Believe it or not, I try not to think too much. At least not about some things. But I know that even though we stated before we went to the US that we were planning to come back, that many people doubted us at best, and some thought there was some sort of cover up or the like. There wasn't...but I also understand from seeing many other missionaries/pastors/people make life announcements how some could have interpreted it that way.
So, what's the real story, especially now that we are back in Honduras?
Spending about ten months in the USA (minus several trips back home for groups) was a bit of a challenge to our living to Honduras. We anticipated that, and even wanted to be open to if God was using this trip to perhaps change our "calling" (a term worth some further discussion in another post.) Plus we were hoping we were flexible enough, that adapting to living there would not be too hard for us, but that would also then make it harder to leave.
But how about our main purpose: relationships with Churches/supporters/friends? Defining the trip as a success is not easy to quantify. Many visits were made, relationships were deepened, meetings had...it certainly seems like it was well worth it, and we learned a bunch I think that we can continue to use going forward. But everyone always says that. What do the numbers say? Well, the numbers as we finish up in terms of getting new donations/partners or however you look at numbers, would not say it was a huge success. Our current level of "on board monthly supporters" is less than it was 2018. Some of the contacts we made though might take another six months...or more to even know if they will be productive in that way. Patience is key.
So is trusting in God's will and not what we can see, taste, or feel.
There is a rub. If we went purely based on the above, we probably would have stayed in the US. Being back for a longer stretch, I can see the appeal of living there in many ways. But try as I might to be a terrible Christian (or so it would seem to me) I can't get away from God's clear call keeping us here. It is not like I am trying to run away...just the opposite. I see the mountain o'money we could be making in the US, the relative ease of...everything? (best I not start a list, might be depressing). And yet while on a rational side I can see then how it would be better to live somewhere up North...there is this faith component, and a voice in my head that defies logic and instead insists on a different path. And I know it is not my voice!
We might have to make a change in the future, and then again we might die here (today, tomorrow or sometime in the future.) But whatever we do...whatever you do, I implore us to continually take it before God for His direction in our lives. Sometimes if we are attuned and listening, the direction is clear. Other times and other things we might have freedom to explore or try different things and get course corrections mid stream. But making a practice of setting aside our will and seeking God's is so key to balance, stability, and peace in life. If you don't believe in God, I understand how that might rub you the wrong way, and I don't say all this to be pushy. But we have been exposed to something, Someone, that we cannot ignore, and it would be disingenuous to hold that in and not share it. I know it doesn't make sense in the conventional way, but for us there is no other way.
Then comes conversations about buying something or something traditional in this area or time of year...and I have never heard of it or it is a totally foreign concept. And then to drive the point home that it is not me...everyone who then joins the conversation, agrees, has the gidgetdrives the point further home. Mentions of common Christmas plants that I have never heard of...but everyone else seems to have, driving customs that I swear weren't a thing when I lived here about 20 years ago, conversations about politics, policies, rights, they make ratcheting screwdrivers now?...the list goes on. I think I was just kind of denying them for a while. And denying how long it has been, I mean, 18 years "gone" hasn't seemed that long, but clearly it has been.
All this can be a little uncomfortable. And it comes even more going into our home culture as well. (think about that sentence that just came out of me for a bit.) But...overall, it is pretty encouraging in a strange way. Wherever we were born, and whatever culture we are given growing up or encounter living wherever we are or where God takes us, it should not be our first and foremost identity. There is something freeing of being caught between cultures to help you identify what really matters, what you really believe, and what is just not important, or what it just not as important as others think it is or should be.
Kiss me, or be the same...whichever way is fine by me.
Those of the kids that accompanied Maria to Sampedrana also got to stop for a visit in Comayagua. This was quite the unusual adventure for most of them!
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