Filth of the dump!
Today started with a horror story plastered all over the television. A still photo of wreckage and an unrecognizable body with a rescue worker in the foreground was the screen. Commentators spoke of the tragedy. A Central American Airlines airplane crashed into the mountain side this morning at 7 AM. All fourteen were killed instantly as the pilot made an error and descended too quickly in the mist and fog. This mountain peak is on the direct approach into Tegucigalpa, Honduras making it one of the most dangerous airports in the world. A plane is about fifty feet above the peak when it is gliding onto the runway below. The sensation of tight turns and quick plunge can take your breath away as you see trees and brushes race by for several seconds before you touch the runway. In addition to the critical approach the runway is shorter than most.
Fourteen people entered eternity in an instant and touched the face of God. It is happening in many ways all over the world as you read this story. Somehow tragic accidents cause us to pause and reshuffle our priorities momentarily. Then we return to our harried routine. There is so much to do and so little time.
Today’s trip to the city dump went off smoothly after the robbery of last week. One of the youth pastors I met last night came along. His name is Daniel and he was a former leader of the MS13 gang in los Pinos. His story is so amazing. God changed him from a killer to a lover of people. His face lit up and he screamed out Danny as I walked up. He gave me a strong handshake. The joy on his face spoke volumes.
I stood in the back of the pickup truck as people began to gather. One older man, a Christian, began calling others to the truck so they could hear a story from the Word of God. Trucks honked at him as he waved and called out to others. I noticed the smell was more pronounced due to some rain and drizzle earlier. Wet garbage seems to smell more pungent.
Over a hundred gathered as I began telling a story from the New Testament. Some removed there hats in reverence as others struggled for a position near the back of the truck. What caught my eye was their attentiveness to the story and the connection they made to Jesus Christ and the meal they were about to eat. As they came through the line several said gracias Jesus!
Most interesting was the attendance of the five men who robbed Rick Beck last week. They came and ate food but made cynical comments to Rick as he gave them water in the name of Jesus. Equally interesting were their ski masks and dark glasses to help hide their faces. Apparently they were not happy that the camera was taken back by other men in the dump. But they did come back. Hopefully they will learn to give and love instead of steal and hate. Join us in praying for those five that they may come to know Jesus.
I saw Juanita (she is on the left) again today and she had here fifteen year old daughter Bessie (on the right) with her. Both of them were working the dump for the family meal tonight. You can clearly see the mountain of garbage we are standing on and two workers behind us. Juanita’s home is on the small ridge over my left shoulder. They make that walk from the dump to their home each day. Thankfully they no longer live in the dump as so many do.
We were able to take a quick picture with one of our driver’s cell phone. The feeding had finished and people had returned to sorting garbage as trucks continued to arrive. Words seem so inadequate to depict the experience of watching people live and work in a hellish dump. I noticed one lady who found two small melons and held them above her head like a trophy. She smiled big at me and waved them as she hurried to put them in a safe place.
Jesus said, when you have done it to the least of these you have done it unto me. Thank you for coming with us to touch the lives of others. We plan on returning to the dump again tomorrow.
Four decade veteran of youth ministry in churches, Youth For Christ and now is the Founder and Executive Director of Deeper Still Missions. Danny and his wife Cathy spend most of their time mentoring missionaries in Africa, Europe, Central America and North America. Future opportunities include South America and the Asia Pacific area.