Sunday, September 30, 2012

First week down

Well, our first week in Honduras is finished, and what a week it's been.

The city of la Ceiba has been having rolling blackouts, with different barrios being effected at different times. On Monday, power went out half way through classes at school, which meant it got very warm very quickly. Luckily some clouds came in and cooled us off.
Then the power went out at Maria's home at 6, halfway through making dinner. Thankfully there was enough to eat. The really interesting part about the outage was that it became fairly dark, and I started seeing little blue streaks floating in the air. Genesis, Maria's granddaughter said they were called luciernaga, or in English, firefly. When we were kids, my brother and I caught fireflies on a trip to west Virginia, but I hadn't seen them since.

Otherwise, jana and I are enjoying our classes and getting to know everyone and where to go in the city. We found a place at the mall that has internet access, so I finally get a chance to post on what is going on. Coming from the realm of Microsoft, its quite surprising when you first see that there is no WiFi anywhere.

I have already made a new best friend, her name is Micha. She belongs to Maria's grandkids who live behind her. We keep joking that her name should be Besos (kisses) because she is always licking our hands.

i have been waiting 5 months for this

Jana and I just made it to San Pedro Sula. Our first stop, after booking the bus, was Espresso Americano.
I think the ice cold granita is one of the best ways to celebrate being back in Honduras

How interesting it is to rely on God

On our trip to La Ceiba, we ended up taking a lengthy bus ride from San Pedro Silva airport.  During the quiet and comfortable ride I got a chance to reflect a bit.
Here I am, no job, no real idea of what is going to happen to me tomorrow, and surprisingly without any cares. I felt quite surprisingly at ease with the whole situation.
This made me reminisce of when I was a kid and would ride with my parents. I didn't really know where we were going, or what we would be doing, but I knew I didn't need to worry about it. My parents always took care of me and always loomed out for me. And even though bad things occasionally happened, they were always there to make sure things went OK.
I find this quite a comforting parallel to Jana and my new adventures. I know today I went to school to try and learn Spanish, but I am not really sure what tomorrow will hold. And the great thing is, I am OK with that

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

We are moving to Honduras!

This is something Jana and I have been discussing for several years, and we are finally making a step toward it. We are going to volunteer at the AFE school ( just outside of the Tegucigalpa city dump.

So the obvious question - Are you crazy?

My thought process
This is a summarized version of my thought process while deciding on going. There was much more thought poured into each and every aspect of the decision, but this summary should hopefully be succinct and to the point. Its hard to shorten months of thought into a few paragraphs, but I will try here.
Faith of a mustard seed
"Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there,' and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you." - Matthew 17:20
There are several references in the new testament to the "faith of a mustard seed". If you have ever seen a mustard seed, you know that it is incomprehensibly small; so small that its hard to imagine someone harvesting them.
I have always viewed the reference to a mustard seed in two ways. The first is that you don't have to posses a great deal of faith, you just have to hold on to that littlest bit. This point of view has helped me whenever I feel spiritually lost, alone, abandoned, and empty of faith. Even in the worst of times when I hate God and everyone around me, I have asked myself if I have even a mustard seed of faith left. While that small amount of faith doesnt necessarily change anything at that time, it is helpful to know that when everything else changes, my faith has stayed.
The second way I have viewed the mustard seed analogy is that it is really small and can grow into something really big. The seed doesnt do anything special, just what God has given it to do. By pushing and growing year by year, even when animals eat all of its foliage and the wind breaks off limbs, it gets bigger and bigger. When it comes to faith, I am definitly not a giant, but I am growing. I can often feel myself being pruned or trimmed back, and the dissapointment that comes from not being a "great" or "amazing"; but all I have to do is decide to continue to grow.

Promises of God
Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? - Matthew 6:26
"Truly I tell you," Jesus said to them, "no one who has left home or wife or brothers or sisters or parents or children for the sake of the kingdom of God will fail to receive many times as much in this age, and in the age to come eternal life." - Luke 18:29-30

God gives us several promises through the bible, Luke 18 seems to be most apt at this time. Throughout the promises of God he never says that nothing bad will happen, or that your life will be full of happiness and only good things. On the contrary, winter comes just as frequently as the summer does, peaceful weather is often followed by horrible storms, and happiness is often followed by sadness.
God is promising us that our lives will be better by following his commands. Even when bad things happen, they wont be as bad as they were before, and the good things will be even better.

God's Calling
Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, "Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?"
And I said, "Here am I. Send me!" - Isaiah 6:8
When God called Isaiah he didnt search through a pile of resumes like an employer would do. God simply asks "Who is willing?" And when Isaiah heard the calling he didnt list off his credentials, or lineage, or schooling, he simply raised his hand. I cant imaging Isaiah had any idea what he was volunteering for, and I am sure he wasnt yet equipped to do the job God was calling for him to complete.
God asked for help, and Isaiah offered himself. Could there be anything greater than to know you are living for God? That your life is a mission from God? Forget about training, or knowledge, or abilities, or anything else you could bring to the table - God can provide all of that.

Do I trust God?
After going through all of these questions and thoughts, it ultimatly came down to 1 question for me: Do I trust God? Do I trust that leaving my comfy home and comfy job will be blessed?

  • If we sell our house today, we will end up losing money
  • If we leave our jobs for several years, we will lose out on a lot of income
  • If we volunteer, we will have to use our savings to live
  • If we go to a third-world country, we may get sick or hurt
  • If we stop making money today, our retirement will be messed up
  • If I leave my job for a few years, I may have to start over in my skills
  • ....

Do I trust God? Do I trust that God will continue to feed me? Do I trust that God will keep me just as safe in another country as I am in the US? Do I trust that God will take care of my retirement which is 30 years away?

"Then the King will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.'
"Then the righteous will answer him, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?'
"The King will reply, 'Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.' - Matthew 25:34-40