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TFS sophomore invests in service through mission
Traveling more than 3,000 miles from Northeast Georgia, TFS sophomore Davis Jennings joined a group from Clarkesville United Methodist Church on a recent mission trip to rural Honduras. Making the trip with Davis was his grandfather Bruce Forbes of Clarkesville.
According to church member Steve Wilks, the trip was sponsored by the church and HOI, Inc., a faith-based organization that has been working in Olancho in central Honduras for 27 years providing short-term mission opportunities.
“I’ve been involved since 1991 and have seen more than a few younger travelers refine their career choices after such trips,” Wilks says.
Forbes says this was his second trip to the same area of Honduras.
“Through HOI, Inc., we stayed at their ranch located in the Algalta Valley, a beautiful area in the mountains,” Forbes says. “I was particularly excited because Davis was accompanying me on the trip.”
He described the travel experiences on the way to the work site in La Higuera and his delight in reconnecting with old friends.
After arriving, the group went to work during some very hot days – temperatures were in the 90s with heat indexes above 100 degrees. The group was based at a HOI, Inc.-owned ranch.
“We worked each day, returning to the ranch in the afternoons. We worked with the villagers and had Bible school for the children of the village,” Forbes says. “Davis really worked hard mixing concrete and carrying blocks. I was proud of the way he jumped in and worked.”
Davis spent time in the afternoons with the children of the village, playing games and making new friends, he says.
“He really was great with the kids,” Forbes says. “The children of the village don't usually play together because the schoolyard is closed after lunch and they leave for their homes. Many of the homes have dirt floors and only four rooms with several generations living under the same roof.”
Later in the week, a fiesta, featuring the children in traditional costumes, offered a time to celebrate the work completed and fellowship shared.
“The leaders of the village thanked the team for their help during the week and wished us well in our travels back home,” Forbes says. “I think more than anything, Davis realized how important it is that we do things alongside our fellow man. He showed his love for the children and caring for the adults of the village. It amazed me how the lack of knowledge of Spanish did not hinder him in any way. The people of La Higuera were very loving and appreciative of the work that was done.”
The task list for the week included the construction of four pilas [above-ground water retainers] and five latrines. The group also poured concrete floors in eight homes.
“Also Davis helped to build one of two eco-stoves,” Forbes says. “The stoves help to cook food in a more desirable way without smoke filling the house.”
Jennings says the mission trip was a great experience and that he hopes to return.
“The Honduran families worked together and relied on each other to get stuff done,” Jennings says. “The families were grateful for our efforts and provided what they could to help cool off in the heat of the day.”
Reflecting on his time spent with the Honduran children and youth, he says his new friends acted like his friends at home.
“Although they were impoverished, they laughed, played and acted just like the teenagers at TFS,” Jennings says. “I enjoyed my time in Honduras and look forward to bringing the things I learned home to my family and community.”
According to its website, HOI, Inc. is a Christ-centered, short-term mission organization working alongside people of developing countries who desire to implement sustainable development partnerships. HOI organizes and leads mission trips to Honduras and Nicaragua. For more information, visit hoi.org.