June 2013

It had been nearly 8 months since my last visit to Roatan and I had long forgotten how hot Roatan can get.  As I stepped off the airplane and onto the tarmac it all came rushing back.  Roatan is a hot place and I am on island for the next week with Fort Lewis College student/athlete, Aaron Kloer,and the Chet’s Creek Mission team from Jacksonville, FL.

Earlier in the year, I had shared our ministry with both the men’s and women’s soccer team at Fort Lewis College.  Following my presentation, Aaron and I had the opportunity to talk a little more about Roatan.  His interest eventually led to his own personal fundraising campaign. With funding in place, Aaron made the trek south so that he could not only see, but share his gifts and talents with a bunch of kids in Sandy Bay, Roatan. Shortly after being mugged by the weather, we headed to of all places…..the Mazapan Sports Court.  Aaron was anxious to get to the court.  A semi-final match was being played in a soccer tournament that Mazapan was sponsoring.  The finals were to be played the following day and word had it that a referee was need for the finals.  “Have no fear….Aaron is here,”…….. and did I mention that he speaks spanish……!! The finals were played and Aaron did great, only issuing a couple of yellow cards and one red.  Not sure it was the wisest thing to do by assigning the job refereeing a local soccer match, but with Aarons skill set it proved to be a great fit.

The Chet’s Creek Team came prepared to assist our staff both in the classrooms and on the court.  Their visit has become somewhat of a work in progress. This will be their second visit to our Mazapan classrooms and court.  Half of the team planned to spend their week assisting Jamie and Desmy with the crafting and ESL classes, while the other half would be working with Ron and Sabino on the court.  For some of the team it was an opportunity to “reconnect” with people that they had “connected” with on earlier visits.

The introduction of teams or individuals to the day to day of mission work often times brings fresh eyes to the ministry.  In the case of our individual Aaron, he contributed to our ministry not only by mentoring kids on and off the court.  He allowed me to see a perspective of our ministry through youth.  Youth respond and interact very differently than they do with adults.  Aaron’s interaction and participation on the court made it clear that youth can facilitate their own growth.  Finding these youth will be our next challenge.

The perspective of the older and often times wiser generation came from Chris Price and the Chet’s Creek team as they asked me about the future of the children and local ministries. Where do we take the relationships that the staff of the Mazapan have been working on for the past four years?   The children of Sandy Bay have had the opportunity to see the staff “walk the walk.”  They have seen what it looks like to be a Christian.  It’s time to allow the children to shine their own light.  It’s time to identify leaders from the classrooms and the court.

Making positive Godly change in a community takes time.  It’s a process.  We have taken many small steps over the years and are now ready to take some slightly bigger ones. The week spent with Aaron and Chet’s Creek was amazing.  Their participation and support during the week made it fun for both the staff and kids.  As sad as it was to see them depart, Sandy Bay was left better than when they had arrived.

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