Saturday, July 26, 2014

right now // just one of those (stretching) days

Lots of our normal expat life changes, we have gotten used to: not drinking tap water, not flushing the toilet paper, and not always understanding conversations with too many people speaking our second language all at the same time. But what we've still had a hard time adjusting to are tasks that used to be so simple for us to do, being very difficult and overly complicated because of language barriers and cultural differences.

We learned a saying at our missionary training, and that was "it's not bad, just different."  My wife and I have definitely had to repeat this to ourselves multiple times during our first 9 months here. 

One of the biggest "simple" tasks that has caused me the biggest frustration and stress since being here happened just the other week with our car. We realized that we had an oil leak and the car needed to go into the car shop. Thankfully it wasn't a very big leak! In the U.S. this wouldn't have been a big deal, I would have taken the car into a shop that I trusted, asked them to fix it, waited for it, paid and been on my way. This wasn't exactly the case here.

Thankfully we have a very good friend who owns a tire business here who I called to take me to a trusted mechanic. When we showed up, it was very much a hole in the wall little place, parts laying everywhere, old broken down cars, no roof, dirt floor. It was not really a garage, basically a piece of land filled with junk to the side of the owners home where they use regular ol' car jacks to jack up the cars whenever the need to get underneath for anything! I was a little nervous at first and I know that sometimes the "hole in the wall" places turn out to be the best places. I just trusted my friend! 

They looked at my car and discovered it pretty quickly that it was a washer that had broken that was causing the oil leak.  He told me it wouldn't take very long to fix, but my "frictiones" were worn down and needed replaced. I could NOT figure out what he meant by this and every time I asked my friend and the mechanic what it was, they would say it again but only faster, which was not helpful to me.  I even texted Lesley and asked her to translate the word for me I was so anxious about it.  It's a really difficult place to be in mentally when someone is looking at something as big as your car, wanting to do something to the functionality of it, and you cannot understand at all what is going on. I have not learned a lot of words for car parts just yet!

Once I finally figured out what "frictiones" meant (which is break pads), I agreed to have them replace those too.  I knew that it was getting close to time for replacement, but in the commotion of everything that morning, I had forgotten to ask them to take a look at those. And honestly, if I had taken a second to really think about it "frictiones" sounds like friction which then would have made me think break pads! But, I didn't take the time to think about it before freaking out in my head. Definitely a moment where I felt like God was trying to teach me a lot in this area! After figuring all of this out, I thought it was going to be no time before I was out of there, fix the washer and replace the break pads, but again I thought wrong.  God had more learning experiences planned for me.  The next few steps of the day consisted of:
  • walking 5 blocks to the bank because the car "shop" doesn't accept debit cards
  • having the ATM go out of service when I get there 
  • convincing the teller at the window to allow me to withdraw with only my debit card and ID
  • continuing to not understand everything in the car conversation or be told everything
  • the mechanic going to every parts store in Danli to find the washer but not succeeding
  • paying the mechanic to go around to all of the parts stores to look for the part
  • multiple phone calls to parts stores in the capital city of Honduras for the washer
Four hours later it was determined that we would wait on the parts store from the capital city to bring the part later that afternoon around 2PM and I would come back to pick up the car before closing. So I then go home and wait for a phone call that didn't come until about 4:30PM saying that my car was ready. I walked to get the car and everything was fixed and good to go! Gracias a Dios! I was even able to have a conversation with some of the workers about what brought us to Honduras, our ministry, Jesus, our church and where it's located, and I invited them to church.  It was definitely an opportunity given to me in God's perfect timing.  Because if the opportunity for this conversation had presented itself during the morning, I probably wouldn't have seen the opportunity because I was so wrapped up in what was going on.  

This reminded me of two verses, one is 2 Timothy 4:2 which says "Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction."  The other is from Colossians 4:5 which says, "Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity."  These both reminding me to seize every opportunity that God puts in front of me to be a witness and and example for Him.  It was amazing to see the difference between the morning and the afternoon. 

God taught me a lot through this day and experience including:
  • Patience being the most important - Colossians 3:12
  • To open my eyes and be aware of the opportunities He puts in front of me, and take them
  • Trust Him in all circumstances even with the most simplest of things (this one is hard for me!)
  • "It's not bad, it's just different" and God created each person and culture
  • My challenges in the field are experiences that God is using to make me a better follower of Him

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for sharing this! I love hearing how much you learned out of a day of errands. I hope I can do the same even in my home culture. Also, I'm super amazed it even got fixed that day!