Saturday, July 25, 2020

Grief and learning go together...

5 days ago we were supposed to have traveled - after a full summer of great projects, of lots of volunteers, and running 24/7.  5 days ago we were supposed to have arrived in the U.S. to attend a family reunion on one side, and then a week vacation with other side. We were to have packed for a 3 month sabbatical  - with plans of playing, teaching our kids U.S. culture, visit some National Parks, resting, and seeing Sigel before he heads to Germany for 3 years. Covid's changed all that.

We are not the only ones with losses - everyone has suffered losses from this unexpected pandemic. We have been grieving our losses, while at the same time, pushing through and choosing to be ok (what's the option?). We were all disappointed when we decided we were cancelling the trip, and again when our travel day came and went.

There's an odd place that missionaries find themselves - stuck between knowing that 'we have it really rough' compared to life in the US and also knowing that 'we have it really great' compared to our neighbors here in Honduras. On one side I can completely justify feeling sorry for myself, and yet when I stop and truly choose to see truth - I have it great. I have a safe home, income, ((thanks supporters for your faithfulness!)), ability to buy food and medicine, and a healthy family. (oh and I'm grateful for our trampoline and backyard too :) .    My neighbors, don't have those pleasures of basic needs met.     So instead of just grief, I'm choose thankfulness. Thankful to be in a position to bless.

As we continue to be under strict restrictions of quarantine (day 140?), most day I'm finding a peace to be ok. And sometimes I"m not ok. But I'm choosing to ride the waves of emotions while clinging to God as my rock - where all of my hope comes from.

Things I’ve learned so far during this season:

1.     It IS possible to grocery shop only once every 14 days for a family of 5!

2.     I’ve learned how to buy local fresh produce & meat from small businesses! (and learned that veggies are sold by the pound instead of the unit - so the first order I had massive amounts lol!)

3.     Even if life slows down, you still must be intentional to use your time well and invest into your kids, your spouse, and yourself.

4.      My kids memorize Scripture a lot faster than I do.

5.     Even small changes of scenery are necessary for sanity. A short walk is a great refresher.

6.     Fertilizers, beans, and purchasing food in bulk. New learning and skill required as we serve our community in new ways. 

7.     Resting in the Lord during the unknown requires intentional letting go of worry - over and over and over again. 

8.   When under lock down, the simplest things become more complicated and you must allow time and patience.  (example: standing in line to enter the grocery store can take up to 2 hours). 

9.  Online libraries rock! We finally got logged into the library system in the US and the girls and I are all loving it!  

One quarantine family project is that we built a chicken coop and now have around 10 chickens. The kids all love to hold the baby chicks. 

 2 of our chickens arrived a a gift from someone over a mile away - as a thank you for all the food EA has been giving out, a young boy delivered these two chickens at 6:30am one morning - they were tied up in a black bag. 

Check out our latest EA video that explains how we're helping during a crisis: How it's done: Relief

Saturday, May 30, 2020

Update from the girls!

Maddy and Ali have had a neat opportunity to be involved in virtual Zoom Sunday School classes with Solano Community Church for the last couple Sundays and they are loving it. They've loved meeting new people, and interacting with the teachers. As their mom, I've loved the depth of the studies and how much they are learning each Sunday. This has been one of the perks of the Covid- shut down :). ... once all returns to normal, Zoom Sunday Schools won't be available again.  So we're enjoying it while we can.

The Solano Community Church asked if Maddy and Ali could make a short video of what their life is like so they could share it with the Sunday School classes as they were talking about missionaries. Maddy's class then proceeded to ask her all about her life and what Honduras is like. It was wonderful having them sharing about their lives. What a great experience!

*Note that this was filmed the week of May 20th - ... so we've now been in 'the great lockdown' for 10 weeks....

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Quarantine edition: 6 weeks in

We're into our 6th week of quarantine thanks to Covid. What an odd time of life that we are all living in. I know everyone has their own story of how Covid is affecting them.

For those interested, here's some of my thoughts:

1. I am SO thankful that we live on a 12 acre campus with other humans. Yes we are 'stuck', but at least we're not confined to our homes.

Happy that we're stuck with these people

2. Long distance communication with grandparents: Some things that the World is having to learn, we, as international missionaries have already had to overcome - our kids have grown up video-calling their grandparents as part of their 'normal'. 

3. The poverty and desperation of our communities now being out of work for 6 weeks is AWEFUL. Because they already live on $3-$8 dollars a day, and only live week to week,  to make NO income for this long means that people are truly, 100% out of money. 

This is Maria and her family - we built a home for them a few years ago :) and now get to keep up the relationship
I love getting to include the girls on helping with the food.

4. I'm thankful that we have been creating relationships with the community leaders for years now - it's been awesome to work through them as they help us identify who needs the food bags the most. We are giving out about 80 bags of food a week to various communities - attempting to rotate the lists of who gets it each week and trying to cover the need.

Mike is my partner when we give out food. Tristan stays home with Gabe

5. We are each allowed to go to the bank, grocery store, gas station, or pharmacy one day a week, based on the last number of our ID card. Otherwise you're not allowed to be out.  All communities (even rural) have created check points where the community men are checking your ID's, and fumigating your car with bleach water.   In order to enter Comayagua, they have set up a huge portable car wash thing that fumigates your car (it's taking almost 2 hours to get through the line to get into the city to start that shopping).  In some communities they are making you get out of your car and they spray your hands and feet with bleach water.

(Although I don't know that this is helping, they're trying with what they have!)

6. The unknown of how long this is going to last is very difficult.

our 'helper' all the time

We caved and ended up putting up the pool (behind the Mission house so it's far away from Gabe deciding to swim without us)

Friday, March 27, 2020

What does the current quarantine look like for us?

What has quarantine looked like these past 11 days for us here in Honduras?

The government has ordered an absolute shutdown of the entire nation, NO ONE is allowed to be out of their homes unless they are going to the hospital or have a special permission because they work in a medical facility. Tristan had to go get our clinic personnel the letters of permission - a 4 hour process but thankfully it worked!

NO public transportation

Most gas stations are shut down - only selling gas to those that have a letter of permission to be out.

Some restaurants are open - delivery only

Grocery stores are delivery only (meaning if you live in the city you’re fine but they don’t deliver far out).
            Thankfully we have a car - so we texted in our grocery list, received some clarifying questions back from our shopper, and then 4 hours later Tristan met the delivery person at the police barricade at the end of town - carried our groceries through the barricade and then headed home.

Pulperia’s (corner stores) are open - and thankfully stocked as that is everyone’s only source because they can walk to it. (just the basics are available).

Education:  the Department of Education has ordered that all schools be closed and that students continue working from home, via internet if they have it. Universities are doing the same. Of course, this is a challenge even in a first world country, but for our communities it’s even more of a challenge - no internet in the house - difficult to communicate to the teachers - parents who don’t have a high education themselves nor the resources to make school fun. *this attempted format for school widens the gap of opportunity for our poor students.    

Banks: Banks have been closed for over a week now. They are just now opening up 3 days a week - and only a few people inside at a time. Honduras is very very much a cash society - very few have ATM cards, credit cards, or online banking. Therefore the lines were 4-5 blocks long yesterday - out in the sun, wrapping around the buildings!

Honduras is being strict on the rule of not leaving your home -if you’re out without a legitimate reason, the police are detaining people and putting them in a school gym for the day and chanting “I won’t leave my home”.  J

Borders closed:
Over a week ago Honduras gave a 6 hour heads up that the land and air boarders were closing. We had 6 volunteers here with us.  This last week Tristan has spent HOURS each day working to find a way to get them flights to leave. We tried the military, the embassy, commercial, explored charter planes…in the end the country opened up a few flights to get Americans home. The embassy is now hinting ‘get out now if you want, now’s your chance’. We do not know how long the borders will be closed - but we have no intention of going anywhere. We are called to be here to serve our staff and community through this time.

Daily Activities: I am so thankful we have a campus of 12 acres to be quarantined to! ((we have friends in the city stuck in their small city homes with no yard)).  We also have a community of our other missionary team that’s stuck here too - so we have people to interact with!   So, school for the girls have continued, Gabe’s childcare hasn’t come so I have lots of Gabe time, Tristan’s working on projects, we’re doing leadership development classes with our staff via video calls, house cleaning, Zumba exercise, movie nights, bonfires, house projects, etc. We are also doing  a daily devotional & prayer time as a staff which has been good for my soul & sanity.   

Our prayer is that Honduras’ quick response to shut its borders and quarantine will save Honduras from an outbreak. Only time will tell. Honduras, like other poor countries, does not have the capacity to handle something on this scale.

We continue to pray for you all as you are dear to our hearts and we know it's a big problem in your life too! Please continue to lift us and Honduras up in prayer also!

Movie Nights in the Mission House

Church with our staff team & stranded volunteers

Girls craft times

Slip N Slide

Worship together

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

El Ayudante and the Corona Virus

Here's an update on what is happening in Honduras with the Coronavirus

Wednesday, March 4, 2020

Baleada Stand

Our life is so normal to me that I don't think about it, until I sometimes stop and realize how different this is from my childhood :). 

Baleada Stand 

Yesterday afternoon my kids and I were on our way to town so Maddy asked if we could stop and get baleadas (flour tortilla with refried beans, sour cream, cheese, and sometimes scrambled eggs) from Patricia who has this stand on the side of the road. I tried to call ahead our order - no luck - no cell phone signal at the moment. So we stopped, placed our order and then sat and waited for 15 minutes while she made them. 

Cars passed kicking up dust that went right into Patricia's face, our food, and her kitchen the entire time.  

No napkins given. 

All served in a big pile on one plate. 

$2.60 for 6 of these delicious, dusted delicacies. 

3 happy kids

If you've yet to have a baleada, come to Honduras and try one. You'll understand.

Saturday, October 12, 2019

United States through the eyes of my third culture kids

Cold weather means enjoying hot cider and fire places

We are in the US visiting supporting churches and friends of El Ayudante. As the ministry keeps growing, we need more financial support to continue serving our communities and reaching their needs. So instead of Tristan coming on his own for three weeks, we decided to have a go of it as a family.  I almost backed out of the trip after Gabe’s fabulous licking of the restaurant floors a couple weeks before the trip- but the cheap United tickets aren’t refundable… so here we are lol. (I’m glad that we’ve come).

We love playing at parks in the US as there aren't many
playgrounds in Honduras.
I always enjoy watching my kids experience the new culture of the United States - because for them, this is the foreign culture.  For example - Ali loves:

Water fountains (she stops at EVERY. SINGLE. ONE).
Door Bells - so fun to run outside and ring the door bells!
Mail Boxes - we don’t get mail at home so it’s super fun to get people’s mail.
Fish Sticks / Ego Waffles / Good ice cream

Other things are fun conversations and experiences as well - rest stops, Hobby Lobby (seriously overwhelming and awesome), fish sticks, cold weather, etc.

We’ve just finish up week 2 of 3 - on our 3rd of 4 States. The kids are sick of the car, but loving having dessert every night.

Sunday, September 15, 2019

A blog about why I don't blog

This is a blog post about why I haven’t been blogging J

1.     I had a baby…and adding this baby into our very busy lives has been a lot more challenging that we imagined…he’s SO busy and intense and wonderful…    In this last year I’ve had to give up a lot of ‘non essentials’ in my time - I want to be ‘crunchy’ and make a lot of food from scratch, however the reality is some days I’m in a microwave popcorn season of life.

2.     We’ve now been in Honduras 12 years! WOW. A lot of what I used to blog about is now my normal. I don’t think it as being different or worthy of blogging about because it’s what I’m used to. Funny how things change and you adapt to the new normal.  And I feel like at some point, I've already told you about 'it'. 

3.     There are definitely stories I’d like to share, but I can’t share them at the risk of sharing others stories publicly. The stories are personal and maybe painful of people that we call friends and neighbors. The ‘real’ good/hard moments just don’t feel appropriate to share on social media or into the huge space of the WWW. In order to respect and honor ‘our’ people where who we deeply and dearly love, some things are just better left unshared.

With all that being said, I’m going to attempt to start blogging a bit more. J I feel so privileged that God has given us this crazy life to live - that each day is still an adventure and I want to share it with you. Our goal as Christians is to bring glory to God, so I will attempt to share my life in this way so you can see how God is working in our communities, and how He is molding my heart and mind through these experiences.

But…I do still have this little dude that loves to eat dirt, lick the floors in restaurants, and can now climb out of his crib on his own. So we'll see how often I actually blog, but I do commit to it being more than once a year.