Monday, August 29, 2011

Here at Last

So, I got in late last night. It was strange to hear the flight attendents announce that we were leaving Florida at 11:45pm, and then that we had arrived in Honduras at 11:46pm. Despite sleeping through most of the flight, it felt like more than a minute. Thank you, two hour time difference. :)

On my way down, the first flight from Detroit to Florida was filled with sorrow. I cried before I left my house as I said goodbye to two of my closest friends. I cried in the airport as I said goodbye to my family. And I cried again as I waited to board as I wrote about how I had to say all my goodbyes. All I could think about were the people I left behind, and the life I could be having.

I ran the words of a letter given to me by my roommate and fellow intern of the last two years (someone who's gotten to know me quite well). She told me that no matter how sad it was to leave everything behind, it'd be even worse to not go where God has called me and the place that my heart breaks for.

As I sat in the airport in Florida, surrounded by Hondurans on their way home, those words that had been running through my head finally got to my heart, and I realized I was on my way. I wasn't just leaving behind friends and family; I was heading off to a new life, to meet new friends and form new "families." The excitement hit me, and the sadness left.

Terry and Shari, who are the missionaries that I visited on my previous trips to Honduras, and who have been close family friends for years, picked me up at the airport. I almost cried from joy at seeing her. We got back to their house around 1:30am, and after a snack, I made it to bed around 2am.

Mondays for them are ministry days, and they start right away. If I had really wanted to, I suppose I could have gotten out of going, but I didn't see much of a point of sitting around the house all day, so I hit the ground running. We went shopping, then went right to the Sanctuaio de Esperenza, where we began preparing a meal for 90ish people that gather from the streets.

Then people started showing up, and we went out to interact with them. I was almost immediately handed a 5 month old boy to hold while his mother sat nearby and colored in a coloring book. She had brought her neighbor's daughter with her, who was nervous about me at first, and then making running leaps into my arms less than an hour later. I then began helping another woman with her girl and 2 boys. Her youngest was also 5 months old. I forget who handed him to me or when, but I held him all the way through worship (with his older sister hanging all over me), the message, and the meal. He got fussy near the end, but I held onto him while his mother was eating. After the meal came clean-up, where I helped wash dishes from the 70 people that were there that day.

I should also mention that during the fellowship time, when I mostly just hung out with the kids that speak about as much Spanish as I do (except for them it's because they don't speak much of anything yet...), I had a young guy come up and talk to me. I conversed as much as possible, spending a lot of the time looking confused and shrugging in apology, but I did know enough to politely refuse when he offered me a "besa." He then asked me if I had a "novio." I told him no, which may have been a mistake, because he then asked me several times why I didn't have one, because I was "bonita." Fun times. He then tried to impress me with his knowledge of America by saying things like "California" and "Washington." Guys are the same wherever you go, I guess; they just have different ways of going about the same thing.

At any rate, once we were finally done with our 10 hour day and made it back to the house, I proceeded to take a nap on the couch, which was interrupted by Shari telling me that the couple who hired me to work at Eagle's Christian Academy were on their way to pick me up to go to the house where I'd be living. I packed up and headed out a few minutes later.

Tammy and Dennis are so amazing. They're both bilingual, so communication is so simple. There was a pastor friend from Guatemala in the car with them when they got me, and we then went to thier house to pick up a young woman who lives with them, and they had yet to tell me what was going on. As they talked in rapid Spanish, I marveled at the fact that I had no idea what was going on. I eventually found out we were on our way to a discipleship meeting at the school (which is also a church), and would go to Tammy's parents' house after, where I'm staying.

So, I got to listen to my second sermon today, all in Spanish. I got the gist of it, I guess. I told Tammy what I thought it was about after, and she said I was sort of right, so I guess that's good. It was something about the church and strength and pastors and the Bible. I'll get there eventually. We finally got to the house where I'll be living for at least the next year, and I'm amazed at how big it is. There are two parts to the house, and I'm staying in the separate part that's just an upstairs, 3 bedrooms and a small kitchen/living room with no fridge as of yet. My room has a feel of a hotel, with a window that goes out onto the balcony and my own bathroom. I do have internet access, and a couple of the girls here are bilingual, so I can go to them with any questions.

After I got settled in, we had some Popeye chicken, and I listened in to the conversations. One part of one conversation was translated for me, so I was mostly clueless. I did understand when the pastor who had spoken earlier essentially said, "The church is inside of you." It was so profound, and I'm so glad I know enough to understand it. At some point, they were also talking about defective shoes and trying to get them shipped here to help the bordos, which are squatter villiages filled with people that live in cardboard homes and no running water or electricity. A couple of the girls I'm now living with are doing ministry work there a couple of times a week, teaching classes and trying to help the people in one particular bordo become more independant and find work on their own, rather than relying on help from other people.

Self-worth is something I'm finding is really lacking here. So many people have been told so often that they're worthless, so they believe it. Many of the people Terry and Shari minister to that come of the streets think that way, you can tell by the way they interact. They don't seem to think that there can be anything better for them than begging and starving, doing drugs and having sex. It's amazing to see the light that appears in the eyes of the little kids when I'd look at them and smile, hold them tight, and give them kisses. I have no doubt that in that moment, they knew they were loved. It's the same with many of the people who live in the bordos. They have been there for generations, washing clothes in water that's mixed with sewage and fighting for a bit of rice or a shirt brought to them by gringos, and they don't think they can rise above it. So they just keep sitting and waiting for the next rich person to walk by and throw them a bone. They've been reduced to dogs, and they're fine with it.

I pray for a revival in the hearts of the people of Honduras, that they would see how much God loves them, and how much they're truly worth in His eyes. He sent His Son to die for them, not only so they could have something to look forward to after death, but so they could have a full and abundant life here on earth.

Tomorrow, I begin training for teaching at the school, so tomorrow should be another interesting day. I'm guessing that most of the instructions will be in Spanish, which means I'll get less than half of it. Please pray that my mind will be opened, that I'll continue to rapidly learn Spanish and be able to understand it, and that I'll have the boldness to speak what little I do know.

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