This is the view from the couch in the living room. I sit here to work sometimes.
Today, I sit and work and sweat because it’s 93 degrees, while I wait for ‘a guy’ who will bring a chimbo (propane tank) for the stove. I’m not even sure how one goes about getting a gas tank for their stove. I made a call to a neighbor, understood ¼ of the conversation. The rest is all very Mafioso. Within the hour, I’m hearing whistles and belly yells outside of my front gate, but it took me a few seconds to realize he might actually be trying to get my attention. After each random whistle and noise, I sank deeper into the couch hoping this random person would move on and terrorize someone else. Queres chimbo?! Oh, yes, wait…that’s for me. I run out to unlock the gate. He’s all of 4’9”, riding a moto bike with 3 chimbos strapped in with string – it’s all very impressive. He waddles it in the house, hooks up the stove, and motions that…it’s all good.
Well folks, I’m a month in and I think I just passed the honeymoon stage of missionary life, which lasted all of 1.5 weeks.
These first 30 days in Honduras has been my training ground for change. Change in everything, from the food I eat, the language I speak, the way I drive, to the number of times I change my clothes in a day due to the intense humidity. Seriously – this is winter?
I really, REALLY wanted this post to be about how I’m settling in. I wanted to post pictures of the beautiful home where I live, the car I drive, and the strange new veggies I see at the supermarket. BUT, honestly, I’d rather talk about how spectacular life has been. That ok with you?
Since I arrived in Honduras one month ago, I’ve been serving at a transition home located in the same neighborhood where I live. The home is run by an organization called ROOM (Reach Out Orphanages Ministries). They have taken me under their wing and call me family – seriously, I have a spot at the dinner table 🙂. The house serves to transition children who have been surrendered to the child and services family department here in the city. Normally, these children would go into the public orphanage. ROOM has created a fostering system by placing these children into the care of temporary foster families or into a transition home. In serving with them I’ve had the opportunity to dive deep into the hardships of caring for kids that are abandoned.
Let me tell you how UNEQUIPPED I am for this. Daily life is more about riding the waves of change and processing the roller coaster of emotions as they come. I don’t think I’ve prayed quite so much in the past year as I have in the last 30 days. I sit and watch, observe and learn about the underbelly of the child and family services department in this city. It is FULL, and heavy, and deeply in need of prayer. At the very center of it are a precious bunch who sit abandoned, malnourished, and in desperate need of a great rescue.
Minutes matter here (as they do everywhere). But here, minutes is all it takes for the government to decide if a child should remain in foster care or be moved to an orphanage. Minutes to transport special needs kids from one prison cell (ahem, orphanage) to another. Minutes to hold down a 3 year old cutie-pie after he’s had a spinal tap to see where his white cell count is as he continues his fight against cancer. I am unequivocally blessed to be among other volunteers who, with each passing minute proclaim victory over abandonment.
This is not easy living; fear and bravery constantly one-up each other. The choices I make carve out a new territory. Yet, there is a freshness in living by faith. I get to unpack my day to a God who knows it all. He’s felt the heaviness of my heart in missing my family, the weight of the tears I’ve shed while praying over abandoned babies, and the joy in making my way to the supermarket – all by myself. So I swallow hard, the newness and harshness of stepping out of comfort, while being folded into intimate harmony with a savior who knows what it’s like to drive in Honduras.
“When God moves us out of our comfort zone – into places that are way bigger than us, places that are difficult, hard, painful, places that even hurt – this is a gift. We are being given a gift. These hard places give us the gift of intimately knowing God in ways that would never be possible in our comfort zones.” Ann Voskamp.
I have a little fun every now and then. I even participated in the Color Run here in Honduras.