Mission seeds in China Grove grow in Honduras

  • Posted: Friday, March 22, 2013 12:24 a.m.
From left, Nancy Yates, Sabrina Caudill, Carlos, Gloria and Anne Corriher. The group met in Honduras after Sara, a volunteer at Main Street Mission who is Carlos’ mother and Gloria’s daughter, wanted the mission team to meet her family. Sara has not seen them in four years.
From left, Nancy Yates, Sabrina Caudill, Carlos, Gloria and Anne Corriher. The group met in Honduras after Sara, a volunteer at Main Street Mission who is Carlos’ mother and Gloria’s daughter, wanted the mission team to meet her family. Sara has not seen them in four years.

CHINA GROVE — The language of motherhood is universal. And a mother’s love stretches a long way — even from China Grove to Honduras.

In February, Anne Corriher, director of Main Street Mission in China Grove, and Sabrina Caudill, a member of First United Methodist Church, China Grove, were part of a mission group who traveled to Honduras. Eighteen people from China Grove traveled with Baptist Medical Dental Missions International.

Anne and Sabrina both knew Sara, a Honduras native who is a volunteer with Main Street Mission. The duo didn’t make that connection, however, until they arrived in Honduras.

Sara had told her mother, Gloria, that Anne and Sabrina would be in Honduras. All Sara knew, however, is that the two would be staying at a hospital in Guaimaca. Sara’s mother and son, Carlos, 14, whom she has not seen since coming to the United States four years ago, made a 14-hour trek from their home to meet these two women.

Sara had been sending clothing from Main Street Mission to Honduras, which her parents distributed at their Baptist church.

“Sometimes we get large quantities of donated clothing,” Anne explains. “Sometimes we can use them and sometimes we can’t. Sara asked if we could take the clothes we were sending to Goodwill and send to Honduras.”

“Before I was volunteering here, I would get things at yard sales and send,” Sara says through an interpreter. “Part of the money for shipping women raised in Honduras, and part of the money I gave.”

She adds, “I like to help people, but I’m pretty limited in not knowing English. But I’ve always wanted to help in a place like this.”

Anne says, “When Sara came to the mission the first time, she told me she was from Honduras. We instantly connected. I have been on many mission trips to Honduras. We became friends, and then she began volunteering.”

Nancy Yates is the wife of the Rev. George Yates, First Methodist’s pastor. She invited Anne and Sabrina along on the mission trip. Nancy had worked with the same medical mission group when she and her husband lived in Murphy.

“She planted that seed in China Grove,” Anne notes.

When they arrived in Honduras, Anne and Sabrina realized that Sara was a mutual friend. Carmen Byars is Sara’s ESL teacher and Carmen told Sabrina that Sara wanted her to meet her family.

Amazingly, Gloria and Carlos tracked down the women. They traveled 11 hours by bus from their home in Santa Barbara, and then three more hours by car with Gloria’s brother. They arrived at the hospital at 9:30 one night. By then, Anne and Sabrina were getting ready for bed.

“We had just finished our worship service,” Sabrina says. “One of the translators came in and said, ‘Miss Sabrina, someone is asking for you.’ I said, ‘Is her name Gloria?’ And she said, ‘Yeah.’ I just about fell in the floor. So I walked outside and there were Gloria and Carlos. I was so euphoric. I sent someone to get Anne. Sara didn’t know we were together. I was in shock. They had a name and a hospital. We talked and took pictures.”

“I took a video of her mom talking to her,” Anne says. “Her mom just kept hugging me for all the clothes from the mission. She said, ‘Thank you for being so sweet and kind to my daughter.’”

“I took a video of Carlos,” Sabrina says. “He was crying. I was crying. I didn’t understand what he was saying, but I understood it from the heart.”

The four spent about an hour together, and then Gloria and Carlos left to begin their long trip back home.

Besides providing dental and medical assistance, the team staffed a pharmacy and led vacation bible school for the children. They delivered fresh water, beans and rice, and Bibles.

“We got to do something different every day,” Anne says.

“We taught a soccer-loving nation how to play baseball,” Sabrina adds. “None of our kids had ever played baseball.”

Companies had donated a large amount of sports equipment to the team, Sabrina says, which they left with the children.

As soon as Anne and Sabrina arrived home, they arranged to meet with Sara one afternoon at Main Street Mission. They showed her all the pictures and videos of her family.

“Wow!” Sara says. “I had a lot of different types of emotions. I was happy. I also felt sad.”

She turns to Anne and Sabrina and says, “Thank you. Thank you.”

“They pay their money to help people they don’t know. God will pay them back.”

“We received so much more than we gave,” Anne says.

The mission continues to collect clothes to send to Honduras, but with an emphasis on gently-used clothing.

Anne admits she felt “mortified” about the clothing that’s been sent already.

“They were cast-offs,” she says. “We now want to start collecting really good clothing. We’re going to be more intentional about the donations we collect now.”

Because of the mild climate in Honduras, the mission will be collecting summer clothes: T-shirts, jeans, shorts, lightweight jackets. Children’s shoes are especially needed, especially closed-toe shoes and sneakers to be worn with school uniforms.

“There are a lot of people who don’t have shoes,” Sara says.

For more information about Main Street Mission, call Anne Corriher at 704-855-2909 or visit www.mainstreetmission.org.

Freelance writer Susan Shinn lives in Salisbury.

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