wall Street. We shared an amazing life, changing experience. I couldn’t imagine it happening with anyone else but all of you.Just The Beginning…