How it all began

Told by Brett Durbin

You hear it almost every Sunday at church: Christ traded places with us. He endured brutal torture and took our place on the cross. But the commonplace Christian slogans never completely sank in. On our first trip to Honduras we had the opportunity to meet with a family that lived on the side of the trash dump just outside Tegucigalpa. 

They lived in a shack of wood scraps and “treasures” found among the garbage. The smell that surrounded their home was worse than anything we’d ever experienced, produced by the multiple soiled diapers and wild dog feces that lined their dirt floor. Despite the condition of their home, the family was beautiful. It consisted of a grandmother, father, mother and three young children, all developmentally and physically delayed due to malnutrition. The couple had also lost a child one year earlier to starvation and appeared to be expecting another.

As we spoke, the mother embraced her one-year-old child, still unable to support his own head. She attempted to nurse him, although it was evident that she was not producing enough milk for him to thrive. Her husband, a man that appeared to be in his early thirties, had not forsaken his family for selfish gain. He remained with them, covered in soil and trash remnants from difficult days working in the dump. Unable to read or write, they understood the power of God’s written word, and had a tattered copy of the Bible lying open within their one-room home. They had also collected and hung broken religious icons from among the trash, aware of the power of the Lord they illustrated. Together, despite their horrific circumstances and the lack of tangible proof that their situation would ever improve, they were a light among the darkness. Their faith was a shining message of Christ’s never-ending hope and promise to all who believe.


Upon returning home to our plush American existence, we began to fully realize the great significance of the Lord’s ultimate sacrifice. Jesus left His heavenly kingdom and became proof of the Lord’s amazing love. He joined us in our earthly sufferings, day after day for more than thirty years, teaching us how to overcome them. In thanks, we brutally attacked and murdered him. Jesus was sacrificed because we failed to respond with our hearts to the Father’s original commands. He walked with and traded places with us. If we are to be modeled in His image, shouldn’t be willing to do the same for others? It is in our own surrender to Jesus for the sake of others that He is glorified, so could there be a better way to illustrate the gospel message than by living it?

And thus, Trash Mountain Project was born. TMP is an organization that is dedicated not only to spreading the message of the affliction of children and families within trash dumps around the world, but also to encouraging believers to walk alongside those suffering. Together we will join them as Christian family and provide for their most eminent needs with the purpose of creating disciples honorable of the Lord. We are so happy to have you with us on this life-changing journey.

In Christ,
Brett and Jaelle Durbin