As an experienced missionary I often foolishly think that I have a perspective to share with more novice volunteers. In the case of an upcoming voyage to La Esperanza, the "up-and-comers" will serve as much-needed models for the "been-theres." Along with Brian Price and Lauren Watkins, James Iverson is one of our young team members who will offer a fresh look in this time of AHMEN's transition to the future. The following is his story:
As the month of May draws onward I find myself chatting about my impending departure to Honduras more often. I've perfected the spiel at this point – I can wrap a conversation up in about two minutes if I accidentally engage a coworker or mere acquaintance. The summarized transcript runs something like this: “Leaving in June, pharmaceutical needs, building relationships, financial planning,helping, humbling, thanks for the well-wishing.” Shortly after one of these abridged discussions a nagging thought entered my mind: In all honesty my contribution to the welfare of Honduras' people would be about as significant as that lame conversation just made it sound. I bounced these thoughts off of my brother and he candidly responded, “Well why are you going then?”
His question was not shallow. He slacked out a few calculated arguments: “You only get two vacation weeks a year, will be in the process of moving from an apartment to a house in early June and haven't taken more than three days off in over a year.” After all, what is so bad about helping oneself? He was right to bring these issues up. I would be busy with the new rental home (it will take some 'fixing-up') and have been stressed out at work. I weighed these arguments for a few days but inspiration struck me while brushing up on my Spanish online.
While I may concretely execute a lot more for myself if I stayed back and handled what we all commonly refer to as “life” I would lose out in the long run. Who was I kidding!? My belongings won't get hurt by sitting in boxes for a few extra days. My stress at work has a lot more to do with my sporadic sleeping habits and propensity to daily bite off more than a day's mouthful. The trip to Honduras is an opportunity not a distraction. Nothing about the process of going through those “life” motions would have prompted me to relearn basic Spanish conjugation. I wouldn't be looking forward to catching up with a dear friend from school. I wouldn't be presented with the opportunity to make many more friends like him. I wouldn't be traveling the world at all.
Since the dream of being a 'traveler' is what has motivated me in all my educational/professional endeavors it is, in hindsight, hilarious that I had even considered staying at home in order to better 'help myself'. It seems that my future and the future of La Esperanza are linked in this rather shadowy fashion. There is no longer any question in mind about whether it will be worth my time – now I must challenge myself to make it worth their time. My answer to my brother's questions is firm now. I am going to Honduras to help teach and learn. While I won't accomplish more than this I am convinced that this goal is attainable.
Look around the habitable world: how few
Know their own good, or knowing it, puruse.