We recently had a film crew come by looking for the “real scoop” on missionary life. They had heard dozens of presentations, back in their church, highlighting all the good stuff happening abroad, due to the generous giving of the supporters, etc. etc. But, they, by coming on the field, wanted to see and talk about “what it was really like.” So, here goes some of that: Most days it is really, really, HOT & HUMID here. Did I mention FRUSTRATING, DIRTY, INSECT-FILLED, and SAD? All of Roatan is not this way, yet if you live within our community, and take on their burden, it’s downright heavy at times. Until right relationship is restored with God, with self, with others and the environment, things will continue to be more difficult than necessary.
At times, we’d like to call our journey a “14-er”, or even worse a “battleground.” However, we’ve come a long way to the realization that opposition is a good thing. It’s proof we are making headway, planting seeds of hope and faith. The majority of believers here have a legalistic view of Christianity. Do this. Don’t do that. Say this. Don’t say that. They know they cannot keep all the laws & feel beaten down when they fail. The role models in their churches are often corrupt and unfaithful. The message that is being preached and often sent by others is to behave or else! But, it’s impossible to live this perfect life. We simply cannot do it. We all make mistakes, we all feel ashamed at times, we all think not-so-nice thoughts. Then the guilt comes, and it’s back to square one. We are all like hamsters on the infamous wheel of life, trying to figure it all out. None of it makes sense and we are caught in the throes of this world and all of the worldly concerns. We all can easily lose sight of what faith really means, what its implications are for the here and now.
By admitting we are not perfect, we are allowing room for God’s grace. Grace is simply getting what we do NOT deserve. Yes, we feel we are good people, yet we think things and do things that we know are not always pleasing to God. For this, we definitely need forgiveness and the freedom to continue to try to do a better job tomorrow. It is this message of relying on Him for all of our needs, that we are trying to share. We do this through mentoring- teaching/training others in english via stories with biblical principles, providing scholarships for continuing education and internships, encouraging others in their faith walk, and by simply being here within community, sharing our lives with others. It’s the daily grind and how we face each day, no matter the circumstances, that makes the difference.
Bringing the community together to work on a community sports court has been a daunting task. Because filling plastic bottles with sand is labor intensive, it has taken 6 months to build the wall surrounding the “soccer/basketball court to be.” In a culture which does not think much beyond the next 24 hours, it is difficult for them to really “buy in” to the idea of such a long-term project. In fact, the wall is still not totally completed! Within the next 2 months, God willing, the wall will be completed, the cement poured for the court, and bleachers assembled. We have a strong crew working on the wall these days, motivation high, as the court is beginning to take shape. Praise the Lord, thanks to our faithful supporters, we were able to say a loud “No, thank you.”, to Coca-Cola’s offer to pay for the cement work in exchange for red & white Coke advertising all over the wall!
English and ESL (English as a Second Language) teaching and training continue. As we get to know the students better, we are able to decipher their level of commitment and motivation. We are learning to be okay with disappointment and have to remind ourselves daily, that the seeds we have planted today may blossom down the road. We know we must be content with being one block in God’s wall, although, most days we still want to save the world! Of course, we are given glimpses regularly of all the good changes occurring, keeping us motivated to press on. The timing of these never cease to amaze us. Opportunities continue to present themselves, whether they be a new teacher who wants training, a computer lab which students can use, a church that wants to begin english as ministry, or an orphanage that needs assistance with their english program. The difficulty, as in all things, is discerning where time & effort is best spent.
Your continued prayers, encouragement, support, and visits keep us going. Airfare is at an all-time low. Check out FareCompare for best prices. Thank you all so much!! Mike & Kerry