“But thank God! He has made us His captives and continues to lead us along in Christ’s triumphal procession. Now He uses us to spread the knowledge of Christ everywhere, like a sweet perfume. Our lives are a Christ-like fragrance rising up to God…” 2 Corinthians 2: 14-15
The word ‘Beautiful” does not do any justice to Copan, Honduras. The cobblestone streets are lined with pastel colored houses, complete with window flower boxes overflowing with tropical foliage and colorful blossoms. The central park at the end of our street is enclosed by modest shops, markets, restaurants, and cafes. The streets are alive and bustling with taxis and friendly faces. Stray dogs and chickens frequent the streets as well. The mountains in the distance call to me and make me feel comfortably small. The steady trickle of sweat down the small of my back keeps me delightfully aware of my environment, while making me anticipate the return to my quiet house, guarded and kept cool by a canopy of trees. With all of this being said, it is not difficult in the least to fall deeply in love with Copan. The friendly greetings of neighbors and store owners mimics the small-town feel and hospitality of my home in Kentucky. However, like every new place, making Honduras a comfortable home for 6 weeks has taken some major adaptation.
Over the past week, I have dealt with some incredibly strong pangs of loneliness. I have had trouble connecting with people – which is an issue I have never really encountered before. The steady beating of the rain on our leaky roof at night made me long for home, in our tiny apartment, where my brother was just a few steps away. I have felt misunderstood and outcast because of my curious ways of thinking about animals and plants (with myself being the only vegetarian in our group). I have had to resist the urge to run up to every malnourished dog I cross paths with on the street. I have had to learn the rules and expectations of a foreign place, and I did this by messing up… a lot. I am also probably one of the only blonde people in the entire country of Honduras, which results in an abundance of staring and curious looks cast my way. I have had to adjust to waking up sweating, and going to bed sweating. I have adjusted to going to sleep to the sound of lizards chirping in between the rods of wood lined upon our ceiling, and the large spiders and flying cockroaches that often inhabit our closet and shower. I have adjusted to beans for breakfast… and lunch… and dinner… (which I actually love). But, I still have not adjusted to the loneliness. However, I do understand it. For as hard as I am working to seek God and grow closer to Him, Satan is coming at me with feelings of being inadequate from every direction. So, please pray that I can shake this feeling, and begin believing whole-heartedly the God sent me here, without knowing the language, for a reason. There has to be a reason.
Another thing I am getting used to is the quiet of Honduras. I mean, sure, there are ALWAYS chickens making noise, or dogs barking, or children setting off firecrackers (yes, children). But there is a peaceful silence the follows me along the streets and back to my house. There is technological silence, and people actually look up when they walk, rather than being absorbed in their latest text message or blog post. There isn’t the distracting noise of being in a hurry all the time. There is so much space and opportunity to think. Deeply. At home, in the States, there is an abundance of distraction and noise that prevents us from having to face our thoughts and interpret them. And this lack of distraction, this startling present of silence is proving to be very fruitful for me. I can feel the Lord. I can hear the Lord.
Before I left home, I got my heart shattered by a beautiful boy for about the millionth time. And while I usually don’t openly talk about subject as fragile as this on social media, this time it is necessary. For as long as I can remember, I have been drowning in feelings of being unwanted, and misunderstood. I have gone so many consecutive years thinking and accepting that I am not enough. My love has felt defective and unwelcomed, and my relationships have left me unfulfilled. God is using the silence of Honduras to tear down the definition of myself that I have created. He is breaking through my self-depreciating cocoon. He is showing me what it means to love and be loved. He is showering me in His love, and I feel more spiritually fulfilled than I have in a long time. Maybe the reason I am feeling all of the overwhelming feelings of loneliness is because God had to bust down the walls I have built with rejection, and now everything is spilling out. But, for once in my life, I feel content with being out of order and out of control. He has got this. He is using my loneliness to teach me to fully depend on Him and His unending love. He is teaching me that I have been investing my love in the wrong places. And He is better equipping me to love those that deserve it when I return home. And He isn’t equipping me with a passive, shy love, that hides in corners and slinks away when it is not reciprocated. He is arming me with a bold love, that is far stronger than any feelings of rejection or fear. God is using my loneliness to show me that He NEVER leaves. Find comfort in that, find comfort in Him.
God is also challenging my future plans. I have always assumed that I would end up in the hustle and bustle of a big city someday. Rushing down the street, with a cappuccino in my hand. But, I always seem to feel most complete when I am in the unfamiliarity of foreign places. I feel most satisfied when I am walking down dirty streets and holding hands with children with ill fitting clothes and untamed hair. I always find the pieces of myself that I am most proud of when I am serving in foreign places. And once again (with the first time being during my 2015 Haiti mission trip), I feel the overwhelming call to complete school on the education path, and move away from home to teach English. I have always joked that I love things that have no money in them: poetry, blogging, journal keeping, the art of synonyms, the dying curves and loops of cursive writing. But, here, those passions seem to make sense. God wants me to teach. I was made to travel out of my comfort zone and love. I was made to love, and teaching is such a wonderful way to do that.
So far, Honduras has fulfilled me and challenged me in ways that I didn’t think possible. I have cried and laughed and loved so much in this past week, and I have 5 more to go! I cannot even begin to image how God is going to move in Honduras this summer. This is my greatest adventure yet and I am so ready for it. Camp Joy starts next week, and it will be full of early morning coffee runs and smiling children. I cant wait to love on these sweet Honduran babies!
Thank you for reading this post, and your continued support and PRAYERS!