The place we live…

My husband said it well the other day when he said “Never did I think that I would be living with horses, stray dogs, lizards, geckos, snakes, big black butterflies, cockroaches or sheep. But this is our norm. This is the missionary life.”


There are things that do indeed become a regular part of life…certain things that take visiting friends by surprise.  We will often hear the words “look at that!” while they try to capture the image on their camera. And yet these things have just become so normal that I really don’t even think about them anymore. Things like eggs on the shelf. Or multiple people in the back of a pickup truck. Or all guards with guns. All the military.  Cows on the street.

Then there are the horses or sheep on the way to our house. The lizards that come out when the sun is sweltering hot and that scurry away when you come near.  The stray dogs who are always hanging around.  Dead snakes on the road. The mountains we enjoy every day.. Where the city meets the country. This is the place where we live.

 


Jeremiah 29:5 “Build houses and make yourselves at home. Put in gardens and eat what grows in that country..”

Not quitting

 

Near the beginning of February we attended a four day retreat for missionaries in Honduras. More than 300 other missionaries came together for a time of worship, various workshops and the preaching of the Word.  It was a  time to be together with friends we don’t see too often depending on where they live in Honduras, and a time to make new friends.  It was a time to be refreshed.  A time to allow God to speak to areas of our hearts.  It was all free….the meals, accomodations…all we had to was get there.  It’s a lot of work to organize, I can’t even imagine what all goes into pulling an event like that off to bring so many of us together under one roof,  but as usual it was amazing. Some of the topics during the general sessions were offense, jealousy and envy and the difference between the latter two. There was a sermon called “Getting rid of the quit.”..on persevering…staying the course and not quitting.

“Getting rid of the quit” took me back in time to when we first came on the field. It was not easy in the beginning. Far from it. I recently read some journal entries from five plus years ago. I wanted to weep for the woman I was back then….for the woman who’s heart longed for home and ached with desperate loneliness and wanted nothing more than to pack her bags and load up her family and head back to Canada. Back to what was familiar. Family.  Friends. Safety.

Yet deep inside I knew that the Lord wanted us to stay, to persevere through whatever trials we were facing. And there were a lot. New culture, new  language. Safety concerns. Grocery shopping. Trying to balance family and ministry and keep our family first.  I remember taking the brundt of one of our kid’s frustrations and anger at moving here. The daily tongue lashings from the said child…who was also going through grief, loss and challenges and changes and had given up so much for our sake.  I remember the heartache and tears. At the same time we were dealing with major identity theft back in Canada and the tens of thousands of dollars in charges being racked up on “new” credit cards in Dale’s name. We were robbed twice. Our beloved dog was poisoned and died. My mom  was diagnosed with breast cancer.  I remember feeling that the odds were against us. Stress was an understatement.

And yet, while Dale and I  were going through one of the hardest times of our lives, we still had peace inside. We knew that the Lord was with us giving us inner strength. We didn’t really have friends here at the time so we had no where else to go but to Him with our struggles. Even though we were hurting and it was so hard, we knew he wanted us to hang on and not give up. We knew he wanted us to persevere and to trust him that it would be ok…that he would work things out eventually. We knew he didn’t want us to the do the easy thing and throw in the towel. He wanted us to be patient. His timing is not our timing. And things don’t always work out the way we think they will. But that is not always a bad thing.  Also nowhere in  His word does is say that living out what he has called us to do would be easy.

Romans 12:12 Rejoice in our confident hope. Be pateint in trouble, and keep on praying.

When we feel alone and that we have no one to talk to, we can trust Him with the deepest places and the deepest sorrows of of our hearts. He gets us. He understands and He cares.

We are never truly alone. He is always there. 

It is important to remember that. He truly is a good God. He is so faithful. Even when things seem dark. Even when things seem hopeless. Dale and I have seen his faithfulness over and over again while on this journey.

Matthew 11:28  Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. “

1 Peter 5:7 Give all your worries and cares to God for he cares about you.

Joshua 1:9Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

When we put our trust in Him he gives us the strength to hold onto hope, and to persevere.

Isaiah 40:31 But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength, They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run  and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.

As I write this God brought back to my memory of a quote that I had read on another missionary’s (at the time) facebook wall. This was a number of years ago, back in the beginning when I was in the throes of culture shock and felt like quitting and it truly helped me to put my emotions into perspective.

Remember how you felt in the beginning…

“When the going gets tough in full time ministry it helps to go back to the moment you were certain the Holy Spirit whispered “Go, Serve and Love” Remember how you felt, remember how you were overwhelmed at the need, remember the passion you felt to respond, remember how gripped you were in your heart and you couldn’t shake it, remember when you thought the cost was worth it, remember when you made the commitment, remember when you knew that this was His call on your life.” Remember?”…Sandra McIntosh.

When you feel like quitting or giving up…Don’t..

There will be times when you will want to throw in the towel and walk away,  feeling like a failure. Don’t.  Nothing would make the enemy happier than to have people give up and walk away from what they know God has called them to do and give in to defeat and discouragement. Trials don’t last forever. They may not end when or how we would like them to….but you will be ok. God is the one who sustains us. He is the one who can bring healing to a painful situation, encouraging us  through His Word.  And remember that God is in control. Not us. Not other people.

2 Corinthians 4:17, 18 For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long, Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them all and will last forever!  So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now: rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now, will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever.

 

 

Don’t be in such a hurry…

If there is one thing in life that I don’t like in this life,  it is being late for something. I have been that way for as long as I can remember.  I would rather not show up for something…whether it is church or ladies Bible study or a dentist appointment, than be late.  There are times though that stuff happens beyond our control. I find that especially true living in Honduras. We can make well organized plans and all but quite often things don’t go according to schedule and it can be frustrating.  For example, last week we had a team here and we were teach Bible classes each day, but ended up not being able to do so because the government canceled all public schools Monday through Wednesday and also Friday.  That put a huge wrench in our well planned schedule. Thankfully all kinders were open and we ended up doing that instead. Then today I left an hour early this morning to get to ladies Bible study on time.  I figured traffic would be heavy as it typically is that hour of the morning and even though I  gave myself plenty of time I  still managed to be late. However it only took fifteen minutes to get home.

There are times though for Dale and myself that being prompt is important. Like when we are teaching the Bible classes.  If we arrive very late to a school, it means that maybe some of the classes will not get a lesson and therefore miss out and be disappointed. They do love the Bible classes! We often hear them cheering when we pull into the school. But the thing is that school ends at noon and they do have super long recesses…sometimes an hour or more. So that means we have a short time frame to fit all the classes in.

However there are times when just maybe it is not of outmost importance to be ontime. Two days ago we were preparing to leave our house to head to the airport to pick up another team from Canada.  I kept telling my hubby that we needed to leave, we needed to get going.. We were going to be late. Hurry….Hurry!  Let’s go!! And he continued to dilly dally, not concerned at all about arriving at the airport on time.  Meanwhile I had been ready to go a half hour earlier.  Of course he was right when he said it would take them a while to get through customs.  It always does. But still…I wanted to be there at the time the flight was scheduled to arrive.

The thing is,  if we had left when I wanted to or when we should have,  we could have very easilly been in the path of an accident that happened right outside our neighbourhood.  What if we were on our way when the car smashed into the truck causing it to cross the lane and flip upside down?   We were a little late leaving the house…and this accident  had happened minutes before…and we missed it. We later read in the paper that although there were injuries, there we no fatalities.

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I realized once again the need to be patient and not always be in such a hurry.  Sometimes there are reasons we are delayed.

I can’t help but believe that God had a part in making my hubby move a little slower than what I would have liked and that once again His hand of protection was upon us.  Just like when our brakes failed two weeks ago….at just the right place and time ( entering our colonia) and not on the busy highway we were traveling on moments before the brakes gave out.

Today I was chatting with my friend Rafaela about all this and she told me a quote she had heard one time…and it is with this quote that I end.

Better to lose a minute in life than to lose your life in a minute. Author unknown