Normally we meet with our house church Cautulaca on Sunday mornings. I work with the kids and have Children Church while Shannon teaches the adults. The following are pictures of the kids that come on a regular basis although I have had up to 13 kids. Public school starts again on Monday so I think more kids will begin coming once they get back into a routine. Tyler especially loves going to church and getting to play with the kids. They are all very patient with my Spanish and are eager to learn.
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This week instead of our regular service we had a meal and invited the neighborhood in order to get to know them. The following are pictures from Sunday. Most are of the kids- because the are cuter. I hope you enjoy.
I do want to introduce one person first though. Luis. We first got to know him through Maritza when they were dating and he spent a lot of time at our house. Even though she is no longer here, he still comes over once a week in addition to attending church on Sundays. He was raised Catholic but accepted Christ and was baptized about a year and half ago. His family does not approve of him going to a protestant house church but he has been faithful. Sunday he brought 5 nieces and nephews, his daughter and his mom! It was thrilling to see that God is using him and beginning the work in his family. Please continue to pray for Luis’s influence on his family- his parents and all 10 brothers and sisters!
Maritza has been living and working with us for five months now. She has helped me in learning Spanish and especially in understanding the Lenca Indian culture. She has also become a good friend of mine. While living with us, she has been away from her family for the first time, she has become more outgoing, has started teaching Children’s Sunday school at church and she has gone from not caring if she finished school to wanting to be a doctor. However, this week when we returned from Christmas, Maritza did not show up for work. This is very unlike her as she has never done that before. We tried calling on several occasions but never reached her. Her sister stopped by last Wednesday and told us that Maritza is not coming back to work. She assured us that is was nothing that we had done but that it was a personal decision of Maritza’s. We are very troubled by this for several reasons. A little over a month ago Maritza told me that she had a new boyfriend and that he is thirty (she is 18.) An age difference is normal here but 12 years is a little much. However, her family celebrated this because he is able to provide since he is older. Their aspirations for Maritza are for her to get married and have children though not necessarily in that order. Rumor has it that her boyfriend is married and has one other girlfriend. We have also heard that they have been getting drunk on the weekends. It is fairly normal for young girls to date older men- even married ones but it still breaks our heart. Since dating him, her attitude has change and her work ethic. More concerning is that she has stopped going to church. For all this to change so suddenly is very concerning. We are sure that the new boyfriend has had an influence on her decisions and on her pulling away from the church. Please join us in prayer for her, that her eyes would be open to His will. Please also pray for us that we would have wisdom and grace in dealing with her.
Since writing this post a week ago, we found out that Maritza got married and moved two and half hours away. We have not talked to her and have no way to see her. We are very sad to have lost this friendship so quickly and abruptly. Please continue to pray for her as she begins this new life, that God would place people of Peace in her life.
On a lighter note, the day after her sister told me that Maritza was not coming back to work, her sister showed up to our house again while I was at school. She cleaned, cooked and moved into Maritza’s room. We were very confused by this and asked a Honduran what was going on. Apparently, one way to get a job here is to just start working in someone elses place. We had decided not to replace Maritza so we had to tell her sister we would not to be hiring her. It was a little on the awkward side and yet another example of the difference in cultures.
As many of you know, I am a Kindergarten teacher at a Vive Abudante, a bi-lingual school here in Gracias. I have had many people ask me what it is like to teach here so I thought I would share my last day of school before Christmas and my first day back after Christmas. It is a great example of the everyday things that I deal with while teaching in a third- world country.
School for us starts at 7:40 so we leave our house around 7:00 to drive the three miles and 20 minutes to my school. When we arrived, the teachers were told that our Christmas break was going to be extended by several days. Instead of starting on December 3 we would be starting on December 9. While this was great news I wished we would have been told earlier so that we could have stayed in the States longer. Oh well. I went on to class to get ready for our party. On our last day before Christmas, I had planned to decorate cookies, watch a movie and then have our party. I had taken the Christmas cookies to class the day before so I would not have to remember them Friday- this was a mistake. Rats ate all the cookies that I had made. Then I went to plug-in the computer to watch the movie I had rented and there was no electricity. There was really no use in trying to teach since out of the 5 school days we had only gone to school 2 of them that week so we played outside until it started to drizzle. After school we drove to San Pedro Sula to a hotel- where there was not hot water and then on the plane the next day, Tyler’s i-pod got stolen. Needless to say, I was really glad to land in the USA.
My first day back to school was a little better planned on my part but not on my administrators. My principle came in after class started and told me that I would not be having music class that day. Since I was not scheduled to have it I was very confused. When I showed him the schedule he had printed for me (after I asked three times for it), he said that the schedule was 2 years old and none of it was correct. Along with that, my class has been having half-day kindergarten but after Christmas we were suppose to go to full day. Then, right before lunch, I found out that my kids were not staying for the full day. So we hurriedly packed to get ready to go. After class my principle came in to tell me that I would be getting four new students and that we did not have enough desks or books for them but would order some. I had done my lesson plans for all of January- none of them work now but my Type-A personality has done a lot of growing in the area of last-minute changes and learning to go with the flow.
Yesterday my principle brought me a new and improved schedule for this semester, although we are now a week into the new semester. He told me that for the last hour of the day I needed to practice for the Kindergarten Graduation that will happen in June. Yes, you are understanding that correctly- one hour a day for 6 months. Ugh! This should tell you the importance of education verses entertainment and dances.
I do have lots of small joys in with the frustrations. In perfect English one of my kids ask me yesterday “Who is first in the line?” When I rejoiced in her English another boy said in not so perfect English “She speakin de English.” So funny! My 27 students are really beginning to understand and speak English now. I love it!
For the first time since being overseas one of us is really sick. Tyler has always struggled with asthma but normally we are able to keep it under control. For 10 days now though he has really had a hard time and our normal methods of taking care of him are not working. After listening to him cough for so many days and not being able to find a doctor here, I called a doctor in Texas. He had come here on a mission trip back in July, right after we moved here, and left me his email. He was so great to walk me through what I needed to do differently. Of course, it is all a guessing game as to what is wrong since there are no x-ray machines here in Gracias. I felt bad for the doctor. I am sure it is not easy to diagnose a kid you have never seen over the phone but he was great about it. By just listening to Tyler’s symptoms he thinks that Tyler has a-typical pneumonia. We have been this route before so I was not too worried after the doctor gave me all the prescriptions that I needed to get Tyler on. So we went looking today. One of the things on the list was a scale so that we can know how much medicine to give him. We looked in four stores to no avail. We asked around and were told that they were not sold here. We are going to try to find a doctor with one this afternoon. We were also looking for antibiotics, albuterol and nasal spray. I found none of them. I have made a list of what we do have here and hopefully one of those will work. I know that God is in control but it is much easier to believe that when things are going easy. However regardless of how I feel, my God is in control and cares for my children. Please pray that He will help us find the right medication and heal Tyler quickly.