Our trip home to the states actually began roughly four months ago. As we hit the “buy tickets” button on the Expedia page, our kids marked the dates on their calendar. Our excitement grew as we crossed off the days till departure and made plans for our stateside visit. Anticipation really is such a great part of any trip. Our minds will always prepare the perfect vacation. Rarely do we imagine our trip with bad weather, bike crashes, lice, malfunctioning cameras & computers, or stolen credit cards. Being away from the U.S. for 18 months had us not only craving a meal at Ken and Sue’s, but wondering how living in a third world country had changed us individually and as a family. Certainly, a five week trip home would answer these questions, take care of the cravings and most importantly recharge our mental state.
Our trip would begin early in the morning with a 1.5 hour ferry ride to the mainland followed by a 3.5 hour bus ride to San Pedro Sula. Once in SPS, we would wait for 12 hours before boarding a plane to the states….just enough time to lose a credit and residency card. We pretty much knew the drill for a lost credit card, but losing a residence card hours before departure was an entirely different matter. Would the one without a residency card be left behind or would we be forced to pay a fine in order to depart? A huge bummer since this was the first time that the residency card was called upon to leave the country. (Our residency card allows us to stay in the country without having to leave every three months. Non compliance can result in an undetermined amount in fines.) Amazingly, all ended well, as everyone boarded the same plane and no penalties applied. Gracias a Dios!
It did not take very long before the kids shed light on how different things are outside of the U.S. A water fountain in the Miami airport not only quenched our thirst, it reminded us that we had been away from many comforts of home that we often take for granted. Living outside of the U.S. can’t help to change one’s self. We were continually reminded as to how blessed we are, to have been born in such a great country. Healthcare, jobs, security, education, clean water and grassy parks are just a few to mention. Moving from an environment that provides all of the above and then some, to one that has little, if any, creates a whole new mindset.
Conversations about the past year and a half had us, more often than not, up late into the night. Although our experiences were vastly different, we quickly realized that there is joy and hardship no matter where you live. A big difference that we have seen while living in Honduras, is that many of the hardships are what was present in our country 300 years ago. Hunger, thirst and disease are on most every corner. Coming home to Durango & visiting family on the East coast was much different than it had been in the past. A new life in Honduras had become more interwoven into the fabric of who we are. Our lifestyle as Americans had been put away and yet, to say that we were Honduran, would be a stretch. Everything that we did, though, seemed a little bit different. Walking Main Ave. to riding roller-coasters in Hershey Park, to watching lacrosse games, we had our eyes wide open.
Months ago I had a conversation with a friend who has lived outside of the U.S. for some time. We discussed the changes that take place when a decision is made to move away from the motherland. He said, “Your family was once on a planet of blue. Moving to Honduras brought your family to a planet that is yellow. After an extended period of living in a world of yellow, you can never go back to being blue nor can you ever be completely yellow. The closest that we can ever be to either of these colors is now green.” His description made sense and it has been something that we try to keep close, as we attempt to make changes in a culture that is not our own.
Our faith has brought us here not to be longing for our next meal or glass of water, but to bring hope and to enable the people of the Colonia to provide for themselves. The tools that we have in our bag to achieve these goals, come from a variety of places. The multitude of tools that we now posses, allows us to address many more situations. We continually rely on not only our faith in God, but the resources of all of our supporters. The finances, material goods and prayers have allowed us to begin to make a difference and to continue/pursue these goals over the next couple of years.
We had returned to the states for five weeks anticipating a trip that would not only give us some much needed rest, it would allow us to see the differences in the two cultures. Surprisingly, it was our return to Roatan that really shed light on how much these differences had changed us. The past week of settling in to our routine made it clear that we were now green. Our new color was created over an 18 month period. It was accomplished by learning a new language, making new friends, and attempting to understand a different culture. In doing so, we feel more equipped to take on the challenges of continuing language/mentorship programs, building a sports complex and spreading the word that God is good. We hope to be examples as to how God wants us to act, think and most importantly treat others. Not only must we do this as a family, we must do it while keeping our supporters in mind. We must continually remind ourselves, as well as those in the community of Sandy Bay, that we are here first because of our faith and second the large group of friends that believe in us. So, THANK YOU VERY MUCH!