Kim Prestipino returned to Honduras in December for another mission trip. Her heartwarming journal:
December of 2012 was my most recent trip to Honduras. Every trip is unique and every trip offers a more personal glimpse of God, and a greater love and appreciation for my relationship with Him. I have recently read a book and participated in a study that encourages the reader to evaluate whether or not they are a true follower of Jesus. The book warns that following Jesus will require something of you and I have found that to be true. I have also found it to be true that anything I have given up, I have been blessed a hundred fold in return. In traveling to Honduras I have given up the comforts of air conditioning for more precious little sweaty hugs, outstretched arms, and smiles than I can count. I’ve given up worship in a beautiful sanctuary with stained glass windows and padded pews for worship with a group of abused abandoned young girls who sing like angels as tears stream down their beautiful heartbroken faces.
I have always been a little intimidated by specials needs people. In October of 2012 I met and connected with a little boy named Allen. Allen is a special needs little boy and I fell in love with him. I was even warned that he pinches and bites, but I wasn’t afraid. We sat on the floor with our feet touching and played ball. When I returned home I found myself missing little Allen and praying for him. God had even more for me. On the December trip I met another little boy named Jesus whose eyes seemed to communicate so much. He has a condition known as “water on the brain” and his head is enlarged. When I tell you that I fell in love with him, it is no exaggeration. I found myself placing him in a stroller and taking him outside to enjoy the sun and fresh air. As I pushed him around the upstairs perimeter of the courtyard the tears began flowing, the kind that won’t stop no matter how many people are around. Jesus and I walked in the sunshine together as I wondered what his condition would be the next time I saw him. Would he be there, would he recognize me or anyone, would there be any communication through those beautiful brown eyes, would that incredible smile be gone?
When I returned to the nursery where Allen and Jesus live, it was time for the children to eat. As I fed Jesus, I was enjoying my time with him and the privilege of sharing a mother’s love and nurturing. When he was finished and obviously tired, I placed him in his bed and went to see Allen. I was also able to feed him. Feeding Allen was quite the opposite experience of feeding Jesus. Jesus was quiet and gentle, and Allen was quite active! I found his plate of rice against my chest when I got it too close to him and a hardy pinch to my arm when I was too slow! As I was feeding Allen, Jason an older special needs boy began wailing a cry of desperation for food. He had a look of sheer panic on his face and he fell back in his bed out of frustration. As I tried to reassure Jason he would be next the tears began again. It was such a relief when I was able to walk over to Jason with a plate of food and make good on my promise.
You know that familiar verse in Mathew 25:40, the one that says, “Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me”? Well, it became a real-life experience for me that day. I find it interesting that one of the boys has the name Jesus because as I wrote that, “Jesus and I walked in the sunshine together”, it was a literal statement. I walked with Jesus the boy, and Jesus the Savior. I fed Jesus the boy, and Jesus the Savior. I loved Jesus the boy, and Jesus the Savior. My tears that entire day were a result of the Holy Spirit speaking to me in that still small voice, “Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.” It was an experience of tender communication with the Father that only comes as we follow Him.
Yes, it costs us something but what we get in return is far, far greater.