It Only Takes A Spark grant program has been established to provide Falling Creek staff members resources and support to positively impact others beyond the summer months. Through an application process, the selection committee awards funding from $250 – $1,000 per project for various work within our own nation and around the world. Recipients demonstrate “Servant’s Heart”, one of the four pillars of The Falling Creek Code.
Ryan Smith, a counselor in the summer of 2014, was one of the recipients for the grant this past year.
On December 21, 2014, he left for Choluteca, in southern Honduras for a mission trip. Ryan said, “I found myself emerging into a completely new reality. It was shocking to think that such a short span of time could so drastically separate the two worlds I was now comparing.”
Ryan describes his initial culture shock as he and two friends he was travelling with found themselves in an unfamiliar country and way of life. The first shock; what seemed like lawless driving. With only two lanes, cars would pass each other in any direction, using either lane, regardless of speed and visibility.
Ryan and his friends stayed with a missionary and his family from New Beginnings Baptist Mission. The next day, they took a short drive from the missionary’s house to the village of Javier Soriano where they would be spending the next several days constructing a home for one of the families living there.
“Nearly 100 families live in this village, which is decorated by homes made of mud, sticks, dried cow manure, tree branches, clay bricks, and plastic tarps. The latrines can be clearly seen behind the homes.” Ryan describes.
Each home has a fire that continuously burns throughout the day, which allows each family to cook rice, beans, and corn tortillas which are served nearly every meal.
There are no chimneys, no running water, and no electricity. Recently a mission installed a water system to supply the village with accessible clean drinking water, in which the families can retrieve water from daily.
The team was a mixture of missionaries and local village workers. Ryan and the team began the project by laying cinderblock, using cement or mezcla that was made on the ground. It was a physically demanding task in itself and continued until all four walls had been constructed. Next, the doors and windows were installed and reinforced.
The next day, they returned to install the roof or techo made up of clay tiles. Ryan’s role in the process was to throw each tile from the ground to the roof above, where another person would catch them and pass them off to another. Someone else would then set the tiles into place on the roof.
“After two days of strenuous work, our team finishes the home for the family. With the help of Falling
Creek Camp, I was able to fund almost half of the cost of the entire home!” Ryan said.
Each afternoon, Ryan and his friends would go to town to eat and hand out food to the local people. They delivered over 3,000 pounds of food to numerous families sponsored by the mission. They delivered Christmas presents, clothing, and food to several families in 3 different villages that the mission had previously built homes for.
Soccer, or futbol, was extremely popular there. Ryan played with many kids in one of the villages and was able to pass out quite a few soccer balls that he had collected from his own home.
“I learned a lot from my trip to Choluteca, Honduras and gained an invaluable perspective of a different culture and lifestyle. I spent time with some genuine and incredibly amazing people that have had a substantial impact on my life.” Ryan explained.
“The best part of the whole experience was the ability to connect two communities, living in two drastically different parts of the world; my camp family and my new found Honduran family.”