Wednesday, July 1, 2015

3 Things I Learned in Honduras

I realized that I haven't been posting much on here, and I don't have time to write an update for a few days, so I decided to re-post something I wrote a couple of years ago.

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 be gone for 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?

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