Happy New Year and Happy Valentines Day,
I have been out of pocket. I had planned to stay the full month of December here in Honduras, but we had a tragic death in the family. Thanks for all the prayers for our family. I returned shortly afterward to Honduras to do Christmas with the girls at PTC.
Last year, I was invited by my girls to take my first real vacation in years. We had such a good time, that I was invited by my girls to take another vacation with them this year. So this is a real treat for me to be able to be with my family on our second annual Mother-Daughter vacation! We packed Thanksgiving, Christmas, birthdays, and any other holiday we missed through the year into this vacation.
My daughters, are extremely thrifty and they organized every aspect of the holiday. One of my daughters is brilliant about finding travel deals. She found the one last year, and found that if we travel on "off season" it is crazy affordable. The instructions for this groupon was not to try to see everything, but they don't know my girls. Last year, I termed a phrase of "extreme tourism" being with my girls for 5 days. It was our own version of the Amazing Race. We try to do everything and see everything, and eat everything in a small period of time and we succeed. Depending on whose pedometer was correct, we walk 6 to 7 miles each day, and that is not including the miles that we put on our passes for the public transport system. I thought because the deal was so inexpensive, that the accommodations for hotel and food, might be a little under par, but this was not the case. Everything was so amazing and I am so thankful that God made a way for us to have these memories together.
We only had a couple of snafus. One was that we took a lot of metros. These trains are like you find at the biggest airports, only they don't give you a warning about the doors closing. The train have vacuum doors and move faster than my girls at the farm, when I announce that I have ice cream. The trains schedules were very complicated and so 3 months ago we agreed on the daughter who needed to be in charge of that particular job of transport. She was amazing with her phone apps. Because of the speed of closing doors, she would look at all of us and instruct us, "If for whatever reason, we get separated, just stay at the station you are at and we will come back and get you". I don't know if it was just me, but I thought my girls were always looking at me during her announcement. They would say repeatedly, "Mama we are going to get off in 2 stops, then, In one stop, and then, Mom are you ready?" and we would disembark. I was glad really, that they were keeping me on my toes.
One time, though our fearless leader, stepped back around to grab her water bottle and the door closed. She put both hands on the window with a look of her phone Emojis "OH NO!!". WE thought, " OK, she has the phone, the app, and the directions. We have an appointment at 11:00 a.m. for my youngest's birthday celebration". I said, "OK we will wait". My oldest said, "I am going down and meet her on the landing". Which I said with my Mama Knows Best Voice and Look, "No, we are to stay together". She looked at me with her, "Mama, I Am a Grown Woman Look", and I realized, she is right, she is smart and had been watching her sister and learned how to use this transit system too. So I acquiesced and knew she was right. It is a very cool thing to see your kids grown, able to process whatever life hands them. My girls are fearless! Fifteen minutes later, my runaway daughter, jumped onto the station platform, arms extend with a "TADA" announcement, rewarding us with her huge signature smile. All was forgotten and we all started walking to continued our journey and made our appointment to the High Tea Birthday Party.
Usually, at the beginning of the year, I pray towards what God wants me to accomplish and set some goals for the year. Even with all our activity and my travels, God showed me so many things about myself, our ministry here in Honduras and Stateside while I was touring around with my girls. During our time of our public transport, I observed how everyone knew everyone else even though though their transport system went miles around the city. I marveled at how the people were warm, kind and extremely helpful to us. The people had community on their bus and train systems with each other and with strangers. They would be laughing and talking to each other everyday as each traveler would enter the vacuum sealed doors. Even though they didn't live in the same community, they interacted with each other during their ride. There were a few young people who had the proverbial head phones on, but they seemed aware of who was around them and what was transpiring. The bus and train became a different kind of mobile community.
Contrasting this way of transportation with the system in the United States, we get into our own cars, and turn on our own personal music playlist and arrive at a destination. On my ride to Atlanta, there were only a few vehicles that were in the "Ride Share" lane. I got a phrase "immunity of community" come into my mind. We need to get to work, do our jobs, and race to the house to tend to our own full lives. Maybe we'll see each other at church, but many watch podcasts, or go at the 11:00 service and miss the folks they know because they went to the 9:45 service. Our children have friends at school, but because of the diversity of schools and the demise of the local schools, they won't see a neighborhood child at school, nor their parents. They might see each other at a game for their children. Our culture out of necessity, have both parents working and the community is not connecting.
Missionaries visiting their families while on furlough, traditionally have a hard time connecting with their family and friends. Everyone's lives are so busy. It is hard to jump in and find a time to visit. Everyone has so many commitments.
It seems crazy with all the personal cell phones, Facebook, instagram, twitter, and chat rooms on our personal computers, that we should making huge strides in connecting with each other. It should be easier to be up close and personal, but it seems, we are more estranged than ever. I was told that many people don't even know who their neighbors are or if they do know their neighbors, they just throw their hand up and wave, but really don't have that close connection with the people who have lived steps away from their own house for years.
Now lest you think I am judging, as a missionary, I find myself doing the same thing here at the mission. I am "busy" with our girls, our staff, the farm and the teams who come to minister to us. I throw up my hand to wave at my neighbors, but I am not entering into a relationship or praying for the "unity of community" with them. The girls and I have done visitations, which we all love doing, put we have to be purposeful to do so. Even in our tiny rural community we have been bitten by the "busy" bug too.
Last year, I started off doing better about staying on point with my prayer time, my family and friends, but I find that I get too busy. "Busy" is a very small word, but it keeps us worlds apart. Busy: having a great deal to do, concentrating on a particular activity or object of attention. Full of activity, being very occupied. None of those definitions sounds like where God is with us nor where He wants me to be. I heard a statement years ago from a pastor, "If the enemy can't get you to take your foot off the gas pedal, he will press it gas pedal to the floor.", both have the same result. I want the object of my attention to be the Lord.
So for this year, my desire is to put my attention more towards God not be too "busy" to see what direction He is pointing. I pray that I can know more about Him first and then my neighbor this year. I pray He will do the same for our girls here at PTC. This morning at devotions, one of the teachers said, "You never know how much a kind word or a purposed visit might mean to someone."
Thanks to all of you who continue to pray for us . I am refreshedly exhausted, but blessed seeing so much of the God inspired beauty this world has been given. Thanks to all of you who continue to pray for our ministry here in Honduras. Our boys home, Casa de Nain, run by Wesley and Suzanne Jarrard, now has three boys. God is continuing to complete His vision for the ministry.
Blessings to all of you from the Thankful For the Time with My Family, Recuperating from her Vacation,Honduran MOM