Following an 11-day mission trip to Honduras, Riverview Church pastor Tristan Borland and 20 missionaries returned home feeling utterly blessed.
Borland was among six teens and 14 adults in the city of La Paz, Honduras, for 11 days helping with construction work, sometimes in blazing heat. Yet he and his fellow missionaries returned home feeling as if they received more than they gave.
“There’s a lot of side projects that we got involved in and it really impacted us as individuals. I think we get as much or far more out of it than they do,” Borland said.
Nathan Adkins agreed, saying, “Even though we went down there to help and stuff, I came back more changed than we might have left down there.”
Adkins said that feeling comes from witnessing hardships that were virtually unimaginable before.
“You realize you aren’t near as strong as you thought you might have been,” Adkins said. “It’s hard to come back and hear people say how much they need when they already have so much.”
In spite of the hardships the missionaries witnessed, the people they met didn’t behave as downtrodden. This characteristic helped the missionaries from Riverview look at things from a different perspective.
“When you go there you see the people don’t have a lot of stuff, but they’re always happy,” said Brianna Adkins.
“I think my favorite part was probably the people. They were so generous and kind. Even though they had nothing, they would still love you even though they didn’t know who you were,” added Rachel Burns. “The people there are such a good example because they will love anybody no matter who they are or where they come from. So I think we need to learn to love the way they do no matter who they are or what they do.”
The mission trip took place in a very poor section of Honduras, and those on the trip even had the opportunity to visit a ghetto within the city of La Paz.
This wasn’t the first time Riverview Church parishioners had been there.
“This is the 11th time our church has gone to this city, so we have sort of a long-term relationship with the city and a specific church we partner with there,” Borland said.
Among the duties Riverside missionaries performed were: concrete mixing, teaching English lessons and hauling concrete blocks. Much of this work, though not all, was done to help expand church property.
“Because there were 20 of us, most days we would send half of us to the school to help out, and send the others to another project, or to do different things,” Borland said. “I felt like the work we did connected us to that church. It’s a church that’s really doing so many things for the community. To have that partnership is a beautiful thing.”
Overall, those who attended the trip seemed to agree. The experience was beyond explanation.
“I think, until you’ve been overseas, it’s hard to understand. If you’ve always grown up in Minnesota and you’ve never left the Midwest, there’s a world out there that’s hard to imagine. And you hear about poverty and statistics and you hear about other cultures, but until you go and walk and see these people, it’s a whole different realization about what is going on in the world,” Borland said. “I definitely think you come back and you’re changed.”