The philosophy of our St. Stephen Honduras Mission team is to do a small part in supporting the overall mission of SAN - to help the neglected and impoverished children of Honduras and develop them into self-sufficient citizens that will go out and do the same for others. When we travel to Honduras on Mission, we believe we have a dual purpose to help improve their facilities with our resources and labor, and more importantly to share our love with the children we are called to serve. Sonia, the director of the Pedro Atala orphanage, explains how she loves St. Stephen's groups because of the love we show for her children. That is what she wants for her children, to know they are loved.
Sociedad Amigos de los Niños (SAN) was founded in 1966 to provide shelter and safety for Honduras’ vulnerable children—neglected, abandoned, abused, or orphaned in one of the poorest countries in the Western Hemisphere. Led by its founder, Sister Maria Rosa Leggol, SAN’s children’s homes and programs provide a safe and loving haven for kids desperate for care, attention, and a chance for a brighter future. Sister Maria, an 86 year old Franciscan Sister, and SAN have rescued and educated over 40,000 children in Honduras since Sister started the organization. She has received many national and international humanitarian awards for her services to the children of Honduras and is affectionately called the Mother Teresa of Honduras.
We are often asked, “So what do you do in Honduras?” It is an interesting question to answer because we really do have a fantastic fun time there, but we never want to give the impression our mission trip is a “vacation”. We prepare for and go to Honduras with a spirit of service focusing on developing and maintaining relationships with the orphaned children of Sociedad Amigos de los Ninos (SAN), the people of Honduras, and performing manual labor to improve the facilities that the children live in. Both our work and the relationships are important parts of our mission.
These kids are so easy to love and play with. They love attention, like kids everywhere, but do not have parents to provide them the attention they desire and most children receive. We try to converse with them as best we can. All of the kids at Pedro Atala attend English class and many of them are very willing to practice with us. But just sitting quietly next to a child is also a blessing for us and for the child you are sitting with. Yes, some are shy and reserved, but they still crave attention, they just don’t project their needs. Sitting with them and reading or just holding their hand sends a message that you care.
And this is what our mission is all about – We do care about them, we try to be in solidarity with them and recognize their dignity in God’s eyes. We travel to Honduras to share our resources, time and talents in a way that shows them God’s love through our interactions with them.