We have returned home. The return trip home was not without a delayed flight, a cancelled flight, the beloved airlines losing ¾ of our checked baggage, and the bus breaking down between Chicago and home. “Other than that. . . how was the play, Mrs. Lincoln?”
It is quite an adjustment to life back home. There is so much sensory stimulation here in contrast to rural Honduras. Noise, movement, traffic, bombardment by TV, schedule deadlines. I forgot how difficult it is to relax here due to the constant stimulation of all our senses. Another difference is the pace. I’ll put it in driving terminology. Here I feel I’m always in 5th gear—hurry, you’re running late, ya snooze ya lose. In Honduras life is done in 2nd or 3rd gear. As the director of the Mercy International, our mission base, said about a scheduled hike into the mountains, “We would like to leave at 9:00; we will leave when we are ready.” People tend to take priority over projects. In Honduras, time is to be enjoyed, not monitored. As a friend put it, “You have the watch; we have the time.” If only I could learn to down-shift. . . I can already feel myself tensing up now that we’re back.
I’ll share a realization or two with you. We take the ordinary for granted. We assume the routine and the people in our lives are a given. In going to Honduras we left EVERYTHING and EVERYONE that had been familiar to us. We were transported to a culture where we knew less than 10 people in the entire country. We know very little Spanish and the vast majority of Hondurans knew absolutely no English. We uprooted from our entire support system—family, friends, community of faith—and I wasn’t prepared for the gaping hole that created. Being home now and being able to call anyone anytime, being able to laugh together and embrace and hold and hug—all that I had taken for granted—I now regard as a gift to be cherished. The ordinary is a gift. Cherish it. On one of our walks through the Honduras countryside Les took a picture that I regarded at the time as a waste of time and camera space. My thoughts were, it's a stupid cow. What's the big deal?
Now I get it.
I also realize how spoiled and fortunate and blessed I am even when life is at its worst. I knew about the poverty there but living in it for 3 months moved it from my head to my heart. I’ll give just one example. One of Mercy International’s missions is to build houses/shelter for the poorest of the poor who reside In the mountains. These people are the furthest removed from accessing resources, medical care, and supplies. We took a U. S. team up to a mountain village, requiring a 2 hour fifteen minute drive over an unpaved mountain road and then a 3 hour hike to get to this area. Each evening our team would fire up the Coleman gas stoves and cook dinner. During every meal the Honduran children are standing around us watching us eat. We can’t give our food away because we need the carbs/energy for the difficult physical labor we’re engaging in. So, you learn to eat, in spite of these kids staring at you and your plate of food. One night, we had food left over—rice, actually. So we asked the kids if they would like the remaining rice. It broke my heart as they grabbed rice by the fistful.
I knew these children don’t have much, but had no idea they were “grab it by the handfuls” hungry.
There is much more to share at another time. We wanted let you know we’re back and we thank you for your support, your encouragement, your friendship.
We now face a most significant decision—do we return/relocate to Honduras and serve full-time, or do we consider other avenues of serving?? Honestly, we do not have a clear sense of direction at this point. We have allotted two months in which to make that decision. Any insight or direction you might offer will be appreciated. We will appreciate your prayers, as well, regarding this decision.
I’ll end with several reasons we loved the people we served.
Be thankful for what and who you have.
Grace and Peace, Steve and Leslie