I have been to Honduras and back already. My good friend Carrie got married. Taylor, the eight year old I tutor, starts school on Monday, so our counting by twos and phonics lessons are over for now. This coming Sunday is the last Sunday I will lead worship at my church. And next Friday (August 24) is the day I unveil the art project of my summer - a prayer room I am decorating from wall to wall with curtains, a mural, and pleasant places to sit. Whew. Then I start packing. Yes, I am going to California after all. But before I tell you how it came about that I am going to the land of movies, vineyards, and tans, I would like to relay a few details about my missions trip to Honduras.
Apparently, the airport in Tegucigalpa, Honduras has the shortest and therefore one of the most dangerous landing strips in the world. Tegucigalpa is surrounded by mountains on all sides, so the pilot must be capable of flying the plane into what is essentially a little bowl by banking hard to the left, swooping low, and straightening the plane out quickly enough to land immediately. The plane I rode in touched down so softly that I applauded.
From Tegucigalpa, I and the team hopped into a bus the size of my 1989 Toyota Van (but with 15 seats to my 7) that puttered through a couple mountain passes until we reached our destination city: Comayagua. Picture any developing country (shacks, trash, random sewage in streets, countless bone-thin dogs, etc) and then add humidity, lush plants, and lots of narrow streets, and you'll have a sense of Comayagua. We spent a few hours at the Hotel Quan before heading out to a barrio church (poor church in a poor neighborhood). We began our week by singing songs in Spanish, watching geckos crawl on the walls during the sermon, and praying for the members of this small church. The rest of the week was spent passing out candy, making balloon animals, face-painting, and singing/dancing in various settings.
We worked mainly with three different organizations: Ruach International Christian Academy, Chosen Boys Orphanage, and the Jardin de los Ninos in the small town of San Antonio (just outside of Comayagua). Really, the goal of our trip was to encourage, pray for, and help the missionaries to whom we are already deeply connected and supportive. My favorite event involved a teacher's retreat that we helped sponsor and host. The retreat provided an entire weekend of spa-like treatment of the teachers from RICA. Those ladies and gentlemen pour themselves into their students but they have never been re-filled in return. I came to love the teachers at RICA. I hope to teach alongside them in the future.
When I returned from Honduras, my gut-reaction was to feel homesick for that great big elsewhere. The most invigorating part of the trip was the feeling I have of coming alive whenever I am on foreign soil. I like change and uncertainty because these two words swell with opportunity for personal growth, and walking foreign streets brings change and uncertainty with every step and breath. So I felt homesick for elsewhere. But then I started thinking again about all the here and now events...like whether I am going to LIFE Pacific College in a couple of weeks.
Since I sent in my application to LIFE, I made a commitment not to take out student loans to pay for my time there. Slowly, oh so slowly, scholarships have been accumulating, but before I went to Honduras, I still needed 1/3 of the total cost of education to miraculously show up. Well, I spent four days waiting and praying, nice and steady. I knew that if God wanted me to go to California by September 1st that He would provide 100%. On Thursday, three days after my return, I received a letter from the Christian Community Credit Union (read my scholarship essay below) awarding me a sizable scholarship. The following 36 hours continued to make my head spin. Three timely phone calls and one evening spent with friends ended with miraculous monetary tallies, so I am going to LIFE after all.
My going to LIFE is six years in the making. I am so excited.