August 6th 2011
My son Calvin—a 21 year old college senior—is finishing his service as an intern with UrbanPromise Honduras for the past 8 weeks. With 11 other college interns from across the US and Canada, Calvin has lived in Christian community, run day camps for children and teens, and has met some remarkable people who have taught him much about Honduran life and Myan culture. The work has been challenging, the living conditions far from ideal, but it’s the happiest I have ever seen him. As a dad I couldn’t be more encouraged.
This morning Calvin was leading the “Smooth and Creamy” skit at Camp Peace. Of course the kids in the crowd went nuts when he was smeared with Whip Cream. With each additional spoonful of cream in his hat, cream in the nose, and cream in the ears the kids screamed with delight. Just a silly skit. No moral to the story--an opportunity for kids to laugh and forget about the realities of life for a few brief minutes.
For years I have recruited and hosted college-age students to do short-term mission work during the summer. Sometimes people ask if it really makes a difference to bring a bunch of college students for a few brief months to underserved communities. I believe it does. I see children connect in meaningful ways with caring young adults. I see children—who are constructing guiding dreams for their lives—creating relationships with future doctors, engineers, school teachers, entrepreneurs, and film makers.
But besides the impact these college students have on the children of places like Copan, these students are transformed themselves. Living and working with other students who share similar values, commitments, and faith inspires growth, reflection and a reassessment of vocational choices. Being part of a community that begins each day with prayer, shares common meals, and then spends the day looking beyond their themselves—that’s healthy for any 21 year old.
My son will leave Honduras a better person. He will return to his college campus stronger in his faith, a bigger vision for his life, and with a new network of some really great friends. Nothing could make a parent happier.