SIDNEY — Rotarian Ed Thomas, CEO of the Sidney-Shelby County YMCA, addressed his fellow club members during their July 25 meeting.
He discussed his recent mission trip to Honduras. It included visits to two churches located La Ceiba and Saba, and the theme for the trip was “God is on the move.”
Thomas talked of hot the weather was. The average temperature was 97 degrees, but “the humidity just kills you,” he said. Honduras is a very poor county where more than 50 percent of the population lives below the poverty line. “The average salary for an adult is $3,000 per year and that’s what they have to survive on,” Thomas said.
The goal of the trip was to provide help to the two churches both with physical labor and with clothing and toys for the local youth. The group of 24 on the trip attended church and then spent three full days of work in the heat to install a concrete sewage line and electrical wiring to the church in Saba.
“Our task was to take the concrete pipes and install them by hand,” Thomas said. The process was much more time consuming as a result because there was no machinery to help with the job. Added to that tough work was the fact that not everyone spoke the same language, so there was the added difficulty of getting everyone on the same page for communicating what was to be done.
Thomas said that most of the day was spent doing this work, but the other part was spent putting on a vacation Bible school.
“We started with teaching them how to do registration, how to do singing and how to do skits. The first night we gave out Beanie Babies and Hot Wheels, and you would have thought it was the end of the world,” he said. The first night they had about 53 kids at the Bible school. The second night, however, word got out, and about 200 people attended. The group gave soccer balls to the kids.
Thomas said it was “Christmas in July for the kids.” By the third night, more than 300 people came and the group gave Bibles to those in attendance. Following those three days of hard work, July 7 was a day of relaxation, where everyone enjoyed some much needed downtime. In closing, Thomas said that although the Hondurans are largely in poverty, “The people there are some of the most generous, richest, and hard-working people you would know.”