Looking for Pokemon or treasures in the garbage..

Every day I see her and talk to her.  Her name is Yosi. She and two of her sons walk to the colonia across from me. The one that I walk in.  She can often be seen sweeping the streets in that neighbourhood. She and her young ones go through the garbage and sort through plastics. It’s how they provide for their family. They are all friendly, lovely people. Sometimes the boys will speak to me in English. They learned what they know in school when they were able to attend.  But it’s been a while since they’ve been in school. Sometimes I notice they have found some pretty nice things looking through the garbage..Toys and house hold items that people have just cast off. Sorting through plastics and stuff…it’s the life that these boys know.

That’s why when I saw my son Jacob’s post on Facebook, my thoughts went immediately to them,  this family that I have  come to know.  Not that there is anything wrong with Pokemon hunting.  Personally I think it sounds like fun even though you won’t find me hunting for Pokemon anytime soon.  It gets families off the couch and I can see how it can be entertaining.  But when you stop and think about it…there is quite the contrast. Looking for Pokemon or looking through the garbage.  One is for fun…the other is out of neccesity. Having just moved back to Canada from Honduras, which is a developing country..the contrast has been made even more real to Jake and I believe it has hit him hard.  Below is his post I wanted to share.. Wisdom from my 18 year old son. I hope you hear his heart.

“Just a few months ago I lived in a place where I saw young children looking through the garbage to provide for their family. Now I live in a place where I see young children looking through the neighbourhood for pokemon. Not saying it’s wrong to be well off but how can we call ourselves christians if we live comfortably in the same place, same un-challenging sermons and in a comfortable shelter from everything. God said go into ALL the world but I feel like the excuse “That’s not for me” is used way too much. God said he would spit out the lukewarm. The world lukewarm also translated to stagnant. Not moving. If you are not being challenged by your faith and you are in a comfortable cycle of Christianity and life then doesn’t it say God will spit you out? Or other translations say puke. Stagnant water tastes terrible. The tree that produces no fruit will be thrown into the fire. Don’t get offended at this post. Get challenged. Put to the test what I said to the world of God. Don’t take my words for truth until you research yourself. Always compare to the world of God. “

and oh that God would open our eyes and make us aware to the things and people around us and that the things that break God’s heart would in turn break ours..

The challenges and joys of recent days

It has been a great couple of weeks. But at the same time there have been challenges or things that leave me feeling broken.  One of the challenges was the minor car accident a few days ago. At the time, I was already stressed due to the traffic being so insane . It all ended ok. The guy who hit us could not get a hold of Transito, and while he wanted Dale to pay for his damages when it was him who hit us, in the end he just said “forget it, you pay for yours, I will pay for mine” It could have been so much worse. I am so thankful for God’s protection.

When we came home, Ben was able to fix the bumper for the most part and you really can’t even tell we were hit. Still, it left me shaking on the inside and on the verge of tears and a pounding headache the following day.

Then there are those things that break my heart. The other day Dale and I were going for our usual after dinner walk, and we saw my 90 year old neighbour Jorge…who I wrote about a few months ago.

https://cjruttan.wordpress.com/2016/04/16/conversing-with-jorge/

He was hobbling along with his cane from the pulperia to his house with  bag of snacks. He could barely walk and it hurt my heart to see him so crippled up and in obvious pain.  He looked every bit of the 90 years old he is. Any other time we have seen him he is leaning up against an old car outside his house. I so enjoy talking to him. I was telling Dale the other day that he kind of reminds me of Forrest Gump…all of his experiences. And at his age, he has had a lot. I am always learning something new about him. Like the other day he was telling us how the first time he saw snow was over 70 years ago in New York City.  All of the New Yorkers used to call him George because they couldn’t pronounce his name, and would just refer to him as they guy who went outside in the snow in a short sleeve t shirt.

Then we are all still adjusting to our eldest being in Canada. It’s hard being here when he is there,  but we have to release and trust that God will look after him.  He already has. We are so thankful for how the Lord has provided for Jacob. He has a full time job working at Tim Horton’s. He also has a place to live come September in the home of a music pastor..and you all know how passionate he is about music.  I love how God looks after all the details.

There is another thing that just about kills me. And hopefully I am not sharing too much information. There is this little girl in first grade in one of the schools. Her home situation is not good. She doesn’t really have a mom who takes care of her. She is neglected. And yet every time she sees us she runs up and give us a huge hug. She is so hungry for love.

Today at recess she came and sat beside me for a long time. She snuggled in close.  It was such a peaceful moment and the whole time I was silently praying for her. That she would come to know Jesus as her forever friend. That she would know his love. That her situation somehow change, even though in my heart I know it is not likely.

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Yet in the midst of the challenges there are some exciting and encouraging things with the schools. As I have mentioned before the Honduran Society gave us 1500 Bibles for us to hand out in the schools. They have to stay in the schools and we use them with the older grades when we teach our classes. There is a teacher named Ludy that is really wanting a Bible. She was pretty much begging for one the other day. So, I don’t know, something we might be able to work on, is to try and get a Bible for every teacher who wants one.  It won’t happen this year, I don’t think, because our budgets have already been set,  but hopefully next year. I have a really nice Spanish Bible of my own that I could give Ludy, and I thought about it, but if I did then every teacher  would want the same, and I only have one. In this culture, if you give to one you have to give to all.

In one of our newer schools the director told Dale that she is very happy to have the Bible classes in her school. She said she can already see the difference in the moral of the students. This is one of the schools where Dale and I are not teaching, but have hired amazing guys who happen to be Honduran to teach. It’s fun to watch them teach the same lesson but with their own creative spin on things.

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And at yet another new school the director told Dale that she is very pleased with the Bible classes. She said that very seldom does she hear the children in her school squeel with joy but when they see the guys that teach the Bible classes, the children are full of joy.

Finally, one more thing…Our team is growing! Another  family will be joining the Schools of hope team. Mike and Trish Evans, along with their three children will be moving here August 2017. We first met them a couple months ago when Mike and Trish came down for an exploratory trip and have decided to move here to work along side us. We are so excited for them to come. They are an awesome addition to our team.

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From the heart of a teacher…

A few days ago Dale was telling me about a story he had read in the newspaper of a family that had just lost their eighteen month old child. The dad was working and the mom put her toddler down for a nap and went out for a few items at La Colonia. She returned to her home fifteen minutes later to find her house burned down to the ground. Her child obviously perished in the fire. Can you imagine the devastation in the heart of that mom? As Canadians we just don’t understand such a senseless tragedy. A tragedy that should ever have happened. In Canada that mom would be sent to jail…but here there are no such laws about leaving your children on their own. Sometimes moms have to leave their young ones at home so they can work and provide for their family. It’s hard to fathom reality. It reminds me of a post I wrote a couple years back about a three year old named Edwin who was just wandering around the neighbourhood because his mom was working.

Then today we were chatting during the recess break with the fifth and sixth grade teachers. Some of the things they told us hurt our hearts even more for this country and its people, especially the children. There are children at the school that basically raise themselves. Dads are gone and moms work so kids are left on their own. The older children would be expected to care for the younger ones, I assume.
The one teacher said, “It is hard to teach here and to combat corruption. There are kids that you can tell are being raised right, with good values, but the environment is so thick and immersed with corruption. When it is all around them, eventually they become it, even though they come from good homes. “ This teacher has been there for 18 years. 18!
He told us that they just shake their heads at times because the kids will come in and tell them horrific stories of things they have seen. The kids see more than what anyone would see in a hundred years. Corruption is all around them and so much a part of their everyday life.

Teachers do not get a huge salary. Yet they will go to get their pay and it will not be what it should be. Amounts will be taken off with no explanation as to why or where that money went. They cannot complain or say anything to voice their disagreement about it or they risk being fired. Teachers rights to protest have also been removed. If they were to protest they would be fired immediately. Yet, despite all this these teachers keep on teaching and don’t quit.

Another teacher said that as far as disciplining children, there is little they can do or say if a child needs it. To do or say much of anything could send human rights in and they could also be fired. So there is a fear of losing their job for doing what the child needs. And to add my two cents here…There are times we find certain classes out of control. This is especially if the teacher leaves the classroom while we are teaching. Many times the kids don’t listen or show respect. As a Canadian coming in, it can be discouraging. I don’t know how the teachers show so  much patience and grace. I would be in tears if I had to deal with it on a daily basis. However sometimes we might think they are not listening, but when we go back the next time to teach and ask review questions, they know the answers. And they all love to sing. Even the “big” kids in grade six. Well, at the school we were at today anyway.

The sixth grade teacher told us that to him it was embarassing to have Canadians come in and see the way Honduras is. Because Honduras should not be that way. They should not need help from missionaries or people in other countries.  .

Both teachers agreed that in the last ten years, there has not been an improvement in the corruption of Honduras. In fact things have gone downhill. I know this to be true as well. There is a community not far from us called los Pinos, that in recent weeks has become very bad.There is a lot of unrest.  People are afraid to leave their homes and the night is riddled with bullets. We know the areas that the schools we serve in are also dangerous. From what I have been told… less so than that community I just mentioned. I have never once been afraid to go there, but I would never be free to go for a walk in that area. It simply would not be wise. We make sure we are off the mountain before a certain hour. We are aware there is danger and we are cautious. But we cannot live our lives in constant fear. And even though it may seem that as far as corruption goes there is no hope in sight, we will not lose heart. We will continue on doing what the Lord has called us to do.. ..teaching the children about Jesus and the love he has for them…and trying to shine His light in the darkest of places in the country that we love.

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