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reality check

Growth Journey Life Missionary Life

Disillusionment.

August 22, 2017

If I had one word to describe this year, it would be “disillusionment.” It’s been like being handed a cup of steaming wonderful smelling coffee only to take a great big sip and find out it has no sugar! (To you weird people who like sugar-free coffee, just forget the analogy.)

But it’s true. I have no other word to describe this year but disillusionment. The truth is I thought I knew but I have realized I really didn’t know at all. And it seems to apply to almost everything in my life…

Marriage

Honduras

Ministry

Friends

Culture

Okay, like I said, basically everything.

But if I had to tell you what I’ve been most disillusioned by would be pieces of the culture in Honduras. Now listen, I’ve been coming to Honduras since I was 16. I’ve lived here at different times and honestly considered myself more immersed in the culture than most expats. (If you’d like to call that arrogance, go ahead…there’s probably some truth to it.) But I’ve realized something since marrying my muchacho. Before when I would come to Honduras as a single woman, I had the luxury of drawing lines in how far I would go with the culture. If there was something I didn’t wish to do or even God-forbid, didn’t wish see, I had the luxury, yes the luxury of turning back, of saying no. But now the culture lives in the house with me and there is no running from it. Now there’s only learning from it.

And let me tell you, there’s a lot to learn.

This country has many intricate problems. Where one may easily stand on the outside looking and say “Why don’t they change this or that?”, standing in it, you began to see such black and white solutions are really not available. Oh how we wish there were but the simple truth is there is not. There’s “un monton” (a load) of superstitions and strange beliefs and witchcraft. There’s drugs and violence and gangs. And really in my completely simple (and quite possibly, wrong) opinion, I believe these two things impact the country like nothing else. Honestly it has surprised me how much so…

B.E. (Before Ever) when I would come to Honduras, I lived in a bubble. Oh yes, I heard people talk about the drug problem. I heard of people going to visit brujos (witch doctors). But I never NEVER realized the impact.

Now I realize how normal and totally accepted it is for someone who is sick to go visit a witch doctor. No one thinks a thing about it. It is culturally accepted, even if you are Catholic and often times, even if you are an Evangelical Christian.

Just this last week, a young lady who we had been praying for and was showing much improvement was taken to a witch doctor by her parents. They paid top dollar–money that they did not have but found (or borrowed) to visit this “really good witch/healer.” Afterwards, this young lady quickly began to go downhill. She died Monday and all I can say is how much I absolutely HATE the devil and his evil schemes. The parents of this sweet girl thought they were doing the best for her. They were desperate.

The word says “My people perish for a lack of knowledge…” 

I felt like saw those words come to life this past week and it truly saddens my heart. Oh how I long for this family to know Jesus. To know His freedom. To know they don’t have to pay for His gift of salvation.

But it’s not just this family. It’s families all over Honduras, rich and poor alike. They visit these witches in hopes to cure a terminal illness or to fight a curse from another witch or to bless their home or business or to create a special potion for love. And friends, it’s big business. These witch doctors make bank.

This darkness covers the land and it brings great sadness to my heart but I am having to remind myself…

          “This battle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers              of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”  Ephesians 6:12

Every day I see how much more real this spiritual battle is than I ever thought.

And that’s just the witchcraft. That doesn’t even touch the drug problem.

Oh yes, I knew there was a drug problem here in Honduras. How can you not? But I had no idea how it impacts each and every person in Honduras. No one is exempt. I have come to believe based on conversations I have each and every day that every person in Honduras knows at least one person killed in this drug war. Yes, I called it a war and that’s exactly what it is.

There are barrios in the larger cities that if you don’t know someone there, you don’t dare step foot for fear of losing your life. The drug lords or as they are referred to here the “narcos” run this country. They are in the government, the police, the businesses, the neighborhoods, the prisons, even your pretty little “housewives” parties.

I could not understand why so many Hondurans walked with such fear but then I began to have my eyes opened. And now, I understand.

You hear stories of 8-year olds picking up arms and joining gangs–babies, y’all, joining this crazy war. Business owners are forced to pay “war taxes” to the gangs so they can continue their businesses. Oh and if you don’t or if you try to stand up to them, it’s almost guaranteed that they will be reporting your death on the evening news. Drugs are trafficked through Honduras and moved onto the next country to reach its final destination. Anybody want to take any guesses where that final destination may be? If you guessed the US, you’re absolutely correct.

And again it breaks my heart. That the people of my home country are trying so desperately to fill the empty spaces in their hearts with anything but what it truly craves (Jesus) and in return are causing not just hundreds of deaths but thousands.

Y’all, do you realize that if the war in this country that is stealing the lives of so many young men and women would essentially be over if the United States stopped consuming drugs? Yeah, I know, not likely but all the more reason to pray to God for Him to bring revival to the people of the US too. The sin of the US is killing those in other countries too. It doesn’t just hurt the person using. Don’t allow yourself to believe that lie. And if you’re using, don’t buy the lie that your habit only affects you. Mentira! (Lie!)

You may be reading this and think “Wow, thanks, Emilee, for this super uplifting blog post…”

And all I can say is “Awww…you get it! You get exactly how I’ve felt for the last eight months since saying yes to God to make Honduras my home. You get it!” You get the depressed days. The confused days. The sad days. The days I just want to get on a plane and go cry to my mommy.

Now I hope you’ll get this too.

Yeah, I’ve been disillusioned. I’ve lived in a fairy tale land where things were bad but you know, over there, not near me. I lived in my safe little world ignoring all that was around me. Ignoring the cries for help. Ignoring the cries for prayer.

Friends, why would I sit down and write a blog about all this negativity? Well, the answer is simple.

I need you.

I need you to pray. I may be foolish but I believe things can change. You know why? Because I believe in the transforming power of Jesus Christ.

Listen, economic development can make some changes but it can’t transform. Education can make some changes but it can’t transform. Rehabilitation can make some changes but it can’t transform. Government can make some changes but it can’t transform.

The only one who can transform lives and thus a country is Jesus Christ.

Yes, Jesus!

So I need you to pray. Pray for Honduras. Pray for the Christians of this country that they will stand for Christ culture and not just intertwine Jesus with the cultural norms. Pray for men to stand up and say I will stand for Jesus and all that means. Pray for freedom from sin. Pray for the USA. Pray for men and women to repent and turn back to Jesus. Pray for freedom from drug addiction. Pray for revival to steal across the nation and for the drug trade to dry up with it. (I know, but we can pray BIG, y’all!)

Pray, my friends, pray. Stop playing games with Jesus. Get serious. Let others see Him in you. Who the heck cares if they ever know your name?! Let Him transform your life so you can show others that He can transform theirs too.

Sometimes we have to be disillusioned so we can see fully the desperate need for Jesus.

And that is exactly what my disillusionment has done for me.

 

Growth Journey

This is not reality.

May 1, 2017

We’ve been in the States long enough that it’s almost time to return to Honduras. In 3 weeks time, we have spoken at 4 churches, met with 3 pastors (with 2 more to go this week), had 1 board meeting, 2 reception/parties to celebrate our marriage, 2 days a week at the office in Albany, 1 SoloHope fundraiser event and more lunch meetings than we can count. It’s been a crazy, busy and exhausting time but oh how my heart has loved being in Georgia, eating Chick-fil-A, playing with my nephews, seeing green foliage on all sides and watching my hubby experience the US for the first time.

Granted it has not been the funnest first trip to the US. I mean, honestly I feel bad that basically all we’ve done is work and we haven’t gotten a chance to do any real touristy fun things on Ever’s first trip to the US but I’ve still learned a lot from seeing his first encounter with the States and it’s shown me something…

This is not reality.

The way Americans live is not the reality for the majority of the world and nothing confirms that more than seeing those two worlds collide.

When we landed in Atlanta a little over two weeks ago, the first thing that came to mind was I wanted Ever to see the gold dome on the capitol. As the airport is slightly south of downtown Atlanta, we didn’t get to see it (that day). As we drove further south to my hometown of Cairo, I could not stop myself from thinking that I wanted my husband to see the gold dome on the capitol—y’all, a gold dome! I know it’s not a lot of gold but regardless it is a gold dome. I couldn’t help but think what a strange land this is. A place where we have such wealth that we paint a layer of gold on the capitol building. While so many people around the globe grapple for what few cents they can earn, we have a gold dome.

This is not reality.

As we’ve done lots of driving from one meeting to another all over South GA, Ever has had lots of time to observe. One day, he pointed to a passing vehicle and asked “What was that?” I looked over and saw a RV. How would you explain an RV? I described it as a house on wheels. As soon as the words escaped my mouth, I thought about our friends in Honduras who live in shacks that barely serve to keep out the cold. Our friends who do not even have a place to call home, and yet here we have houses we just take with us wherever we go.

This is not reality.

A few days ago as we went to speak at a church, I had to go to the bathroom before we got started. As I sat down (I know—TMI!), a trash can was directly in front of me. Without even thinking, I threw the toilet paper into the trash can because in Honduras, we can’t flush the toilet paper. If a trash can is even near me when I’m using the restroom, the toilet paper ends up in the trash can and not the toilet. I know it sounds totally disgusting to our hyper-sanitary American selves but the septic systems that can maintain toilet paper is not the norm for the majority of world. While much of the world uses an outhouse (or a bush), we put fresh flowers in our bathrooms with those wonderful toilets that flush toilet paper.

This is not reality.

Over the years, I’ve had the opportunity to accompany different friends on their first trip to the US and it’s always so revealing of the different world we live in. It may be our reality but for most of the world it is not their reality. After over 2 weeks in the US, my husband is still struggling to drink the water from the facet. He keeps saying how counter-intuitive it is for him to drink water from the facet when his entire life, he’s been taught not to drink the water straight from the facet because it’s not clean and could cause him to get sick. As we drive from city to city, he is amazed by the smooth roads and the sedated driving habits of Americans.

Our reality is NOT the reality of the majority of the world.

As Americans, we live in a world foreign to the rest of world. We have luxuries that most the world would not even think to dream of. I say these things not to make ourselves ashamed of what we have but to be aware of it. I think so often most Americans truly believe the rest of the world lives like we do or at least very similarly but that is very far from the truth. If we do not realize what we hold in our hands, we’ll never realize what we have to offer others around the world.

You may think you have nothing in your hands to offer the world but let me assure you, you absolutely do. As Americans, we live in a reality not known to the majority of the world. We can selfishly continue to live ignorant to that fact or we can choose to recognize this fact and ask God how we can more compassionately and effectively use what is in our hands to serve others.

How is God calling you to use what is in your hands to minister His love to our brothers and sisters around the globe? Can I challenge you to use what is your hands to partner with us in our work with SoloHope? To purchase a product made by a woman overcoming poverty in Honduras? Or to become a monthly financial partner with SoloHope as the Lord begins to expand our work and ministry to partner with a community to bring vocational training, literacy classes and education to its people? Or maybe even to come to Honduras on a team to join hands with a woman fighting for way to give her child a brighter future than she had and say “I see you.”?

We need you. We need what God has put in your hands. We cannot do the ministry God is calling us to without hands—YOUR hands. Will you join your hands with our hands and tell our friends in Honduras “we are standing with you.”? Will you be willing to see another reality and be moved into action? I believe you will.

“To whom much is given, much is required.” —Luke 12:48

For more information about SoloHope or to purchase a product that gives hope or to make a donation to this work, visit www.solohope.org.