Sunday, August 31, 2014

Casa Visits

This has been a crazy week! Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday from all the teachers grouped up to go on house visits for all 300 students in the school. My group had the mountain villages, which involved a lot of scary driving and mountain hiking to get to these families' homes. The Lord protected us though! At each house we (and when I say we, I mean the Spanish speaking teachers in my group) would ask the families if they had prayer requests that we could pray for and that we will also email to each student's sponsor so they can be praying specifically for their student. We also encouraged them to attend church regularly, and prayed over each family. This was an awesome and exhausting time. I enjoyed getting to meet some of my students and their families, and get a perspective on where these children are coming from. Wednesday we finished up around noon, so all the teachers went out to lunch together!



Tuesday night my housemates and I went to a Bible study at the Spanish language school with other missionaries that are here learning Spanish before going out to their mission field. Colton, the other new American Destino teacher, has been going to the Bible study here and was facilitating the discussion this week. It was a good time of worship and studying the word, and it was nice to understand everything that was being said,unlike church on Wednesday night. I am definitely doing a lot better with the Spanish sermons though. I think I understand more each time I go to church, so I'm making progress!

Thursday was spent planning at the school, without power. Jenna and Bethany ran through a mock class with Colton and I so we could get the feel for how a class runs here, which was super helpful. Don't know what I'd do without these girls! On Friday morning, all the parents (mostly mothers) came to the school for the first meeting to go over the rules and get uniforms and such. Luckily, the power came back on right before the meeting! Rhonda talked with the parents first about the purpose of Destino del Reino. She wanted to be sure the parents understood that at Destino we are not just here to help the poor and educate children, but to train up missionaries who are willing to die for Jesus Christ. That is our mission and that is what we are praying for the kids, to have such a strong faith that they will never renounce Christ, even in the face of death.

Friday after school our land lady's son invited Colton, Jenna, Bethany, and I to go out to his farm not far from where we live. He has a whole lot of land, which we hiked all over. Apparently, the higher the altitude, the better the coffee, so the farm went up into the mountains. It was raining off and on, so the ground was a little muddy and slick. If you know me, you know I'm clumsy, so these things were not a good combination, but I made it to the top of the mountain for this great view of the city, even through the clouds.




Saturday we worked on lessons at the house and did our grocery shopping. In the afternoon, once the massive rain storm had taken a little break, all the American teachers met at Sheena and Kathy's house to share the prayer requests we had written down during house visits so that we each could email them to the students in our class's sponsors. Most of my prepa students still do not have sponsors, so again, if you know anyone who might be willing, please mention it!

Sunday brought an afternoon of rest and relaxation before church. Pastor Pablo preached from the story of Jesus calming the storm, and pointed out that Jesus asked two questions: Why are you afraid? and Where is your faith? He then referenced my favorite verse, Romans 8:28. We have not reason to fear, because "God works all things for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose."


I have been feeling nervous for the first day of school tomorrow, but I know I have been called here according to God's purpose, so I have no reason to fear. He is working all things for good. So I am working on learning to trust Him more, and surrender my plans and expectations for what each day will hold. I have no idea how tomorrow and even the rest of this week will go, but He does, so I can rest in that knowledge. Would you pray for me this week? I'll update you all on my students and this first week later on! Thank you for your continued support.

Alexa
al02846@georgiasouthern.edu

Sunday, August 24, 2014

¡Primera Semana! (First Week!)

So, I have officially made it through my first week here in Honduras! Thank you everyone who has been praying for me here. Monday was the first day of teacher training, so the school bus picked us up at 7:15 AM and spent the morning with Rhonda Jackson going over school information, all in Spanish. Thank goodness Jenna, one of my housemates, could translate for us! 

Tuesday and Wednesday mornings all the teachers had a Spiritual Conference in the mornings with Pastor Pablo and Pastor Efrain, all in Spanish with Jenna translating again. It was a little hard to keep up, but we made it alright. He talked on Wednesday about viewing what we're doing at Destino as a ministry and not a job, which is definitely something I need to hold on to this year. 

Other than that, we've just been decorating an starting to plan lessons at the school. Here's my wall in the first grade classroom.



In the evenings we just hang out at the house or in the courtyard between Jenna, Bethany, and my house and Colton's house, other than Wednesday night church. I have really been enjoying getting to know my housemates and hanging out.

Saturday the four of us went on an adventure to the lake about an hour away from our house. We walked to the bus station and squished on a bus that dropped us off at a delicious fish restaurant by the lake for lunch and hammocking. 








After flagging down a standing-room-only-tiniest-isles-I've-ever-seen bus, we headed back to town. The bus dropped us off just outside of Sigua at the granja, where there was also a mini zoo!



We spent some time with the animals, did a little shopping, then caught another bus to get back near our house.

Sunday I went to the market for the first time for fresh fruits and veggies, and we had church in the afternoon. Right now, church for me is like a Spanish Bible drill. Today the pastor read from 11 different verses, so those I can follow along with in my Spanish/English Bible, and I catch other words here and there and try to piece together the sermon. It's definitely interesting! 

This upcoming week we will visit the houses of the students at Destino to pray with their families. I am excited to meet these families and see more of Honduras. There are still about 30 kids without sponsors, most of them will be in my Prepa (Kindergarten) class. Please pray for these kids, and if you know anyone interested, send them to destinodelreino.org

As always, I appreciate your prayers for myself as well. Thank you all for your continued support.

Alexa
al02846@georgiasouthern.edu

Sunday, August 17, 2014

¡Estoy Aquí! (I Am Here!)

Well, I finally made it! Saturday after some chocolate chip waffles (my fav!), my parents took me to the airport for my 12:15 flight to San Pedro Sula. I made it through security and onto the plane without issues, and even had a whole row to myself! It still amazes me every time I fly how that huge airplane can get up in the sky, stay there for three hours, then gently touch down! 

Rhonda, the director, the other American teachers, and three of the kids that live at Destino were all waiting for me when I arrived. We loaded up on the school bus and rode the two hours to Siguatepeque. It is the rainy season here right now, but luckily it did not start until we made it to our house. I am living with two of the other American teachers, Jenna and Bethany. We have a living room, kitchen, and our own bedrooms and bathrooms. Colton, the one male English teacher, lives in the house across from us, and Kathy and Sheena live down the road.

Last night Jenna, Colton, Sheena, and I took a taxi since it was pouring and went to dinner at Del Corral, which is a nice supermarket and a restaurant. After una hamburguesa doble con queso y papas frítas (double cheeseburger and french fries) we came back to the house to unpack and get settled. Pretty much everything is unpacked now, and I am settling in to my new home for the next year.

Sunday we were able to sleep in and relax a little around the house. Church at Destino starts at 3 PM, so the school bus came to pick us up at 2:10, then made the rounds to pick up other families. I could pick up some of the words and phrases in the songs (they had the words on the screen thankfully!) but was totally lost in the sermon. Jenna did some translating for me, and I could follow along with the passages in my Spanish/English Bible. 

After church, we loaded back up on the bus, dropped the families back off, and went to Del Corral again to do some grocery shopping. Unfortunately, my ATM card is not working, but hopefully my mom can get it straightened out at the bank at home tomorrow. Jenna, Bethany, Colton and I went to "lady across the street" place for dinner. It's a tiny restaurant right down the road with no name, but delicious food. Jenna and I watched a movie back home after dinner, then early to bed. Teacher training starts tomorrow, and the bus will be here at 7:10 AM!

Friday morning, before I left, my devotion started with John 14:23 about how God lives with us. Then last night I decided to start reading in Matthew chapter 1. In verse 23, it talks about how Jesus will be called Emmanuel, which means God with us (sensing a theme?). I know God is with me here in Honduras, and He will not abandon His daughter. I am looking forward to everything God is going to teach me here, and how I can serve His kingdom. Thank you for all your prayers!

Alexa
al02846@georgiasouthern.edu

Friday, August 1, 2014

Contentment

Today is 16 days before I get on a plane to go live and teach in Honduras for the next year. I think the question I get asked the most leading up to my trip is, "How are your feeling?" Let's see, name every emotion you can think of. Excited? Of course! Nervous? Who wouldn't be? Scared? A little. 


But this morning, I started a new devotional called Voices of the Faithful. Each day, the devotion is written by a different missionary. For the month of August, the devotions all center around the theme of contentment. As Beth Moore points out in the introduction, we in America have a lot. Even those who think they don't have much, if they have an education, they're better of than they think. But even here in America, who would call themselves perfectly content? I know I can't ascribe that word to myself. In the introduction for this month, Beth Moore wrote, "Contentment has little to do with what we have or lack. It is a state of mind. One that is far more often learned than suddenly attained." 

We live in a culture of, "You'll just be happy if you get this," but the Bible tells us that's not true. It isn't things that make us content, it's God. If you don't believe me (and you shouldn't take just my word for it) read Philippians 4:11-13. It says, 
"I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength." 
Paul was in PRISON, but he had still learned this "secret."

I know God has a good plan for everyone's life, including my own (per my favorite verse, Romans 8:28, "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose."), and I know I am following God's call. There is no way I could have orchestrated all the events and moments that lead me to Honduras on my own. And so now I hope when someone asks me "How are you feeling?" God will teach me to answer "content."

Continue to follow my journey here on my blog, and check out the school where I'll be teaching at www.destinodelreino.org

Alexa
al02846@georgiasouthern.edu