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Times of Transition and Change

Written by Don Westra
March 18, 2014

The year 2013 was a time of transition for Maryjane and me. After several months of waiting, we were reassigned to Tegucigalpa, Honduras.  We moved from a rural community in Africa to a city of 2 million people in Central America.  We arrived in June and set up housekeeping.

Our assignment is to work with a Non-Governmental Organization called Christian Commission for Development (CCD).  CCD’s mission is continuing education for pastors as well as vocational education for youth at risk.  They have small educational settings in various areas of the city.  By holding classes in the neighborhoods the students do not have to walk far to go to school.  Many of these neighborhoods are controlled by gangs who are always looking for recruits.  Honduras has around 40% unemployment primarily due to an unskilled workforce.  CCD has recently applied for a grant for vocational education for women who have been victims of violence. 

We have settled into a work routine and are beginning to learn what CCD is all about.  After six months we are still learning the ins and outs of its mission. 

Agency and project sustainability are foremost in our minds here as it was in Zimbabwe.  The difference between the two assignments is primarily the difference between the cultures.  One culture does not have an advantage over another, they are just different.  Moving to a new country simply means that we accept a new set of cultural norms.

I’ve never prided myself on my patience.  I was positive that the second time around the process would move much faster.  Especially in light of our vast experience of one time before.  It appears that we are following the same progression at the same rate of speed as in our first assignment.  Relationship building is the first and most important priority that we have.  Everything else will follow in its own time.  As North Americans we often focus on the doing instead of the being.  The doing will not happen if the being is not allowed to come first.

One of our primary tasks in Honduras will be to facilitate visiting groups to our ecumenical organization and act as hosts.  It will be interesting for us to meet new people from many places and show them what Honduras and CCD is all about.  In the past CCD has hosted 20 to 30 groups per year.  Many of those groups have visited Honduras through the People to People program at Global Ministries.  The groups have come for reasons varying from relationship building tours to working on schools and painting everything that doesn’t move.  The opportunities for service are many.

Don Westra serves in Honduras with the Christian Commission for Development (CCD).  His work is supported by One Great Hour of Sharing.

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