Sunday, December 29, 2013

personal // christmas 2013

On the week of Christmas, we made the best plans. Instead of staying in Choluteca, where we currently live and having a quiet little Christmas in our apartment (because our friends would also be out of town with their family), we decided to travel too! We went on a little adventure to see all of the other friends that we have in Honduras, including our beloved friends at the church we feel called to be working with very soon in Danli.

One wonderful early Christmas present we were given was we actually got to travel and see ALL of the other friends we have in Honduras -- while making a transportation switch-over in the capital city of Tegucigalpa, we got to meet up with our dear friends Jim & Sonia Bridge, whom we got to know while at Mission Training International, for an hour and a half! God is so good; He provides gift after gift for us daily. How wonderful that we were able to meet missionaries that would be serving in the same country as us; how wonderful that we would also be blessed enough to see them for CHRISTMAS!

Getting to see our missionary friends, Jim & Sonia, in Tegucigalpa before heading to Danli. 
Some of our best friends from Danli, Luis & Belkis, had invited us to stay with their family for Christmas. We've stayed with them on previous mission trips. It was such a delight! They picked us up in Tegucigalpa after our three hour bus ride there, and we talked the whole drive home. It had been almost two years since we had spent time together! We could hardly believe it had been that long, because it didn't feel like any time at all. When we arrived in Danli, we immediately began helping the family run errands and prepare for our Christmas celebration; we had just one day after we arrived to get everything ready because in Honduras, they celebrate on Christmas Eve night -- with a big Christmas dinner at about 8:30pm with celebrations lasting into the night. At midnight, people all over set off fireworks and hug each other rejoicing. You're up until at least 2am, if not longer, and pretty much everyone eats Honduran nacatomales and torrejas. Actually, we had a lot of torrejas for several days before and after Christmas! (It's a dessert of cinnamon bread cooked down in a sweet leche sauce. Yum!)

But, on the day before Christmas we had a really important job to do: drive all the way up to the top of a mountain (a very, very bumpy ride, might I add) to a farm to select & retrieve our huge pig to be prepared for Christmas dinner. Our friends had joked that that they were going to make Jamey catch and kill the pig. Thankfully for Jamey they were kidding. :) Here's some pictures from the absolutely beautiful top of the mountain -- we sincerely wish these landscapes were our 100% all-the-time-real-life.

We had to add the pictures of the turkeys from the farm because these two enjoyed chasing Lesley around the farm that day! And their "gobble" hilariously sounded EXACTLY like Hokie game days in Lane Stadium.

Just one view from the top!

The "lagoon" where the tilapia live and grow!
Our silly "little sisters", Lia & Mimi, enjoying some hammock time while waiting on the pig to be done. haha!
Luis grilling half a sack of corn-on-the-cob for Christmas with lime and salt on top! 
After all of the fun on Christmas Eve night, there is a lot of sleeping, cleaning up, and eating leftovers. For us personally, we woke up just before 8am to make sure to video call with our families and siblings! Lesley's grandma in particular thought that video calling was something extremely "nifty", giggled the whole time, and used the call as a "show and tell" time. Then we used the rest of the day to get really good at new card games we were learning from our friends! The family asked Lesley to make lunch that day, with a special request -- her version of spaghetti :) Unfortunately, it hasn't been perfected using Honduran ingredients yet. But it was good to practice again and to get to serve them in that way.

Also on Christmas day, Jamey and Luis (the husband of the family we stayed with, who is a deacon at the church in Danli) went to the dump directly to take the trash from Christmas, so that they could also take extra food to the children that live there and share the Gospel with them.  This was definitely a very meaningful moment for Jamey.

During our week stay, we also were so glad that we went to the Danli church to see what has been updated since we were last there in person! We were so thrilled with and impressed by the additions that have been made to the children's nutrition clinic on site and with the stage in the main church building. It all looks SO great!

The new stage design (left) and the view from the new second story of the nutrition clinic (right). 
Lesley in front of the nutrition clinic, and Jamey with our tour guides,
Luis & his little shadow, Eimi (affectionately called Mimi.) 

We were so thankful for this trip for so many reasons; not only did we get the chance to spend Christmas with people who love and care about us so much (even when we were far away from home) and get to learn about Honduran holiday traditions, but we also were able to reconnect with God in a brand new way about His original calling for this to be our lives in Honduras. We were also able to have talks with some of the leaders about their vision for the future of the church and the communities in Danli as well as our future roles in helping to advance the Gospel in Danli. It was truly a time of rejoicing in Him. Also, as it would have it, we've officially been taking Spanish language lessons for a little over a month now and this trip served as almost a "end-of-the-first-month-exam" for us! This was both of our first trips to Danli with no translators and staying with a family where no one speaks English. Truly by the grace of God, we were able to make it the whole week with little to no confusion and with having wonderful conversations! Of course, it helped that it was two of us working as a team to listen carefully and "translate" in our minds, but we know that it sincerely helped our Spanish SO MUCH. You can't learn a language without practicing it, and there is no better way to practice it than to absolutely have to use it! 

Just a few last pictures we just really want to show (because we know you think that's the best part just like we do):

Jamey getting a LOT of driving experience in Danli! This photo was on our way to
 going to see one of the funniest people we know, Miguel! 

The view from hiking up on the side of the mountain where one of the huge cross statues
is in Danli early in the morning on the day that we left. 

1 comment:

  1. You know when you see a photo, and it gives you that feeling of overwhelming nostalgia - and when you get that lump in your throat, not necessarily from being sad, but just almost as though you want to throw up, but in a weird, good way. Yeah, I feel that right now. I LOVE the photos and miss DanlĂ­ unbelievably.