(PDF version here.)
Has it really been only two-and-a-half months since I arrived in El Progreso, Honduras? It often feels like the home, friends, and daily activities I knew in the States are a million miles away, and part of another lifetime. Many of you still keep in touch, and that has been especially helpful and encouraging as I learn how to live in Honduras, and reminds me that I am not alone and God continues to move and work in your lives as well. Thank you so much for keeping me in your thoughts and prayers!
So just what is it like to move to another country? I feel like I'm growing up all over again, but this time, the things most people learn at different stages in their life, I'm learning all at the same time.
I'm learning little things like how to sing, "Zacchaeus Was a Wee Little Man" and colloquial words like "cool" or "what's up?" in Honduran Spanish. I'm learning how to read the different types of road signs (they don't follow the color/font coding that I took for granted in the US), read labels in the grocery store, get used to using Honduran currency, and learn how to give directions when no one has an address and most roads don't have names! Also, I've learned few people use recipes and ovens are not in every home. Since I love to bake, I am especially grateful my house has an oven!
(Picture on Left: signs pointing to a clothing store, hardware store, local hotel, and distance to the nearest city are all the same color, which can be confusing when driving. The red and white sign above it is a political campaign sign. Picture on right: Shredding a Yucca root in a friend's kitchen to make Nuéganos, a popular fried treat during Easter.)
At the same time, I'm learning "grown-up" things, like how to pay for my rent and phone contract, manage international bank accounts, "read" my surroundings for safety, and how to drive defensively - with cars, 18-wheelers, motorcycles, bikes, pedestrians, construction zones, and horse-drawn carts all sharing 2 lanes.
(Picture on Left: my first homemade corn tortilla!)
My Spanish vocabulary expands daily. Sometimes I'm learning something a 5 year old Honduran child would know, and sometimes I'm learning professional Spanish terminology. Though I was conversationally fluent in Spanish before arriving, there is always so much more to learn.
All these new experiences, on top of lots of heat and some Honduran Sign Language thrown in, has made for a very full brain.
While learning the secular things about moving to a new country, it has been a privilege to share the Gospel with numerous individuals, join the local church tract distributions and soul-winning outings, assist in the music ministry, assist a 2&3 year old Sunday School class, and see God use me in small ways to encourage others' spiritual growth. I have had the opportunity to get to know my missions team and national church members better, and I look forward to working with these people as we build a Deaf ministry together over the next few years!
(Picture on right: Teaching my first neighborhood children's Bible class in Spanish; filling in for the regular teacher who was out of town. Picture on left: I'm teaching world geography as part of the home school curriculum for children in the Hope of Honduras Children's Home, a ministry of Team Honduras.)
This cultural adjustment has given me a little glimpse into what Jesus Christ experienced when He came to our planet, and helps me rely more on Him every day. Thank you for your prayers. Especially pray for wisdom and flexibility as I interact with people in a different language and culture. Please also pray for safety; both physical and spiritual safety, as Satan is constantly on the "prowl" (I Peter 5:8). I need your prayers desperately, and I see God answering them on a daily basis. May God bless each of you!