What could be more fun and exciting than arriving at our destination, Ciudad España, to the welcoming shrieks of joy, beaming faces, and warm hugs from the teachers anxiously waiting for us? It felt like walking the red carpet . . . . except for the “couture fashions” (we wore jeans, scrubs, and T-shirts), the “limo” (we rode in the van or the truck) and the “red carpet” (we balanced on the cobblestone walkway). Hollywood celebrities “got nuthin’ on us” —- Our welcome exceeded anything that the “movie premiere” fans could offer! Several team members mentioned this during our devotional time after dinner. It made such an impact on us and we were all truly blessed by this extraordinary outpouring of love, respect, and friendship.
Iglesia Metodista: Cristo Resucitado, Ciudad España Our daytime home away from home ~ ~we readied the classroom for our first day of teaching and learning: ~we hung posters, ~we set out our materials, ~we rearranged the desks, ~and we prayed for God’s help to serve our new friends with humility and love. Ann was beaming when she asked the group if anyone remembered a song they had learned from the last visit – the Days of the Week – sung to the tune of “The Addams Family.” Heads nodded, smiles animated lots of faces, and two teachers immediately volunteered to lead the song. They were awesome and everyone had fun singing it together. It was a joyful noise in that room!
Our construction crew donned their “painting clothes” today and shortly after the whole-group introductions, and small group “evaluations” of spoken English, our pintores (painters) headed up the hill to paint the new classrooms. Margee shared that she and the others on the team felt proud to have accomplished so much in so few hours. They painted one whole classroom, more than half of another. Tomorrow they will likely complete the second classroom trim, and turn their focus to the exterior of the building. They felt honored to work side-by-side with construction professionals hired to complete the school’s addition. The sore muscles, fatigue, and even Dennis’ cold symptoms will become their evidence of a job well done – tomorrow they will all feel the JOY of having served others, and acting as God’s hands and feet, in a very concrete way. (No pun intended) Please pray for 4 volunteers as they continue to labor at the school.
Phyllis, Carrie, and Pat all shared that working with students in small groups allowed them to build relationships with the teachers. They were happy to laugh with them, guide their learning and cheer them on after every response. We are all gaining confidence and our enthusiasm is matched by the students’ eagerness to progress. It is a reciprocal sharing of our Christian experience that makes this work a JOY. Just look at the smile on Phyllis’ face!
Students were asked at the end of the day, “What is one thing you learned that you will never forget?” One wrote, “One thing I will never forget is the unconditional support of each one of my teachers. I love them, in the name of Jesus.” How cool is that?!
Devotionals – Sunday and Monday nights
The roads in Tegucigalpa wind around the mountains and traffic is treacherous, at best. Rules of the road demand that drivers be hyper-alert, calm, and anticipating of the actions of other drivers. We are all thankful and relieved to have such experienced drivers to shuttle us back and forth. The mission staff supports us in so many ways: they are our security, our comfort, and part of our success. Their grace, their gifts and talents, and their kindness allow us to take risks, and to grow in faith, with every task we attempt.
The view from the van as we ascend one side of the mountains, and descend again on the other side is often quite spectacular. Gary (or Phyllis) captured the above panorama through the window. Emi and Sandy, our drivers today, were watchful, conscientious, and uber-patient in bumper-to-bumper traffic – so only the passengers could enjoy this vista. We gratefully include them in our prayers – please add them to yours. Another photo opp presented itself along the road and Carrie did a great job of capturing it:
Riding in the van also provides opportunities for us to chat with our new Tegucigalpan friends. Dennis and Wayne shared the powerful impact of the testimony they heard from Danilo (our translator). It was courageous of him to freely and honestly share his story of how he asked Jesus into his life. During our Devotional, Wayne asked if the experience of hearing such a dramatic and striking story of his becoming a Christian had reminded any of us of God’s grace, His plan, or His unconditional love. Phyllis and Gary each shared an emotional story from their lives when they felt God’s leading, and His calling.
We spent some time discussing this question: “If God calls upon us to help our neighbors, then WHO are our neighbors?” It is God’s view that whoever is in NEED should be viewed as our neighbor. Could it be that WE are all in need of experiencing and absorbing the Christian presence of those we meet here? Please pray for us to do exactly that, and to be a Christian presence to others.