Wednesday, October 30, 2013

First Interview!

I've been meaning to do this for awhile : interview my sister for this blog! She's pretty busy down in Honduras so it was nice of her to take the time to share about her life and ministry there. Thanks Laur!

Here it goes:

How did you end up in Honduras?

Wow. This could be a very long answer but I will try and sum it up! The Lord definitely started pulling on my heart when our family began travelling to Mexico to minister alongside MITC. I knew that I loved experiencing cultures and languages but truly fell in love with Latin culture. I think it was the passion I saw for Christ and the joyfulness in the simplicity of life. I remember telling the Lord, even being so young, that I would love to serve Him somewhere in Central America if He desired to send me there. I truly believe the Lord gave me the desire of my young heart, even being young in my faith. 
     At times it was a struggle through university because I knew my desire for serving cross culturally. It was a great time of trust, and I am so thankful that the Lord kept us in Canada and living with my Dad. His timing is perfect.
      When I graduated university it wasn't until the summer that the Lord directed me to Honduras. I was visiting my sister in Toronto when the school contacted me. I remember telling Kat that I was interested in pursuing the opportunity. From there I applied and then was travelling down to California to visit some good friends. Long story short- I was told, while travelling near L.A., to keep a phone nearby in case they called. I got the call while driving in car full of friends. We pulled off the highway and there I interviewed for the position with the principal, director and administrator of Pinares. The Lord's hand was clearly carrying the whole process and gave so much peace! I accepted the position without even warning my family. From there I had two weeks to get back to Thunder Bay pack up and fly to a new, completely unknown home. God was so gracious in the way He clearly directed the whole process! What a peace and joy He gives when walking freely in His spirit!  

How would you describe your ministry there? (what are you doing there to serve God?)

The main ministry is teaching here at Pinares. I am so blessed with 18 energetic fourth graders. It is such a blessing to be able to pray with them and over them. We talk about God and we are able to integrate the bible in all subject areas. It's a huge blessing! 
     Another main ministry is sports. We are just finishing up basketball season with the highschool girls. This year I was able to work alongside a new teacher who is an amazing basketball player. We work with an awesome group of girls who definitely come with their challenges. They are definitely teenage girls. Next week we are playing in the national tournament for their division. It has been so wonderful meeting them for lunches and just talking through life with them. Working them to the ground isn't so bad either! They have grown a lot. 
    In a couple weeks I will begin coaching the senior girls soccer. That season is longer but is also an excellent challenge. I work alongside a Honduran guy who is a husband of a coworker. This is my 3rd year working with him and he is a big blessing and has taught me a lot about coaching and spanish. In all leadership positions I feel that I fall so short, and that is when God reveals himself so clearly. 
    Another ministry is leading a small group for some of the teachers. We are currently going through Galatians for You by Tim Keller. There are some very wise and very christ-like examples in this group. This has become one of my favourite nights of the week. We pray and seek God in all areas of our lives presently. Such an awesome time of fellowship!
    Other than that there are different ministries that we are involved with in the city and on the mountain. There is somewhat of a group home for teenage girls who have nowhere to go just down the road. We try a couple times a month just to visit and love on them. 

List of Favourite things about life in Tegucigalpa:
This list could go on for awhile.
1. The mountain : I never cease to be in awe of God's beauty up here. We can go on early morninng runs, hikes, and watch the sun rise. There are pine trees everywhere. Flowers grow wild on the side of the road. etc.etc. I have to stop and watch the city as we drive up the mountain everyday. The views and majesty of the mountains will never get old. 
2.The people : Honduran people have a special zest for life. We have workers at the school who are into their sixties and have labored so hard their entire lives. They still play and laugh like little kids. It is normal to see them joking and wrestling around. Hondurans love to find joy in the blessings from God. They are also very "tranquillo" (chill) in general. They are also some of the most hard-working people I have ever met! Some of the nannies I work with leave there homes at 4 am to catch a bus up the mountain and don't return home to their families until 7 at night. I aspire to have this kind of servant and joyful heart. 
3. Food : At the market you can buy so much fresh fruits and vegetables without putting the slightest hole in your pocket. Food here is so fresh and cheap. My favourite food is fruits, therefore there really couldn't be a better place to eat. 
4. Community : We live in a gated area for safety with a giant gringo family! Our apartment has a key that hangs outside so that if the door closes it still welcomes anyone who needs a haven. This is normal where we live. Houses are always filled with people eating and visiting eachother. The biggest connection of course is Christ. There is a unique and special love that we have for our Pinares family here that is only on account of the love of Christ. It's pretty cool to watch it in action. 
5. Coffee... but I see there's another place to talk about this below!
6. Lifestyle: There is a saying here that goes TIH. (This is Honduras) There is nothing here that is graven into stone. Plans change multiple times a day just because of different things that occur. Hondurans are the masters at this because they do not worry. They don't stress and do not let a little schedule change (or a big one) affect their attitudes. People come first here. If you are late for a meeting that could change the world but you see your friend's Grandma selling flowers, of course you will stop and talk to her about her day. I love this. A couple weeks ago I was trying to get out of our gate to get to the city for church but there was a herd of cows. The guard calmly asked me to come and help get them off the road. There we are with sticks making noises I've never heard so that they could move. Is it normal for Honduras? Absolutely. For North Americans? Probably not. The lights go out regularly and our running water goes off at random times. What do you do? Whatever you can in the moment and just roll! 
(this list will stop here because there are a lot of random blessings to add) 

Has life there changed you?
I hope so! haha I pray that I have changed and will continue to change by God's grace. Thanks to God especially for Honduran and American friends- there is a consistent fellowship here. The Lord has definitely shown me that sacrificing for others and loving others in Christ is what it is about. I have become more accustomed to talking to others about Christ and freely with strangers. I have been humbled in everyway through working in different jobs here. It has shown me how much I need a savior and I need God's grace each day. It has also grown my trust in Christ, especially through prayer. It is not the safest place to live but it is certainly the best. I have personal friends who have been taken for ransom and some I have met who have been shot and survived. The Lord has shown so much grace to me just through being robbed a couple times. He has changed perspective on an urgency for the lost, and just walking where He leads fearlessly.

How's the coffee?
Perfect. A weakness. A daily desire. A huge blessing. An excuse to go visit with friends. haha But need to come and try it. Two words: Espresso. Americano. 
Has your view of God changed by being there?
Yes. This is an answer to prayer. I feel that the more time I spend here the more in love I am with God. I think it is especially working with and alongside so many people. I see how the Lord is working in their lives. I watch kids and teens from broken and desperate situations surrender everything to Him. Then to see them be filled with joy and a desire to serve Him is unlike everything else. I see Him in the streetkids we get to visit. I see Him even in the boys who are addicted to glue. The Lord made them and loves them. He has revealed Himself and continues to reveal Himself daily. 
I see God more now as a source of joy, a savior, a daily necessity, grace and forgiveness. 

Favourite verse(s)? :
This year this has been a big life verse: Hebrews 12:1-3
"Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart."

-I love the visual of not being dragged down by the darkness and sin around us. We are to fix our eyes on Him!

Any song recommendations/ music artist recommendations?
Since we are on the latin subject here are some good worship artists! Music here is also a huge blessing..did I mention that? 
Christine D'Clario: Magnified/Magnifico, Gloria en Lo Alto
Evan Craft: Despiertame Hoy
Tercer Cielo: Creere, Latin America 
Jesus Adrian Romero: Dame tus Ojos, Mi Universo

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Ways to beat the blues

'How did you get sick?!' was my Father's reply this morning when I told him that I was twenty-six. At least I'm not so old that my hearing's gone like some people. :)

Today I am twenty- six, and I do not feel much different. However, sometimes when I think about how much has happened in the past twenty-six years I get concerned. A lot has changed and happened! Can I handle another decade or two or three or four or five? That makes me sound like my life is really hard. It is not. I just have average first world problems for the most part mixed with blessings galore. I can sometimes focus on the few negative things even though I know life is beautiful thanks to Christ.

Steve, my husband, pointed out today that I can dwell too much on the negative. Steve is generally an optimist and I love that I'm married to him. He can always turn my raincloud into sunshine. I prefer to think I'm a realist though. The reality being that there is so much sin, and life is hard sometimes! It can be overwhelming. Steve also pointed out that its in those times of feeling overwhelmed that I'm listening to myself not preaching the truth to myself.
So after pondering this, and deciding that he was right again, I thought of ways to get my focus off of negativity and onto Christ and heavenly things.

1. Recall scripture. I love that so many times there's the phrase: "But God..." in the bible.
example: Ephesians 2:4-6 'But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,' (ESV)
That phrase: "But God" can come after any negative thought and suddenly you're thinking about how the power of God trumps anything bad that can happen or is happening.

2. Pray

3. Christ. Just remember the hope there is in Christ.

4. Seek Fellowship. Don't hide in your basement all alone with your thoughts, go talk to a solid brother or sister in The Lord who will preach truth to you when you can't. Be with the church.
5. Appreciate God's creation.

This was this view I woke up to this morning. Steve whisked me away to Niagra Falls for my birthday and just being around such a majestic and powerful display of God's power in creation made me thankful and amazed.

6. Worship. 
11 Psalm 30:11-12
'You have turned for me my mourning into dancing;
    you have loosed my sackcloth
    and clothed me with gladness,
12 that my glory may sing your praise and not be silent.
    Lord my God, I will give thanks to you forever!'

These pointers are nothing new, but hopefully you are reminded of ways to be encouraged or how to put whatever is heavy on your heart into perspective.