Great Expectations

Author’s commentary:  What am I saying here?  That God was not at work on our trip to Honduras?  Not at all.  I know God can work in mighty ways.  He parted the Red Sea.  He brought the walls of Jericho thundering down.  He has moved internal mountains in my life in a very short time span.  But more often we see God speaking in His still small voice.  More often He quietly lays manna on the grass to feed us in the morning.  More often He is gentle and patient as He tends His garden.  I was dreaming of thunder on the mountain.  Instead God gave me extra flour in my bin to sustain me and my children another day.  On with the story…

“Anticipation is greater than realization.”  I tell my patients something to that effect as they sit white-knuckled bracing themselves for a shot.  “It won’t be as bad as you think.”  And usually they agree with me after it’s over.  My dad – he tells it to me in reverse.  He means, “Hey, this is LIFE, you know.  Feel free to dream, but it’s not going to be as great as you think.”  If you were to compare me to a Bible character, I would be Joseph – “The Dreamer”.  Only difference is, his dreams came true.  Minor detail.

So I went to Honduras with dreams.  Big dreams.  My daughter wanted an iTouch.  I was pretty sure she would come home feeling so grateful for what she had that she would be happy with her Sony MP3 player.  She has an iTouch.  My son never likes to work up a sweat.  He prefers to think.  I was pretty sure he would like building a mission school.  He discovered where the skunks, bats, iguanas and geckos lived but never laid a brick.  I was pretty sure I would come home with some touching personal witnessing story of interaction with a local.  I handed out crayons. 

I was lamenting over all this on the bus ride back from VBS one day.  And the dear volunteer next to me spoke truth.  Oh, how refreshing it is to hear truth!  She said, “You know, it’s our job to plant seeds.  The Holy Spirit waters them.  We are not the Holy Spirit- not even for our children.  Expose them to this experience and you never know what little gem they will tuck away.  God will pull it out for them some day when they need it most.”

I haven’t written any grand stories of my great outreach work to the locals of Honduras because I have none.  We met wonderful volunteers and made some dear friends.  We more than survived our “first” Christmas while enjoying very memorable and different experiences.  We were exposed to new cultures, languages and living conditions.  We ate some local fare.  We walked on the beach and toured Tiger Island in 3-wheeled carts.  We went to a foreign country without knowing anyone we would be with and melted right in with them.  There are stories to tell.  And they are important stories.  Just not the grand ones I was dreaming of.

Was it all I expected?  No.  It was life.  Am I glad I went?  You bet.  Would I recommend it to someone else?  Absolutely.  Will I go again?  In a heartbeat.  Will I have more reasonable expectations next time?  I hope so, but only God knows.  He’s in charge of the work in me and in Honduras.  I just have to surrender and be available.  If the extent of my participation is handing out crayons, well, SOMEBODY needs to hand out crayons, why shouldn’t it be me?  I’m glad I could do it and share a smile with the children who were so grateful to receive them.  We were blessed by having been there.  God willing, we’ll go back.  You should go with us.

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