Thursday, October 31, 2013

She's not my mother!

I just got back from a great week in Minnesota and Iowa! It was wonderful to see my family, reconnect with old friend, and meet new ones!

While I was there I drove up to the Twin Cities to see the Solheims.  I met the Solheims in 2010 when we both were volunteers at El Sembrador.  We fit as much as we could into one day-eating at their favorite Mexican Restaurant, shopping, jewelry making, painting our nails, making pizza, and lots of catching up and reminiscing. Steve and Nick declined to join us for the jewelry making and nail painting.

One of our favorite memories is how Kelly Solheim and I would head for to town every week or two for an a girl's day out.  And by girl's day out I mean a granita (frappaccino) and grocery shopping.  Okay, maybe a little shopping for nail polish.  After a few months peoples people around town started to recognize us.  They wanted to know who we were, why we were in Honduras and if we were related, and a few times we were asked if Kelly was my mother (she's not even close to being old enough)!

As Kelly and I almost share a birthday (hers is Oct 25th and mine Oct 30th) we celebrated together with cake:

To hear Kelly's perspective of our visit  and learn more about the Solheims and their ministry go to: Adventures in Chaos .

As for the nailpolish, here are a couple of pictures (I am referred to as AT in the blog):

Monday, October 7, 2013

3 Things I Learned in Honduras

Living in Honduras was a chance for me to grow and it was there that I realized, or grew in my understanding of, three things (well, more than 3...):

1) Home is wherever God has me.  
Leaving home is hard- especially when you will be gone for a while and are not very familiar with where you will be.  When you get to your destination you are faced with a new situation- a house that isn't your home- yet.  A town you are unfamiliar with.  And the challenge of finding/deciding where to buy groceries and everything else you need.

I started to learn this one when I went to Oman over Christmas break my Sophomore year in college.  It was Christmas day and I felt very, very far from home.  Christmas isn't celebrated in Oman (except for a few decorations for the benefit of tourists).  I was with a college group and I didn't know anyone very well.  I sat by the ocean and it just didn't feel like Christmas.    As I looked at the ocean I did the only thing I could do: I prayed.  I told God how far away I felt.  How far away from home and family.  How lonely and lost.  But as I looked around me at the beauty God had made I was comforted by the realization: God made the world.  Both near and far.  He is the God of the universe.  And I could sit on a beach in the Arabian Peninsula and be heard by the same God I talked to daily in the Midwestern US.

Living in Honduras really strengthened this realization.  My apartment in Honduras became home to me.  It took time and the  help of a wonderful roommate, but what really made it home was knowing that God is with me wherever I travel-and that is what really makes a place home.

2) The Family of God is a great family to be a part of.
I was nervous the first time I went down to Honduras.  I was going to 3 months, and I didn't know anyone.  I had met a couple of people who would be there, but I didn't really KNOW anyone.  Even when I went back for 10 months I still didn't know anyone particularly well (I had traveled during my first 3 months). 

But I wasn't lonely.  I met wonderful people.  I looked forward to holidays and other gatherings.    Hondurans, missionaries, volunteers, and work team members became friends.  Their fellowship and support meant a lot to me.  It still does.  

At the end of my time in Honduras the missionaries and volunteers on the field gathered at the guesthouse for Thanksgiving dinner.  I remember looking around and realizing what a "family" God had placed around me in Honduras.

When I return I know I will see many changes.  People have moved or retired or are back in the US for Homeland Ministry Assignment.  But I know that God will again surround me with a great family.

3) It's not about what I think I can do.  It's about what I know God has called me to do.
If you had asked a 10 year old version of myself about my interests and abilities I am pretty sure you wouldn't have gone away from the conversation thinking I would be a missionary.  A clothing designer or interior decorator?  Probably.  A high school aged version of myself might have had you thinking that I would be a biologist.  My freshman year in college I would have told you that was going to be a history professor.  

Missions wasn't on the radar until partway through college, and even then I wasn't sure I was cut out for it.  I loved the idea of travel, but I wasn't sure I could "rough it".  Of course, some of this attitude was based on the false idea that all missionaries live in grass huts and eat rats cooked over a fire.  There are missionaries who are called to live in places where those things might be true, but certainly not all missionaries.  It really depends on what people group God calls you to work with.

However, even with an accurate representation of what my life would be like in Honduras I probably would have said that I couldn't do it.  I could never have imagined teaching English to classes teenagers (one class have over 30 students which was a lot for someone not trained in classroom discipline).  But I did it.  I loved it.  I saw God in it.

In all 3 ways, I saw God.  In my need for Him, I saw his power and love.  In what ways has God taught you things?

Picture of the inside of the chapel at El Sembrador.