The Boy in the Green Shirt
In a few days, we will be leaving La Ceiba and heading to Puerto Lempira, our home for the foreseeable future. We can’t wait to get there to see the children, the town and see what God has planned. However, it will be bitter-sweet goodbye for many reasons. We will be leaving behind the wonderful Honduran family that we currently live with and love greatly. Hugo and Gloria have been a God-send to our family. Their love for our children and us is only explainable it you witness it in person.
The first week was a little trying as our Spanish skills were as raw as their English skills. But even from the first day, we could sense that these people “live it”. They show the love of Christ through just about everything they do. They constantly have smiles on their faces and patience to burn. They don’t get worked up about a flat tire on their old car, or a broken dish, even if they only have a few dishes. Yes, I am convicted by people that live their lives in a way that makes it abundantly clear that they are followers of Christ.
At least a couple of times a week, I (Alex) walk home from language school here in La Ceiba. La Ceiba is Honduras’ third largest city with a population of about 135,000 people. By US standards, you would not consider La Ceiba a prosperous town. However, after being here for over a month, and knowing what most cities are like in Honduras, La Ceiba offers some glimmer of hope to her residents. There is poverty here, but La Ceiba is also one of the only places in Honduras where opportunity and improvement are possible. I clearly remember our first time in La Ceiba last year. I thought “wow” this place is crowded, busy, and little dangerous. Well, it’s still all those things, but also a great deal more. People live in La Ceiba to work, attend college and raise their children with the hopes of a better life for them.
My walk from language school is about two miles with most of it along La Ceiba’s busiest road. On multiple occasions, I have been stopped by a boy of about nine years of age asking for money. Every time he stops me, he is wearing the exact same green tattered shirt. He runs up to me in a gentle jog asking me the same thing in Spanish at the same exact place each time. “I’m hungry can I have some money”? Despite looking for him every time, I never see where he comes from exactly. It’s just like he appears fifty feet away from me in that slow jog.
I don’t know anything about the boy in the green shirt. He doesn’t really want to talk or make a great deal of eye contact. Additionally, I don’t push to make him talk although perhaps I should. His stare is not yet the 1,000 meter variety that you see in many homeless people. He’s still capable of mustering up a little smile, but you can see pain in his eyes despite his young age. I want to ask him all about his life, his family, and his situation. I told myself, “Just take it one step at a time with the boy and don’t scare him with lots of questions.”
I haven’t seen the boy in the green shirt in two weeks. Unfortunately, we are only going to be in La Ceiba for a few more days, and I fear my opportunity to see the boy in the green shirt again is fading. I pray tonight for the many boys and girls in green shirts around Honduras. I pray for God’s comfort and strength to lift up Honduras. I also selfishly pray for the patience and the ability to cast love and concern upon complete strangers like our friends and fellow believers, Hugo and Gloria.