How Is Our Communication?

We live in the communication era: we are more informed about what happens in the world than ever before. There are universities online and other virtual communities that seem to ignore human contact and face-to-face interaction, but are we really living in the era of communication or the era without communication? If we analyze our daily lives, we see that we have less and less time to have a genuine conversation with a loved one. We spend more time in activities that turn into unproductive habits, like aimlessly surfing the web or “talking with people from all over the world.”

In UrbanTrekkers we want to break those patterns by organizing outdoor activities that invite youth to get out of their comfort zones. We take them to places where they feel challenged physically, emotionally, and spiritually. In March, as we do every year, we held a retreat to welcome the youth leaders who would be part of our AfterSchool Program. The Camping 101 activity was the culmination of their training. It provided them a break from daily life, where they could pause their virtual communication and start to have a more direct relationship with their future teammates.

It was especially interesting for me to get to know two 15-year-old guys on the trip, both of whom are assistants for discovery class in camp, Nehemías and Emerson. They have two opposite personalities: the former quiet and shy, and the latter energetic and social. A month later, as we were selecting the youth who would go on our annual service trip, we saw that Nehemías and Emerson had both applied for the trip.

Emerson demonstrated something uncommon among the youth who have participated in Trekkers throughout the year: initiative and availability at almost any time. We just had to tell him the day and the time, and he was there punctual and with energy and determination; and the most interesting of all is that we didn’t have to call or send a message to remind him because his communication didn’t depend on a phone, but on his word and commitment. Throughout the trip to La Ceiba, he continued showing interest in learning and being an excellent leader, and he was one of the youth who most took advantage of the experience, interacting each day with the people in front of him and paying full attention. He reflected on this as we recognized how difficult it is for most of us to pay attention and actually see the world in front of us.

That’s why in Trekkers we are always looking for ways for our youth to communicate more in person and less through social media or cell phones. Every week we cycle through the mountains of Copán Ruinas and talk about life, principles, and values; we see our national bird, the red macaw, fly freely with us; we explore the earth and its mysteries through our gardening program; we climb mountains to connect with ourselves and with God as we appreciate nature and the perfection of the mountains.

Emerson has continued to become more involved, and he is the first on the list for cycling every Saturday. He wants to continue discovering God and himself through outdoor activities. Nehemías mentioned in the first post-trip meeting that he now smiles and communicates more with the people around him. He said that it was strange to see him laugh and smile before, but now it comes more naturally to him.

There is no doubt that UrbanPromise Honduras’s programs are creating a community of servant leaders who overcome challenges and learn to communicate more effectively, face to face, without intermediaries. And Trekkers, through experiential learning, will continue creating spaces where our teens can identify their strengths and passions, keep dreaming bigger, and develop a vision for how the Lord wants to use them to inspire others.

To get to know the mysteries of God and his promises for us, we have to be in personal communication with our Lord, as King David affirms in Psalm 19:1-2. “The heavens declare the glory of God;the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they reveal knowledge.”

Luis Ortiz - UrbanTrekkers Director