November 29th 2010
An overwhelming sense of God’s presence and blessing has swept over me this past week. Programs are over for the year, and I am preparing to leave Honduras this coming Friday. This past week I have completed some promotional and informational brochures for UPH, celebrated Thanksgiving with the UPH staff and friends, and went on a wonderful staff retreat. My heart has been so overwhelmed this past week with some many emotions, in reflecting on my time here, leaving this place on Friday, what the Lord has done, and what He is going to do.
This past Thursday our staff of 7 along with 6 other friends from Copan gathered to celebrate a Thanksgiving meal together. We worked in the office all week on final year business things; closing out the books, finishing up evaluations with families and kids in our programs, finalizing some brochure and promotional pieces, working very hard to leave for break having everything wrapped up and ready to go when the staff returns in January. After work on Thursday our UPH staff and friends gathered across the street at my host Aunt Carla’s house. She cooks all my meals for me here and graciously offered to us her roof as a space for us to have ourThanksgiving meal. We do not have access to a space big enough for 13 people to sit down and eat together, so we gathered on Carla’s roof. Everyone made one or two dishes to bring to the meal, along with drinks and pie’s.
Earlier that day I was feeling a little homesick as I had called my family and talked with them right before they were going to sit down for their meal. That night, my heart was filled with so much joy as I celebrated a day of Thanks with my Honduran community and family. We shared stories of Thanksgiving traditions, successes in ministry, jokes, and the things we are thankful for. My Honduran friend Luis joined us that night for his very first Thanksgiving, his first pie, and traditional thanksgiving food. The table was filled with conversations in both Spanish and English, with people of different ages, backgrounds, ethnicities, beliefs, and walks of life. It was such a collaboration of so many joyous things, of true community and a family brought together by the Lord. I felt the love, and joy of what it means to have fellowship with God’s sons and daughters from such different walks of life than my own. We have so much to be thankful for, and the thing that I think really struck me that night was the blessing and opportunity God has given me to be a part of spreading His love to the people of Honduras. That He has given me this opportunity to serve Him in so many ways through UPH, and life here in Copan. That is what filled my spirit with so much joy that night; that the Lord has called me to help spread His love to others, and has been working through me to bring His kingdom here on earth.
This past weekend was the end of year UPH staff retreat, a time set aside for reflection, celebration, evaluation, and planning for the future of UPH. We stayed at a coffee plantation and farm a little over an hour outside of Copan with a friend of the ministry Carlos. We spent some time reflecting on the success stories of the past year of ministry. The ministry of UPH can be very discouraging sometimes, when teachers don’t want to work together with our afterschool programs, kids are disrespectful, and fight, ministry is rewarding but can also be discouraging at times. We took time to write down and talk about success stories from the past year, thank the Lord for bringing them about, and being encouraged by the accomplishments of UPH this past year. We talked about our programs, about the frustrating school system and lack of curriculum in the Aldea’s that we serve. We brainstormed ideas and ways to get more buy in from the local teachers and schools, how to change the failing school systems, and how to grow our programs this next year.
Along with a lot of work we also had delicious meals together, freshly grown and brewed coffee, horseback riding, and picking coffee on the plantation. We were able to spend some time with Carlo’s family who run a little rural tourism company out of their house, farm, and plantation. They are also believers and were such a joy to be around. They welcomed us into their home, cooked us our meals, gave us a tour of their plantation and farm, and made us feel like family. We were able to take about an hour to go to the coffee
plantation where we joined with some of the workers in their gathering of the coffee berries. I was able to work with a little girl who was probably around the age of 13. It is now break for many of the public school, in which many of the kids from ages of 11 and up work for their break. Many families rely on this their kids work to help feed and sustain their families. I could hear the kids laughing in the forest of low lying coffee bushes. They were running around in bare feet with big baskets full off coffee beans, ready to turn them in for profit to take back to their families.
This reality of the lives of many families of Honduras is another reminder of the many blessings that I have. That I was given an education, that I had the opportunity to be a kid without a care in the world, that my family could provide for me, that I was given the opportunity to become anything I wanted to be. I have been so overwhelmed this past week with the reality of blessing and opportunities that I have and don’t deserve. God is so good, and I am the luckiest person in the world to be able to serve Him in such a way. That I am able to bless, serve, and share His love with others through the blessings that He has given me, and that is our calling and challenge to you. To use the blessings that God has given you to show his love to, and bless others. I will leave this place on Friday with a full heart, having learned and being challenged by so much, praying that the things the Lord has done through me in this place will make a difference.
- For Luis as he is going to be taking his test that determines whether or not he will get into university or not on December 5th. He has been studying nonstop for the past two weeks and is very nervous for the exam. However he was very encouraged and blessed when I told him how my friends and family were praying for him.
- For my last week here in Honduras, and my transition into this next phase or being at home, and then going on to serve in Malawi. The I will be able to healthily process all that the Lord has done and showed me in the past two months
- That details and plans for my time in Malawi will continue to come together. I will be meeting with Lindsey, the director of UPI a lot during my short time back in the states to work out important details for my time of service in Malawi.