Update: I continue to be weak and have no energy after returning from Roatan. I thought I had a intestinal bug-but cultures have ruled that out. My liver enzymes are slightly elevated, so the doctor sent me for an ultrasound of my abdomen today and I am going to a specialist on Monday. I need prayers for healing or at least an answer to this mystery.
YES-I AM STILL ALIVE AND KICKING! I RETURNED HOME JULY 21AND BROUGHT WITH ME A NASTY INTESTINAL BUG. GO FIGURE-I MAKE THE WHOLE TWO MONTHS WITHOUT ANY PROBLEM AND THEN ON THE DAY I FLY HOME, IT HITS HARD.
I’M SORRY FAITHFUL SUPPORTERS FOR THE LONG SILENT SPELL. I HOPE TO UPDATE EVERYONE IN A COUPLE OF DAYS.
Good Evening Family & Friends!
I am blessed to have the opportunity to travel with Gregory, His mother and his aunt to Tegucigalpa for an appointment with U.S.Embassy. The adventure that starts in morning could possibly be a life changing event for Gregory (who will get his leg fixed at Emory and be adopted into a two doctor, 5 kid family) and for all the people who know and love him. Please pray at an intense high alert level for travel and for positive results (that the US officials will grant Gregory a visa). This is the second attempt involving getting Gregory a visa. Last year, he got his passport, but was denied a visa.Each try takes and enormous amount of documentation and fees. Also, pray that Gregory’s mother (has major issues) will remain cooperative and calm .
So, here is my vague travel schedule:
Joe picks us up at 6 am in morning-Take Ferry to La Ceiba
Then take a bus to Tegucigalpa (9 hour? ride)-Find a hotel-yes, I asked, no one knew where we were staying
Take cab to Embassy-appt is a 9pm ( if it’s like everything else around here, we maybe in for a long wait)
Depending on how long we spend at embassy, we will travel back to La Ceiba via bus or spend another night in the city.
I love you and thank you again for your love and support!!! Really, I think about my supporters everyday!
I got another surprise yesterday-a personal invitation to a Honduran beach wedding this Saturday. This was a major step for me in the community-to be invited to a private family event. It is right down the road, so I can walk (4pm) and get back before dark.
Good Morning Fam & Friends!
In my last post, I described my “hitting the wall” period here in missionary land. I was discouraged, but not defeated. I clearly know I am in God’s will for my life. I have never prayed as much as I have since landing on the ground 28 days ago. Well, God showed me a taste of heaven -when things happen that only God can orchedtrate. Long story -Gregory is a 13 year old boy born with a physical disability. He kinda hobbles around instead of walking normal. Well, an American family that has been coming to Roatan, developed a love for this boy and would like to take him to U.S. for surgery and adoption. Joe and project Honduras has been doing all the paper work with the embassy (it’s a major ordeal to get an american visa and passport).
Gregory, his mother and aunt (Jena Lee)have to travel all the way to the capital in Tegucigalpa, Honduras to meet with embassy officials next Tuesday. Out of my prayer time and discernment, I asked Joe if I could go with them. I was hesitant to ask, for fear that I would be intruding or would be more of a complication for Jena Lee. For you see, Jena Lee (her house in pic above) has been raising Gregory. His Mom (drug issues) is going to relunguish her parental rights to Jena Lee (her sister), who will relinquish her rights, so the American family can adopt Gregory after he gets to U.S.
Honduras is very strict about allowing people, especially children to get a visa. The only way to get a visa- if it’s for a medical/surgical reason. Anyway, Joe said he would ask Jena Lee if I could tag along. Now, this would mean travelling with them the way they travel, taking a ferry to La Ceiba (mainland) on Monday, then a 9 hour bus ride to Tegucigalpa, staying in a hotel, then going to embassy via cab, sitting in embassy waiting for appt and then travelling 9 hours back to La Ceiba, get on ferry and get back to Roatan sometime on Tues. We may have to stay Tuesday night in Tegucigalpa , it depends on how long we have to wait.
Now, here’s the God part! When I saw Jena Lee late Monday afternoon, she had the biggest smile! She was so excited that I was going with them. Here’s the moment-Jena Lee says” this was an answer to prayer. God has answered my prayers by sending you.” Wow, that certainly was not expected. Apparently, Jena Lee is concerned about her sister’s behavior and attitude. This is a no money involved transaction-she is afraid the mother may try to get money for giving up her parental rights. Also, Jena Lee said she would feel better dealing with the embassy if I was with them. I will fill you in on all that later-it’s complicated. The point of it all, God was at work (he is always at work)and that thrilled my soul.
So, it’s all set-I will go next Monday with them to Tegucigalpa (never been there) and be a part of this life changing event for Gregory. Now, it’s possible, they could turn him down again for a visa (this is the second attempt). It will cost me about $150 to make the trip-but what a priceless experience!
Good Morning Team Boulware!
I haven’t posted much lately, but I’m back in (holy) business today! I think I probably “hit the wall” so to speak in my “65 Days-A Step of Faith” journey last week. It was a tough couple of days. I went solo on leading the Flowers Bay youth group last Thursday night-20 plus youth ages 10-20 years old. Initially, I described the evening as a nightmare-but after talking to some of the youth this week, it went better than I realized. Then, I went solo with the Sandy Bay youth group on Saturday- another ministry nightmare experience! Since last Thurday, I have been left shaking my head in disbelief! Reality – I am finding the concept of “learning and adapting to the culture” in Roatan to be much harder to grasp than I ever anticipated. Participating in a VBS or youth event on a mission trip is totally different from living in the community and leading the weekly youth gatherings. EVERY METHOD I ONCE USED SUCCESSFULLY IS NOW ON THE TABLE FOR POSSIBLE REVISION OR ADAPTATION!
UP is down, wrong is right! I will give you another example. I was put on the preaching circuit for last Sunday-to preach at Camp Bay. Camp Bay is on the east end of the island-I describe it as journeying “to the ends of the earth.” I was looking forward to sharing the Good News! One problem-Joe told the D.S. I would need someone to drive me to the church. It would be unsafe and costly to take a cab-about $25 one way. It’s a LONG way to Camp Bay!! The D.S. said he would provide transportation. Joe said, “it will never happen,” but I needed to prepare a sermon (if by chance they made the proper arrangements). Apparently, the habit of getting non-paid preachers to pay their way to the farthest church location was frequent and Joe was not going to let the church powers-to-be take advantage of me! I would of gladly paid the money, but then I would be adding fuel to an already blazing fire of dysfunction. The end result -the Camp Bay congregation (innocent victims) were left without a preacher, and I was left with an undelivered sermon. That’s ministry life on the island! I am truly learning a new depth to “TRUST IN THE LORD WITH ALL YOUR HEART AND LEAN NOT INTO YOUR OWN UNDERSTANDING…”
Yesterday, I again went solo to Sandy Bay to join up with a couple of Sandy Bay youth who wanted to show me the library (Sand Castle Learning Center. When I was at airport to welcome the last mission team, I met Patty, an american, who runs the Sand Castle. She invited me to come for a visit, so I got the youth to meet me at the beach and give me a tour of their neighborhood and the library. It was a very interesting trip, but it was hot, hot, hot!!! Sandy Bay is on the other side of the island from Flowers Bay and it doesn’t get the nice breeze. Needless to say, I had my first overheated , dehydration spell. Patty said I looked dehydrated and gave me some water. The only problem-it was water from the tap-not bottled water. It happened so fast, i didn’t think about the water source until afterwards. Someone is looking over me, because I didn’t get sick this time!!!
Monday was my off day, so I went to Gumbalimba Park (it’s located between West End and West Bay. Joe said I was ready to hit the wild world of transportation after proving myself last week making it to Coxen Hole everyday for the medical/dental clinic. So, after getting the key information about how much to pay for cab (they rip off Americans because they think we are rich), off I went, all by myself.
To catch a cab, I have to walk down to the main road and flagged them down. As expected, he tried to charge me 70 lps, but I managed to get him to 50lps (about $2.50 American)with the help of another passenger in cab. That’s another thing-you don’t get a private cab ride-he picks up people along the way, so you could end up with a car load. Anyway, I was feeling pretty good after getting and negotiating cab, when I heard this load noise from under the car-it was like something broke off! The driver pulled over, got out and said it was the brakes ( the passenger was translating). I’m thinking great-I’m out here in hilly “nowhere land” and he has NO BRAKES! Of course, I had already prayed (I pray all the time-seriously), but it was SUPER PRAYER TIME! Long story-short-apparently, it wasn’t his brakes, because we made it to the park!
There is much to say about what God is teaching me. As I figured, this journey to serve God has become a journey of deep personal reflection and growth. I have included some of my experiences and thoughts below. Please note that my comments about the people and ministry of Roatan are not meant as put downs, more like observations of potential growth. Family Unit-this post does have additional comments from email I sent out last night.
- I miss everyone-it’s definitively a challenge being gone from everything that is familiar to you.
- I went to church at Flowers Bay yesterday-Preacher didn’t know he was scheduled to preach-he rambled FOREVER about being on dialysis-it was painful. It’s not uncommon for a preacher to be a “no show” or show up late.
- The church (Flowers Bay next to my condo) made me come up to front so they could sing”the welcome song” to me.
- They have Sunday School at 3pm and everyone meets together in Sanctuary. Again, it was a painful hour and a half and they made me get up front so they could sing the welcome song to me.
- I met with the youth leaders of the intimidating group yesterday to try and get them on board (they were late to both youth meeting and came in with an attitude). Long story-but I think my meeting with them (Jelanie and Jimmy) went pretty good. We meet on Thursday night and Joe has handed the YOUTH over to me (he is not even coming to help and I am the only adult). There are 20 kids. I think I told you-they have a very unusual practice-the kids vote people into the group and they vote people out of the group for being “bad.” I told them I will never call anybody “bad,” instead i chose to say, “good people who make bad choices.” One new kid showed up and wanted to join the group. he had to come up front to be introduced and then he was told to go to the back of the room so the kids could vote on whether he could join. Thank goodness, they voted Nerry into the group. Oh brother-this is a CHALLENGE!!! I’ve never heard of a youth group that had the power to ban another kid from group. I told them I was uncomfortable with the rule (mentioned -not Biblical)-but I let it stand for now (this little voice (HS) kept saying to me-move slow, learn the culture).-WHAT AM I DOING WORKING WITH YOUTH GOD!!!
- Today-I am meeting again with other youth group (Sandy Bay), so they can show me the library at Sandy Bay and take me around their neighborhood(go to their homes). It’s a poorer section of town and it has the church that’s about to fall off hill (No bathroom). This group is smaller and much easier to get work with-but still it’s been a challenged. I initiated this visit today and I think it’s means a lot to them because they asked me at least three times if i would remember to come. WHAT AM I DOING WITH TEENAGERS GOD!
- Yesterday was my off day so I made a solo trip to Gumbalimba Park. I took the cab from Flowers Bay to West Bay (Park). Then after going through Park-walked to West Bay, eat lunch and then I took taxi back. I was so proud-I made it all by myself and I’m still alive to talk about it. On the cab ride to park-he hit a rock and it felt like something broke off the underside of car. He stopped-said it was the brakes!!! There was another lady in car with me who spoke english, so she was telling me what was going on. Then the driver jumped back in -said it was ok-just a rock. That’s when i started my super praying. Turns out -we made it, but overhere you never know when to expect an adventure.
- I love everyone very much-check out my pictures on the iguana park (in honor of Mal and Fuffy). I’ve never seen so many creatures!!!!
- No team this week, so I won’t be on a structured schedule!
This past week I have had many good moments along with several difficult moments . Overall, I am enjoying experiencing a different world. Actually, most of the tough experiences so far, had to do with working with the U.S. mission team. I am in a supervisiory position-so that means, of course, I sometimes have to be the bad guy or escape goat. Last wed-was a hard day for me. One of the team members was disrespecting my authority right in front of everyone. The issue was in regard to a safety issue related to children. You know I am know for being wild and crazy, but I am ALWAYS thinking about safety. I went home that day very down and frustrated. i knew I had made the right decision even if no one else did. My sadness came from the total disrespect the team member had for my position. To add to the misery, from that point on, the mission team acted different-coldness had settled in for the rest of the week. To be honest, I was glad when they got on the plane for home. They didn’t get the big picture-maybe, some day they will.
Sometimes, I wonder what is the point of me being here? I mostly surrounded by negative energy and/or “it’s all about me” attitudes. I’ve been told by Joe and others that nothing can be changed especially when I am here only two months. So, I ask God-why did you send me here? Don’t get me wrong-I have been able to experience things people never get to do or see. I am very grateful for this opportunity to step out in Faith and serve God. I already have many God stories to share. Maybe, i’m trying to hard to figure out God’s plan. I know my biggest challenge- not allowing discouragement to take hold of me.
Here are a few more (too many to write all ) highlights of week #2:
- One more thing about Jonesville-they are considered middle to upper class on island. Most of the men work and live on fishing ships 8 months of the year. I met Hal-catches lobster on ship. i asked him if it was like the show ” Deadly or Deadliest Catch”. He said it was except they stay in Carribean waters (no cold issue) Interestly, hal said he loves to watch the show. THAT ‘S FOR YOU DEAR!!!!!
- Worked with mission team all week at Ebernezer Methodist located at Coxen Hole (where cruise ships dock, also highest populated and highest crime area).
- They held a medical, dental, eye glasses and VBS all week. They brought a Doctor, Dentist and a bunch of nurses with them. The people at the church were very friendly and fed us wonderful meals everyday.
- Ebernezer is the only church on island with air conditioning, but we only ran it on the medical/dental part of clinic. i was mainly in the registration, and reading eye glass making area which was not air conditioned. The first day, my shirt was soaked and you know that it’s hot for me to sweat that much!
- I learned how to make eye glasses-that was neat!
- The week was a great experience overall, but I did have some hard moment corralling the team. I was like the project manager-Joe stayed with the construction team at Wesley. That’s a difficult task-working with a different culture and several AA’s -Americans with an Attitude!
- Going to iguana park today-THAT”S FOR YOU FUFFY! I may go horseback riding this afternoon-a non tourist ride. I met Jacob at the church -I will tell you about him later. he works on the glass bottom boat in West End (going to do that Sat). I wanted to ride a horse with freedom, not a tourist gig. Jacob knew someone who had horses, so he is setting it up.
- Last night, I was given full reign over the Flowers Bay youth group (the tough group). They are very intimidating!-I will totally need God’s help with this group. For example-they vote peoople in or out of the group. Quote-“If someone is bad, we vote them out and they can no longer be a part of group. I don’t like that concept at all, but I’m not sure what to do about it yet. I have to move carefully with this group.
- The Sandy Bay youth group and I are bonding well-we will meet tomorrow morning. WHAT AM I DOING GOD WORKING WITH YOUTH!!!!!! I ask that and many other questions to God!
It’s been an extremely interesting week with many peaks and valleys. God has blessed me with many different experiences which have taught me about the culture and about myself (and calling). I can feel your prayers and i most certainly need them, especially for safety, wisdom and discernment. I miss my family and friends, but I do feel like I am suppose to be here (still don’t exactly know why). Here is a summary of my experiences:
- Sunday, I preached for the very first time on the island-at Jonesville Methodist. Wow, that was an unique experience. Jonesville, named after Mr. Jones (who I met -96 years old?). The people living there are descendants of England and Scotland. They have a very unique island accent.
- The order of worship is like a book or pamplet with numerous scripture reading (King James), songs from British hymnal which have no music, just words, Communion, long written prayers and response. Joe told me to see if some of the congregation would do some of the reading. Nope, they said they wanted d me to do all of them. Joe said that Jonesville will cut out some of the order, so it isn’t so long. Nope, they said they wanted me to do ALL OF IT! Joe said they may not be doing communion. Nope, they said they wanted communion too! I have never read so much in one service. I had to preach, do all of the order of worship, lead the singing (no way), offering and then communion. It was wild-only two people out of the 12 attending fell asleep.
- Jonesville Methodist is located right on the ocean (literally). It was Pentacost Sunday-so the wind and waves blowing right outside the church windows was a prefect object lesson for preaching on Holy Spirit. Then they invited me to lunch at Mr. Jones house (right on the water). It reminded me of Grandmother Kent’s house they way it was constructed. Linda and Laura (mr. Jones daughter’s sat and talked with me until around 2:30pm when they took me back to Coxen Hole where Joe and the mission team were setting up for the clinic (on Monday). It was a long day!!!
- On the way back from Jonesville, which is way down on the isolated end of the island, Laura stopped and picked up a hitchhiker (got in back of truck. This is common practice-picking people up on side of road-she said laughingly-“the Holy Spirit told me to pick him up.” keep praying for safety (smiling)