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A Day in the Life of a Missionary in Honduras

IMG_2309Lately, I have been sifting through old writings, stories, and articles I have written during my time on the mission field in Honduras.  I’ve decided to re-share some of them here on my LiliArte site/blog, mostly as a way for me to archive those who hold a special place in my heart.  

Originally written as a letter to my then Board of Directors for New Life Deaf Ministry back in 2010, I have edited it a bit for clarity’s sake now seven years later.

Though parts of this may seem a bit funny, it really has been one of those days that makes me step back and realize how much I need God and how nothing I do really matters if it’s not done in His honor, His name, and His power.  I thought you may just want to get a better glimpse into how many of my days resemble something like this…

Last night I planned out my Monday, writing down my to-do’s and being determined to have a nice long day concentrating on organizing the finances.

I arrived at the Ministry at 8:00 a.m.  I made it just inside the door and was about to talk to Oneyda (the Happy Hands director) when the owner of the pre-school building we will no longer be renting came by.  I negotiated the terms of what we needed to do to put the house back together for them (I wanted to build a wall with wood and sheetrock but she’s insisting on cement).

I returned to Oneyda’s office and we discussed the situation with a Deaf couple and their baby who is still in the hospital.  I asked Oneyda to contact the family again to see what was going on and when I could visit and help communicate any new developments to them.

Then the cement worker showed up and I went to the pre-school to get an estimate on the work with him and get the costs of construction supplies.

Meanwhile, a missionary friend of ours came to help move the electrical lines from the pre-school to the new property (that connects to the new second floor).  I met with him and our employee and we discussed what needed to be done.

The cement worker and my friend got started.  I went upstairs, put my computer on my desk.  A Manos Felices teacher came in and we discussed her cancer treatments and how she is doing.

An employee reminded me we needed to go to Comayaguela (high traffic area on the other side of the main river) to take my car in and get an estimate on painting the van (in order to sell it).  But first we needed to go buy the cement blocks, sand, cement, etc.

While I was negotiating the cost of cement blocks at the hardware place, Lili’s babysitter called and said the electrical lines leading to my house outside exploded and were on fire!  Thankfully, a couple of construction guys were around.  They cut the wires and my sitter cut off all the electricity.  I stopped by the house then went to the Electric Company to see what to do.

After that, I headed to the mechanic.  That took over an hour.  After that, I went to get food for Lili and the sitter since there was no cold food to eat and there was no electricity.  I arrived at my house right when it started POURING, I mean POURING.  I got inside and decided to have a quiet lunch until the rain subsided.  It had just subsided for a short bit (about 20 minutes later) when the Electric Co. arrived, fixed the problem temporarily, and told me I needed to get another kind of wiring (at my cost) and they could come back tomorrow and install it (2017 note: they never came back!).

While heading back to the ministry, I received a call from Oneyda saying a huge cement chunk of the National Soccer Stadium near our ministry had fallen onto the street below and killed at least one person while crushing several cars.  One of our school buses arrived late because of the ensuing traffic and a light pole was out taking the electricity out at the school.  (This rainy season has been really bad in Tegucigalpa.  The city just seems to be crumbling away; roads, bridges, homes, and now the soccer stadium have been falling apart).

I arrived at school.  As I was heading to my office, a teacher stopped to tell me the new upstairs classroom had practically flooded with the very heavy rains through the top small open windows and through some of the windows that were closed (but water was still coming in).  Then Oneyda informs me that the water pump is busted again.  I already knew that from another employee telling me earlier in the day, but now it has somehow affected the water in the laundry area.  Ok… those two things I’m saving for another day.  Oh, and the materials that were supposed to have arrived by that time hadn’t so I told the cement worker to leave and come back tomorrow.

I went upstairs (where I vaguely remember setting down my computer this morning, about 7 hours ago), packed up my stuff (computer and finance papers) and left with two teachers to pick up one of their daughters from school.

I dropped off all the girls then had to go to an electric store (in the rain and traffic) and get the electric materials for the Electric Co. to come and re-wire cables to my house so that it doesn’t explode again and catch my house on fire.

As I was walking out of the store, I ran into a street lady (more or less) I’ve known for years and years who lost a young son last year and has been battling cancer for several years (she’s had several surgeries and comes by to show me the scars).  I have supported her on and off and have given funds for pints of blood for transfusions she has needed.  She was with another young son and asked me if I knew any organization that would take him in.  She said she would take him to IHNFA (child welfare services, now called DINAF in 2017) but she knew he would be abused there.  She knows she is dying and won’t be able to take care of him for too much longer.  He is 10 years old.  By this time, my mind was blank.  I helped her out a little with money and told her to drop by the ministry later in the week and I’d pray about the issue with her son.

I arrived home, the sitter left, and about 10 minutes later, Oneyda called saying she had finally gotten a hold of the Deaf couples’ family.  After several conversations with Oneyda, texts from the Deaf couple, and a couple of conversations with a nurse missionary friend of mine to figure out what the other conversations meant, I got Shirley (a teacher who was living with me at the time with her young daughter) to watch Lilian and I headed for the hospital (still in the rain and even worse traffic).  I arrived at the hospital, had to negotiate my way to the room (past visiting hours and I wasn’t family), and finally got to give my friends a hug.  I did a lot of family crisis management, communication clarification, counseling/encouraging/consoling, again mediating with the family, getting information from the nurses, calling my nurse friend, getting more information, more family mediation, and more calling my nurse friend. (2017 Note: Shirley and her sweet daughter both went to heaven within six months of each other in 2014 and 2015).

At the end of the time, I’m still not exactly sure what is going on.  The baby may or may not have hemophilia.  He may or may not have leukemia.  He has gotten better over the past two days.  They may let him go home tomorrow under observation, treatment, and frequent doctor visits.  Oneyda or myself will be there in the a.m. (2017 Note: the baby is a wonderful spunky young boy now!)

While I was at the hospital, the lights went out again at home (Shirley texted me) because of the rain this time.  It came back on just as I got home (in the rain 14 hours after arriving at the office this morning).  I got a water bottle out of the refrigerator and came in here to SHARE MY DAY WITH YOU!

I’m going to forego a to-do list for tomorrow and just see what God brings my way!  The Lord is my RockPsalm 18:2