We wake up and come down to a delicious breakfast of eggs, black beans, salsa, queso blanco (yummy salty cheese!) and plaintains. I love eating breakfast in Central America. It has made plain scrambled eggs boring. Today, we headed out to "the country," headed out for some land that the Waldrons own. Now, yesterday I thought that riding on an old school bus on Honduran city roads was pretty bad. Now I have experienced something even worse! But man, was it a blast.
We set out for the country on the school bus, then switched to revamped military vehicles, painted in green and owned by Mission Upreach. We needed these vehicles for the last few miles out to the Waldron's property. There are not enough seats on these trucks for all of us, so half of us were standing in the bed bracing ourselves with the rails that extend over the back. So, imagine the roads that I described yesterday, except this time it is a very steep path that is more like a hiking trail. There are horses, sometimes with riders and sometimes without, mosying back and forth, and seeming to be uncertain of which way to go. When we go around a curve, there are no rails. It takes us about 20 minutes to travel about 2 miles. I can't help but laugh and smile the entire way because of the people that I am with and the beautiful mountain landscape. How do they cultivate coffee on the side of a mountain? They do!
When we reach the Waldron's property, I am overwhelmed with joy when I see so many people already having fun. There is a baseball game taking place. Jennifer tells me that "the gringos" won the first game. Many people are also playing volleyball. I get a glimpse of Cody making a good catch for a ball that would have been a foul otherwise. There are several kids running around, a couple of them "playing football" with Adam. Jerry and Phil are busy at the grill cooking chicken for 130 people. Margie is cheering on some kids that are playing corn hole. Soon enough, Jessie comes up to me and asks if I would like to go on a hike around the property led by Donna.
So off we go! Donna shows us her lime trees and we pick two bags full of limes. The back of the field is covered with growing corn and bean plants. Donna tells us that the caretaker of her land asked to plant a small section of vegetables. Somehow, this translated into the entire field, including cutting back a mango tree to provide sun for his beans. Oops.
We also found some creatures! Alan took photos of a grasshopper about 5 inches long, bright yellow. We also found a nest in the ground full of frogs. Donna said that most kids run away when they see a frog, because there are some that are poisonous.
It is near lunchtime by the time we get back, and we all gather around to pray together. We have delicious grilled chicken, some spicy veggies, rice, fresh tortillas and lemon tea. Someone also found two big bunches of bananas that we grilled. I ate with some of the staff of Mission Upreach-- Ashley, the staff RN, who was being picked on by their resident medical student, Field, who was saying jokingly that she would have to take orders from him. "Yeah, right... baby medical student," I said. "Sure she will." I also met Diane from D.C., who is Puerto Rican and speaks fluent Spanish, and Jaye, who is Linda Sue's sister.
After lunch we set up for church service under the tents. Most of the service was in Spanish, and it was quite easy to sing along to about half of them, since they were some of the songs we sing in English. "Open the Eyes of My Heart" and "When We All Get to Heaven" were two of my favorites. Phil's sermon was translated into English by John "the tour guide." The first part was about how wonderful it was to be together. We had 7 nations represented out of everyone there. He quoted Revelation 7:9 -- "After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice." He said that thinking about how it was going to be will make him excited. Language won't matter. No one will be embarrassed about how they worship.
The second part of the sermon was devoted to the beginning process of the selection of elders. The church that was there has been recently planted, and they have 4 interim elders. Phil passed out papers to each member of the church and asked them to write in who they would like to be considered as elders, guiding them with what it says about elders in the Bible, such as in Acts 6:3. After the voting had been completed, we concluded worship with some more songs, and then we started breaking down tents and such.
Now that I am having time to reflect on the week like this, I must say that for how busy Phil and Donna are, they are quite calm and collected. I get a resounding message that they are at peace and being filled by the Lord by being in Santa Rosa and doing what they do. Phil was so calm and settled when he preached his sermon in fluent Spanish. I want to be that confident in the Lord one day.
The rest of the day was followed by rest in the afternoon, since a lot of us had played pretty hard at sports! We had dinner that night of some more chicken (I think) with vegetables and smoothies. (Truthfully, this is when I stopped journaling in real time because all of us started getting really busy the next day. I am going to try my best to remember some key points of each day.) Donna concluded dinner with some schedule clarification for Monday, then Sunday (I believe) is the first night that we had our group devotional in the back corner of the hotel.
Adam led a couple of songs, and I was impressed by how well our teenagers sing. Hey you parents of teens! You have raised some great men and women. I saw them do great things within this week, which I hope to describe some in this blog. They are going to do much for the Lord with their lives.
I don't really remember what we talked about that night, but I think the major reflection that Jerry was asking for was what we saw on the trip from San Pedro Sula to Santa Rosa that was striking. Many people mentioned the poverty, the trash along the road, and the roads themselves. Yet I can't really get over how humble and inviting Hondurans are and how much they are willing to share what little they might possess. They have something different than we do to share about love, kindness, and, essentially, being Jesus.