August 4th 2009
Every morning at 6:15am, seven year old Milton begins his 45 minute walk down a steep rocky path toward the small mountain city of Copan Ruinas. Copan Ruinas—famous for its Myan ruins that provided the foundation of a dynamic civilization built over 2000 years ago—is now famous for its tourism and small coffee plantations. Milton is a descendant of the Myan people.
At 7:30am our little friend catches a bus at the foot of his mountain that winds through the city’s cobble stone streets and drops him at Camp Joy—UrbanPromise’s first summer day Camp in the country of Honduras.
Some of you have been watching the political situation in Honduras, which is currently unstable. Citizens of this wonderful country are nervously watching their televisions. Although the protests have not reached the city of Copan Ruinas, the impact of the political unrest is devastating. Tourism, the life blood of this city, has slowed to a mere trickle. Hotels and restaurants, usually filled during this time of year, are vacant. People have lost their jobs. “If it continues much longer,” shared the owner of one coffee shop, “we’ll all be out of business.” This will drive the area into deeper poverty….which will impact the lives of children.
That’s why programs like UrbanPromise are critical.
Camp Joy has been created by three former UrbanPromise interns—Blair, Matt, and Rachel. These committed young leaders have a passion to create an UrbanPromise-type ministry for the children and teens of this small city—a city where poverty is high and opportunities for children to engage in life changing, Christian-based programs are non-existent.
Children like Milton would typically spend their summer sleeping, hanging out in the streets, or doing odd jobs to help support the family. Now they get a chance to improve their English, learn about the Bible, play games, cook food, sing songs and watch skits. Their joy is palpable. Their smiles intoxicating.
“The potential for this kind of ministry is incredible,” shares director Blair Quinius. “There is nothing like it for the children in this community. Parents and community leaders are excited.”
They are not the only people excited.
Otherwise, why would a seven year old named Milton get up before dawn, walk for 45 minutes to catch a bus, just to come to camp? Why: because he loves it!
Dr. Bruce Main