Reflections from Emily and John regarding Honduras

Any parent trying to raise children today can attest to what a challenge it is - with ever developing technology that inhibits face-to-face communication and a sense of entitlement that seems to creep in no matter what efforts we make - how do we make sure our children become adults that understand the true meaning of life - and value what is important versus the accumulation of more stuff?
We decided this was the summer to do something more radical - not your typical summer vacation. We prayed about what we could do together as a family - and HEAL ministries was our answer. Our family of 4 embarked on a journey with Tina and 7 other amazing people that will provide us with a lifetime of memories that will forever be ingrained in our hearts.
We had no idea nor any expectations of what the experience would provide for us - we simply prayed for open hearts and an experience that would be life-changing. And boy did God deliver!
Our kids learned how to work up a sweat in service (without complaining) and how to operate as a team (they had some fantasic role models in 7 CPA high schoolers/new grads). They experienced how the heart can love someone after just one encounter, and how to identify "God moments" in the everyday. They now understand that laughter is universal - the same thing that makes a child in the U.S. laugh, also makes a child in a Spanish speaking country laugh. You don't have to understand a language to form a connection - and the simplicity of blowing bubbles or kicking a soccer ball can bring much more happiness and joy than an ipad, psp, or wii.
We as parents learned - that the love of a parent is universal - and that ultimately there is no doubt that we exist for relationship with each other and with God. We learned that God is a father to the fatherless and that our "family" extends well beyond the boundaries of our given family, our given community, or even our given country. Even with the challenges of language barriers, we found family in Honduras and family in the team of people with whom we served - a family that we will see again - not just on this earth but in eternity. How exciting that is!
We are so grateful to have had this opportunity and for the supporters "back home" who help make this possible. "Service" is so ironic as those that "serve" are as equally blessed as those who were served.
Emily and John Leonard