In the summer of 2006, I made my first trip to the House of Hope. I spent one week there with a group from First United Methodist Church of Allen, immediately fell in love, and realized one week was not enough time. The dream was born. Over the next several years, I began to increase the length of my trips. Each time I returned from Honduras, the desire to spend an extended amount of time there increased as well. During my final year at Texas A&M, I had the opportunity to spend 2 months at the House as part of an internship. It was during this stay that Steven made his way to Puerto Lempira for the first time. Two months was still not enough time. I wasn't ready to return to the States, I even considered delaying my return despite our quickly approaching wedding! I wanted to be back in Honduras. I wanted to spend an entire year there. I just had to get Steven on board...
I remember Lauren's first trip to the House of Hope. She came back and was so excited. We would look at pictures and she could talk for hours about all of the children. I wanted to go down there sometime, but something else was always getting in the way. I supported her on all of her trips, and encouraged her to stay a month if she wanted to.
I finally made my first trip 4 months before we got married (March 2010). I met the children and quickly realized what she had been talking about all those years. After we got married, Lauren continued to voice her desire to go to the House of Hope for a year. I thought she was crazy and always said ,"NO". We needed to find jobs; we needed to start a retirement account; we needed to start saving for a house so we could start living the American dream. But Lauren was persistent.
Over the next few months, God softened my heart. Finally, I heard God calling me, saying "Come and follow me". Okay, God, you win. Let's go to Honduras!
In March 2011, we traveled to Puerto Lempira, Honduras to volunteer with Send Hope. For a year, we served as house parents to the residents of the House of Hope. That year presented many challenges and hurdles but almost every obstacle turned out to be a blessing – we were learning two new languages (Spanish and Moskito), we were adapting to a new culture, and most importantly we made the most life changing memories with our new Honduran friends and family. Eventually our year commitment was up and our hearts were broken as we returned to the United States in April 2012. We continued to build relationships through annual visits and regular Skype sessions, but we always knew that wouldn’t be enough. Our hearts had always been set on returning to Puerto Lempira long term, but God had not called us back.
In June of 2015, we were told that the current Director of the House of Hope, Katrina, was in need of a well deserved break. We were both individually informed of the need to fill Katrina’s spot at the House of Hope, and had the same initial response – “No”. We had so many concerns - what would we do about the time constraints, the financing, and our families? Later that evening, we both expressed the need and desire to further explore the opportunity. After lots of discussions, research and prayer we felt God's call to return to Honduras! While we do not know God's ultimate plan, we are preparing to spend the next 15-20 serving the children at the House of Hope! Pray for us as we embark on this journey to follow God's calling.