Sunday, October 26, 2014

What are you looking at?

This week at Destino was review week, as we have our first exam week starting Monday! For prepa and first grade, that meant playing some review games so we could spend the week going back over everything we've learned so far. Next week I will pull the kids out one at a time to orally test them on the alphabet, our vocabulary, and some phrases we've been learning. I know some of them are ready, but others I'm a little worried for. Should be an interesting week coming up!

Tuesday, Destino hosted two soccer games during the school day against the Montessori school. I got to see the end of the first game with the prepa kids and most of the second game with the second graders. We won both games (Go Lions!) but I think the kids were more interested in not being in class than they actually were in the game :) The older kids really got into it, cheering the team on. Montessori even brought little cheerleaders, pom-poms! Too cute.

Saturday, one of the teachers from another school in Sigua hosted a potluck so we got to go hang out with a group of other English speaking teachers from five different schools. Of course clumsy me started off the evening by falling in a ditch outside the house and scraping myself up, but the rest of the evening went up from there! It was a great time of fellowship and good food :)

Going into exam week I've been reading 2 Corinthians 4. Verse 18 says: "We set our eyes not on what we see, but what we cannot see. What we see will last only a short time, but what we cannot see will last forever." I can see what my students are learning about English, and what their grade will be, but God says that will last "only a short time," and it's true. The things I can't see are what my students know about Jesus, and this is what will last forever. 

Every morning the kids start the day by reciting "Quien Soy En Cristo," which means Who I Am In Christ. It is a front and back list of statements taken from Bible verses about who we are as Christians, like "Soy hijo de Dios" (I am a child of God), "Yo soy la sal de la tierra" (I am the salt of the earth), and "Yo soy el enemigo del diablo" (I am the enemy of the devil). The first graders, who I am with first thing in the morning, have this whole list memorized. They literally SCREAM it out to me every morning. But my prayer is that throughout this year, they will truly understand what they are saying. These are the truths God speaks about them, and all of us, and I hope they believe that and will walk in these truths.

That's why I titled this post "What are you looking at?" It's easy to get caught up in what we see, because it's right in front of our eyes, but take a step back, read 2 Corinthians 4, and start looking for what we cannot see. I'll tell you it's a challenge. I have to remind myself of that every day. What is "seen" is that I came to Honduras to be a volunteer English teacher in a school for poor kids, but what we cannot see is the impact that one person can make on a child's life just by showing them the love of Jesus that they may not see at home, through a smile, a hug, and a story in broken Spanish from the Bible.


Sunday, October 19, 2014

¡Vamos a Belice! (We're going to Belize!)

I have now officially been living in Honduras for 2 months, and this past week has been the most insane. One of our English teachers, who I assist in the afternoons at school, went to the states for her best friend's wedding, so I took over teaching half of second grade, all of third, and part of ninth, in addition to my prepa and first graders this week. The kids were writing letters for their sponsors, which was extremely difficult since prepa does not know the alphabet yet, first grade does not read or write, and second and third grade struggle with writing sentences as well. But we made it through, and everyone survived. Thank God for three day weeks. Thursday and Friday we had off school so that we could travel to renew our visas. Honduras will only let us stay in the country for 90 days, and then we have to travel 2 counties away for 2 nights to be able to get another 90 days here.

Tuesday night, Jenna, Colton, and I went to Bible study at the Spanish language school with other missionaries who are learning Spanish there. The passage of the night was from Jesus's sermon on the mount where he tells us not to worry in Matthew 6. I've also been reading 1 Peter 5. Verses 6-7 say: "Therefore, humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you." How prideful it is for us to worry! We think we are in control and can handle our lives, but Jesus said, "And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life?" (Matthew 6:27). We would be so much happier and live more freely in God's will if we would just turn all our worries over to Him. He is the One who is in control, anyways, and this was definitely something I needed a reminder about as we prepared to travel out of the country.

Thursday morning we were up at 4:30 AM, and Jose, our bus driver, picked up Kathy, Sheena, Jenna, and I at 5:30 to go to Puerto Cortez, Honduras, about a 3.5 hour trip. From there we caught a bus to the Guatemalan boarder, about 2 hours, where the bus stopped to let us off and walk across the boarder. (We did still go through immigration!) We found someone on the Guatemala side of the boarder with a van who told us the last water taxi for Belize left at 1 PM, which was in 50 minutes, so we quickly loaded up and he drove like a crazy person to get us there on time. Even with stopping for a passport check and another visit to immigration, we were able to make it there right at one, where we where informed the taxi did not leave until 1:30. God was definitely there looking our for us to get us there on time though! We went through immigration again in Puerto Barrios and loaded up on the water taxi with a British guy named Ryan and a couple from Israel who were on their honeymoon, along with a few others. The ride was thankfully pretty smooth until it starting raining the last 15 minutes! Once we made it to Punta Gorda, Belize and went through immigration and customs for the last time, we grabbed some food and walked down the coast to the place we were staying, the Blue Belize.

The power went out soon after arriving, so we walked back down the coast to the closest restaurant. Asha's Kitchen, for dinner by lantern light. After dinner and walking home by flashlight, the power came back on and we sat in our living room and sang hymns. 

Friday morning I woke up to the sun coming in the window at 6:30 and spent some time reading before we ate breakfast on the porch. We headed out at about 9 AM to walk the city and see what people God put in our path. We met some of the same people the other teachers had met on their last trip in Belize, and some new people, like Marlon who was a Rastafarian. We had some interesting conversations, but it was a good day. We also got to tour a chocolate making factory, and by that I mean a little house where they make chocolate using a few machines and a hair dryer. 

Saturday we were up at 6:30 again to pack up and walk back to the water taxi dock. We stopped at a small restaurant for some fry jacks and played a couple rounds of Bananagrams before going through immigration and getting on an emptier water taxi for the ride back to Guatemala.

After an hour on the water taxi we made it back to Guatemala where we met Marlon, who had a van and would drive us to Puerto Cortez, Honduras. Three more immigration stops and 2.5 hours later we were back in Honduras.We caught a crowded bus that would take us to San Pedro Sula, and that ride was the longest 2 hours of my life. At the bus station in San Pedro, which is almost like a mall with shops and a food court, we got some food and caught a bus back to Sigua. Unfortunately, we got stuck in traffic, which turned that part of our trip into a four hour bus ride. At one point, we saw motorcycles passing us on the sidewalk, then pickup trucks, then 12 passenger vans, so our bus drier thought, why not him? You know traffic is bad when a bus drives up on the sidewalk to bypass some of the traffic. We finally made it back to the Sigua bus station around 8 PM and got a taxi to take us home. Our other housemate, Bethany, had already made it back from the states, so we got to catch up with her before crashing early. Who knew a full day of traveling could be so exhausting?

So our trip was successful, and our visas a re renewed for another 90 days, so we can make it to Christmas. Thank you for your prayers while we were traveling. Love you all!


Sunday, October 12, 2014

La Buena Obra (Good Work)

I think I'm finally figuring out my routine here, although I'm scared to say that because I know as soon as I do, something will happen to switch it up! Like Tuesday, one of the buses broke down, so we were stuck with all the 1st-6th graders and only one bus, which meant the bus had to take half the kids, turn around and come back, then take the rest of us about 30 minutes later. This didn't phase the kids though! They had fun playing duck, duck, goose and other games. I'm impressed with how well they entertain themselves!

Wednesday in 3rd grade I got to do a cheer with the 3rd graders to help them learn the "s-h" sound, which was pretty much the most awesome thing ever. Here's the video if you missed it on Facebook:

I am loving these kids, but exam week is coming up quick and I'm nervous for them! I want to see them all do well, and I hope they will be ready!

One big thing I'd really like to ask you all to pray for right now is our visa trip. On Thursday Sheena, Kathy, Jenna, and I will have to leave Honduras and go through Guatemala to Belize until Saturday. Our visa says we can only stay 90 days here, then we have to go two counties away for two nights to renew our visa, so this trip will fill those requirements. Please pray for our safety and travel arrangements, as it will take a car, some walking, two buses, and a water taxi to get there. Also pray for the people we will encounter there (who actually speak English!) and that we will be able to be good witnesses for Christ and touch the people we meet there.

Philippians 1:6 says that "He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus." God is doing a good work here, through Rhonda, and Destino, and the other missionaries and Honduran teachers. I am honored to be a part of this work for as long as He allows me to be. Thank you for partnering with me in prayer!


Sunday, October 5, 2014

Rescate (Rescue)

Relatively regular week! Teaching has been going well, as have my Spanish lessons. Wednesday we missed the Destino bus for church, so my housemates and I watched our own sermon at the house.

One of my housemates, Bethany, had a birthday Friday! Thursday at our prayer meeting we ate a delicious chess cake and read her Bible verses we had prayed over and chosen to encourage her.

Friday Bethany, Jenna, Colton, and I had a picnic breakfast in our courtyard before school. A fun, delicious start to Bethany's birthday! I am the first one home on Fridays, so I made brownies from scratch to continue celebrating after school. We all went to dinner at the Chinese pizza place and then to a Honduran worship night, led by the nephew of our pastor at Destino. This was a cool experience after the English worship night we had a few weeks ago. The birthday celebrations concluded with more brownies in the courtyard.

Saturday was a relaxing day of rest. Did a little planning and a little reading in the hammock, and went to a coffee shop with Jenna.

Sunday we did errands and church. On the school bus on the way home, we got stuck on a hill in El Socorro, one of the neighborhoods, and everyone had to get off the bus and walk up the hill so the bus could meet us at the top! So that was fun.

This week I read some verses from Psalms 91 (thanks Bronwyn for the encouraging verses!). Verses 14-16 say: "The Lord says, 'I will rescue those who love me. I will protect those who trust in my name. When they call on me, I will answer, I will be with them in trouble. I will rescue them and honor them. I will satisfy them with a long life and give them my salvation.' " Really, you should go read all of Psalm 91, because it's just awesome, but these verses about God rescuing His people really have been speaking to my heart. I know I need to be rescued from my daily problems and worries, but the people here have so much more they need to be rescued from: financial problems, illnesses, family tension, but most of all this belief that they need to DO things to obtain salvation. This verse says when they CALL ON ME I will answer...and give them my salvation. Does God want us to do good works in His name to bring glory to Him and be good witnesses to those around us? Of course. He wants us to care for His people as He does. But first, we have to call out to Him and realize that He is all we need. He is The Rescuer.