Real contentment has nothing to do with either prosperity or poverty. Contentment is an inside job, the result of knowing God and living life against the backdrop of eternity.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Rachel in the Ro

My first visitor in Roatan, Ms. Rachel Cooper.

I introduced her to the true Honduran experience: Half day of classes, Father's Day celebrations, broken down cars, and hitchhiking in the dark back to our humble abode. Bienvenidos!

Paya Bay
We got up early Saturday morning and rented motos to cruise around the island. We drove through the gorgeous Flowers Bay, into Coxenhole and ventured to the east end. After a lot of dust and bumpy roads, we finally arrived at the beautiful Paya Bay. Enjoyed some lunch, hiked through the "naturalist zone 3 beach", swam in the ocean, built sand castles, fixed tan lines and enjoyed the glory of God's creation. Kels ran out of gas half way up the dirt mountain so we went ahead to fill up a water bottle full of gasoline to assist her. Classic.

I felt extremely sexy riding around the mountains, all motorcycle diary-like, wind blowing in my hair, singing Third Eye Blind, breathing deep the salty air and accelerating on the straightaways. We stopped at Parrot Tree to enjoy the sunset and some plantains. YES. Daylight faded faster than anticipated and riding home on a hopping weekend night in the dark was less than desirable. Taxi's flying everywhere, no street lights, no stop signs, no traffic laws. Just you, your moto, your sound judgement and God's grace. (Mom, I promise we were careful) 

Parrot Tree Sunset

Sunday church. We took a water taxi from West End to West Bay after dropping off our motos. 

It was our last service to make a joyful noise unto the Lord with our wonderful pastor Jeremy. (Tear) He, his wife Melissa and their twin boys have been absolute blessings in all of our lives and we will miss them as they head to the states for 3 months. 
Church Familia
Poor Ray had some bad experiences with the food here in the Hondurdur. She ordered some chips and salsa one evening at a new beach restaurant. What came out? Lays potato chips and some diced tomatoes with vinegar. Fail. 

Honduran chips and salsa

Traditional Sunday nights in West Bay include crab races, a live band and fire dancers on the beach. 

Rachel accompanied me to the mentoring program on Tuesday and did such a great job. GO TEAM BLACK! Bebe, Gerald and Menfi. Love. 

Monday, March 21, 2011

bathroom confessional

If you've ever been to Megaplaza (Roatan's only "mall"), you know that there are a slew of public restrooms located in the center of the strip. These areas are very well maintained and convenient, oh the luxuries we take for granted in the States. What a first time gringo wouldn't know is that you have to grab your toilet paper, located on the wall outside, before you enter the stall. This situation leaves room for several potential embarrassing moments to ensue:

1. If there are other guests using the rest area, they ALL know what your intentions are (#1 or #2)
2. Having to ask your neighbor to grab you some TP from the wall.
3. If you do have to do the "doo", how much do you grab? 
4. Thoughts: 
"Take generously?" 
"I don't want to be wasteful, take sparingly?" 
"Everyone is looking at me, they all know. Crap."

Ohhhhhh booms. The end.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

light up the sky

Our Family

Friday was an all around phenomenal day. Kelly's 1st graders all made 100% on their spelling tests, I got  a callback and phone interview with a dream job and most importantly, our wonderful Los Fuertes family received a Brand. New. Home. There wasn't a dry eye in the house as we all prayed blessings and love over Juliana, Daniel, Isabelle and all of the children. Juliana was especially overcome with joy and emotion as we thanked her for the amazing hospitality. Words can't describe what happened at 3:30pm that day. Thank you again for all of your continued support. YOU made this happen.
alejandro, alejandro
machete man


Tuesday, March 8, 2011

hitch on that hike

  Just another typical Fat Tuesday here in the Ro. I started my 7th grade devotions with an explanation of Lent which, of course turned into a conversation about the coolest things to sacrifice to represent the 40 days Jesus spent in the desert with Satan before beginning his ministry. 

Casey: "OOOoo Ms. Jessica! I'm going to give up Playstation!"

Ms. Jessica: "Oh snap, that is going to be tough, chief."

Van: "I'm going to give up Facebook!"

Ms. Jessica: "No more poking for you!"

Angela: "I'm going to give up soda!"

Ms. Jessica: "Angela, you don't drink soda. Doesn't count lady love."

Have I told you how much I adore these kids? We have a traditional Friday dance, they hug me before they go to class, they come by my room during recess to hang out and eat baleadas, and I'm going to miss them. We are currently rehearsing a Father's day dance to, yes, you guessed it. Will Smith's "Just the two of us." Taking it back to 1997. Big Willie Style.

I am also constantly amazed at the goodwill and grace of the people here in Roatan. I am trying to save every lempira I can, so paying $2 for a taxi ride home has become quite an absurdity. There are roughly 70,000 people living on this island and surprisingly 75% of the time we jump in the back of someone's truck, we know them. We live a solid 40 minutes away from school so the time between French Harbour and West End is time well spent with a new friend. Thank you Casey Jackson from Fantasy Island, Orville from Anthony's Key resort and Aaron from Sundowners. Oh, adventure, how I love thee.

More importantly, I am learning more and more each day about what it really looks like to follow the Lord wholeheartedly. Being here. Being surrounded by people who love me just the way I am. Being tempted by some of the same struggles I thought I could get away from. Being reminded daily of the many blessings we have. Being a not so smart little sheep who thought she knew so much before she got here and attempting to follow the voice of the shepherd has been exciting and frustrating and just down right good for the soul.

My sheep recognize my voice and follow me [John 10:27]

Sunday, March 6, 2011

tap it

"For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me. I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me." [matthew 25:35]

First and foremost, I would like to thank everyone who contributed their prayers, love and support towards the Los Fuertes Family house build. We raised all $9,500 from 77 donors and I can't tell you how exciting it was to check our fundraising website daily to see new gifts pouring in. The month of March crept up so quickly and yesterday morning we began to lay the floor, beginning the foundation of the new home.

Working with Antonio and Giovanni was awesome, they showed us the rules and assembly like system to nailing (CLAVO! DALE!)

Our sweet mother of the home, Juliana, was so hospitable and liked to feed us grape soda. We kindly accepted and then asked for lots and lots of agua.

It was a beautiful morning, we finished in about 3.5 hours. All of the little children were running around, dancing in the breeze and eating fresh mangos.

I have never seen or felt so much exuding joy from one amazing family. I still can't believe we have the opportunity to help build them a new life.

Mucho mucho amor...