Finding the time

“Boy, somebody sure needs to go spend some time with Jesus”

Ouch. His words; my husband’s words to me one morning recently, stung.  And yet his words rang true. I knew it and so did everyone around me. I had been grumpy. I had been miserable. Tired. Worn. Inside my emotions were a mess. I felt so on edge ; like at any moment I would either explode or burst into tears.  My joy…dissipated.  My children were constantly fighting and at each other and quite frankly it was really getting on my nerves.  I couldn’t take it anymore. Everything was getting to me; not just bickering children.  Dirty footprints on the floor, handprints on the wall, a puppy who will not learn to do his business outside every time….the stress was building.

I knew I needed that quiet time with the Lord, my heavenly Father, the one who can quiet my heart and still my soul when everything around me is a mess. I was craving that time desperately. Somewhere I had gotten out of the habit of those daily quiet times in the morning.  And now because of that time not spent, my life was out of sync…out of balance. Oh, I still talked to Him throughout the day here and there…or at bed now and then. How I knew I needed more and I knew God required more from me than a few minutes at the end of the day  when I was too quiet to concentrate on what I was reading in His word and too tired to listen.

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Back in Canada that time for me was in the early hours of the morning before my kids awoke and before my daycare children began to arrive. I would arise at 5am or earlier, sit down with my coffee and my bible and spend that time reading His word, and talking to Him in the still of the morning. How I missed those times!  Now, however 5 am is no longer still, quiet or peaceful. My kids are getting out of bed at that time and to be honest, it’s anything but peaceful. Chaotic would best describe that time of day.  Quite often they are at each other from the get go with snide comments poking each other.  So lately there has been a lot of grumpiness in the morning.  I knew I needed a new routine.

John 15:4 I am the vine and you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them will produce much fruit, for a part from me, you can do nothing.  Anyone who does not remain in me is thrown away like a useless branch and withers.

John 15:11 I have told you these things so that you will be filled with joy! Yes your joy will overflow.

Joy

So, you see if I am missing  out on those times with my heavenly father and not communing with him, how can I expect to hear from Him?  How can I expect to be joyful or at peace? How can I expect to be fruitful? How can I expect to know Him if I am not taking the time to read His word every day, talk to Him and listen to what He may speak to my heart?  It’s so important. For my peace and the peace in my family.

The other day after the children left for school, Dale and I went to the Villa Olimpica for our daily walk/run. Afterwards I sat on the couch with my coffee, bible and devotional; deciding that would now be my time each day.  My little puppy at my feet was desperately trying to get up on the couch with me, so I picked his little squirmy body up. Right away he curled up on my lap and fell asleep.  He just wanted to be with me.  At that moment in my mind I saw myself curled up on the lap of God.  He loves us so much. He delights in us. We are His children. His sons and daughters. He wants us to find our rest in Him to turn to him each day; not just when life gets out of control. Are we desperate for Him? Do our hearts long just to curl up on our Father’s lap where there is perfect peace and rest?   Like a little child curled up on their Daddy’s lap…If we are not spending that time with Him, we can’t expect to be at peace. We can expect to truly know Him.  Or now His heart. Lysa Terkeurst  says in her book What happens when women say yes to God…” The more you practice His presence the more you will find it”  So true!

Have you ever felt like that? Emotional, stressed; like life is spinning out of control?  Like me, have you been skipping devotions?  Life is busy and the last thing Satan wants is for us to drawn near to Christ.  He might remind us of things we should be doing around the house, an derrand we need to run or a workout we should be doing….anything really to shift our focus from spending time with Him.  Can I just encourage you to take a little time each day reading His words, talking to Him and listening ? If you seek Him you will find Him!  ( Jer29:13,14a…”If you look for me wholeheartedly you will find Me. I will be found by you.” says the Lord)

Below is a song that most of you will know; but it says what is on my heart right now..

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b4crRPpqoW4

Downtown shopping…

Today was one of many holidays here in Honduras. There are a lot of them!  ( Today is  Armed Forces Day)  Our children had the day off of school; although not all kids had today off.  Most shops were open however, and our Spanish teacher Blanca took Dale, Elisa and I on a field trip of sorts, to the downtown area known as Parque Central (Central Park.)

We were told ahead of time not to wear our wedding bands, watches, not to have our smart phones on us, and not to carry a big purse as it is not in the best of areas.  Many times during our lessons she spoke of many, many  stores downtown where one could purchase clothing and shoes inexpensively.  However she advised us never to go there on our own but to have a Honduran with us. “One day we will go” She promised. Then this past Friday she told us Monday would be the day. I did not bring my camera for obvious reasons. I did not want to make myself a target, however I did find a few photos online.

The buildings are old, obviously they have been around for years and years.  Most of the shops we went to were  second-hand. Store after store, street after street of second-hand clothes and a few house hold items.  The dusty, broken pavement streets were extremely narrow and congested.  On one particular street an elderly man sat in the middle of the sidewalk filling a huge, gaping hole in the sidewalk while people squeezed their way around him.  Most people probably barely noticed him. Taxi cabs were lined up on one side of the street leaving one very narrow lane for cars to get through. Many pedestrians as well, and in fact one of the streets we went on was only for pedestrians.  The area was very busy. Of course the trip would not have been complete without the continuous horn honking!

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Just as she predicted the prices were great.  I was able to purchase three items for around $2 each!  We did go to some new shoe stores  where they had brand new Nike shoes for around $12. They also had “knock off” Toms for just over $5.

What I found interesting was that in nearly all the stores we went into; worship music played in the background.  I can’t imagine that ever happening in Canada unless it were a Christian bookstore. There was one shoe store though that had Christmas music playing….Frosty the snowman, Oh little town of Bethlehem, Joy to the world!

We also went into a beautiful historical Catholic Church. There were people there praying and some were doing some sort of ritual or rite with candles. Some were crying.

Just outside the church there is a statue of a man on horse.  There was a man near there with a bible in his hand and he was preaching to the large crowd that had gathered.

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After Blanca dropped us off at the house, Dale took the boys to the mall to get a much needed hair cut. You can suspended at the school if your hair gets too long, so it had to be done!  Five dollars each…not bad!

Three Months today!

It hardly seems possible that it has been three months to the day that we flew into Tegicigalpa for the final time….this time to stay!

So much has happened and although I have been trying to keep everyone updated either through this blog or facebook I thought I would recap somewhat.

Thankfully we didn’t have to search too long before finding the perfect home for our family. A home with an incredible view. The kids have room to have a space of their own, each having their own rooms and bathrooms. We also had to furnish our home and purchase a vehicle.

Both Dale and I have been very impressed with the school that we chose for our children to attend..  First of all;  it’s biblical based and each meeting is opened in prayer. I love how they first seek God’s guidance. The teachers there love the Lord and not only are they concerned about the education of our children but their spiritual life too. Not only that but the campus is beautiful!

About one month ago we added to our family. We had heard the place to go if you are looking for a dog is “Puppy McDonalds” It’s a McDonalds in the city  where people stand on the corner and sell their puppies. We fell in love with one particular pup even though at one time I had four or five in my arms at one time.

This is Reuben!

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Vets here are super cheap too. Reuben’s second set of shots plus a nail trim cost less than what a nail trim alone would cost in Canada.

It was really “cool” to be in Honduras a few nights ago when Honduras won their way to a chance to be in the World Cup. From our windows and balcony you could see all the fireworks in the valley below and hear the excitement in the air, well into the wee hours of the morning.  It was a huge deal! Out our office window we could see trucks going by with the beds of their truck filled with cheering people and waving their Honduran flags.

We have had a few major events at the schools we are working with in the mountains. We celebrated day of the child in September and also celebrated “ Canada day” with two schools. We had cake as well as various games each class could rotate too….and of course one can not have a party in Honduras without piñatas.

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Just this past week is when we did one of the “Canada Day” events. There was a team from Lively Ontario here helping  with various projects; like painting a class room, painting the bodegas at the schools, putting up shelves and installing a gate. Not to mention crafts which are always a huge hit. The children really take their time when making their creations.

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Dale and I were not able to spend a lot of time with the team as we still have our Spanish lessons with Blanca to focus on as learning the language is a priority.  However Dale did do a program at the school one day and talked about giving God dominion over our lives, our country,  school. At the end he asked who wanted to give Jesus dominion over their lives and between 50 and 60 children made decisions for Christ that day. It was a highlight of the week for sure to see so many hands raised, saying “yes” to Jesus!

We have found a church  where a number of other missionaries attend. We meet each Sunday afternoon at 4pm.  Once a month the church family gets together for fellowship and food at KFC and Pizza Hut.  It’s a great way to get to know one another. We also attend a small group on Thursday nights where we are studying a book by Francis Chan called Forgotten God. I also enjoy a ladies bible study once a week at the Marriott.

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When we first moved here, up until a week or so ago we had no hot water!  It made me appreciate it so much more when we finally had the issue resolved…no more cold showers and no more boiling pots of water to wash dishes! What a nuisance  that was. I was almost at the point where I had accepted the fact that we would never have hot water when the landlord showed up one evening with a repair man and within minutes we had hot water! Oh happy day!

Our ant problem is not near as bad as it used to be. I realize that we do live in the tropics and we will  probably will never be free from them entirely but it’s better to have a few than hundreds!!

We have also been able to try some Honduran food, such as enchiladas Honduran style.  One thing we especially like is anafres. Basically it is pureed red beans with Honduran cheese that is served with crispy fried tortillas. Delicious!

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One more thing I want to mention is the stage I went through a little while back. I really struggled with being here. I knew God had called us and this is where we were suppose to be, but I found it so hard.  Harder than I ever imagined. I almost hated it.  Everything annoyed me and got on my nerves….even small things…like not being able to find eggs in the grocery store….(Did you know eggs will actually stay fresher longer stored at room temperature?)  I felt like crying all the time and I felt desperately lonely. I was worried sick about issues back in Canada.  However I can say I am doing ok now. The Lord has really brought me through.  He is renewing my strength every day and  I can honestly say  I am content and at peace in where we are right now. I look forward to all the Lord is going to do and to whatever lies ahead….

I have been reading a devotional called “What happens when women say yes to God and for all you women our there, I highly recommend it. Here is a quote from that book by Lysa Terkeurst that really jumped out at me.

“When we focus our minds and fix our hearts on Christ, he is magnified and made bigger in our lives. When we focus our minds on life’s obstacles they will be wrongly magnified and made to appear larger than they really are. Our attention is like a magnifying glass…whatever we place it on becomes larger and more consuming of our time and energy. We desire to focus on Christ alone, but sometimes other things seem bigger and so without realizing it, we shift our focus”

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For this momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, so we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” 2 Corinthians 4:17-18

Zephaniah 3:17

For the Lord  your God is living among you.  He is a mighty warrior. He is a mighty saviour. He is a mighty saviour. He will take delight in you with gladness.  With take delight in you with gladness. With his love, he will calm your fears. He will rejoice ocer you with joyful songs.

In closing I want to thank all of you for your prayers as they are very much needed and appreciated!

Visiting the homes…


May the mountains yield prosperity for all; and may the hills be fruitful. Help him to defend the poor. to rescue the children of the needy, and to crush their oppressors.
Psalm 72: 3,4

He will rescue the poor when they cry out to him, he will help the oppressed, who have no one to defend them. He feels pity for the weak and the needy and he will rescue them. He will redeem them from oppression and violence, for their lives are precious to him.
Psalm 72:12, 13.


She’s a single mom to five children, living in a tiny home that is much smaller than our shed back in Canada. It has two rooms, divided by a sheet to separate the living quarters from the sleeping. In Canada everyone would have their own bed to sleep on, but not here. One double bed for 5 people.  She has a tiny stove for which to cook and small fridge with a microwave on top of it. She makes the most of the little she has, so her tiny house is a home for her family.

She struggles, You can see it on her face; her eyes, hear it in her voice. Her sole means of survival is making and selling tortillas. With that money she must buy food and water,  pay for the rent of not only the home but the property as well. It’s hard to imagine selling tortillas would ever bring in near enough to cover her expenses.
“Life is hard” she told us. “It’s about surviving”
In this photo the team is giving her a bag of groceries.


The second home we visited, like the last home, was also near the schools. We met a young mom of three.
Her home appeared to be in better condition. It was very clean. Outside she had a rag on which to wipe our feet on before entering the home. The floors looked spotless to me.
 Her husband, who is not the father of the children, is one of the venders on the street selling phone chargers or cell phone covers at the traffic lights. We have probably even driven past him and not known it. He does this to provide for his family. It is their only source of income as she is a stay at home mom, caring for her little ones. I have seen countless venders like him at the traffic lights trying to sell their items. Hardly anyone buys from them; at least not that I have seen.  I have never before thought about how discouraging it must be to always be told “no gracias” or to be ignored. I know it cannot bring in much income; especially by the time transportation is paid for to and from the streets to the mountains where they live.
Through her tears she explained some of her struggles. “Life is hard” she said like the first mom we visited.
 Her first husband, had been murdered, and she lost a baby to asthma. Not only that but the baby that one of the team members from Lively held in her arms, also had asthma. She was concerned about him, worried that she would lose him too.
She told us how she had found favour with the landlord and was given two rooms to rent instead of just one. What a blessing that was to her family.
Before we left her home, we prayed with her, and one of the ladies on the team asked her if she knew Jesus.
She nodded and said “yes” and that He was her provider.
This is the team in the second home.

As we left each of those homes I wanted to weep. I felt so broken for these families.
I held back my tears but I couldn’t help feeling so very humbled……and thankful.
Thankful for all that our family has been blessed with. We have our beautiful home, food on the table, family, friends, a vehicle to get around in…the list goes on and on.
I thought of all the times I needlessly worried over stuff since moving here. Things like not having as much money for groceries one week, last minute notice that the kids need something more for school and wondering where we will find money for it when it wasn’t budgeted or other last minute expenses.  Needless worry when God always provides, there is always enough and most times MORE than enough. It’s NOTHING compared to what these families face day in and day out, what reality is for them each day.
 If I were in their shoes, would I truly be able to say like this one mom “God is my provider?” Would any of us? I would hope the answer would be a resounding “yes!” But it’s something to think about….what if? Would we truly be content? The families living in these conditions who know the Lord must truly know what it is like to totally rely on the Lord and say “He is all I need” 
Matthew 6:25, 26
That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life…whether you have enough food and drink or enough clothes to wear.  Isn’t life more than food, and your body more than clothing? Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly father feeds them. Aren’t you far more valuable than they are? Can all your worries add a single moment to your life?

Christmas letters

I can’t get her out of my mind. The  beautiful young girl in sixth grade writing her  Christmas letter to a potential sponsor…”just in case” she is sponsored before the school year ends in November. My heart breaks just thinking about her.  What thoughts run through her mind as she writes her letter…does she feel hopeless, like her letter is in vain?  It’s already October and time is running out for her to ever be sponsored.  There will be no more school for her after sixth grade.  Does she wonder “what is the point?” Does it build a false hope in her having her write a letter that may never reach a sponsor?
 I wonder how long she has been on the list to be sponsored or how she feels when she sees her other classmates writing their letters; classmates that already have sponsors. How long has she been dreaming of the day she would be sponsored?  I’ve shed tears for this girl. I guess you could say she has a special place in my heart.  Even though I know there are others just like her.  I know her name and she has a beautiful smile. She is a lovely girl who has a bit of a crush on my son Ben. I know this  because she always asks where he is when see her and I’ve seen her light up around him. And for her my heart hurts.

Yesterday Dale and I went to one of the schools to help the sponsored children with their Christmas letters.   I know….it’s a little early for Christmas but it is a long process and the letters need to arrive in time.  They need to be written and then translated. The children wrote out their  letters in rough draft first. The letters were then approved by the teacher or Victor for spelling mistakes and what not. Then the children came to Dale and myself for the “official”  Christmas paper to write their letter on.  It was an exciting moment to be a part of.  They would stand in line waiting for Dale and myself to find their name at the top of their paper.  You could feel their enthusiasm as they wrote their annual letters to their sponsors. Amazingly it was not too chaotic in the classroom…or too loud. Or maybe I just didn’t notice.  Yesterday about 45 letters were handed back in.  Most of them had meticulous hand writing. They later drew pictures to be added to their letters and most of them handed their drawings in today. There are some beautiful pieces of art being mailed out this year!

I was not at the school today as I was at a ladies bible study that I have been attending weekly. However  Dale told me that there are only twenty five more children to write their letters. That will happen later this week….and I can’t wait to be a part of it.