~Robert Nardi

I turned 50 in February. Around the same time I received a copy of the Amigos de Jesús newsletter. I saw a notice of a Short Term Mission Trip. At that moment I simply stated to my wife who was sitting across from me that I’d be going to Honduras in July. To this point we have been modest check writing supporters of Amigos de Jesús but little more. But I was curious and I viewed the trip as a gift to myself.

Our group consisted of 18 people. From start to finish it was very organized and well thought out. The week started with a schedule being posted of the day’s activities in order to provide direction. There was time set for work, play and reflection. Our first reflection was led by Meg one of the American volunteers in residence for a year. The theme was Thorns & Roses. Share what thorns (negative) and roses (positives) you had experienced since your arrival.

The poverty in Honduras we viewed on the ride from the airport to Amigos was a common thorn. Against the backdrop of a fertile green landscape there are signs of poverty everywhere. You can’t help but notice the kids; wandering, begging, sitting. I am sure there were other thorns but having left the comfort of the US behind this sight was unsettling.

As we went around the room each person shared a positive bit of what they experienced in our initial hours at Amigos. Not surprisingly in most cases it came back to the kids. I think Joan captured it the best (as she did most of the week). When asked to name a rose she stated that would be difficult. She paused and then made a beautifully unintended poetic statement. ‘It’s hard to single out one single rose because I have been given a whole bouquet of roses.’ Here are mine:

  • Witnessing the selfless work of the Madrinas, Padrinos, Volunteers and Staff …a rose.
  • Amy & Wilson’s (kids in tow) presence morning, noon and night directing, guiding in a loving kind way …a rose.
  • The weeks work…building a fence…a rose
  • Meeting & working with our families adopted Godson, Fernando…a rose.
  • Buildings that are sturdy, strong and well maintained…buildings that are a home…a rose.
  • Three healthy meals a day… a rose.
  • Donated items…Phillies, Eagles, Union, Downingtown Swim Club, St Dennis Grade school shirts being used to clothe the kids…a rose.
  • The kid’s young and old playing, laughing, and caring for each other…a rose.
  • The nightly prayer circle where the first voice is generally the smallest and the last ends in sincere good nights and blessings for all…a rose.
  • The family of Amigos de Jesús opening their home and hearts to us for a week…a rose.

If asked what I did for my 50th I would tell people I was given a bouquet of roses. I would tell them about the lives that are being transformed at Amigos de Jesús.

Gracias Senor.