I sat down to write tonight and couldn't help but think of the blog as an old friend that I haven't spoken to in a while. I miss my friend--our time together--the way we connect. I want to pick up the phone and call, but where would I start? I need a good chunk of time so we can connect in a meaningful way.
Life is busy, so the call gets put off--not because you don't want to talk, but because you want to make sure it counts when you do. Ultimately, though, you realize there will never be enough time and you just have to make the call...
My kids have been out of school for nine days (one more tomorrow). We have had a wonderful week of just taking life at a slower pace. There have been play dates, visits with grandparents, a trip to see Santa, present wrapping, lots of puppy bonding time and a tree cutting expedition. We've watched too much screen time, built forts, made cookies, played cards and created plenty of messes. My husband has been on call for four straight days, so I have been wiped out at night--unable to form a cohesive sentence much less write a blog post.
The most noteworthy thing we have going on is an assignment to travel to Honduras in January with World Medical Mission (a division of Samaritan's Purse). We've been in conversation for months, with Ghana, Peru and Honduras all offered up as 'matches' for our family. The location was just finalized recently and we were finally able to speak to our contact at Hospital Evangelico Friday night. It finally feels real enough to talk about it!
As parents, it has been a desire of ours to combine our love for adventure travel, service and Jesus into the types of experiences we introduce to our children. The path has been especially tricky because most organizations aren't begging for a family with young children to serve. We've prayed and sought opportunities where our presence would be a blessing not a distraction. God has been so faithful to provide just the right type of trip each year to increase our capacity for cultural differences, travel challenges and more work for the children as they age and are able to take on more.
We've been blessed to serve each time with organizations we were already supporting and therefore familiar with the mission. Each previous trip has been with a small group of people we already knew. It has been a wonderful way to ease into this type of service.
This trip is going to be different on a variety of fronts. We've been supporters of WMM for years, but we are traveling alone. This the first time we have been able to take a trip that's focus is my husband providing surgical services. He is thrilled to be able to bring supplies and expertise to the field--but the kids and I not trained or equipped to help. As a result, we will be 'on our own' most of the days to find ways to serve, love and help (without getting in the way).
Our contact is a wonderful physician in his 80s. We are not aware of any missionary families on site who will 'take us under their wing' like last Spring's trip to Guatemala.
For this type A planner, God seems to have me right in His cross hairs for a real life trust exercise. It really feels like God's hand is all over this and we are just along for the ride.
We've been told that we can go to a bilingual school during the day and visit a few nearby orphanages...but this is Central America...so there is no set agenda. I am trying to be prepared for anything. (And more importantly, prepare my 8 year olds for flexibility, patience and downtime.)
I have ordered hand puppets and Jesus Storybook Bibles in Spanish. I figure even my kiddos can get in on that! K & I went shopping yesterday and have a rolling suitcase full of pencils, stickers, coloring books, dollar store knockoff Barbies, deflated soccer balls, etc. Each purchase has been accompanied by prayer that these gifts will open doors to relationships and opportunities to share God's love with new friends.
We are practicing our vocabulary with Spanish flashcards at the breakfast table...but as I have written before, I get overwhelmed with steep learning curves. I am trying to remind myself that I don't need to be fluent. Yet, my own desire for relational encounters means every new word counts.
I recently learned that friends of ours are in the pipeline to adopt two children from Honduras and so I am overcome by the reality that the children we will encounter in those orphanages are somebody's children...even if they don't know it yet. I have anticipation that this can be an incredible trip.
Five busy holiday weeks between now and our departure...
I can't believe how few details we have and yet I am so excited to see what God has in store. I have grown to understand that this is the way God deals with me best--physically removing me from the complacency of my comfy life, stripping us from the distractions, requiring us to trust and to cling.
(And I am typing all this so I can come back and remind myself if I start freaking out.)
In the meantime, we pray that our preparation won't just be about vaccinations and suitcases, but that our hearts will be prepared. I specifically pray God will make me diligent in my language study. We will have translators, but I want to stretch and attempt to show the people we will meet that we loved them enough from afar to prepare ourselves to meet them with our best.
I pray my children will grow in their patience and specifically in their flexibility when it comes to food choices. Mostly, I pray God will get the glory, that we can be used as agents of His love and that our hearts will be more tuned into to His.