When the first AHMEN team returned from its life-changing missions opportunity back in 1998 we all wanted to communicate with the new friends who had done so much for our lives. Those desires wane the less time we think about each other, but in the 21st Century they don't have to!
Back in 1998 Internet was not available to many folks in Honduras. Phone service wasn't either. In 2008 Internet became more widespread, but access was still limited. Cell phones became as popular there as they had become in the United States, but it still cost “un ojo de la cara” to call back and forth. By 2011 the gulf between Honduran and United States-based members of AHMEN got smaller than it had ever been before.....Jennifer Richards started an AHMEN Facebook Group!
In planning our June trip to Honduras the Durr's – Christ Connection team aimed to help solve communication troubles between folks living in Honduras and folks living in the United States. More specifically, our efforts were directed toward helping the young women of Shalom learn to communicate better with their sponsors. Our elaborate plan was to discuss the “Who, What, When, Where, How, and Why” of communication. We wanted to teach Shalom to communicate beyond just courtesy to learn to build solid relationships for the future of AHMEN, Cruzadas, and Shalom. The part of the workshop we were most worried about was the “How,” but almost the first thing we learned that was that most of Shalom was already on Facebook! For those of the girls who did not already have accounts, James Iverson showed them how to register one..
|James building relationships before workshop|
For our workshop we divided the whole dorm into five groups. Brian, Dr. Camp, James, Lauren, and I led discussions with three or four of the girls in each group, and after covering each section “Mariposa” came out to reaffirm each section's lesson with a short skit. The response of the girls was amazing! I was really impressed with some of the remarks in my group! Yaqui Sanchez said although she is blessed to have a sponsor, she would like to communicate more with her sponsor so that they have a relationship based on something beyond just money. And in response to the same question why she should communicate more with her sponsor Danelia Ulloa said “because it would be nice to get to know the person who would give up so much for a person so far away.” Grown-up statements like these truly show that not only are AHMEN and Cruzadas helping provide a place for young girls to grow into mature young women, but their dorm mother Suyapa is making it happen!
I challenge everyone to begin doing two things:
Begin contacting one of the ladies of Shalom and build a relationship with her. Get to know her and let her know it is okay to talk to you about her life. Get to know her so that you know it is okay to talk to her about your life too! Help the ladies of Shalom and yourself learn to communicate better in both English and Spanish. Building these relationships lets an entire community know the values of the our faiths, our countries, and AHMEN. Join the AHMEN Facebook group today to join in a nurturing friendship!
I invite you all to make a visit with Shalom a part of your regular plans in Honduras. Sure, these young women depend on us for our donations, but they also depend on us for the love and strength our relationships can provide. Set aside a day to play soccer with the girls, but be careful...the Shalom Team, including my own sister Ana Argueta, just won a local tournament! Plan to talk to the girls about what you do for living and how you got there. Take them out for a movie. Go to the beach, play in the sand, and eat pizza! Make a movie. Put on a show. Whatever you decide to do with the ladies of Shalom, let them know they are loved.
Strong, educated women will change Honduras, and communication is the key to unlock that door to the future! Shalom = Peace