What is it about Honduras that is luring 10 individuals away from the comforts of home to spend a week in the blistering heat? It’s not the beautiful beaches, exotic birds or wild orchids that are calling them. It’s a higher calling. “People are hungry,” said Rick Piacenti, Kingwood resident. Piacenti is the leader of the trip, an annual project of World Compassion Network. The team flew to Honduras Saturday, July 12, to participate in the Family 2 Family project. “I like to serve people and share the gospel of Jesus Christ,” Piacenti said. “Many Hondurans live in poverty and this is an opportunity to demonstrate God’s love. Distributing food and clothing and connecting with those who have it rough reminds me how blessed I am.” This summer marks Piacenti’s third mission trip, and his wife Glenda’s second. Two of their sons, Jonathan and Kent, will make their first missionary journey with them. For these volunteers, making the decision to go to Honduras and scheduling time away from work and home were the first steps. Add to that $1,350 travel expenses per person. To help with the costs, the mission team hosted a pizza fundraiser in March at the Piacenti’s home, which is equipped with an industrial-sized pizza oven. They made and served 40 pizzas. “The suggested donation was $35 per family, however, people were extremely generous. Many co-workers and friends who could not attend wanted to participate by giving. Donations now total $30,000. Half of the proceeds will cover travel expenses, and the rest will help fund a building project in one of the villages,” said Piacenti. “I’ve heard many stories from my friends about their adventures in Honduras and I want to be a part of what God is doing there,” said first-time missionary Joy Lipp. She’s taking 13-year-old daughter, Jordon Chambers, so she can “be a part of this great cultural and spiritual experience.” To discuss last-minute details, the Piacentis hosted a Fourth of July cookout. Piacenti said he expects they will provide clothes and a one month supply of food to more than 200 families. The 18-quart containers have already been filled and shipped from an Indiana distribution center. From the hotel, the team will make daily trips along 30 miles of rugged terrain to the village. “We don’t just pass out the donation packages and leave. We minister to the people. We will split up the team so that one group will distribute the food and entertain the children, while the other group works on a building project,” Piacenti said. Prior to the mission trip, WCN sends representatives to scout the area. They visit with local pastors to determine which families have the greatest need. “It’s wonderful to provide relief, but it’s heartbreaking to watch others get turned away because their names aren’t on the list,” Glenda Piacenti said. “The hotel is old and its plumbing doesn’t always function properly, but after spending a day with the poor, it looks like a palace,” said Rick Piacenti. “Each morning, the cooks will pack lunches for us to take on our daily trips to the village. There’s no variety. It’s always peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, an apple and a cookie. We must be sensitive and not eat in front of the hungry villagers.” Melissa Gutierrez is excited about making her second Family 2 Family mission. “God gave me a heart for Central America in 1992,” she said. It was in neighboring Costa Rica where she met her husband, Manuel. “Coming from that part of the world, I know how hard life can be. The Lord has been so good to me and I can’t wait to go back and tell people that,” said Manuel Gutierrez. Their oldest child, Anna, an eighth grader at Kingwood Middle School, will also make her second trip to Honduras. For more information, visit www.w-c-n.org. Photo: The Honduras travelers assemble at the Piacenti home to discuss their upcoming tour. Rick and Glenda Piacenti, Manuel Gutierrez, Joy Lipp, Melissa and Anna Gutierrez, Jonathan Piacenti and Jordon Chambers.

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