“Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, what are you doing for others?” -Martin Luther King Jr.
To quote Life Leadership CEO Chris Brady, “One of the things I love so much about the Life on Life Initiative is seeing just how many places in our communities where people really care. There is so much need, and there are so many places to serve.” While thousands of Life Leadership Members across North America are finding incredible ways to make a difference in their local communities, one team out of Pennsylvania decided to take their love across borders to a small country in Central America. The beautiful people of the tropical and–in certain regions–temperate country of Honduras had found a place into the heart of a very special young lady…
A little over a year ago, Life Leadership Member, Maile Hoffman, left the comfort of the USA to become a student missionary. After being in the country for the allotted amount of time for her mission trip, she decided that her passion was with the Honduran people and extended her stay. Maile presently cares for 30+ children at the “Hogar de Niños,” as well as teaches English at the local elementary school in Santa Barbara.
When All Grace Outreach Spokesman Chris Swanson officially announced the Life on Life Initiative at the Life Leadership Convention in June 2015, Life Leadership Member and mother of Maile, Sharon Hoffman, got excited by the idea of helping the many children at the Children’s Home in Honduras. Over the course of a couple of weeks, Sharon, along with her husband, Tony, and a couple of other leaders had rallied the entire Rhino organization around this new Life on Life project.
Ideas started flying about how to get creative to raise money so that the few people that would make the trip down to Honduras could bless the lives of these children and their selfless caretakers in a huge way. As it turned out, after discussing their Life on Life project with Life Leadership Founders, Orrin and Laurie Woodward, All Grace Outreach decided to check match anything that this excited group of world-changers could raise. Between a couple of combined yard sales out of a team in Maryland, many personal donations, and 50% of the profits of an entire day at Life Leadership Members, Kolynn and Lynn Kelley’s ice cream shop; the group was able to raise about $5,000. All Grace Outreach then donated an additional $5,000 to the cause to equal a total of $10,000 raised.
It was decided that the trek would be made by Life Leadership Members, Sharon Hoffman, Leslie Gebhart, Beth Ober and Lizzie Ober, along with Sharon’s 80 year old father, Paw Paw. All five of these new missionaries made the decision to pay for the trip themselves so that all of the $10,000 could be invested in ways to make a bigger difference in Honduras. In early November 2015, the group set out to see their fundraised money meet the needs of the children and families of Santa Barbara, Honduras. Here are a few of the blessings that they were able to administer while across the pond in Central America:
- One donor had contributed $1,000 to see to it that the children will receive NEW uniforms and shoes for the upcoming school year. (They have not had new ones–as the current uniforms have been passed down for years. The children have one uniform and wash it every night for the next day.)
Christmas gifts for the children (They will be blessed on Christmas Day!!!) Each child will have their own gifts to open on that special morning.
- Bathrooms were repaired.
- A deteriorating wall was reconstructed.
- Tile flooring was put in.
- “Pilas” where the children wash their clothing were fixed.
- A 2nd floor laundry room was constructed so that the children could hang their clothing there instead of outside where the clothes were often stolen.
- Solar lights were provided for a family without electricity.
- Boots were given to a young girl that has a disability.
- Money was distributed to families in need in the surrounding area.
- Spoons and forks were bought for the children’s cafeteria.
- One of the rooms in the Children’s Home was painted.
“We spent a day at the school, shopped for the children in the town of Santa Barbara, rode in the back of a pickup truck (woo hooo), worshiped with the children each night, ate our meals with them, practiced our Spanish skills, watched the children climb trees to get us coconuts, enjoyed every one of their hugs (they loved to be hugged and to give hugs), cried as we heard the stories of how they came to the orphanage, and witnessed the true meaning of God’s grace and servant leadership while there.” -Sharon Hoffman
Although these amazing missionaries and their teammates in the United States will never be able to see just how far the ripple effect of their selfless service reaches, their testimonies from the short time that they were abroad are heartwarming. Take a look below as they describe some of what they learned from this amazing experience…
“What impacted me the most on this trip was witnessing the genuine JOY in the hearts of the children (the ‘served’) and the volunteers (the ‘servants’). I literally have never experienced anything like it! Life-Changing!! :)” -Leslie Gebhart
“If I could go back, I would have not gone back to the missionary house early. I wish I would have stayed with the kids longer and experienced their devotional time. I also would have prepared myself more and learned Spanish before I went to Honduras.” -Lizzie Ober
“What made me cry on the trip was hearing the stories about how the children came to the home (severe poverty, death of family members, suicide, etc.). One little boy, named Lester, especially broke my heart as they explained that he was afraid of taking a shower when he first arrived because he didn’t know what it was!” -Beth Ober
“Life Leadership has had a tremendous impact on my life. Being involved in this community means always stepping outside of your comfort zone to make a difference. I have seen God work so much in my life in the past year through the children here in Honduras! Thank you so much to Orrin and Laurie Woodward, the Rhino organization, and to all of the subscribers to All Grace Outreach for your support. You have made a difference here in Honduras.” -Maile Hoffman
Make sure to watch this short clip of the Honduran children saying “Thank you” to All Grace Outreach and the Life on Life Initiative!
Life Leadership is so proud of the kindness and selflessness displayed by the entire Rhino organization. For this Life on Life project to become a reality, many people had to sacrifice and give to help others in need. Thank you for inspiring Life Leadership members around the world to “always step outside of your comfort zone to make a difference.”