WE had a team at Thanksgiving and I left shortly thereafter to the United States to spend a few weeks with my family, have some ministry meetings, and do some personal end of the year business. We had the best of times with my family.
This year, because I am grandma from out of the country, I really don't know what my grandchildren need. My kids have done a great job with them and I really didn't see that they needed anything at all. My grandchildren are blessed. So I prayed about it and decided that I would give them all the same amount of money. They were to buy for someone else who might be in need and give it to their schools. The kids at school wouldn't know who gave the gift and my grandkids wouldn't know who got the gifts. They all shopped very well. They bought mainly clothes or generic gifts that could be a gift for a boy or girl. They were excited that they saved so much money shopping the sales. I have to admit they did a really great job and after the initial, "what are we doing again?" looks, they really got into it. WE had a great time shopping.
This year, one of my adult children of five that I have, was the assistant directing for a play at the local community theatre. My merry little family group went to support her and the actors that she had worked with for these last few months. They did a super job with a Christmas classic! It was almost like watching the movie. We stayed a little late and my daughter introduced us to the actors and it was a lot of fun. The community theatre was located on such a beautiful street and I was thankful to be in a town were people could walk late at night and feel safe. It was late, restaurants were closing and so we ran over our options for a snack, or dinner, because some of our group had not eaten. We had two of the oldest grandchildren, who of course, can eat at any moment's notice. We opted to go to a late night burger restaurant.
My son-in-law had left earlier to get us some seats He was the first to arrive, but there was a super long line out of the door. So he immediately decided this was not the place for us because we wouldn't be able to put our merry big group together, and he so drove out. I drove in and knew that my family would not want to wait for the super long line and I looked for a place to turn around, when I noticed people were running towards the parking lot. So I decided this didn't look like a good place to be. All of a sudden a fight started somehow, about who knows what, so I decided to go "out" the "in" because the drive thru was blocked. It was late, I was frazzled and I was ready to get home. I used my Honduran back-road driving skills to get out of there and parked in a nearby parking lot. However, after calling 911, we looked over towards the restaurant we had abandoned, only to see the bright red tail light of car number three that held the rest of our of our family members. They pulled into the parking lot before we could find a phone that had battery power, (we had been taking photos and it was late, you understand). We all started praying that the occupants of our car number three could get out of there, when we heard a lot of shots being fired. WE got the grandchild with us on the floor and recalled 911. We were praying for them and for whoever was in the restaurant and parking lot. Finally, after dumping the contents of my purse in the floorboard to get my phone, that did have a charge, our other 2 cars got in touch with us and we all agreed to go home. WE were all wired, because nothing like this had ever happened to any of us before. It was really quite surreal what happened. We were all so thankful that God protected us.
One of my son-in-laws remarked later that evening, while we were eating take out pizza, that we being more or less normal people, were along with so many others, that night in the parking lot, were trying to get out of harms way as fast as we could go. On our way out of this horrible situation, we noticed the 911 facilitator had contacted the police and their cars were zooming into harms way. It is really an amazing type of person who would go into a chaotic situation like that so that we could live in peace and safety in our communities. I was thankful that people were in place to restore the order.
Now as bad as the situation was, I stayed in Thomasville for the rest of my visit. I didn't decide that I would never go there again because of the violence that erupted there that night. Everyone was shocked that this violence happened in their small town. I have had a lot of people ask me how I could serve as a missionary in a place that was supposedly, super violent. Violence can break out anywhere, apparently. It breaks out in homes, schools, communities, countries and the world. We can't focus on the fear. The Bible says that fear has torment and it does. It also says, that God didn't give us a spirit of fear, and He doesn't. You just need to be where God tells you to go. It is truly the safest place to be. If it is to the neighbor across the street, or to a neighboring country, have no fear, God is with us.
While I was home in the States, listening to all that has been going on, as of late, people seem to be full of fear, about politics, finances, and the loss of freedoms. I am thankful for my country and for the country in which I serve, as well as all the other countries in the world. God created them all. He came towards our chaotic situations to bring His love and forgiveness to us. He came to bring order to our chaos. He sent his Son so that we wouldn't have to live in fear. That is our good news that Jesus brought to earth. Emmanuel, God with us. I pray that your days be Merry and that you see the Bright New Year that Jesus is ushering in.
I will write about our Honduran Holy Day next. Blessings from the Merry and Bright Honduran MOM