First, let me introduce myself! My name is Michelle Holloway and my family and I, are some of the newest additions to the 61 Isaiah team. Our path to Honduras has faced several obstacles, but we are thrilled to finally be here.
We surrendered to this mission journey in October of 2019, and promptly began fundraising. Everything was going great, and we were set to move to Honduras in late June, early July. Well, in March, those plans came to a sudden halt when the COVID crisis hit. Little did we know that we would be delayed until November.
Throughout the wait, our Lord was so incredibly faithful. While we had stopped formally fundraising due to lockdowns and social distancing, we continued to receive donations from those who felt called to support the mission. The kids’ passports were stuck in limbo as we had mailed them off in early March. Yet, once again the Lord delivered in His perfect timing.
As our November leave date approached, the little details began to fall into place. While many questioned our decision to move during the pandemic, the Lord was faithful to guide us and show us His calling on our lives had not changed. We were all set to fly out in early November, but in the wee hours of the morning we received a text saying our flight had been cancelled.
We had hoped to arrive shortly before Hurricane Eta made landfall, but that would simply not be the case. We were all a ball of emotions. You go through such a wide gamut of emotion when preparing for an international move, and suddenly everything was upside down again. I cried A LOT, but nevertheless was certain the Lord had made our path clear. We waited about another week, had the pleasure of Josh now joining us, another round of COVID testing, and finally arrived at the airport.
I was relieved when we finally made it to the terminal……we were almost there. As we waited for the plane to take off, I just remember wanting to get there. I was leaving so many things behind: my oldest son to continue his college degree, my family, the only town I’d ever lived in (besides college), the church I was born and raised in, and yet I just wanted to land in Honduras. I wanted so desperately to make it to Gracias, to begin the journey set before me. After all, I was going to return home for Christmas, like we had originally planned. I would get to Gracias, get our home set up, and then go home for Christmas. It was the perfect plan!
The months of November and December were a whirlwind. We survived a hurricane, living without easy access to water for a couple of weeks, and intermittent electricity. Before I knew it, it was time to return home for Christmas. I was a little concerned about catching COVID and not being able to return, but I just committed to being super vigilant and trusted everything would be ok.
Well…things didn’t quite go as planned. During a screening in preparation for routine testing, my husband tested positive for COVID-19. We immediately went into quarantine, praying that the rest of the family hadn’t caught it. I tested a couple of days later and I too was positive.
We were stuck in the US, unable to return to our new life in Honduras. Once again, I cried and cried and cried. I couldn’t understand why the Lord had allowed yet another delay. As we watched our teammates return, I was jealous and frustrated. I must interject that it was a blessing we never felt sick (I assumed we were asymptomatic). I use the word assume because we both had allergy like symptoms, but nothing out of the ordinary for that time of year.
During the time we were in Crosby, three different cold fronts blew through. If you have ever lived in the Houston area, you know this wreaks havoc on your sinuses and allergies. We were also blessed that my parents have a trailer home behind their house where we could stay. God provided for us before we even knew we would need the provision. We waited out our quarantine and prayed we would all test negative after our quarantine was up.
Well….three out of four isn’t bad, right? As we awaited our results, I was a nervous wreck. After what seemed like forever, the nurse appeared to let us know Jeff and the kids were negative, but I was still positive. To say I was devastated was an understatement. Hard decisions had to be made.
I am a numbers person…I have a degree in Mathematics and another in Statistics and I am currently teaching math. I read the data and knew the odds, you could continue to test positive up to 3 months after contracting COVID. In addition, you could test negative and then positive and flip flop back and forth. As Jeff and I discussed our options, we quickly realized the safest and most logical thing to do. He and the kids would return to Honduras and I would join them once I tested negative.
Thankfully, I was out of quarantine, but still stuck away from our new home. I tried to make the best of it, but I was lonely. I remember driving my family to the airport thinking, there should be another person here to drop us all off. I continued to pray that I would get that negative test result the next week.
I tried to stay occupied during the wait with school and spending time with my family back home, but it was hard. As my new test date approached, I was again a nervous wreck. Would God allow me to return, or was waiting longer a part of His perfect plan? I am certain the nurse thought I was a nutcase when he returned to tell me I was NEGATIVE! I was crying and shaking, excited, but also dreading the goodbyes again. It never gets easier leaving Matthew, my eldest.
I tested on Wednesday morning and was booked on a flight the next morning. Wednesday was a whirlwind, and I was thankful to have one
last family dinner with Matthew, my parents and my sister. As I worked my way through the airport procedures, I was still a ball of nerves. When I checked off the last criteria before boarding, I finally relaxed. After I boarded and took my seat, I realized I was actually going to be reunited with my husband and two youngest children.
The flight was pleasant and after retrieving my baggage, I finally
locked eyes with Jeff as he waited for me outside the airport. That hug was the best!! I knew I was right where I was supposed to be. The last leg of the journey was long, but that evening I was home with Samuel and Caroline and Jeff! It was great to be home! Things have not slowed down since my return, but it is a happy busy. Even in all the crazy and adjusting to life in a foreign country, I know I am exactly where the Lord has called me to be.
I pray that future trips home are not quite so adventurous, but the
blessing in it all is that throughout all of this our Lord was faithful. He always provided, even when we didn’t know what we needed. He gave us supportive family and friends that covered us in prayer. I am so thankful we are healthy and back on the field doing what the Lord so graciously called us to do.