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Hope in the Heart of Honduras

July 26, 2017
BY LAUREN MATTHEWS - Editor ( , Wetzel Chronicle

This year marked the fourth year Heather Helmick, and several other local residents, traveled to the Honduras as part of the Hearts Forever Changed organization.

It's safe to say that the trip never fails to leave an impact. The Hearts Forever Changed team members build houses, feed the hungry, minister in many ways... yet, through it all, they somehow feel as if they have been helped more-so than the people they are helping.

"It's an amazing trip. It changes your life," Helmick told the Wetzel Chronicle in an interview just a little over a year ago.

Article Photos

The Hearts Forever Changed team, busy as they were, stopped to represent the Wetzel Chronicle, while in Honduras.

Her sentiments are the same a year later, and fellow team members agree.

"Everyday was an experience for me," said Darrell Mayfield, pastor of Sistersville First Baptist Church.

Mayfield said the children of Honduras "were a great blessing to me."

Fact Box

How You Can Help Hearts Forever Changed

On Saturday, Aug. 19, the Hearts Forever Changed organization is taking a bus trip to the Ark Encounter, located in Williamstown, Kentucky.

The Ark Encounter features a full-size Noah's Ark, built according to the dimensions given in the Bible. Spanning 510 feet long, 85 feet wide, and 51 feet high, this modern engineering marvel amazes visitors young and old.

The cost for the trip is $110 which covers transportation via air-conditioned charter bus and ticket price for the Ark.

The bus will leave St. Marys at 5 a.m. and will return to St. Marys by midnight. Trip participants will have four hours to explore the Ark. Light snacks and water will be provided on the bus, and the bus will stop for dinner on the return trip home. (Meal cost not included in trip cost).

Money is due within five days of registration. To register for the trip, contact Sonya Hizer at 304-771-5612.

"Children accept you. It doesn't matter if they understand your words or not. I almost feel like they adopted me."

Helmick also described an experience with a child of Honduras.

"There was a little boy, Samuel. When we went to the house build, he was quiet and stood under a tree and just watched. I asked him to help carry a board, and he was shy and didn't think he could do it. Finally, he said he would help me."

"All the team told him how strong was. Then he wanted to carry two boards. He helped me, and everyone kept telling him how proud they were. Then, he wanted to carry three boards, and I made it look like that was too much for me. One of the guys took one of the boards and carried it with him, and helped him."

"He worked with us all day," Helmick said. "He hammered and built the house and made the beds."

"At the end of the day, we gave Samuel a hammer and nails, a nail pouch. (Team member) Steve told him that when he was a young boy, like him, he dreamed of being a carpenter. He told Samuel he wanted to share a hammer and nails with him in hopes that maybe one day he could turn into a carpenter."

"He is adorable," Helmick said of Samuel. "He was pounding those nails so hard, and working so hard. He was a true, true, true blessing."

"The reward of the families that received the homes, were their smiles and gratitudes," said Mayfield.

Let it be known that a home in the poor parts of Honduras is not at all the same as what we might consider to be a home here.

The home is little more than a 16x16 wooden structure with a tin roof. A structure, that would be considered a shed for our lawn mower for four-wheeler, is considered a home to the poorest of Honduras. The home is not separated into rooms, nor does it have plumbing or toilets. Yet, to the poorest, one of these homes is something they have prayed for, perhaps for decades.

Through the 10 days in Honduras, the team built six houses, installed a roof on a house, participated in a church project with tables and benches, dispersed food bags to the hungry, and visited a hospital. At the hospital, the team dispersed 500 sandwiches, hygiene items, baby clothes, diapers, wipes, and blankets. A blanket given by Hearts Forever Changed could very well be the only blanket a baby will ever have through its infancy.

The team also passed out 300 food bags one day.

And as for the roof, Helmick explains that the roof was built for a woman who, at one point, was a horrible alcoholic.

"Out of sheer desperation she came to church. She was saved and began serving the Lord. She began to build a house out of mud bricks - brick by brick she molded the mud into a house, and due to the rainy season, was to the point that if a roof was not in her house, it would break apart and fall."

"God provided," Helmick stated. "Our team was able to show up and put a roof on her mud house that she made with her hands."

"I love the relationships we have forged with the people we work with," said Sonya Hizer, team member, of the trip. "They are our family! They are all awesome individuals and would do anything for us, as we would for them. I love them all."

Hizer said Vanessa Alcantara Carrillo was the team's mission leader this year.

"She loves God with her entire being," Hizer said.

"Some of us were able to go to groups she had started. One group was for people with addictions. One group went to the City square and witnessed to people. I went to the one for addictions. It was amazing how many people were there. They met at someone's home. Some from our group shared their testimonies about addictions God had gotten them through."

Helmick said some team members went to an area called Central Park, "to share Jesus."

"A prostitute, who was a young and quiet girl gave her life to Jesus. As tears fell down her face, she explained she sold herself to make money, so she could provide food for her children. We told her if she could find the time to go to the church, there would be money for her each week, which would help her buy the food she needed for her family."

"Last Wednesday she showed up to church and received not only the Word, but money for food for the week. We continue to pray for her."

Helmick said team members also spotted the woman at the church, quietly praying, later that week.

Many of the team members remarked on challenges that the team faced this year, peculiar to other years.

"My daughter, who worked all year to raise her money, wasn't able to go," Helmick said. "At the last minute, we had to fill in a team member."

Helmick remarked that another member faced a Passport issue and was left behind in Columbus, trying to get his passport renewed.

Midweek, the water pump broke at the place the team was staying, and if that wasn't enough, Mayfield ended up contracting a severe sinus infection and wasn't well.

The team had mountains to climb as well.

"The house build sites were very difficult this year," Helmick explained. "We climbed hard, hard mountains, but we made it."

"This trip is never easy on me physically, and it isn't supposed to be, but God always gets me through it!" agreed Sonya Hizer, team member.

"It just seemed like each day there was something that tried to discourage us, but we stood. Everyday, when we stood, God stood beside us. We succeeded" Helmick said.

"Our God is bigger!" agreed Sonya Hizer, team member.

Hizer said she may not be able to help with every house build, especially if it is on a mountain. However, she noted, the house building experience is "so rewarding."

"Especially when the family sees the finished product and when the family helps with the building, it makes it even more special."

"I feel God when I'm there," Hizer said.

"God got me through each day. We had some rough spots, but God was in the details and provided to bring the help we need," agreed Mayfield.

"Just like us folks in the USA, the people of Honduras want better circumstances for those they love, as we all do" said Mayfield, "Some of the folks have been praying for 20 years for a home. Our God is faithful, He will provide all our needs in Christ Jesus.



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