Dear Friends and Family,
Now that April is halfway over, were you beginning to wonder if/when I was ever going to post again?! Well, with all the recent changes, flooded email inbox, and my piling to-do lists I myself was beginning to wonder. But now that my taxes are done (yippee) I’m taking a time-out today to write this quick update. Let me begin with the month of March… which seems like such a long time ago!
Pic: Standing in front of a huge anacahuite tree in the park at San Nicolás.
Before Job left for the States on March 10 we headed out to San Nicolás to meet with John and Nancy McKeeth, a missionary couple I’d been wanting to visit with since last year. They are also using agriculture in their holistic ministry. In a nutshell, they are using the fruit (soapberries) of a tree native to Honduras (Jaboncillo) as a laundry detergent. Not more than a generation ago people in Honduras used soapberries to wash clothes, wash dishes, as well as bathe. Now with the advent of modern laundry detergents the soapberry has been forgotten. Here’s what I love about the ministry they’ve got going:
- It has the potential to become a great source of income to rural farmers.
- The tree is drought resistant and grows well in poor soils.
- The soapberry is a very environmentally friendly (100% biodegradable) alternative to synthetic detergents.
- You only need 5 berries (or 1/2 tablespoon if using the powder) to wash 1 load of laundry. When using the berries, they can be re-used 5 times!
- The active ingredients in soapberries (Saponins and ASOGS) are natural surfactants and hypoallergenic.
Needless to say, I will be ordering soapberries to wash my clothes over the next several months! To check it out yourself here is the McKeeth’s website: http://eco-premier.com/ To order soapberries or soapberry powder visit: http://www.soapberryharvest.com/
If you remember back in 2014, my first 3 months in Honduras I lived with a Honduran family, Miguel and Marisol Valladares. Since then I’ve kept in touch with them and anytime I’m in Siguatepeque Marisol insists I come over and eat my favorite home-made meal of hers: nachos! Marisol will always be remembered as my first adoptive Honduran mom. 🙂
Job’s mom, Coni, has become my second adoptive Honduran mom. During Holy Week their family makes tamalitos as part of celebrating Easter. This year I got to help prepare the banana leaves while Coni filled them with the corn flour dough and beans.
Pic: Making lasagna with Elizabeth (Job’s aunt) and Keren (Job’s sister). The second half of March I actually moved in with Job’s parents. I wanted the chance to get to know the whole family better and Coni was actually expecting that I would stay with them during my time in Siguatepeque. Getting to spend time with Job’s sisters, aunts, uncles, and cousins was a great experience! Living with my future in-laws was definitely an up close and personal way to get to know the family, but I loved it! They say that when you marry someone, you marry their entire family. Well, I can honestly say I am excited for what God has in store for my relationship with Job’s family. They are a strong part of the global Church and what I would call missionaries to their own Honduran people.
I also visited Mercedes, another lifelong friend from my language school days in 2014. She was my favorite Spanish teacher and we grew to become close friends. I always jokingly (though sometimes not so jokingly) called her my “psychologist” as she would often encourage me and remind me of God’s call and purpose for my life when I was going through typical first-year missionary struggles.
Pic: Watering green beans at La Providencia.
My last week in Honduras I visited 2 more ministries. The first being Providence World Ministries where my friend and housemate Katharine works. The ministry revolves around family-based orphan care and you can check out their website for more details here: https://providenceworld.com/
Mainly I visited just to check out the ag projects they’ve started in an effort to become economically self-sustainable. So far they have started a coffee farm, vegetable garden, and a couple years ago started raising 50 egg layers. Recently they have begun plans for an aquaponics system to raise tilapia and hydroponic vegetables.
As I visit other ministries using agriculture, whether it’s to build relationships with local farmers as an “in” to share the gospel, or to economically provide for orphans, I’m learning and gathering ideas for the ministry vision God has given me and developing a fuller picture of what that will look like.
The last ministry I visited was a bilingual Christian school. You can check out their website here: http://ceehonduras.org/index.php This was the school where my friend Karen came down and taught English during the 2014/2015 school year. Why a school visit? Well, in planning to start looking for employment for our time in the States I learned about a need for bilingual tutors in the Migrant Education Program. The director at the school I went to growing up found out I may be interested and immediately contacted me before I could get around to emailing her! So pray with me about this new-to-me opportunity! I may be putting my Spanish to use through tutoring students while we’re here in Kansas!
Finally, my last Saturday in Siguatepeque I got to visit Eda, who I worked with at the Bible Seminary. She has slowly but surely been making some improvements on the little plot of land where she lives with her elderly mother and her daughter. She now has an enclosed area where she’s raising a few chickens and 3 sheep. The land does not actually belong to her. Eda, like many others unable to afford to purchase land, is living on land belonging to the government. The community where she lives has been raising funds and working with a lawyer for over 10 years now to purchase the properties where they live. This brought to my mind another question as I form a picture in my mind of what to include in our future ministry: How can we help these people that don’t even own a piece of land?
April… and the surprise this month has brought!
Are you excited to hear about a surprise?! Well, I sure was when I found it in my email inbox! So, you remember how my last update detailed out our plan to reside in the States for 4 years in order to get Job’s residency and citizenship done and over with, as soon as possible? Well, that’s all changed! It appears we were misinformed about the best way to go about this process. On April 5th, the day I flew back to the States, I received an email reply from a fellow missionary who had married a Honduran in response to my question of how their experience has gone with the whole process. She informed me, because they are using a clause designated for missionaries, military personnel, and basically anyone stationed abroad for work purposes their process (from start to nearly finished) has taken just 1 year and 7 months! All they are waiting on now is her husband’s oath ceremony!
What does this mean for Job and I? We will be able to continue on with our original plans to start our ministry in Honduras while Job is getting his residency. This takes about 1 year and will be done while we are starting the ministry in Honduras. Then, to get his citizenship we will need to come to the States with his residency paperwork and apply for citizenship. This will probably mean only 8 months in the States that time, because we are able to use the special clause.
What does this mean for you? Well, since this greatly shortens the length of time we’ll be Stateside this time around, we are sure hoping we can visit you soon! We will be making visits from May 22 – August 28. Hopefully during this 3-month time period we can get around to see you all and share what God has led us to see, hear, and act upon. With this in mind, I’ll be emailing you each personally to plan a time to visit.
That’s all I can think of for now. I am keeping busy visiting family and friends in the area all the while getting the final wedding prep work done… my amazing mother did most of the work for me while I was in Honduras! As always, feel free to email me with any questions/comments. I love hearing from ya’ll! Hope to see you soon!