The unplanned trip back to Canada and God’s provision…

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On March the 4th of this year we were in the lobby of the church when Dale received a phone call that his dad had passed away. It’s the kind of phone call that no one ever wants to receive, but it was one that we were expecting at some point, because he had not been doing well.  We just didn’t know when.

When we arrived home that night Dale immidiatley went online to look for airline tickets for the two of us. This meant leaving our kids home on their own while we were gone…something that stressed me out somewhat. It would be the longest time leaving them on their own. And yet while we were gone, the Lord provided for us and our kids in so many ways. I am going to try and share about all those ways without forgetting something and hopefully it won’t sound disjointed.

The day after the phone call I took the day off from teaching to cook meals and a couple snacks, so the kids wouldn’t starve while we were away.  Pizza, chicken pot pie, beany burittos, mac and cheese, banana bread and chocolate chip cookies. In the end they didn’t even eat it all because there were a few times that people either brought them to their house for a meal or took them out for pizza.

After Dale found the tickets…something amazing happened. Word began to spread about our sudden need to fly back to Canada and the money for our flights began to come in. This was a trip not budgeted for and within 12 hours our flights were covered. God is so good…that was such a blessing and huge stress reliever.

I was totally not prepared for how cold it was in Canada! Our first morning there I planned to go for a half hour walk but after five minutes in, I had to turn around and head back to Jacob’s apartment, where we were staying. I felt like such a wimp…but on the other hand it’s not like I have a lot of cold weather clothing anymore.

Jacob is a minimalist…that I know.  He doesn’t want or like a lot of stuff. But I have to say that my  Momma’s heart broke a little when I saw his empty fridge and the lone carton of eggs. Not to mention the basics he was living without….like pots and pans, a kettle, a toaster. Sheets. He didn’t even have a bed. All this time living in that apartment had been sleeping on an air mattress. His apartment is nice,  but tiny and the rent is high. It takes most of his salary…so between pay cheques food is sparce. I kept thinking and perhaps I voiced it. “This is not ok.”

Jacob did not really have the basics let alone extra linins and someone in his church graciously lent us all the bedding we needed and addition beautiful brand new towels that they said Jacob was to keep when we were finished with them. Such a sweet and generous gesture and truly made us and Jacob cared for by God.

I had commented on Jacob’s doing without stuff and minimalism to Ruthie, a lady at  Jacob’s church (KGT)  who treated us to Dale’s favorite restaurant, Swiss Chalet one day. After our conversation Ruthie  made a few phone calls and after the funeral, Jacob was given a brand new toaster, kettle, utensils, and dishcloths. He was so excited, claiming it was such a blessing and just like Christmas!

And speaking of the funeral, the ladies of KGT lovingly prepared a luncheon. It was so thoughtful. We hadn’t asked for it. We really were not prepared for the amount of people that came to give their condolences…around 175. We were not anticipating more than 40. All of the left overs were sent home with Jake, who now had a stocked fridge along with the food that we had went out and bought him. There was a lot of  goodies and frozen fruit that we froze  because there was no way to eat it all before it went bad..

Our time in Canada was so brief but yet jam packed. Even though we went back for a sad reason, it was a good week. We did see my family too and we stayed there one night and had atleast a couple meals there. My mom is an amazing cook so it’s always a treat. She made roast beef for Dale one night, and she made my favorite…apple crisp!

I was also able to meet my friend Kathy for coffee and spend a couple hours with my dear cousin Gwen…two things that were good for my soul. I didn’t know if it work out to see them as our schedule was crammed but I am so glad it did because I needed that time.

We had lunch one afternoon with the staff from our formal church in Stratford. They treates us to Swiss Chalet…of course! Also we had dinner with Dale’s aunt and uncle, who made Dale’s grandma’s delicious macaroni and cheese recipe. A favorite of Dale’s since he was a kid, and now I have a copy of the recipe!

In closing, we took an afternoon and cleaned out Dale’s dad’s room at the nursing home. Kind of sad actually that is what life comes down to at the end when we are gone. Just a pile of stuff that doesn’t really mean anything to anyone else and no one really wants..other than photos, so it was either donated or cast aside in a dumpster. Maybe being a minimalist is not such a bad thing afterall.  It reminded me of a few verses in Matthew..

Matthew 6:19-21 Don’t store up treasures here on earth, where moths eat them and rust destroys them, and where thieves break in and steal. Store your treasures in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy and thieves do no break in and steal. Wherever your treasure is, the desires of your heart will also be. 

1 Thessalonians 4:17,18 Then we who are alive will join them, transported together in the clouds to have an encounter with the Lord in the air, and we will be forever joined with the Lord. So encourage each other with these truths.

 

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A long over due update..

I was thinking a while back that I really need to write an update on things here in Honduras. I realize it has been a long while and I’ve kind of slacked off a little in keeping people up to date.

There has been new growth in the ministry of Schools of Hope in the areas of new programs that we are excited about. To find out more…keep reading for a few of the recent highlights.

Bible Classes:

Already we have been teaching our third lesson in the schools. I can’t beleive how fast time just zooms by.  Our theme this year is the Armour of God and we are  incorporating that theme into the Bible stories. So far this school year we have taught how Jesus calmed the storm, the tempations of Jesus and at this time are telling the story found in 2 Kings 6:8-23  on how Elisha traps the Arameans.  It’s a great story and not one that is not all that well known…so I encourage you to read it when you have the time.

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Most of you are aware that Randy and Judy Lundrigan founded Schools of Hope.  Several years ago Judy took us to meet Norma, the regional director of District 8, where all the schools we minister in are located. Over the years under Norma’s guidance were were able to take on ten other schools in addition to the five we were already in. This year we decided to take on Norma’s school.  In this large school, there are 628 students and 25 classes. Remember, we go class to class to teach the Bible. In this new school, it takes 3 teams two days to complete the Bible lessons.  The classes are going great so far and the children love them!  The teachers too are so appreciative of them, telling us how they are so needed in their neighbourhood that is riddled with crime and violence.  And check out the exterior wall to the this classroom!

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Tutoring Program:

Last year God put something on the heart of our director, Kathy Mizen. That was to help the children that are a part of the Child Care plus sponsor program who are struggling in certain classes to get the help that they need, so that they didn’t fail and have to repeat the grade.

Here are some statistics that Kathy recently posted..

  • 26% of Honduran children do not complete the 5th grade
  • 57% of male children don’t continue past the 6th grade
  • 48% of female students don’t continue past the 6th grade
  • 68% of elementary students must repeat at least one grade before the 6th grade

On March 13 a tutoring program began in two of our schools. One of the Child Care plus graduates is now assisting as a leader helping the grade 5 and 6 students with their learning. She is also on our Bible teaching staff. It is so amazing to see her paying it forward so to speak and giving back into the program she received from for years. We are so very proud of her!

 

Child Sponsorship Program:

At the moment we have 230 students that are sponsored monthly. Sponsorship enables children to have to opportunity for education. It provides them with their uniform and costly schools supplies.  We have twelve children on the Erdo website at the moment. Many of them have been waiting for months for sponsorship. The cost is $41 a month. If anyone would like to consider changing the life of a child through sponsorship, click on the link and you will be directed to the page. It truly is life changing and gives these children a hope and a future.

https://www.erdo.ca/sponsor-now?Search=True&Country=Honduras

 

 

Fresh Water Program:

Schools of Hope has a partnership with the community President in Buena Vista and a decision was made to install bio-sand filters, after the attept to dig a well failed. This community does have access to water through the trucks that come up and down the mountain everyday, however the water is not drinkable. These filtration systems will bring CLEAN drinking water into the homes.

For the past couple of months, Mike Evans from Langley BC and his Honduran team have been installing these fiters. Schools of Hope has the desire to install 300 over the next three years.

 

The Nutrition Program:

We have been approved by ERDO ( Emergency Relief and Development Overseas) to start our nutritional program in 2 Kinders and 2 preschools next week. More details will follow at a later date, but we are so excited about this.

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More updates to follow soon on our brief trip back to Canada, Semana Santa and other thoughts..

A new normal…..

Re blogging….What does normal look like to you?

Road to Hope

There are a few things that when we moved here almost 2 years ago that freaked me out. Now, they just seem so normal that I really don´t even think about them anymore. Like for example; guards with guns outside gas stations, banks and other places of business. They used to make me so nervous, but now it is reassuring to see them there. I know when we move back to Canada it will seem strange and not normal not to have the presence of armed guards everywhere we go.

Across from us there is a neighbourhood that has many police stationed outside a home there. It’s a comfort actually seeing them there so faithfully each day. They wave and say  “buenos días” when I walk past and if I don’t have the dog with me they wonder where he is. They are friendly.

And today it didn´t seem too strange that the watchman of…

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The lonely ones…

She stood there behind the locked metal mesh like gate, looking in at all the excitement going on inside the church. On the outside looking in. All of the sponsored children were receiving their school supplies. Somehow she saw me at the back of the room and waved frantically. I walked out to meet her, give her a hug. From the time I first met her, we had a connection. There was just something about her that drew me in. I saw her filth, her unkempt hair and neglect. But I saw in her eyes a hurt that ran deep and a longing just to be loved. Sadly, there are so many others like her in the schools in which we serve.

Some time ago, I heard a devotional on Luke 15:4 that reminded me of my young friend and resonated with me. I saw that scripture in a brand new way.

If a man has a hundred sheep and one of the gets lost, what will he do? Won’t he leave the ninety- nine others in the wilderness and go and search for the one that is lost until he finds it?

At some point in our lives all of us have felt lonely at some time. We all want to belong, be included.

I remember back when I was in the seventh grade, my family moved. That meant going to a new school and began what would become the worst two years of my life. You see, I was like my young friend, on the outside looking in. I didn’t belong. Everyone in that country school had grown up together and already had their cliques. I was the fat and ugly new girl with hand me down clothes that no one wanted to befriend. Then there were the stares. The whispers. The jeers. The memory of that time still stings a little if I allow myself to think on it too much. And if am to be honest that time has largely shaped who I am today, even though it was more than thirty years ago. I don’t know if there has been a time where I ever felt more alone.

In every crowd there are those who are lonely. In our schools, our churches, our women’s groups, youth groups and our workplace. Really, in pretty much every social setting, there are those who are excluded, those who go unnoticed. There are those who sit on the sidelines, not participating or joining in with the others. There are those who are not a part of the “in” crowd. Perhaps it is that new person at church sitting alone with no one making their way over to talk to them.  The hurting, and lonely,  longing to belong, longing inside just to fit in somewhere.

I love how in this particular illustration in the Bible, Jesus left the ninety nine. He left the sheep that he knew were ok. He left the sheep that were already a part of the flock and he went in search of the one who was missing.

What if we did that? What if we, like Jesus, intentionally sought out those who are lonely and those who always sit by themselves and find ways to include them? Draw them out of their shell? Maybe invite them over for a meal or go out for coffee or just sit with them. Get to know them. Who knows maybe the Lord will use us to be a balm for a soul’s hurting heart. And maybe we will even gain a new friend in the process.

Poverbs 18:24 There are friends who destroy each other, but a real friend sticks closer than a brother.

Peace be still…

Many years ago when our children were very small we took a family vacation out east to P.E.I. It was one of the best vacations ever! We slept in a lighthouse and it was such a cool experience. At one point on the trip we decided to take a boat excursion. We were not very far along on the journey when all of a sudden the dark clouds rolled in and a violent thunderstorm broke out. I remember the high waves and the boat being tossed about. Even though the top of the boat was covered, water still began to flood the inside. It did not help things when the captain of the ship said something like “This is terrible. I have never been in the boat during a storm as bad as this. We should be ok though” We were all just a little nervous to say the least. I remember my heart pounding a little faster and my stomach in turmoil. One of our sons was so scared that he peed his pants. Fear can really mess with us and bring havoc to our lives.

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This real life storm reminded me of another real life storm that happened back in the time when Jesus walked on the earth.
As evening came, Jesus said to his disciples, “Let’s cross to the other side of the lake.” So, they took Jesus in the boat and started out, leaving the crowds behind (although other boats followed). But soon a fierce storm came up. High waves were breaking into the boat and it began to fill with water.
Jesus was sleeping at the back of the boat with his head on a cushion. The disciples woke him up, shouting, “Teacher, don’t you care that we are going to drown?” When Jesus woke up, he rebuked the wind and said to the water, “Silence! Be still!” Suddenly the wind stopped and there was a great calm. Then he asked them “Why were you afraid? Do you still have no faith?” Mark 4:34-40

The disciples had Jesus in the boat with them and yet they still were afraid. Is it possible to have fear and faith at the same time? I don’t think so. I don’t think they can coincide at the same time. The thing that amazes me is that even though there was a massive storm and the disciples were afraid for their lives, Jesus slept. How can one sleep when the storm is raging all around? And even though there was great chaos, Jesus wasn’t concerned or worried by it at all. All he had to do was speak to the waves and all was calm again.
Psalm 4:8 In peace I will lay down and sleep, for you alone, O Lord will keep me safe.
Psalm 3:5 I lay down and slept, yet I woke up in safety for the Lord was watching over me.
Recently we asked the children in our Bible classes (in Honduras), what they were afraid of. They said things like rats, cockroaches, clowns, and gunshots. One girl said loneliness. And I think if we were honest with ourselves, there are things that we are afraid of too. I can be a bit insecure at times so for me it is things like the fear of being alone, the fear of not being good enough, the fear of not saying the right thing. Many people have the fear of public speaking. I am also afraid of rats. I have seen rats the size of cats here.
The bible says in Psalm 56:3 When I am afraid I will put my trust in you.

We can remember that no matter what we are afraid of or what storm we are going through that our Saviour is with us. He’s not going to leave us high and dry. He’s not going to leave us alone to face our fears by ourselves.

There are some practical things that we can do to increase our faith when we are feeling afraid or are in the midst of chaos. Reading and memorize scriptures, praise and worship and prayer…talking to God and remembering the good things he has done in our lives. And here’s a tip….write those scriptures down so you can go back and read them again and again when those times of fear come knocking at the door.

Isaiah 26:3,4 you will keep in in perfect peace, all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you. Trust in the Lord always, for the Lord is the eternal rock.

Joy all around…

When a child is sponsored through Child Care plus one of the benefits of their sponsorship is receiving all the needed school supplies and uniform, including their shoes.

Typically once we recieve the list for each class, we order all the supplies from a store in the city and have everything delivered to the office/team house. Literally hundreds of books, pens, pencils, and other odds and ends like markers, compasses, coloured pencils ect.  As I am sure you can imagine the entire office is taken over by school supplies as we bag everything according to specific grade lists and whether it is for a boy bag or girl.  It is very time consuming.  Altough I love to organize and enjoy that kind of thing. Inadvertendly though there were times when a boy night have received a princess notebook and a girl might have been given a masculine book. How disappointing that would have been, not to mention embarassing and maybe even shame in the classroom.

However this year, we decided to try something different. God placed an idea in our director Kathy’s heart to try something different. The idea to set up a store where each child could shop for their own school supplies. Some of us on the team were not sure of the idea working.  We pictured mass chaos.

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But our Honduran staff set up a very well organized store at Pastor Victor’s church. It was organized on tables by type of supplies. Children came at set times by grade and signed in as they came into the store and went table by table to make their selections. On the way out there was a check out where each child’s bag was inspected and the list checked to make sure nothing was missing or anything extra added.

It was wonderful day and a huge success!  There were smiles all around..the staff, parents and children.  There was pure joy on child’s each face as they got to choose and shop themselves for what they needed.  What we were doing before worked. There was nothing wrong with it, but sometimes change is good.  Sometimes God has us think outside the box and gives us His sized dreams.  This way, I believe gave them a choice, gave  them a sense of value, a sense of worth and importance and empowered them.

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As for our director Kathy…She described it as the best day ever in her entire ministry career.

Expectations part 2

Around Christmas time I was speaking with a friend on the topic of healing. We had not seen each other in a while and she asked me if I had lost weight and I said I had. I told her it’s because of the “sick days” that I get so often, BUT that I believed I was being healed from them. I went on to say that I didn’t know how scriptural that was…about healing being a gradual thing, but I had heard it preached on during the summer.

She said something to me that has stuck with me ever since and I will try and paraphrase it somewhat. She said “if you are in the hospital, you spend time in the recovery room before you go home. Surgery is not an instant fix…you have to recover. The instant healings in the Bible were miracles.” I can’t tell you how encouraging that was to think about. Another thing that I thought of was that after any major surgery, you typically have to take it very easy for a several weeks. You don’t just go home and continue on as normal.

A few Sundays ago Sunday when the Pastor called people forward for healing, he was specific about it being those who were chronically ill; those with ongoing sickness. I didn’t go forward. I wanted to, but sometimes I just get weary of asking for prayer for the same thing over and over again. I am sure some of you can relate. Yet doesn’t the Bible tell us in Colossians 4:2 to keep praying? The other reason, I explained to my husband afterwards was that I was choosing to believe that I am already being healed.

Anyway, not long after, his wife came to my seat and asked me if I would go forward with her for prayer. She wanted to pray for me, so of course I went up to the front of the church with her. She is well aware of the struggle I’ve had for so long. And she knows the truth God planted in my heart a while back regarding my healing.

She prayed this verse…That He who began a good work in me, would be faithful to complete it. (Phil 1:6) It’s a verse that most of us know by heart, but I never really thought about it applying to healing, and yet it is so true. God is faithful. He is true to His word. He doesn’t start something and then not finish it.

Ps 138: 8

The Lord will perfect that which concerns me; your mercy oh Lord endures forever. You do not forsake the works of your hands.

There is a Jesus Culture song that we sing in our “Spanglish” church that I love. We sing it in Spanish, but it translates to “Miracles.” Maybe you have heard it before. Here are a few lines..

The one who made the blind to see

Is moving here in front of me

The One who made the deaf to hear

Is silencing my every fear.

I believe in you

I believe in you

You’re the God of miracles

The one who does impossible

Is reaching out to make me whole

The one who put death in its place

His life is flowing throw my veins.

The God who is and is to come

The power of the risen one

The God who brings the dead to life

You’re the God of miracles

So that is where I am right now. This situation with my health may seem hopeless when I look at it with my “human” eyes. Yet, I am choosing to believe that I am being made whole. It may not be this week or even this month. But perhaps a year from now, I will be able to look back and say “Look what the Lord has done! “

How about you? Do you believe in the God of miracles? Do you believe in the God who was and is to come? Can I encourage you that whatever season you are in, to put your trust in Him? Perhaps you are not believing for physical healing, but something else. Remember He is faithful and always keeps His promises.

Inaugeration tomorrow..

I realize it has been more than a month since I wrote anything on my personal blog and thought it was maybe time to give a little update.

As you know since the election in November there has been a bit of unrest in the country. However things have calmed down considerably from how they were back in December. And if there are things planned like road closures and what not we tend to get plenty of advance notice so we can be prepared and perhaps go another direction. Or wait for the road to open up again.

As I write this, the inaugeration is tomorrow and today things were surprisingly normal. Our kids had a half day of school as a precaution and another private school that we know of canceled all classes just in case the rumors of protesting and blocked roads were true. Yet today we had staff meeting on the other end of the city. We also got our groceries. There were no delays in traffic except where they were doing constrution, but it wasn’t that bad and it didn’t take too long to get home.

A couple years ago there used to be a lot of police stationed in the neighbourhood I walk in. One of the officers used to always call me “amiga” and from time to time I would chat with him in my limited español.

I was walking Abby this afternoon in that same neighborhood when a truck full of police officers drove past and there he was again waving out the window..”Amiga!” They had pulled up to the pulperia (little variety store) for refreshments while he stood outside. He waved and then motioned for me to come over. We talked for a minute or so and he told me that it would be a good idea not to leave the house tomorrow..just in case, BUT he didn’t think there would be a lot of problems on the streets. I hope he is right and maybe he was just telling me that because it was what I wanted to hear..but who knows for sure…Time will tell..

That being said, please be in prayer for this beautiful country and for its leaders. Especially for tomorrow’s inaugeration.

John 14:27 I am leaving you with a gift….peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give you is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.

2 Timothy 2:1-2 I urge you, first of all, to pray for all people. Ask God to help them; intercede on their behalf and give thanks for them. Pray this way for kings and all who are in authority so that we can peaceful and quiet lives marked by godliness and dignity.

The Perfect gift..

Five years ago, when I lived in Stratford Ontario, I sat down with four of my daycare children and gave them the gifts I had so carefully purchased for them. I knew I had found each of them the perfect gift. They would love them, I was sure!

For three of them, it seemed I did. One little girl said “It’s just what I’ve always wanted!” Her older sister seemed in awe…”How did you know I LOVE horses?”, while the youngest girl, not even two, clutched her new doll to her chest and her whole face lit up…”Mine!” It made me happy inside to see their excitement and smiles.

Then came the fourth child. He tore open his gift, the one so thoughtfully wrapped with him in mind…but instead of a smile he angrily tossed the gift aside and said with a whine…”Awww…it’s not Lego Star Wars!” He crossed his arms and a scowl marked his young eight year old face. He sat there pouting and I sat there, jaw dropped! I have to admit it made me angry. To think the gift I had so carefully chosen for him, thinking he would love it; that it would be so carelessly tossed aside like a piece of garbage. That hurt!

It reminded me of something else. Christmas was but a few days away and if it were not for Jesus, there would be no Christmas…He is the “reason for the season.”
God sent his only son to be born in Bethlehem. He was The Perfect Gift, wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger…in what would normally be used for the animals feeding trough A humble beginning for a king.
God knew that one day the baby Jesus would grow to be a man, and that one day that man would give his life for us all. He would die a brutal death on a cross, so that we; each and every one would in turn have eternal life…His perfect gift if we accept it.

1 John 4:9
God showed how much he loved us by sending his only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life though him. This is real love….not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins.

Yet, so often we go through the Christmas season losing our focus. We are busy and stressed, trying to get it all done, house cleaned and decorated, baking done, and the menu planned, all while trying to find that perfect gift for our loved ones. We can so easily lose sight of the reason that we even have Christmas and it is Jesus.

I have been finding this especially true this Christmas season. Lately there have been times that I have lost my focus, been distracted by all that is going on around me. Things in Honduras are very tense right now. There is much political unrest and things seem to be falling apart at the seams.  I stress about wondering if Jake will be able to fly in. What if they cancel his flight? Will we be able to get to where we need to go in the city safely, or will the roads be “taken?” Our kids have lost so much school since the election on November 26, and although they have done their work online, they miss their friends. And what if the country enforces another curfew? And more recently, the concern about what is rumoured to come in the next couple days to Tegucigalpa. I don’t have all my Christmas shopping done, but I realize I just might have to be ok with that. It’s out of my control if the mall decides to close one day for safety reasons, or if the road happens to be blocked.
Looking at the situation here it can be very easy to fall apart and lose peace, and be fearful. But God has been reminding me of a verse in Isaiah.
Isaiah 26:3,4 tells us that” You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all those whose thoughts are fixed on you. Trust in the Lord always, for the Lord your God is the eternal rock. “
I love how the MSG words this verse…That “ people with their minds set on Him, he will keep completely whole.”

Now if we are completely whole….we are not falling apart. We are intact, we have it together and lack nothing. Because HE is our peace and peace isn’t found in stuff or circumstances or whether or not the Christmas shopping is done. If our minds are on him…the cares of this world are not going to crowd him out. He is the perfect gift. Born in a manger and later hung on a tree.

So, what will we do this Christmas with the most Perfect Gift? We can choose to cast it aside; rejected.. or we can accept him…God’s perfect gift of love to us…Jesus! Let every heart prepare him room. Is there room in your heart for Him?

John 3:16
For God so loved the world that He gave his only son, that whoever believes in him will not perish but have everlasting life.

An update from Honduras…

In my last post, I think it is pretty safe to say that it was written while in a state of shock and even a little fear.  From my perspective, things seem to have settled down a lot. For now anway. There are still protests going on, but they seem peaceful for the most part. And there has STILL not been a formal announcement as to who the new president is.  From what I understand they are doing a recount of all the votes, so who knows when an announcement will be made or what the response will be.

There was a curfew enforced last week. From the hours of 6pm to 6am, no one was allowed to be out of their homes on the streets.  I remember one time looking out my window at 6pm and it was pretty much bumper to bumper traffic.  It was later changed from 5am to 8pm because people were having a hard time getting home from work before the curfew.  Then it was extended to 10pm and then as of Friday it was lifted for good behaviour. Honestly curfew really didn’t affect us too much. We are not often out at night anyway unless it is to go to a dinner or a movie and home group every Thursday night. However, like my friend mentioned to me…there is something about being told you can’t do something that makes you want to do it and did feel like we were going stir crazy. It has been wierd trying to plan our lives around curfews and avoiding areas where we know protests are going on and where there could be potential danger. We have been keeping a low profile, only going out when necessary.

During all the craziness, it was weird to go the grocery store and  hear Christmas music like Silent Night and Holly Jolly Christmas on the radio, when there was so much chaos outside, when the country we love was falling apart at the seams.  Nothing felt peaceful or jolly. There was a food shortage. People are and have been stock piling, so the day that we finally ventured out, there were no potatoes, eggs or bread. 24131091_10155632019101049_3619013715280220832_n

One thing we have noticed is that different gas stations now have metal sheets across their windows with huge signs letting people they know they are open for business. I don’t know if they lost their windows during all the rioting  or if it is just a precaution. We did see footage of people walking out of stores with cases and cases of beer. We also saw footage of people walking out of stores carrying large appliances like dryers over their heads. Unbelievable

A week ago we were sitting in our living room when we heard weird noises outside. I stepped out to see what it was and realized it was the neighbor kids standing on their balcony banging pots and pans. They were shouting what sounded like “Stay at home! Stay at home!” They do speak English. We assumed they were going stir crazy from the curfew and schools being canceled, and were just kids having fun.  But then as we listened we began to hear people banging pots and pans EVERYWHERE! They were not shouting Stay at home…but “Feura-joh”, which translates to Out Juan Orlando Hernandez!

cacerolas

This was actually a planned protest called Cacerolazo, where people protested from their homes since they were under curfew and not allowed to be out. At the same time as this was going on, there were firecrackers as well, so it was very noisy. My poor schnauzer was quite freaked out about all the commotion! Thankfuly this all died down after a couple of days. Once in a while I would hear a lone pot in the distance, but still the firecrackers continued on.

Our kids lost a lot of time from school. They finally went back this Wednesday after being off since the American Thanksgiving.  Elisa was so happy to be back and see her friends again. School is basically her social life.

On Friday night we decided to get out of the house and do something as a family. So that afternoon, we went and saw the movie Wonder at the movie theater in the Multi plaza mall. (So good. It’s a movie everyone should see. ) Then Ben got his hair cut at the barber. However they did not give him the cut that he wanted and he was quite sad about that. Then we went out for dinner. It felt good to be able to do something normal for a change and not being forced to be stuck in the house. It was during dinner that we learned that the curfew had been lifted in our area. Afterwards we did a little looking around in the mall. It struck me how very normal the mall was. Everything was carrying on as usual. Life goes on I guess. And it was as busy as one might expect a mall to be during the Christmas season.

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We also have not been in church since the week before the election. Everything has been canceled. Of course we were not able to legally meet the day of the election. Technically our church that meets in the afternoon was…but I was sick that day and couldn’t go. But this morning it is back on and I am so excited to go. I’ve missed it so much. Then in the afternoon we are going to a home church at the home of some friends.  Slowly for the time being anyway, life is returning to normal.

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