Central strives to love and serve the children, volunteers, and leaders at Montana de Luz.
Want to join the next trip?
Contact Joe Graves here.
What is Montana de Luz?
"Montaña de Luz was begun as a hospice for children with HIV/AIDS in Honduras whose parents had died or had become too ill to care for them. Located an hour and half to the East of Tegucigalpa on top of a mountain overlooking a valley of small towns and sugar cane fields the mountain of light is a refuge for children who desperately need the specialized care, nurturance, healing and love provided to them in this refuge from a world where AIDS is stigmatizing. Founded in 2000 on an abandoned property, teams came from all over to complete the renovations. In 2001, the first three children arrived and over the years we have cared for over 65 children. In 2003, we transitioned from being a hospice to being a home thanks to the availability of anti-retroviral medications. Our purpose is to love and care for these vulnerable children, empower them with knowledge and resiliency to grow into productive members of the community, to raise awareness about HIV/AIDS while working to eliminate discrimination and prejudice of people living with HIV, to facilitate bridges of understanding and compassion while helping to form global citizens through our service team and Long Term Volunteer experiences and to facilitate meaningful opportunities for giving of both personal and financial resources."
What's a mission trip to Montana de Luz like?
Watch our last team video here.
Kelsey Bowman is a student at Ohio University. Kelsey was on the team of Centralites who travelled to serve at Montaña de Luz. Here's part of her story:
"I am not a traveller. I never had the ambition or drive to see countries in far-away places. Traveling and site-seeing has never been one of my hobbies. But on a regular Sunday in January, I sat in church and prayed, requesting a sign from God as to what I was to do next for him.
"Joe proceeded to present a video advertising for a team to go to Honduras and serve at Montaña de Luz. Well, you just can’t argue with that.
"Boarding the plane that Monday was one of the hardest things I have ever done. I quickly realized all this time I had been in slight denial of this commitment; it had always been something in the far future…until now. It was too late to turn back, as I watched land disappear in the clouds. We landed in Tegucigalpa in the mid-afternoon, with the hot, sweltering sun greeting us.
"My anxiety had risen to levels I had not experienced before. The van packed us in tight, bouncing around on the road like frying bacon. I couldn’t understand what many of the people driving were saying. What if the kids couldn’t understand me? What if I can’t eat anything (darn me for being so picky)? What if I get bit by a bug, or cornered by a snake? What if God isn’t here with me?
Naturally, my anxieties rose from my irrational imagination. Montaña de Luz had bugs and geckos, but they simply just wanted to be your “friend". We didn’t see any snakes or scorpions or tarantulas. The language barrier was brought down like the laundry room walls we chiseled and slaved over. And the children accepted each of us with smiles, laughter, and kid-sized bear hugs.
"On the third night of our trip I sat on the edge of our hill just as the sun was falling behind a distant mountain. I glanced over the trees, hills, and the village below, and realized I was more at peace than ever before. I felt the wind blowing over the valley, heard the chirps of crickets and geckos, smelled the fresh dirt and grass.
"God was always with me, and our team. He had never abandoned me as I led myself to believe. Instead, he brought me to a place of beauty, love, and hope. A place where he walks with children, and brings courage and comfort to those who serve it.
"God was with me then and now, at MdL, and with anyone who builds the courage to be sent in his name. Traveling to Montaña de Luz was the best thing I have done for myself, both spiritually and mentally. I hope that the experiences our team share with the world encourages others to make the same journey, and come to know God’s faith in us, the impactful work of MdL, and the endless love of the children who live there."