This year marks our first Easter here in Honduras. Unlike Canada, where children have Good Friday off of school, our kids have had the entire week off, plus Monday for Semana Santa-(Holy Week). The city becomes like a ghost town. Normally traffic is crazy, stressful. Cars everywhere, making four lanes out of a two lane road, horns blaring, annoying cab drivers. During Semana Santa, there are hardly any cars on the roads. Not only that but the entire city shuts down; with the exception of gas stations and grocery stores. Some stores are closed until after Monday. Even the market shuts down during this week. Most people head out of town to visit family in other cities or head to the beach. Semana Santa seems like an even bigger deal than Christmas.
On Thursday night we met with our small group at the Ruiz home. With it being Semana Santa, fewer people were there, but we had an amazing time of worship, communion with home made matzo bread. This was the first time we have had communion since we moved to Honduras and it was beautiful. Gerson also washed everyone’s feet while Amy prayed a prayer of blessing over each one.
Dale and I thought it would be nice if we could have a get away as well…a mini vacation so to speak . A chance to get away from our routine, get out of the city and have a peaceful time away from home. We found a Christian camp where we were able to rent a family dorm for just $33 for the night. The place had a pool! Our kids have not been in a pool since last summer! The pool was freezing, but it’s been so hot, the ice cold water was refreshing once you were in it for a while. Not only that but they made an exception for us and allowed us to bring our little dog, who behaved very well there, thankfully.
Yesterday Randy and Judy took us to Comayagua, about an hour way. We walked street after street and viewed the beautiful alfombras- ( Carpets). They are made entirely of saw dust shavings and depict the life of Jesus. We did see one carpet that was made from dyed orange peels. They also had re enactments of the Easter story and a processional. Parade like floats were carried on the shoulders of many people while they tried to maneuver around the corner. It was interesting to watch. Surely there must be an easier way. They had their foot work down pat! Honestly I did find it kind of creepy because they were clothed in outfits that eerily resembled the KKK. I am not sure what the significance of their “costumes” were…but on their shoulders they carried a float that had Jesus carrying the cross. I think it was suppose to be Jesus anyway, he was dressed in a purple and gold robe.
This Easter is a different one for us. I am kind of sad about it, in a way. Gone are our normal traditions in the past as we make new traditions. We won’t be getting together with our family, or cooking a traditional Easter dinner. How we miss our family this time of year. There was no Good Friday service to attend. There are no cute Easter crafts and activities with daycare kids. We have always had an egg hunt with our kids each year. Even as they get a little too old for that , it is something they look forward to. Just last week, Jake asked me if we were still going to our Easter egg hunt. I had told him “no” because Easer candy cannot be found here in Honduras. That’s not entirely true because we did find a package of mini Cadbury cream eggs….but at a dollar per mini egg they were much too expensive to justify purchasing. However, last night Judy gave me a bag of Easter candy for the kids that she bought on her recent trip to the states…so thank you Judy! The hunt will continue this year. And yes, we do know it isn’t about the bunny….it’s just a fun tradition.
Tomorrow we will have an Easter morning service, bright and early at 7am. This will be followed by breakfast at the Marriot with our church family. We are looking forward to this!
I am thankful that I live in a country where there is freedom to share about Jesus love to the children of Honduras. It’s a wide open door. Their hearts are open. It’s humbling that God would call us here to this beautiful country of Honduras.
It’s also humbling to know that if we were the only person on earth, Jesus would have still come. He still would have paid the price. It was our sin, that nailed him there to the cross so long ago. He was bruised, and beaten beyond recognition. And as he hung there bleeding and dying for our sin, our shame, our rebellion, the crowds laughed at him, mocked him and scorned him. He suffered so much and oh, the incredible pain that he went through for you, for me….not just physical but emotional too…so we could be free. He did it willingly for us. He died so we could live! So we could be whole! I am so thankful for the cross! I am thankful that He didn’t stay dead…the tomb couldn’t hold Him. He rose again… Because He lives…We too can have life!
Who has believed our message?
To whom has the Lord revealed his powerful arm?
2 My servant grew up in the Lord’s presence like a tender green shoot,
like a root in dry ground.
There was nothing beautiful or majestic about his appearance,
nothing to attract us to him.
3 He was despised and rejected—
a man of sorrows, acquainted with deepest grief.
We turned our backs on him and looked the other way.
He was despised, and we did not care.
4 Yet it was our weaknesses he carried;
it was our sorrows[a] that weighed him down.
And we thought his troubles were a punishment from God,
a punishment for his own sins!
5 But he was pierced for our rebellion,
crushed for our sins.
He was beaten so we could be whole.
He was whipped so we could be healed.
6 All of us, like sheep, have strayed away.
We have left God’s paths to follow our own.
Yet the Lord laid on him
the sins of us all.
7 He was oppressed and treated harshly,
yet he never said a word.
He was led like a lamb to the slaughter.
And as a sheep is silent before the shearers,
he did not open his mouth.
8 Unjustly condemned,
he was led away.[b]
No one cared that he died without descendants,
that his life was cut short in midstream.[c]
But he was struck down
for the rebellion of my people.
9 He had done no wrong
and had never deceived anyone.
But he was buried like a criminal;
he was put in a rich man’s grave.
10 But it was the Lord’s good plan to crush him
and cause him grief.
Yet when his life is made an offering for sin,
he will have many descendants.
He will enjoy a long life,
and the Lord’s good plan will prosper in his hands.
11 When he sees all that is accomplished by his anguish,
he will be satisfied.
And because of his experience,
my righteous servant will make it possible
for many to be counted righteous,
for he will bear all their sins.
12 I will give him the honors of a victorious soldier,
because he exposed himself to death.
He was counted among the rebels.
He bore the sins of many and interceded for rebels.