Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Missionary Life 101

If you have followed us for any amount of time, you know that we are now living in Gracias, Honduras.  We have been living in our home for 1 and 1/2 weeks and we are really starting to settle in to our home.  I want to try and describe the life changes and what it's like to live in our part of Honduras.

First of all, to get to Gracias, Lempira, you fly into the city of San Pedro Sula.  Then you ride in a vehicle for about 3 - 3 1/2 hours depending on traffic, etc.  Most of the roads are ok--until you get to a section of road between La Entrada and Santa Rosa.  The pot holes are so bad in this section of the roads that you sometimes have to decide which ones to hit and which ones to try to avoid.
Sometimes its easier to just ride on the opposite side of the road.  (We are hoping and praying that this road will get paved--soon!  😜)

Gracias is located in Western Honduras.  We are surrounded by beautiful mountains.  Our city was founded 1536 and it's is described as being a colonial city.  Over the last few years it has seen many updates and revitalization.  The urban part of the city (where we live) has about 12,000 people while the whole city has about 50,000.

Here is a little bit about our daily life and changes we are learning to adjust to:

1)  There are NO fast food places.  Once you leave San Pedro Sula--you leave McDonalds, Dunkin Donuts, Wendys, etc. behind.  I'm not even kidding--no more--lets eat supper at Chick-Fil-A--there is not a Chick-Fil-A in the whole country of Honduras.
On the upside--there are some great sit down restaurants--and a few with completely organic and natural ingredients--that are delish.

However, now that we have a house to live in--we are doing the cooking.

Last night's taco soup.

2)  The electricity and water kind of comes and goes sometimes.  It hasn't been off for more than 5 or 6 hours, but we have lost both multiple times.  It just means we have to be intentional about washing clothes and getting things accomplished.  And don't feel sorry for us--that we might be heating to death without electricity to run the AC--we don't have AC.  Just lots of open windows and fans.  (Another adjustment that we are learning to live with.)

3) Grocery Shopping--It's an adventure!  We make our list, and then when we get to the stores and the markets--we adjust to what is available.  Sometimes this turns shopping into a marathon event.  We successfully bought groceries for 3 whole days yesterday--Taylor and I celebrated!!

4) Our house.  We love the house that God provided for our family.  It has 5 bedrooms and 3 bathrooms with room to grow for our future plans.  With that being said--homes in Honduras do not typically come with storage--on ANY kind.  No kitchen cabinets, no bathroom cabinets, no closets.  So we are learning to make due until we can get some of those needs met.  No biggie--just differences.  Did I mention that mirrors are not common either?  Our house did not have any--we went a week without those.  Which actually made dressing kind of quick-walk into the bathroom, find a pony tale holder--put hair up and DONE!  Over the weekend Austin was able to find closet organizers for each bedroom.  Now we are a step closer to being free from living out of suitcases.

The girl's closet organizer.  We hope to find more plastic hangers today.

Our new closet--we are hoping to find a way to add a bar for the clothes to hang this weekend.

We were so excited to find this mirror at a second hand shop in Santa Rosa. We brought it home and painted it.

5) Driving--I just drove for the first time last week.  I'm not going to lie--I really was scared.  It was actually fine.  Ok--I didn't drive on the bad roads outside of the city--but I did drive in the area of town that only has one way turns.  (Let's just say we have spent much time riding around Gracias not by choice--Ha! We just couldn't figure out which street to turn down.)  Side note:  We now know how to get to the birthing center for Baby Emma's delivery.  Which is good because Taylor is already 4 cm dilated.

6) Washing clothes--all I can say is that we have not mastered this task.  At first we only had a pila. (I'll explain.)  Now we have a washing machine, but it is dependent on water pressure and water availability. Ok--the pila.  I actually love this Honduran household item.  It has a water faucet and a place for holding clean water.  Our pila has two areas for washing clothes, dishes, etc.  To wash clothes, you dip your bucket into the pila and get the water.  You wet your clothes, soap them down and then scrub them on the ridges that are in the washing area.  You then continue to dip clean water until you have rinsed your clothes--and then get this--we hang them out on the line to dry.  It's a good thing I grew up doing this--it brought back good memories.  Next, you watch the sky for rain and watch the clothes for dryness.  On the bright side--our whites have never been so clean.  On the down side--this is time consuming and dependent on weather, water and electricity.

Ben and Hannah doing laundry this morning.  Yes, there is a load in the wash also.  Don't feel sorry for Ben--he likes doing his own clothes sometimes.  The engineer has decided he has mastered the best way to do it,  I'm a smart woman--I let him when he wants to. 

Thankful for this large sunny area to hang clothes.

I'm hoping you have a smile on your face as you contemplate us making these adjustments.

We have smiled, and laughed and maybe had a few frustrations thrown in for truthfulness.

But we truly love living here.

It's not perfect, but it's beginning to feel like home.

And yes, we have experienced a roller coaster of emotions.  We are missing our kids, our family, our friends and our church family.  The day after Thanksgiving was extremely hard for me.  I actually broke out into tears in language school.  My teacher asked me to use andar in a sentence and the tears just started falling.  I couldn't quit.  It's a little funny now--because she started apologizing and telling me she would explain the meaning.  I started explaining to her that it wasn't Spanish--but that I was missing everyone.  And that it hit me--I will be missing every Thanksgiving, Christmas, etc.  unless we go home for those holidays--it was a breaking moment--that happens when you move away.  I know all my military friends know exactly what I'm talking about.  But this is simply a process, yet another adjustment.

We are making those little by little, day by day.

At the end of the day, when I lay my head on my pillow, I know I'm where I'm supposed to be.  Doing what I know we have been called to do.

And loving life--including washing clothes. 😝