Browsing Tag

home

Growth Journey Missionary Life

Resting in Home

November 15, 2017

As I write this post, I sit in the middle of a food court surrounded by people who look slightly different than I do all speaking a language that is not my native tongue. But today I don’t feel like a fish out of water but rather someone who is at home.

Most days I am the only pale face in the group. Sometimes I get lots of stares especially in places I’ve never been. It can be a little unnerving. But it can also be hilarious.

Sunday night, as we sat around a table eating fish for our Christmas dinner with the artisans, I realized how at home I felt.

Do you know how beautiful of a feeling that is?

It may be one of the most wonderful feelings in the world—belonging. Knowing right here in this moment right where you are is where you belong. I’ve struggled so long with that. I’m sure I’ll struggle with it again in the future but today I’m resting in this peace of coming home.

Resting in the peace that home looks different for us all. Resting in the fact that for some of us, our moment is in the car pool line. Others in the office. Others in Honduras. But God uses each of our moments. Nothing is lost on Him.

Because there’s a mom in that car pool line that needs to know Jesus and you are the person to share Him, not the person in Honduras. There’s a client on the phone who needs prayer and you are the person to pray, not the mom. There’s a brother who needs a ride to the hospital over mountainous roads and you are the person to give that ride, not the person in the office. Our moments are beautiful. They are each needed and perfect.

They are where we belong because ultimately if we are seeking Him in genuine, we are in the center of His will. We are home.

In a few short hours, we’ll board a plane to the USA where we’ll be for the holidays. It will be a good time. A sweet time with family. But already in my heart of hearts, I know I’ll be ready to come home by the end of it, maybe before.

Because this, Honduras, is home now.

The truth is I’m not sure I would have dreamt this life for myself but our Father knows so much better than we do.

His thoughts are higher than our thoughts, His ways are higher than our own.

Some days we curl up in a ball crying for home but sometimes when morning comes we realize, we’re already there.

We’re already home.

Journey Missionary Life

Invited.

October 10, 2017

Roni is the guard of our “gated community.”

Now being a guard entails making the rounds a few times a day on foot, carrying a gun (or a machete) and of course, his most important job, lifting the gate. Yep–up, down, up, down, making life easier for us lazy car drivers.

We’ve gotten to be friends with Roni. He’s a hard worker. He loves his family. And he loves Jesus.

Last week, when we got back from church, we invited him to come join us for supper. It’s become somewhat of a normal thing for us now to invite Roni over to eat when we’re home for a meal and it’s his shift but last Sunday was different.

It was different because Roni shared something with us that left my mouth on the floor.


As we all talked over some yummy barbecue chicken, he told us that we were the only people in the whole “colonial” that invited him to sit at their table to eat.

What?!

I was a little confused and thought maybe I had misunderstood. No one had ever invited Roni into their homes to share a meal? That couldn’t be right. He has worked as a guard here for over two years. But he confirmed it again.

Our home was the only home he had ever been welcomed into to share a meal as a friend, as an equal.

It’s one of the ugly sides of Honduras–classes. Unspoken but they are definitely there.

As we talked on, Roni shared a story he had heard from a pastor in San Pedro Sula. The pastor shared about a rich man who was told the Lord was coming to visit him. The man prepared his home and a yummy meal for his Lord. A sick old man stopped by and asked for something to eat but the rich man said “I’m sorry, I can’t give you anything because I’m waiting for my Lord.” Then a poor child in rags knocked on the rich man’s door and asked for something to eat. The rich man repeated the same, “I’m sorry, I can’t give you anything to eat because I’m waiting for my Lord.” It got later and later and still the Lord had not come to the rich man’s home. He thought perhaps he had confused the hour so he gave his Lord a call. The Lord told him, “I’ve already come by twice and you refused me both times.”

Isn’t that just what the Scriptures teach? That when we serve one of the least of these, we are serving Him. Now I’m not in any way saying Roni is one of the least of these because he’s not but he is my brother and he is welcome at our table.

Do you know the following Sunday after that conversation when we invited Roni and his family to join us at church that they said yes? Even though they haven’t been in church for some time, they still accepted.

We all piled into the car and the back row Sunday, together. #backrowbaptists (But actually there just wasn’t another aisle with enough seats for us all.)

 

All this has got me remembering…

Remembering when I was new to Albany and April Brown invited myself and a couple other girls over to her home for dinner and a movie. She put out such a beautiful spread for us. Her sweet kiddos helped serve us gals. Then her husband walked in from work. He looked at the table and immediately said, “Are those new plates?”

April was mortified. She said “Here I’ve told the kids not to say anything about the new plates in front of our guests and you walk in and that’s the first thing out of your mouth.” It was really quite comical. We assured her it was absolutely fine and we loved the plates.

But what she didn’t know is that night after we left her home, tummies full from yummy lasagna and hearts full from watching Return to Me, we talked about those plates. We talked about how special we felt that she would go out and buy new plates just for us. We felt loved.

And that’s what all this is about, that we can be welcomed to the table and feel love.

The love of Jesus.

The events over the last few weeks have made me realize how much value there is to opening our home and inviting someone over to break bread. How that alone can minister deep down to someone’s soul. It doesn’t matter if they are rich or poor. A security guard or a bank owner. An indigenous Lenca or a university graduate. It doesn’t matter. We are all the same in the Father’s eyes.

We are all made in the image of the Father.

We all have value.

We all feel honored and loved when we are welcomed to the table.

So I want to invite you to the table. I want to invite you to share in this blessing of welcoming others to the table. I want to invite you to be a part of the work here in Honduras. Sometimes that work is just cooking a meal and inviting a family over to share it with us. But I want to invite you to be a part of that. You may not physically be able to sit at the table with us here in Honduras but you can through your prayers and support. You can through your financial donations.

We’ve got some special things up our sleeves for our financial donors coming soon. (Hint: ornament!) But most importantly we want to invite you to be a part of what is happening here on the ground in Honduras. We want to give you the opportunity to sow seeds and reap the blessings that comes with inviting others to the table.

You are invited to join us in this work. You are invited to the table.

Will join us?

Donate online at solohope.org/pages/donate.

Journey Life Missionary Life

The 5 things I miss most from the US

June 9, 2017

It’s coming up on 6 months I’ve been living in Honduras and let me tell you, every day holds its own set of challenges and sometimes, downright miseries. For the most part, I love this Honduras life. It feels like my own frontier of sorts but there are days that living here is just hard. It’s on those days I miss some of the luxuries of US living.

So not that you necessarily care but here’s my top 5:

1) Mail! Surprised? Why, yes, I do, I miss snail mail. Mail has always been one of my favorite things. (Not the bills, but you know, the happy mail.) It’s just special. I have always enjoyed walking to the mailbox after the mailman has run and flipping through everything. Sometimes there would even be a package or a handwritten card from a friend and that meant day made for sure! Ever said we could put up a mailbox but without mail, I just don’t think it would be the same. (There are no mail services in La Esperanza.)

2) Convenience. I know, I know, then why did you move to Honduras? Listen, in the US, we don’t realize how much we take convenience for granted. Oh you need to pay a bill? Do it from your phone. Need to grab some batteries? Stop by Walgreen’s. Want a coffee? Go through Starbucks drive thru. Want a glass of fresh clean water? Turn on your faucet.

Here, almost nothing is convenient. All bills are paid at the bank and not necessarily at the same bank. I have literally stood in line at the bank for hours trying to pay bills. Clean water—yeah, you have to buy that. Right now, it’s rainy season and the water is the color brown. We won’t even cook with it so that means more water we need to buy. Electricity—out for a day or two days for who knows why. Yep, that’s norm which has means no internet. And let’s don’t even talk about what the roads look like right now!

I told my mom the other day, I feel like I get less accomplished living here versus when I would come down several months throughout the year. I know that’s not true but simply living here takes effort. Nothing is easy. Wait, I take that back—ordering chicken from Dom Pollo is pretty easy (and yummy!)

 

3) Bookstores. I’ve loved reading for as long as I can remember. I had neglected that joy for some time but am making a point to get back in the habit, even if it’s fun and light reads. I have never neglected walking through a bookstore (or library) at any available opportunity. There’s something that just soothes my soul walking through aisles and aisles of books, reading the back of book after book. I LOVE it. Take me there now! When we were in the States, I took Ever to a Lifeway and he could not believe how many books there were. He said “This would never succeed in Honduras. No one reads.” And unfortunately, for the most part, that’s true and I fear it is part of why poverty has been prolonged in this country. So many are illiterate but also unlike the schools in the US, I don’t see teachers or schools encouraging a love of reading in their students. Reading has the ability to take us anywhere in the world, to grow our minds and our understanding of the world we live in. It is sad but I have yet to find a bookstore in Honduras. (Hey, if you know of one, please direct me there ASAP!)

 

4) Chick-fil-A + Starbucks. I know there’s probably some rule that those two things are not supposed to be in the same phrase but it’s true, I miss them both. I’m not the only who misses Chick-fil-A in our house. After visiting Chick-fil-A more than once while in the States, Ever’s love of Chick-fil-A was also started. I’m not picky—I can take their Chick-fil-A biscuit for breakfast or their Chick-fil-A sandwich for lunch. Either one would help with this Chick-fil-A craving.

Starbucks, I almost feel guilty missing while I live in a country with literally some of the best coffee in the world. But if I’m being honest, it’s the flavors I miss—the Salted Caramel Mocha Latte. Oh yes, please! And strangely enough—tea! I ask for Chai Tea in every little coffee shop here in La Esperanza. Every once and a while, I’ll luck up and someone will actually have chai. I’ve never been a big hot tea drinker but drinking tea reminds me of sitting in Mrs. Cheryle’s living room sipping on our teas and talking about Honduras and Jesus, which brings me to number 5…

 

5) Community. Living in Honduras would be by far easier if I had family right around the corner. If I could meet up with my girlfriends for coffee (even without the flavors) to chat and sharpen each other. That is what I miss most. I miss getting see my nephews growing up. I miss getting to do a Bible study in person with a friend. I miss my good long heart-to-hearts with my mommy. I miss going to church and having people greet me in English. Friendships are a treasure and I miss the life-giving friendships the Lord has so wonderfully blessed me with in the States. This is honestly a real point of prayer for me—a friend. One who speaks English and yet understands life here in Honduras and most importantly is HERE in Honduras. As you think about it, I’d very much appreciate your prayers for the Lord to bring that friend into my life.

 

Well, that about covers it, folks. That’s what I miss from the good ole US of A. Every day here in Honduras is an adventure and I’ve gotta say, I’m thankful that somehow God saw fit to put me here. I’m learning. I’m growing. Sometimes I’m missing but I’m never missing the most important thing of all—His presence. He goes before me. He goes behind me. He surrounds me on all sides and He gives me strength when I think this is just too hard. I am thankful to be on this journey with Him!

Journey

Coming Home {A Love Story} // Part 3

December 22, 2016

To say I was nervous would be an understatement. It was July and I had just returned to Honduras and scheduled a few days in San Pedro Sula to spend some time with Ever but I was nervous! It would be the first time we interacted in person as boyfriend/girlfriend and I was nervous! Okay, I think you get it, I was nervous.

When Ever got off work, he came to the hotel where I was staying to pick me up for our “first” date. (He calls it our second date but first date alone together haha!) When Ever showed up to the hotel, he gave me a hug and I was so tense, he immediately picked up on that and played it so cool. (I think he was a little nervous too but I doubt he’d ever admit to that.) He held my hand as we drove to Pizza Hut and just reassured me that I would be fine. And after a bit, I was. Eventually I had loosened up and was acting more like myself. I was also getting to see Ever in a new light. He has such an outgoing personality and never meets a stranger so you can imagine Pizza Hut provided lots of opportunity for me to observe this man and watch how he’s quick to offer friendship to those around him. We talked and laughed and ate pizza and I was only awkward for part of the time. Lol!

As our evening was coming to an end, he paid for our meal and then lead me back to the car. As we started to head back to my hotel, I started getting nervous again because I knew our date was coming to an end and I knew he was going to kiss me. Now when I say I was chronically single before meeting Ever, I mean that quite literally. You know the movie “Never Been Kissed.” Yep. That was me. Ever knew this but had already given me fair warning before I even got back to Honduras that he was going to kiss me. So again I was nervous!

When we arrived back to the hotel, Ever came and opened my door and helped me out, then wrapped his arms around me and y’all! Let me tell you, the sweetest, most perfect first kiss ever!! I literally could not have dreamed of a more perfect kiss. Yes, totally googly-eyed right now thinking about that first kiss. We said good night and I went up to my room. As the hotel door closed behind me, I have to admit I totally did a little happy dance. Haha!
This was totally me!

The next couple days I got spend with Ever were really special. He took me to the movies which if you know me, you know is totally my thing. He had not been in 11 years! He took to meet his friends and then one day we spent basically the entire day trying to get a car I sometimes use while in Honduras registered. I was getting to see him in different scenarios and y’all I can tell you this man is consistent. What you see is what you get and I love that about him.

My mom told me before I went to Honduras in July that if I felt the same way about Ever in person as I did from a distance, then it wouldn’t be long. My mama knows me.

When Ever and I first started getting to know each other, I made two things very clear to him.
1) I wasn’t going to date for the heck of dating. That’s not where I was in life.
2) I was honoring God by waiting to have sex until marriage.
Those two conversations were maybe a little uncomfortable to have right off the bat but I’m so glad we talked about those things from the beginning. Ever has honored and supported me in both areas. I remember when I asked Ever after a few days of constant texting, “What are we doing?” His response left no questions in my mind of what we were doing. We were starting something that we hoped would last for a lifetime. Can I tell you how wonderful it is to not have to worry or wonder about what the heck’s going on in a relationship you’re in. It’s refreshing.

So needless to say, it wasn’t long before the topic of marriage was coming up. We had had hard conversations. Those conversations in which both of us had to go before the Lord and say “Is this what you want?” We’ve shared the knitty gritty of our pasts. We had asked ourselves how the past impacted the future and ultimately it has been a decision. My mom always said “Love is a decision.” And that’s true. Yes, there’s feelings, there’s googly-eyes, there’s romance but ultimately love is a decision. So we made that decision to love each other when it’s fun and exciting and in those times he’s getting on my nerves and hurts my feelings.

There’s a bazillion other things I could tell you about those first days we got to spend time together but I promised to finish up “the story” in this blog. So allow me to continue…

When I returned to the States, Ever and I knew we wanted to spend our lives together and make Christ the center. He arranged to call my parents via video call to ask for my hand in marriage. I was so nervous for him and I technically wasn’t there for the conversation but kinda was and heard the whole thing and he did so good. My parents were ready with their list of questions and believe me, you talking about marrying their daughter, they ain’t going easy on ya. But he did so good! I was so proud and probably a little more in love by the end of that conversation.

My parents gave their blessing for us to marry. My dad said he could tell that Ever was a man of compassion. My mom said “There’s not many men out there who would say they’d lay down their life for their wife. He did.” (Heart full.)

So then it was waiting until the next time I’d see him again. October. An eternity. Okay I’m being dramatic but it felt that way (but not nearly as bad as right now! Please, Sunday, get here!)

The day finally arrived for me to return to Honduras. I was meeting his family and I knew somewhere along the way there would be a ring. He didn’t make me wait too long. When I arrived in Honduras, he and his family were waiting for me. They loaded my stuff in the back of the truck and we headed out to conqueror some errands. Ever had the gleam of a little boy with a new bicycle in his eyes and I knew he was up to something. We stopped for lunch at a Chinese restaurant (yes, they have those in Honduras and I promise you it’s the best Chinese food you’ve ever tasted!) As soon as we sat down in the booth sitting across from his mom and her other half, he popped out a box.

He told me how much I meant to him and how much he wanted his family to be a part of this moment and then he asked me, “Te casarías conmigo?” (Will you marry me?) To which, I said “Si!!!!” (Yes!!!!)

I look a hot mess but this was at the Chinese restaurant where he proposed!

And in 9 days, I’ll start the greatest adventure of my life–marriage. I could not have picked a better man to get to do this life with. God really does do more than we can ever ask or imagine. He did it with Ever.

When I returned from Honduras at the end of October after saying the hardest good-bye of my life, I stepped off the plane back onto U.S. soil and in my heart, immediately knew this wasn’t home. Ever was my family. Ever was home. Over the years I’ve struggled with where home is. I thought it was a place but I realize now it is a person. It’s Ever and it’s a special thing to finally be coming home.

Te amo, Ever. No veo la hora de ser tu esposa.

 

(To all my single ladies, please let this be an encouragement to you. God sees you. In the years of singleness, though for the most part I was so thankful for the season, it does not mean it wasn’t hard. So often Christians mean well and say stupid things like “you should learn to be content without a man.” Wanting a man doesn’t mean you’re not content, it means you’re human and made for relationship. Or another personal favorite “maybe God is trying to teach you something through your singleness.” God is always teaching us no matter the season. Or “once you stop trying to find a man, that’s when he’ll come into your life.” In April, the month before I “met” Ever again, I felt like God was telling me to put myself out there. I signed up for eHarmony, I said yes to a blind date that fell through but it was an act of faith saying that I believed God was answering my prayer for a husband. Please don’t let anyone make you feel that your desire for a husband is somehow not right. God made us for relationship. It is not wrong to desire someone to do life with. While waiting for His best, enjoy the time. Make your single years count BIG for Christ. And remember, He hasn’t forgotten you. He sees you, my friend.)

Journey

Coming Home {A Love Story} // Part 2

December 12, 2016

I knew there was something special about him the day I watched a line of kiddos form in front of him during snack time at a VBS hosted by a team from the States. These little Pre-K students looked up to him with their big dark eyes that seemed to say “please help me” and so he did. He helped them peel sticker after aggravating sticker off their package of cookies (think prizes in cereal boxes except these are attached to individual packages of cookies.) He patiently peeled one sticker off, handed it back to its little owner, and proceeded to the next kiddo in line. I stood nearby watching the scene transpire, part of me wondering why none of the kids were asking me for help after all they knew me, not him, and the other part of me taking note of the man who was willing to give his time to these little ones. When I saw this, I remember thinking “There’s something special about this guy.”

That was a little over a year ago. Ever was the driver for a team I was hosting in Honduras but quickly became part of the team–a nut always ready for a laugh but with such a kind and caring heart for people. On that team, I did a lot of observing. I watched as he jumped in with the team to do the motions to all the songs they sang with the kids. I watched as he bought a bottle of water for a young woman I asked him to drive to the doctor. I watched with more than a little surprise as he knelt down and washed my shoes in a stream of water after I had stepped in mud up to my ankles.

I watched. I listened. And I was attracted to him. But ultimately I laid it down.

The timing wasn’t there for either of us and neither of us pursued anything outside of a friendship. Past January of this year, I had not spoken to Ever again and when I had, it had been on a professional level about logistics for our artisan beach trip. And honestly, that was okay. I was fine.

So I thought that was it. Ever was not the driver I typically worked with (his uncle, Francisco, was usually the driver for my teams) so I assumed that was it.

Until May…

I was hosting a team from Camilla, GA. I had called ahead to the owner of the transportation company to double check the driver for our team so I could tell the team who to look for at the airport when they arrived. I assumed it was going to be Francisco. It was not.

It was Ever.

I remember when the owner told me who the driver was for that team how my stomach kinda did a somersault. It was a little unexpected as I had not thought about him since January.

When he arrived, the team piled out of the van and Brother Joe’s wife, Teresa walked over to me, gave me a hug and said “Have you thought about Ever? He seems like a really great guy!”

Well by the end of that week, I was definitely thinking about Ever and it was apparent he was thinking about me too. But I was still unsure. Chronically single, here, didn’t know what to do. After the team, I told Ever I would miss him and he said he would me too. I was staying in Honduras for another week and he asked if he could come to La Esperanza (3 hours from where he was living) and take me out to eat. I told him no. Haha!

But he didn’t lose heart. I’ve always said that whoever God had for me would have to be willing to fight for me because I’m a tough cookie. And Ever fought for me but with such kindness, patience and consistency.

It honestly startled me that someone would actually want me. After I returned to the States, Ever and I continued to get to know each other. I would ask him over and over again why did he want me. Just being real right now, I’ve always struggled with why a man would want me. I’m not an easy person. I’m over the top independent. And really, quite frankly, I can be a pain in the a$$.

But Ever pursued me. And he showed me Jesus.

I remember the night I finally gathered the courage to tell him the details of the depression I suffered in my early 20s, something only a handful of people know. I felt absolutely sick. But the Lord had put it in my heart that I needed to tell him. As I shared the details of what I had suffered, I was so afraid he’d want to run for the hills. But he didn’t. He was concerned. He wanted to make sure I was okay and that I knew that in Christ, all things are made new. He reminded me of the call on my life and the enemy’s desire to destroy it. He led my heart that night even though he was in another country at the time. He showed me Jesus.

Over the course of the last few months, I learned about the love of Christ in such new and amazing ways that I never dreamt. Even the Bible talks about the relationship between a man and a woman being a mystery and it is. It is a mystery how God has used this man in my life to bring healing, redemption and restoration. He challenges me. He pushes me. Even when I don’t want to be pushed. He cares for me and wants me to care for myself. He prays for me. He makes me laugh. He wants me. He loves me. And I most assuredly love him.

(Okay, one more blog is coming after this one and it includes all the juicy stuff like first kiss, engagement, and plans for our future life together! Sorry to drag this out but it’s just too good for just one or apparently even two blogs. Lol!)