A rooster crowed followed by the sound of what had to have been at least half a dozen dogs fighting over their breakfast.
Luke groaned and reached for his watch.
His eyes felt sticky as he pried them open. Having arrived at his brother’s home in Hondorus late the night before, he had hoped for a bit of time to sleep in.
“3:08 back home,” he spoke to the ceiling,”nothing like an early start to the day!” And he jumped out of bed, forgetting in darkness of the room that he was in a bunk bed, and fell to the ground from the top bunk, waking his roommate and good friend, Jake Reynolds.
Jake made a sound somewhere between a laugh and grunt, and rolled over.
Jake had won the coin toss for the lower bunk when they had arrived.
Luke shook his head in wonder, Jake was always able to fall asleep anywhere, including math class, english class, movie theatres, church… even fell asleep at his 8th birthday party.
Luke grabbed his toiletry bag and clothes and headed for the door, with a slight limp from his recent fall.
The soft breathing and occasional snores came from the bunk bed across the room where two guys slept. Tristan, a full time staff member who gave up his room for Pastor Kurt for two weeks, slept on the top, and Edwardo, a seventeen year old who lost his family a few months back and now lived and worked on the missions base, slept on the bottom.
Both guys were obviously used to the sound of mornings in Honduras.
Feeling slightly more awake after a shower, Luke went in search of coffee. His sister-in-law, Kathryn, was pouring a cup for herself.
“Coffee, Luke?” she offered.
“In the biggest mug you got, please,” Luke replied with what he hoped sounded like a pleasant voice, even if groggy.
Kathryn laughed, “Did you get any sleep? You look like death warmed up.”
Luke smiled, “I hope it’s not as bad as that. Ya, I guess going to bed at midnight was a bad call.” Luke grabbed the coffee she offered him, “Do you have any cream?”
“Creams a little hard to come by here, how’s some evaporated milk sound?” she said with a wink, handing him a can from the cupboard and a can opener.
“I’ll give it a shot,”Luke said, opening the can. “So tell me about this Edwardo fellow. What happened to his family?”
Kathryn held her own coffee with two hands, and shook her head, “He won’t speak of it. No one around here knows. We knew his whole family, wonderful believers that would come here from time to time, whenever we needed extra hands here, we would call his father, Juan, and they would be here. We hadn’t seen them for a while. And then one day James called Juan, and no answer. He called several times that day, no answer. James tried Juan again the next morning, and nothing. Finally, he tried Edwardo’s brother, Minor, and Edwardo answered. Ten minutes later, James and Jake were in the truck,” Kathryn’s eyes glistened, and she looked to brush something from her lap, “when they returned, they had Edwardo, but the boy wouldn’t look at me. He barely spoke five words for the first week. He still hasn’t smiled, but he talks at least.”
James walked in then, looking like he’d just gone from a run. He grabbed a glass and filled it with water, “Hey little brother, you’re up early!” He said cheerfully, smacking him on the shoulder and ruffling his hair.
“Somethings never change,” Luke said with a half smile, “and yet, I still miss you.”
Kathryn laughed, and glanced at the clock, “I better get breakfast on, it’s almost 6:30.”
James kissed her on the cheek, “I’ll be back in fifteen minutes, then everyone is meeting for group devotions out back.”
They lived next door to a missionary family, and that’s where the other four guys from Luke’s church would be staying when they arrived the next week. Luke and Jake had come early with Pastor Kurt to help with building preparations for the orphanage. Luke was soon to be in his final year before becoming an architect, and would be working on the final blueprints with the locals while Jake would put his accounting expertise to use with James to purchase the materials while staying in budget.
Throughout devotions led by Pastor Kurt, and through breakfast, and all morning as he worked on the blueprints he couldn’t get Edwardo off his mind.
Edwardo came and went, helping wherever he could. Offering water, coffee.
This was Luke’s first trip to Honduras, but he had heard all about Edwardo’s mom, dad and two brothers. They sounded like a fun family.
But this young man was serious. He looked like a lost little boy.
That night, after supper, everyone got together at James and Kathryn’s home. Eventually, James took out his guitar and began playing. Luke spotted a bongo, and began playing along. Edwardo was at the back of the room, leaning against the wall with his head down.
Slowly, Edwardo’s head came up and made eye contact with Luke, and Luke realized the young man had been praying.
Until that moment, Luke hadn’t been sure if the boy had resented the Lord.
I’ve got to talk to him later.
But later didn’t come for a few days, when Luke found Edwardo carrying lumber for the new orphanage.
“Hey, muchacho, let me help you with that,” Luke said, grabbing the other end of the stack of two by fours.
“Gracias, Luke,” Edwardo replied.
They worked side by side for forty five minutes, until they both took a break for a glass of water that Kathryn offered to them.
Luke prayed for the words.
“Edwardo, I’m sorry about your family,” Luke said, That was lame, he thought to himself.
Edwardo paused. “No one ever talks to me about them.”
“What do you mean?” Luke asked.
“Since that day, James came for me, no one ever asked me what happened,” Edwardo looked up at the beautiful landscape past where the new building would be built.
Luke wasn’t sure if that was an invitation, but decided to go for it, “Well, what happened?”
The boy broke, in sobs, the boy tried to speak, “I…I don’t…. know, they told me to stay…. they would be back the next day, they had to go help a doctor who was dealing with many sick people, and they needed help taking care of them. That’s all I know. They didn’t tell me where, they didn’t tell me how to get, to get… in touch with them. I stayed behind because I had school. Soon a week past, and then a month. And then your brother called.”
Oh Lord, Luke prayed, He doesn’t even know what has happened to them.
“Does my brother know this?” Luke asked.
Edwardo just shook his head, wiping his eyes with the back of his hand.
Luke gave the younger man a fierce hug, and prayed silently, Lord help us to find answers. Help us to find out what happened to Edwardo’s family. If they are alive, bring them all together again. If they are sick or injured, heal them.
Luke remember what Kathryn said about Edwardo’s dads phone.
Just because he doesn’t have his phone doesn’t mean he’s dead.
Feeling helpless, Luke asked Edwardo if there was anything he needed, and Edwardo said no, and Luke wouldn’t have expected anything else.
But later he would talk to James and formulate a plan to find answers.
Stay tuned for part 3 soon to come to find out what happens to Luke in Honduras!