You know you are not in Honduras anymore when…

Having been in Canada now for a few days, here are a few of my immediate observations.. It is not meant to put down Canada or Honduras, so hopefully no one takes offense.

  1. You plan to go for a walk at 6am and it is now 7:15 and still dark outside.
  2. You forget how to use a credit card machine and self check outs.
  3. You offer your residency card when using a credit card for identification …AND:..you don’t need to sign your receipt after you enter your pin #
  4. People look at you funny because you just spoke to them in Spanish.
  5. You are at the traffic lights on foot, thinking that you will have to wait for the traffic to clear so you can dash across, when cars stop and allow you to cross.
  6. You see a Honduran friend’s photo on Instagram of his view and immediately you feel homesick…( Photo credit Andres Castillo Lima)14570494_10157599168615371_495839884366586126_n
  7. It’s been two days and you have not seen a single animal or person riding in the back of a pick up.14022147_10154236406431049_4621981719850249019_n
  8. A customer is arriving at a store the same time as you and he opens the door for you so you can go through first.
  9. It’s the third week in October and there is not a single Christmas decoration to be found in any store. There are however a lot of houses decorated for Halloween.
  10. It’s after 8am and there are children waiting outside their home for the school bus.
  11. The area between the sidewalk and road are dotted with blue boxes and you remember that Canadians recycle.
  12. You are entering a dept store with other purchases in hand and are allowed to walk through the store with them.
  13. It is autumn and the leaves change colour in Canada.

A most precious gift

I am sitting at my computer here and I am feeling somewhat overwhelmed.  See, a little while ago, Dale received an email from a gentleman from a church in Canada who wanted to donate money for children to have Bibles. Before this,we already had been given a generous donation from the Honduran Bible Society of 1500 Bibles, which was incredible and I have already written about it. However, those Bibles were to stay in the school and not go out to their homes.  This isn’t a bad thing, but so the students will always have access to the Word of God, and so that we can use them when we teach the classes. This man wanted children to be able to take Bibles home with them. So, what Dale decided to do, was to purchase the Bibles for all the grade 5 children who have been a part of the Semillitas program.

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I cannot begin to explain really the emotions that flowed through me at the reactions of the kids and the looks on their faces, when we announced to them that they would each receive a Bible of their very own. It was not the same in each school, because all schools are different, but the kids without fail were so very, very happy to have a Bible of their own. I know they are something that they will treasure for years to come.

I know it probably is not the correct thing to compare things to Canada, but honestly I could not help but wonder what the reaction would be if we announced to a group of grade 5’s  that they would be given a Bible. I don’t think they would be so excited, so happy! Actually  I remember being given a new testament in third grade, from the Gideons I think. I don’t remember being overly thrilled or happy or excited…and that was umpteen years ago, and things have changed a lot since those days.

One girl in newest school named Naomi gasped and began to cry when we told them the news. She wiped the tears away, and her expression said that she could not believe it. It was like she was saying “really? I get a bible of my own!?” It was so beautiful to watch from my vantage point, almost next to her. In seeing her emotional reaction to her Bible I had a hard time holding back the tears, and I struggled to keep them from seeping out of my eyes. Another group of three girls began to squeal when they were told they would not be receiving candy from Canada but a Bible. We heard so many thank yous. So many smiles!! My heart was moved.

Not only that, but the children wanted all of the SOH staff who were there to sign their Bibles. Even our bosses from Canada, Murray Cornelius and James Guskjolen who were with us today were asked to sign. Our hands are sore from signing so many. I did make one mistake today though.  I had been writing two different things and the kids caught on, and were asking me to put both on their bibles, “Otra palabras!”. So for the remainder of the children, I was writing both Prov 3:5, 6 and Dios es su fiel amigo. I guess if we are able to do this next year, I will keep it the same on every child’s. What you do for one, you need to do for all. In one school today another touching thing was seeing some of the grade 5’s asking the beloved grade one teacher to sign their bibles.

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Yesterday I had a girl in grade four tell me that she goes to church every Sunday but she doesn’t have Bible. And today, the ladies in the kitchen asked if they could have a  Bible too.  That made me want to cry as well..how I wish we could have said yes! That would be so amazing!  It is sad to have to tell people “no” that it’s only for the grade 5. . So many don’t have one that want one.  Even many christians who love the Lord, who go to church each Sunday but cannot afford to buy a copy of His Word. It’s  seen as something so precious, so valuable. It’s sad to me when I think so many of us North Americans have more than one copy that just sit on a shelf collecting dust.. And yet there are many who want one don’t have any. I have three in different translations and another one in Spanish, and that is just me, that is not including  the rest of my family. I guess you could say that the last couple of days have been eye opening and life changing…How precious is the Word of God…

Losing mom (Sharon) Part 1

Around two thirty this morning the phone rang and because I was sound asleep I did not get to it in time. When the phone rings at that hour of the day it is either bad news or a wrong number. I did manage to see who was calling though; my father in law.  And in that moment  I knew.  I knew in my heart that she was gone. I woke  Dale and told him he needed to call back, but he didn’t.  I think he knew too, that if his dad was calling at that hour, that his mom must have passed. Then the phone rang again around 6 am, and Dale was told the bad news. His sweet and precious mom, his biggest supporter and cheerleader was gone.

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We are coming “home” for a short visit in 5 days.. We have a wedding and a 50th anniversary party.  The plan was also to visit mom, along with family and friends and speaking in churches.   Now  instead of having a visit with her we will be having her funeral. To be blessed with one more visit was something we thought back in January would never happen and all of us were really looking forward to it.  When Dale and I went back in January it was to say goodbye, because at that time she was rapidly declining. We thought for sure that she would be pass away shortly after we returned to Honduras.  But she didn’t. Infact she steadilly got better and for months seemed back to her usual self. The way that she was before she got sick, before the cancer . We thought God has given her a miracle , and I still believe he did.  We had another ten months with her. So, now when we ony have five days left til Canada, it is kind of hard to accept or understand why God would take her now, before we had a chance to see her.  Just 5 more days God!  We knew she was going downhill but figured she would still be there when we arrived. She was even trying to walk, and spent longer times in her wheelchair instead of the bed. She was determined to join us at Swiss Chalet one day for dinner. But I know God sees the big picture and his ways are not our ways.  We don’t always understand why things turn out the they way that they do.

Maybe one of the reasons is Ben and Elisa. I was thinking how hard it would be for them to see her the way she has been lately.  Just the other day she told someone she didn’t know who Dale was and she said that she didn’t have a son named Dale. Her mind was not always clear. It came and went. They would have been crushed to see her the way she was and have the Grammy that they love so much not recognize them.  So perhaps it is better if the last memories of her are good memories of when she was healthy.  Still, her death  is hitting them hard today. They were both excited to see her again and really wanted to say goodbye . There have been a lot of tears. They loved their Grammy and oh, how she loved her grandchildren with an unconditional love.

I am thankful that our son Jacob was been able to spend some time with her since moving back to Canada. She so looked forward to his visits and they meant so much to her, as they did to Jacob.  There was one time she told Al that she would really like to see Jacob, and 5 minutes later he walked in the room. Having Jacob there the last few months has been a blessing to her.. and to Jacob. She was so supportive of him of his dreams and future. She spent hours praying for him over the years when he used to struggle so much. She was always in his corner.  However, the last time he visited her left him shaken because she didn’t know who he was.

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Dale was very close to his mom. They used to talk all the time on the phone up until the last two weeks.  She was his greatest supporter and always gave wise counsel in situations where perhaps we did not know what to do. She was a wonderful listener. Especially in times of difficulty and we knew things shared in confidence would never get repeated or shared with someone else. How he is going to miss talking to her.

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She has been the most amazing mother in law ever. I know that a lot of people do not always have the best of relationships with their mother in laws for whatever reason…but Sharon was amazing. She was always so encouraging of me when it came to my writing and my cake creations back when I made cakes. There were times I would email her a blog post before I hit publish and get her approval or thoughts.  I could talk to her about anything. I never once felt judged or condemned and she was always supportive and understanding. Losing her is hard.  I really don’t know if it has truly hit us.  Even though we have that assurance of seeing her again, it is not like we can just pick up the phone and call. Eternity seems so far away.

Just a few highlights from team KGT

Goodbyes are a not so fun, normal part of the missionary life.  It seems people are forever coming and going. There are people that we get to know and love and enjoy spending time with and the next thing you know, they are gone…headed back to the states or somewhere new…and it’s hard to see them go. Sometimes, depending on the season we are in at the time, it is hard being the one left behind.

That is what happens when family and friends visit from Canada as well. We love having them visit but man is it hard when they have to leave.  On Sunday we said goodbye to a team from Kitchener Ontario. They are from Dale’s home church and some of them have known Dale since he was a kid. What fun it was to have them here! They were a smaller team of 8 people and the first team to stay in our new team house. It was also an older team…one member was close to 80!  Yet this team had energy to spare, especially her, willing to do whatever.  One night this 80 year old team ring leader if I may call her that, had the team up til 1 in the morning getting crafts ready for the next day. And the next morning they were raring to go.

We had a lot of laughs with this team and we really enjoyed them.

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Some of the highlights were of course the bible classes. The children listened attentively as Ruth told the story.  They brought crafts for the kids, and the children loved to watch this teams dance. I wish you could see how the childrens faces lit up watching the ladies and a couple of the guys  crazy dance moves. Talk about no inhibitions. And the way the children repeated Lu’s name was adorable! “Luuuuu”.

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They also handed out toothpaste and toothbrushes to the children in the schools.  As well as ice cream at another. The ice cream was at a  smaller school that we had not planned on going to initially, but because classes were cancelled in the school we had plans to visit, we drank our “flexi juice” and went to the smaller school. Funny thing was school was technically cancelled there too for a parade through the community, but one of the teachers had all the children all came back for a kids program and we surprised them all with ice cream in a cup. Young and old enjoyed this sweet treat.

We also made a few home visits. One of the most touching was a home that we had visited a couple years ago with another team. I clearly remember the rains that had fallen that year and I clearly recall how distraught the lady who lived there was. I can still see her in my mind, wailing…I remember Dale and I shoveling mud from her bedroom floor, only to realize that her floor was made of dirt, and we had basically been shoveling her floor and throwing it out the window. The mud was thick and what a mess it had made of her home. It was nice to come back to see her and see that she now had a concrete floor in place of the dirt.   Such a sweet and gentle spirit she has. The team was able to pray for her. For her healing from diabetes and the cataracs on her eyes. She is 65 years old, almost the same age as Linda one of the team members.

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There was  a work team as well, and unfortunately I have no photos of their work project. But, I can tell you what a blessing they were to the community leader Don Santos. They built a wall up at his house so his home is now smore secure. He was so pleased and thankful to finally have it in place.

Another thing that we did with the team was the teachers’s picnic. We invited the teachers and directors of 6 schools for a picnic in a park outside the city. It was a day to celebrate them, without children, without responsibility or stress that comes with their jobs. It was a day for them to just have fun, relax and enjoy.  And judging by their faces, I think that they had fun! Dale had games planned for them, prizes, and of course there was food.  Our friend Alejandro who is a wonderful chef, cooked up a bbq, with chicken, pork, tortillas, rice and seriously the best beans I have ever tasted..

And of course….we cannot have a team come and not take them to Valle….