Happy Easter everyone!!!
Good thing the season lasts fifty days, otherwise that greeting would be way late. Sort of like this blogpost is. Apologies. Life has just been a little crazy this last month. A lot has happened.
The most important of which was probably the death of my grandfather. I thought because he was older (89 years old!) and it wasn’t completely unexpected that it would somehow be easier. It wasn’t. Death is always awful, especially when it means losing someone as incredible as my grandpa. He and my grandma were married for 67 years! One of my favorite memories of him is when at one of our family functions a few years back, he fell asleep on the couch with his arm around her. I think I’ve learned more about true love and sacrifice from their example than probably anyone else in the world. I was so, so grateful I was able to fly back for the funeral.
In the midst of all of the death and sorrow that we passed through this Lent, one things that kept coming back to me was actually a facebook status, that I saw over two years ago after the death of a young woman, newly married and expecting a baby, in a car accident: The sun still shines.
I think sometimes after death, we‘re shocked, even offended at how life can continue on. Our world has completely and forever changed. How is it that everything can look so similar on the outside? How can everything else continue on? But it does. And not only does it go on, but it goes on with warmth and light and beauty. Because death doesn’t end in the grave. It ends in the Resurrection.
So here are a few of the beautiful things that have been happening down here recently:
Another Spring Break team came down (shout out to FOCUS), and did awesome work in the mountains. I didn’t go this time, but stayed back to teach my class, clean the bodega (think giant storage room where we keep all of our stuff) , and help out with a special program for our therapy kids and their moms.
And ohmygosh. Talk about miraculous. We’ve officially started our Beata Margarita program and it’s taken off like crazy. From the donations we’ve raised and grants we’ve received, we’re going to be able to put four of the young adults that we work with in technical schools and a few of our kids in CasAyuda, a school for children with special needs. We’ve also been able to purchase/build all of this incredible equipment and now have the funds to ensure that therapists come down regularly. This money is also helping to put two of our Hondurans through university to be trained and licensed officially as therapists. I think too, this is one of the most incredible parts about being down here long term. When I first met Cesar in September, his days were spent in a wheelchair. Now, with the help of a crutch, he can walk on his own and eventually he’ll be able to walk without any problems at all. Moreover, it’s not just the gift of being able to walk again, but the gift of renewed hope. Sooo good. You can learn more about the program here: http://www.missionersofchrist.org/beata-margarita.html
Speaking of the miraculous, I did my taxes while I was home and my refund came out to the exact price of my plane ticket to fly home for my grandpa’s funeral. Win.
After my whirlwind trip to North Carolina and Iowa (where all my relatives live) and all of the states in-between, I arrived back in Honduras on Friday the 11th. Then we left bright and early the following morning for a week at the beach! But not just any week at the beach: Jesus en la Playa, Diocesis de La Ceiba. You MUST watch this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yv9otqRtVJc. It sums up the entire week. It also looks like we had the time of our lives, and we did! I just don’t think I’ve ever worked harder in my life. I literally spent the entire week playing with children from about 10 in the morning to 9 at night. Definitely one of those times though where you loved until it hurt, and then it didn’t hurt anymore. Haha, at one point Justin asked if I still wanted kids of my own one day after the experience and my first thought was, “Are you kidding me? Now I want an orphanage!”
Also, just for a little background… Holy Week is more or less Spring Break for the entire country down here. It was a weird in a lot of ways, ya know, how Pepsi had its GINORMOUS stage set up right by us, playing whatever pop song you care to name… and then us in our little white tent coloring pictures of Jesus with the kids. Strange. But good. We also had the chance to participate in all of the traditional Holy Week celebrations that they do down here… the processions of the Dia de los Ramos (Palm Sunday) Via Crucis (Way of the Cross) and Santa Entierro (Holy Burial… which we don’t really do), a few alfombras (really pretty carpets of sawdust, as strange as that may sound), and the Easter vigil with the Bishop in the cathedral. The bishop of La Ceiba is awesome. He’s Irish (hence, awesome) and hilarious. For example, the sprinkling of the Holy Water wasn’t so much a sprinkling as a shower. His vestments were completely soaked by the time he made it back to the altar. Carol asked him about it and he responded by saying how it made the people happy. And it’s true! It did!
Then we got up to take a bus back to Comayagua at 3:30 Easter morning… but then the bus was full, so we took the 9am bus instead. Monday we took another bus to Tegucigalpa to work on our residency papers. Again. Miraculous the ease with which we were able to get everything done. Then Ashley and I went to Tegucigalpa again the following day to pick up a girl who’d come down for our Come and See week. On Wednesday that we were leading a retreat that weekend in San Luis. So Thursday I went to another funeral, taught my English class, and left for San Luis. Thennnn we had the retreat. Which, considering we’d had a day to prepare for it, went remarkablely well. Not without a few hiccups, but… when don’t we need a humility check? We made it back to the house Sunday afternoon and yesterday and today were spent cleaning and getting back into the swing of things here. So yeah. That’s been life.
Messy, sad, crazy, but redeemed and beautiful. Indeed, He is Risen!