I’m here at PLN in Catacamas, Honduras. Ashleigh and I are still settling in. The house parents and the kids are really sweet. We’ve been eating with the families - we will rotate families weekly - and playing with the kids. I’m trying hard to remember everyone’s names and I feel embarrassed when I have to ask again, but only a few seem to mind. I’m getting there. I used the word my textbook said for “ponytail” but it clearly did NOT mean ponytail because 2 of the kids have still not stopped laughing at me about it. It’s what the dictionary says, too, but there is a lot of slang here. So who knows what I said.
Here are the ways I’m uncomfortable, and I’m just being honest: eating meat, the heat, the humidity, living out of a suitcase, always being dirty, no makeup, unreliable AC in our bodega (but PTL it’s there at all), concrete shower, bugs, geckos, limited wireless that doesn’t reach to our bodega so I can’t easily talk to family and friends at night, missing my family and friends, re-wearing dirty clothes, not having even a loose daily schedule but just waiting to see what needs to be done and where we are needed (and the good Lord knows I like even loose schedules). Anyone (any American) who says they are comfortable at first in any other country is lying.
But here’t the thing…it is so good for me to get out of my comfort zone and stop being a hypocrite and go out and do what I’ve been talking about for so long. These are all very American problems…first world problems, as I like to say. And at the end of the day, I’m still American and want to be clean before I get in my bed at night. But I need to grow because I have been so horribly complacent in my walk with God lately, and He is pulling me along, trying to get me to move, to actively seek and thirst for Him again. God has already provided in so many ways in the past 3 days. I’ve read my Bible and prayed so much more. I need this. I need to be here with these kids who can heal me and teach me so much. I need to be humbled and I need to let go of the comfort of all my stuff. Because the truth is…”Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy and thieves do not break in and steal.” (Matthew 5) I need to not put comfort in clean and new clothes or all my “necessities,” but in the true and living God who created and formed me and has been holding my hand all this way. This will be the hardest thing I’ve ever done, and I know it seems like no big deal to so many of my Harding friends who have traveled all over the world. It will be a challenging, exhausting, filling month of spiritual rejuvenation. And I need it so badly. I am having to pray to God to get me through the things I most certainly cannot on my own, from giving me the courage to eat the toughest beef of my life at lunch to giving me the strength and peace and comfort I will need to get through the next month.
And I don’t want to just “get through” it. I want to love the people and the experience. I want to invest in them. I want to grow and change even though it’s uncomfortable and painful (and what a scary thing to pray for). I want to be the hands and feet of Jesus…and I certainly can’t do that on my own. I won’t grow if I’m comfortable. My times of growth in life that have been the most uncomfortable and painful and unpleasant just so happen to be the times I felt closest to God.
Keep Ashleigh and me in your prayers!