Yogurt, Cereal and Ice Cream…oh my!

 

The Fundraiser and calories

There was a Schools of Hope fundraiser at Dale’s home church on the 17th of June. A yummy meal cooked by Gordon and Anita Cooledge as well as a silent auction.  We were honoured to have Randy and Judy Lundrigan share as the founders of the ministry, how the Lord first called them to Honduras and led them to start Schools of hope.

The fundraiser was the first place that I actually saw my family since November, but there was little time to talk and catch up because we were busy. The night before we had gone out for dinner with our son Jacob and Dale’s dad at Swiss Chalet .  My family was not able to join us there because my dad teaches a Bible study that day.

I will add that one thing I appreciate seeing is the calorie count on every item on the menus in restaurants.  Even McDonald’s.  Some things were the a little surprising, like the stir fry at Swiss Chalet with more than 1000 calories! At the same  it helps to make a more informed and perhaps wiser choice. I’ve not noticed that in Honduras…not at even the North American chains.

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Essex County: where a kid can be a kid

We spent some time in Essex county and stayed at the beautiful home of Gaye and Gerry Demers. Such a sweet and wonderful couple. When we are there we always feel right at home, just like family. I enjoyed walking with Gaye, going to an alpaca farm with her quilting friends and visiting some yarn shops. I sure wish I had their talent for knitting! Oh, and I met a lady in the knitting group that has a son who was a missionary in the Amazon, but recently had to come back to Canada with his young family. It was nice to chat with her and hear the similarities between where they were and Honduras.

Ben and Elisa were able to see their sisters, and even spent the night at their sister Maria’s home. We all went to a bbq there on Father’s day and hung out with Maria’s husband’s amazing family. Ben and Elisa both were able to go for a ride in Maria’s father in law Brad’s 1970 Corvette Stingray.  It took him something like 30 years to build it. It’s beautiful. They loved that!

Ben and Elisa also got to do typical teenager things, like hanging out with the youth group, going to McDonald’s, The Dairy Freeze,  playing baseball in the dark and staying out late with friends. Things they can’t do in Honduras because once it is dark we are home and we don’t go out; except for our home group. It did my heart good to see them do “normal” things. Things most teenagers take for granted.

Elisa and her good friend Julie also had a photo shoot at the Demer home. What a fun, memory building day between to close friends, and the photos taken by Julie’s sister Hannah, turned out beautiful!

 

 

Braeside and the land of choice

We arrived Thursday to our home base at Braeside camp, after a stop at Picards and then a yummy meal at my parents. I have to admit it was kind of nice to finally unpack the suitcase and get my things either hung up or in a dresser.

We did stop at the No Frills grocery store on the way to the camp and once again the selection was overwhelming.  There are just so many choices to take in.  It’s like we just stand there frozen, jaws open, not knowing what to do, especially in the yogurt and cereal aisles…and let’s not forget the ice cream; so many decadent flavours. We ended up buying “Loads of White chocolatey, raspberry treats.” Delicious.  I mean, we do live in the capital city of Honduras and we can generally find all that we need, but there is nowhere near the variety that one can find here in Canada. Life is just simpler in Honduras and I kind of like that. Here it’s like sensory overload or something.

 

 

Ben is standing at the end of the ice cream aisle! An entire aisle of just cereal…and a closer look at some of the ice cream selection…and not quite all of the yogurt selection.

Courtesy

Another thing that we are not quite used to yet is courtesty. You see, in Honduras pedestrians do not have the right of way. I clearly remember when we first moved there feeling like we were in a game of Frogger, dodging cars as we try to get to the other side of the road without getting hit. It was kind of fun actually…exhilarating.  In Canada if someone sees you want to cross the road, they stop for you and wait for you to cross. It’s just so foreign to us now.

There was also time this week Dale and I were walking together when a car slowed down and pulled up beside us, coming to a stop. We both had a brief moment of panic, but all the person was doing was dropping a friend off. It happened again at the camp here. I was walking around the grounds here when a guy pulls up in a John Deere and stops beside me. I must have looked at him funny because he said he was not trying to scare me, he just wanted to make sure we had settled in ok and had everything we needed.

Budgets and leadership training..

We have also been fund raising for our budget. We need more $$ a month to maintain it and not fall behind, so we have been visiting churches and asking for support. It is so hard asking and not something either of us are comfortable with. Dale has also been talking to a few pastors about leadership training through skype for our Honduran staff and then every Sunday we are speaking in a few of our supporting churches.

Just enjoy..

In closing, when I looked at our busy schedule I was feeling so discouraged because I didn’t know when I would be able to see family or get together with friends, but I am taking a couple days to be in Woodstock. I have booked both a hair appointment and a Dr.’s appointment…and of course I’m going to try and fit some coffee dates in there too, as well as hang out with my family.

A first it was a struggle being here. It always is anytime we come back with reverse culture shock and all, but God has been reminding me to just enjoy my time while I am here. Enjoy walking where ever I want without thinking about safety or looking behind me every once in a while. Enjoy the cooler (cold) weather, and the longer days. Enjoy the moments with family and friends and people we have not seen in years. And yes, maybe even enjoy a (new to us) flavour of ice cream now and then.

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Bears, planes and trains..

We’ve been in Canada for almost three weeks now and yet it feels like an eternity. A lot has been crammed in to a short amount of time, so I am going to have to write more than one post to be able to share all that I want.

We flew out to BC, having spent a sleepless night on the floor in the airport of Mexico City. We only had four hours between landing there and our flight out. I didn’t want to sleep for fear of not waking up in time and/or our luggage walking off.

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Then we drove to our Missions conference called “Segue”. It was a good time connecting with other missionary friends from all over the world in a beautiful setting.

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Everyone knows that I love to walk, so when we were there, it was a surprise to be cautioned against walking alone. I would expect that in Honduras, but Canada? It was because of an entirely different kind of danger though and one that we don’t experience in Honduras…Bears! Thankfully I never came across any on my walks.

After our time at Segue was complete, we were able to take in the play Fiddler on the roof at a dinner theater for Free. We were gifted with tickets from the lead actor Reg Parks. What a treat that was…it was sooo good!  We also went to Stanley Park…one thing on Dale’s bucket list. So beautiful.

 

Then we took a 30 hour train ride to Alberta to visit with Dale’s brother David. We figured since we were already out west, why not go see him. I for one have never been to the western provinces and he has lived there many years and we had never been to visit.  It was a very beautiful ride, albeit long. At least we were able to get up and move around a little. It was also a lot cheaper than flying because we did not have the sleeper cars. And cold!  We were not prepared for 8° weather. I ended up purchasing a nice, thick, fleece blanket for $5 on the train, just to help get rid of the chill. They also do not feed you on the train unless you pay for it…not even water, and the meals were expensive. Note to self: Next time pack lots of snacks. There is also no security on the train, no scanning of your bags or body pat downs. That was really odd I thought, not to mention kind of dangerous if you think about it…

 

The train did stop for more than an hour in Jasper.  It’s was such a picturesque town with a few little shops and a Tim Horton’s. Dale put his back out though, so he was very disappointed not to be able to see it. He had been so looking forward to that. The train stewards brought him a wheel chair and there he sat in the dark train station, away from the shops, away from the view. I offered to wheel him where ever he wanted but he said “no”. He later told me he was in so much pain at the time and he had no recollection of that being offered at all. I felt so helpless at the time and it was hard seeing him in so much pain and not being able to do anything to help.

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We arrived at the train station in Edmonton very late at night. David, Dale’s brother picked us up. Our arrival was later than it was supposed to be because there was about an hour and a half where the train just sat there, not moving. I don’t know why the delay, but it was literally out in the middle of nowhere that we sat.

David has a cute little house in the country and it was so kind of him to put us up for a few days and nights. I really enjoyed the freedom of walking on the lonely country road with seemingly no one around for miles. A couple of the days we were there though, I had my strange recurring “sick” days. I hate them so much. I don’t talk about them much anymore, but they really get in the way of me doing life. They are debilitating because I  just feel so horrible, nauseated and weak when they occur that I can’t function and just stay in bed and sleep the day away.  The day we were to go to the world famous Edmonton mall, I actually felt well enough to get up and walk around but still had no appetite. I knew David had wanted to treat us to lunch at the Spaghetti factory but I also knew I didn’t feel up to eating. At that point it had already been three days of not eating. But I ordered soup anyway, hoping and praying I would keep it down.  But no….Even before the soup came I was heaving into a plastic bag in the corner of our booth. It was so gross and nasty. But what was I supposed to do? I knew I would never be able to make it to the bathroom in time and that would have made even more of a scene than the quiet corner of our booth. The last sick day/s seemed to drag on forever.  Like I said, I really don’t say much about them online, but they truly are discouraging.

 

The next stop was Ontario and we flew out the following day. We were able to meet up with Dale’s dad and our son Jacob, at Swiss Chalet of course! It was so good to see them. Sadly, my family was not able to come because my dad teaches a bible study and it was on the same night. Both Al and Jacob have changed a lot since saw them last.  Al has really seemed to go downhill . He has lost an awful lot of weight and his memory is not what it should be. It’s very sad to see him failing. Dale mentioned to him about possibly looking into assisted living for him, and we fully expected him to respond negatively that, but he was actually ok with it, so that is something we will look into while we are back. Jacob has bulked up quite a bit.  He looks good though. I am so excited to have him join us in about a week for a lengthy visit. It will be like the old times, the five us together once again, as the family that we are.20170615_161527

Let it shine…

We are almost finishing our fourth year in Honduras and about to embark on our fifth. It is hard to believe sometimes just how fast the months and years have flown by. We look at some of the kids in sixth grade who we remember when they were just little tykes. Some of them still remember the bible lessons from back in grade two.

 
It is no secret that the area that the Schools of Hope minister is a dangerous area. It is an area with a lot of gang activity. There is a lot of violence, crime and death. We know many people who have lost a loved one to murder. In fact, a couple years ago, during one of our Beatitudes lessons, we asked the children “what makes your heart sad?” Their answers made us want to weep. The most common answers were things like, “when your family member is murdered, or when a loved one dies.” At times their reality can be so hard to process. These are kids that we know and love. They are not just photos of nameless, poor children on a flyer or television screen. They are real. We see them and get to be with them on a regular basis. We know many of their names and their stories. We’ve been in many of their homes. To think that death, especially the death of a parent is something normal or just a fact of life is unthinkable. Even after being here for four years, it can be hard for the heart to deal with. Things can seem so dark and without hope.

 

However, despite the fact that we teach Bible classes to schools located in dangerous territory, we believe that the gospel is a light shining in that darkness. Almost 6000 children in fifteen public schools are hearing the Word of God on a consistent basis. They are taking the Bible stories home and sharing them with their families. Lives and hearts are being changed by the power of God, and therefore the darkness cannot win. The enemy is not going to have the victory. Surely, the enemy would love it if we let the darkness scare us off, and for us to let the fear of something happening prevent us from going up the mountain and doing what we are doing. But God has called us and our amazing Honduran staff who teach in nine other schools to continue shining His light in the midst of the darkness.  What happens when you walk into a room that is dark and turn the light on?  The darkness disappears…

 

John 1:5 says that “Light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it. “

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All the darkness in the world, cannot extinguish the light of a single candle”…St Frances of Assisi…

 
Matthew 5:14-16 (The Msg)
Here is another way to put it: You’re to be the light, bringing out the God-colors in the world. God is not a secret to be kept. We’re going public with this, as public as a city on a hill. If I make you light bearers, you don’t think I’m going to hide you under a bucket, do you? I’m putting on a light stand. Now that I’ve put you there on a hilltop, on a light stand—shine! Keep open house; be generous with your lives. By opening up to others, you’ll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in heaven.

 
So, how about you? God may not be calling you to a foreign country. But he has called you to be a light to those around you. Perhaps it’s your neighbour or co -worker. Perhaps it’s the person you pass every morning when walking your dog, or the person who takes your coffee order each day. Do you take the time to stop and talk with them a moment? I know for me, (Carolyn) I’ve had some of the best conversations with people while walking my dog. People in Honduras are very relational…so to pass by and not say” good morning” or “hello” would be considered very rude. I don’t know everyone’s entire life story; except in the case of my dear elderly and now deceased friend Jorge. (How I miss him. My heart still pangs a little each time I walk past his house.) But it’s about building that trust and relationship one day at a time. It is not something that is going to happen overnight. We don’t know what people are going through or struggling with. So many times people hide behind the façade that everything is fine, and unless we interact with them and get to know them we will have no idea if they are walking through a dark place in their lives, longing for something to change, longing for hope or light in their darkness….so I encourage you to shine!

We are going to Canada

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I have been packed for a few days now, all set to go back to Canada on Saturday. I think I am ready. I feel like for the most part, all of us are in a better place emotionally than we were a couple summers ago when we went back for a few weeks. Honestly though I still feel a little mixed about it. I am excited about to seeing parts of Canada that I have never been to. I have not been to many of the provinces in the western part of Canada. We have a missions training conference called Segue that is in British Columbia. I am looking forward to connecting with other missionaries; some of whom we met on our first Segue before coming to Honduras and seeing the beautiful scenery. We will be going to Alberta and spending some time with Dale’s brother Dale and I am looking forward to that as well. Then there is a family reunion coming up and we will be in Canada for that. I look forward to going for a walk and not having to be on guard or checking behind me all the time.  For the most part I feel pretty safe in the neighbourhood I walk in. People know me there, but it is rare that I change up where I walk or stray out of that area. There are other neighbourhoods super close to me that I would love to explore and walk in, but I know it wouldn’t be wise or safe.   Finally, I am excited to spend some extended time with our oldest son Jacob…he and I are going to cook together at some point.

There are things I am not looking forward to. I find traveling stressful to say the least. I am dreading that last leg of our journey to Canada because its six hours long. I have a hard time sitting still for any length of time and get very antsy when I can’t get up and move. I am not exactly looking forward to fundraising, yet it’s necessary if we are to continue our work here in Honduras.  I am dreading the crazy busy schedule. Our life is here now and transitioning back is difficult. I’m going to miss my daily routine, the people, the culture, and my schnauzer Abby. I am so thankful though that we found a couple people to stay in our house and look after her and our home while we are away. I wonder how many things I will mess up once in Canada because I forget how things are done. For example the fancy debit/credit card machines. Am I going to have a break down in the grocery store because the selection is just so overwhelming?

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Before the kids left for school this morning, I asked them how they felt about going back to Canada. They too are feeling a little mixed. Elisa is looking forward to Cinnamon burst cheerios. It’s the little things. She is sad to miss Youth MK camp and she would rather do that than go to Canada. MK camp is a great place for them to connect with other kids who are just like them, and who all have similar struggles and challenges. She has made great friends here and I am so thankful for the friendships both Ben and Elisa have here in Honduras. I honestly do not think they would be in such a good place were it not for the God given friendships they have here.

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Ben is looking forward to seeing his grandparents and his uncles. He told me he would rather not go because it feels like a waste of a summer. Hard to imagine that in the beginning of this journey he did not want to go. I have come to realize that he is not one that enjoys change, yet he has adjusted very well to life here. He has been quite adamant that he does not wish to return to Canada upon graduation. This is coming from a guy who loves snow and truly does miss snowboarding or any kind of sports for that matter. In that way, he has sacrificed a lot by being here and that makes me sad.  So, we are not sure what that will look like if he ends up staying. Perhaps he can do some college courses on line. What he really wants to do is some sort of missions work somewhere here in Honduras. Maybe doing something with other missionaries who have teams all the time. At any rate his heart is here in Honduras.

Honduras : Home of our hearts.

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