In the Wilderness

It’s been a little rough here lately,  but tonight as I was reading my Bible I came across some verses that gave me so much encouragement. It was like God was speaking to me, encouraging me, strengthening me. I jotted down some thoughts as I was reading and decided to share them. I hope and pray they can be an encouragement for you as well.

“Remember how the Lord your God led you all the way in the wilderness these forty years, to humble and test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commands. He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your ancestors had known, to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.” – Deuteronomy 8:2-3

  • God led them into the wilderness….
    • Why?
      • to humble them
      • to test them
        • Why?
          • to know what was in their heart
          • to know whether they would keep his commands or not
  • God humbled them, God caused them to be hungry, God fed them…
    • Why?
      • to teach them that they need more than just physical bread
      • to teach them that He is their sustenance and their sustainer

God is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. If He led the Israelites into the wilderness, He can also lead me into the wilderness. If I am in the wilderness now, why? What is God’s purpose? Is it not the same as it was for the Israelites? Is it not to humble and test me? Is it not to teach me of my deep need for Him? Yes, it is. To teach me that I can’t do this without Him. To teach me to trust him day by day, hour by hour, minute by minute. Is it not to see whether I really want Him? Is it not to see whether I will really obey Him? Is it not to see if I trust Him enough to surrender everything over and over, again and again? Yes, God has me here in this place in this difficult time so I can learn to live on every word that comes from His mouth. So that I can learn to look to Him for my sustenance. So that I can trust Him as my sustainer. I am not here for nothing. No, I am in the wilderness so God can humble me, test me, and teach me.

“Your clothes did not wear out and your feet did not swell during these forty years.” – Deuteronomy 8:4

God took them to the wilderness, but He didn’t leave them there alone. No, he took care of them for forty years. So much so that they lacked nothing. They needed nothing else. Walking for forty years, yet their clothes weren’t ruined. Walking for for years, and their feet didn’t even swell. And God is taking care of me here too. He hasn’t left me alone. He is tenderly caring for me, every need, ones I can see and ones I don’t even realize.

“For the Lord your God is bringing you into a good land – a land with brooks, streams, and deep springs gushing out into the valleys and hills; a land with wheat and barley, vines and fig trees, pomegranates, olive oil and honey; a land where bread will not be scarce and you will lack nothing…” – Deuteronomy 8:7-9

God promised the Israelites a better land. He has the same promise for me. He is leading me to heaven. He has me in the wilderness right now, but not forever. He is promising me that on the other side of this desert is a place where I will lack nothing, that every need will be satisfied. And He is teaching me that right here, right now, He is already fulfilling this promise. Right here, right now He is taking care of every need. Right here, right now He is my sustenance and my sustainer. Right here and right now, I lack nothing because He hasn’t left me alone. He is here, He is with me…Right here and right now…

“When you have eaten and are satisfied, praise the Lord your God for the good land he has given you.” – Deuteronomy 8:10

 

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Teacher or Student?

Not long after I came here to Guaimaca, I was going through a tough time. A dear friend of mine said, “Adrian, the biggest reason God might have you in Honduras, might not be for others, but for what He wants to do in your life, what He wants to teach you.” “Actually,” she said, “most likely that is exactly why He has you there. Not that He isn’t using you in other peoples lives, because He is, but because a lot of times God needs to take us out of our comfort zones to teach us what he wants us to learn.” I remember, hearing this and thinking that was interesting, that thought had never crossed my mind. Now that I have been here for 6 months; however, I am more convinced than ever that my friend is exactly right. The lessons God has been teaching me and how He keeps pursuing me and reminding me of what is truly important in this life seem to be nonstop.

A few things God keeps telling me:

  • “Put Me first, Adrian. I want to be number one in your life.”
  • “Rely on Me, trust Me, I never meant for you to do this alone.”
  • “Make Me your best friend.”
  • Adrian, your home is not in Oregon, your home is not in Honduras, your home is with Me.”

As Christians, we are always talking about putting God first in our lives, but for me, I don’t think I ever really grasped what exactly that meant until I came here to Honduras. To be honest I am still learning and can’t say that I fully understand it yet, and I’m convinced that this will be a constant life-long journey of learning this. I will tell you; however, that I know that before I came here, I don’t remember spending so much time dwelling on this or praying about it. God definitely has gotten my attention and made me aware of my need to truly put Him first, not just talk about it. Sometimes I feel like my prayers must sound like a broken record because I seem to be constantly asking God to show me, to teach me, to help me put Him first.

Sometimes, when I talk to people about this, they say, “But, Adrian, you know you are there for God, you know that you are doing God’s work, so why do you feel like you aren’t putting God first.” It doesn’t seem to make sense to them because if I followed God’s call, then obviously I’ve put God first. Which is true (for that moment); however, I am learning that putting God first is not a one time following a call or obeying a command. No, this is a day by day, hour by hour moment by moment choice. God doesn’t want us to obey Him once and then put Him on the back burner again. No, God is asking us to put Him first in every day, in every decision, in every moment. To put Him first is to surrender our plans, to surrender our dreams to surrender our life to Him over and over again. Does this mean we can’t have plans, we can’t have dreams? No, but we need to pray about these plans, pray about these dreams, ask God to make His plans for us, our plans and our dreams. To realize that just because our plans and our dreams are good doesn’t mean that they are God’s plans. Just because our plans and our dreams are good doesn’t mean it is God’s timing right now. To trust His judgement, to trust His wisdom, to trust His timing and to recognize that the plans He has for our life are much better and much fuller than any plans we could make for our own lives.

Just like anything in life, when things are new, when we aren’t comfortable with the situation, we tend to lean on God more. However, once we get comfortable then we start getting confident. This is not necessarily a bad thing, we need some self confidence; however, not to the point that we begin to think that we can handle everything without God’s help anymore. I’m finding out that over and over, without realizing it, I start trying to teach on my own, I stop leaning on God as much, I start getting confident in my own abilities. I am also finding, that whenever I stop relying on God, things start getting hard, I start throwing my hands in the air, I’m at my wits end, I don’t know what to do anymore and I get completely discouraged and the last thing I want to do is go to school and try to teach when I know that the respect, obedience and responsibility will be pretty much zero. Then, somehow, somewhere, God shows me that I’m not relying on Him anymore. He brings me to my knees once again.

I have also found, that God is so encouraging. So many times, when I get discouraged because my students aren’t understanding, aren’t behaving, are failing their classes, etc., God gives me some sort of opportunity to help a student in need, to comfort a student, to teach the class about Him and His goodness. In these times, it is such a reminder to me that I’m not actually here to teach math, science, language and history. No, I’m here to show these students who God is, to teach them how to serve Him and be His disciple. I’m here for the times when my students feel unloved, I’m here for when students want to commit suicide and they tell me about it, I’m here for the moments of family problems, when my students feel like they can’t do anything because everyone in their family tells them they can’t do anything. I’m here for when my students feel betrayed by their friends, I’m here for the moments that my students ask me how they can be sure they are going to heaven when they die. I’m here to teach these children about God. To teach them about just how much God loves them. To teach them that Christ died on the cross for their sins. to teach them that God has a plan and a purpose for their lives and they are incredibly special to Him. Whenever God gives me these opportunities I am so thankful and I feel so incredibly blessed that I have been entrusted with these children. I feel so incredibly blessed that I have the opportunity to share Christ with these students each and every day. I feel so incredibly blessed that I get to hear their sweet and sincere prayers, that they trust me enough to tell me some of the hardest, deepest things I have ever heard. Harder than any 10 year old should ever have to go through. I feel so incredibly blessed that I get to pray with and for them every single day. I feel so blessed! God is so great, God is so good!

When I first came to Honduras, I had no plans of going back to the states before November. However, in May and June I started becoming really discouraged both spiritually and in my classroom. The kids behavior was horrible, I felt like I had no control of my classroom, the respect was zero, and so was the obedience. I had no desire to get up in the mornings to go to school. And spiritually I was really low. One day about the middle of June, someone here in Honduras asked me how I was doing. She was very honest with me about what she was seeing in me. She told me, “Adrian, when you first came to Honduras, all you wanted was to be used by God, all you wanted was to be completely surrendered to Him and He was your first priority. However, something has changed in you.” I can’t tell you how horrible I felt at that moment. That was the most difficult thing to hear, but it was so good for me to hear it. I am so thankful that this person was honest with me! We ended up talking all morning and I shared so many things with her about how I was doing and what I was struggling with. She listened and responded with wisdom, honesty and love. I also told her that I had been thinking of going to the states for spiritual renewal for the first week of July when we had a week off school. She thought that was a really good idea, so I bought my ticket and left for a week.

I’m not exactly sure what I expected the states to be like when I left Honduras. However, I wasn’t prepared for how I would feel when I got there. I wasn’t even there 24 hours when I missed Honduras and I realized that Oregon wasn’t my home anymore, this wasn’t my life anymore and that I didn’t quite fit in anymore like I did before. I don’t know how to describe the feeling that came over me when these thoughts hit me. It was so strange and a little sad all at the same time. The first day or so I sort of felt like I was walking in a daze and I think that a little piece of me was mourning the fact that it probably would never feel the same again, that it would probably never feel like my home again. I shared this with the same person who encouraged me to go back to the states for a visit. She said, “Adrian, just enjoy your time, enjoy your family and think of this as a vacation.” Once again she had some good advice and wisdom for me. So that is exactly what I did. I got to spend time with my siblings, visit my parents a couple times, reconnect with a couple of friends and spend time with strong believers who prayed with me and encouraged me so much. God gave me opportunities to witness and share Christ with my family. It was an amazing time and I am so thankful that God gave me the opportunity to go back for a short visit. I feel so blessed, that time ended up being such a gift from God. I came back to Honduras so encouraged and so excited to see my students again. I came back with a new vigor and zeal to put God first to rely on Him. I realized when I was in the states that God was teaching me yet another thing. My home is not in Oregon, my home is not in Honduras, my home is with Him.

So, am I a teacher or a student? Both. While I am a teacher, and God has blessed me with the opportunity to share who He is with so many people, I am more of a student than a teacher. I am a student of the Master Teacher. I am currently a student and will be for a lifetime. Unlike most college degrees, in which I can graduate and receive my diploma in 4 years, my studies will never be over. I will be studying and learning for the rest of my life. And, while many times I fail and fall short of the glory of God, He picks me back up, encourages me and continues to teach me. What an amazingly patient and merciful Teacher we have. Thank you, Father, for your grace, for your love and for your blessings. You are worthy of all of my praise, of all of my life. You are worth everything!

 

What God Knew

My Aunt Christina was here for Semana Santa. It should have been the most amazing, most wonderful week, and it was! But, how surprised will you be to hear that it was also the most difficult week, spiritually speaking, I have had since being here? The week that I’ve cried the most, the week that I felt the most drained and discouraged?

Why? Because God sent my Aunt here exactly when I needed her. She hadn’t even been here 12 hours and she started asking me questions about my relationship with the Lord. “Do you feel that you are growing in your relationship with the Lord here? Are the people here challenging you in your faith?” etc, etc. These are hard questions. They aren’t questions you can just answer with a quick one word answer that satisfies the questioner. No, these questions require you to stop, to think, to look deep within your heart and soul, and to be honest with them, but most importantly to be honest with yourself.

Let me tell you, when she asked me…do you think you are growing in your relationship with the Lord here?…I had to stop, think, look inside myself, and I said, “I don’t know.” Saying those words was awful, because as I said them I realized that if I don’t know, then I’m not growing. And realizing that I wasn’t growing in the Lord was horrible. Then as soon as I finished answering that question, she throws in another one. Are the people here challenging you in your faith? I had just realized that I wasn’t growing in the Lord, and now I had to admit that no, the people here aren’t challenging me in my faith. And realizing that made me realize that I didn’t have anyone here that I felt I could confide in, that I could share my struggles with, that I could pray with and who would encourage and strengthen me in my faith.

This was a lot to process for me. You can’t imagine all the things that were going through my head. Disbelief, horror, self-condemnation, self-justification, self-pity, defeat, and the list goes on. How did I get to this point? What is wrong with me? How come I’m held to higher standards than other Christians just because I’m in Honduras and not in the states? I don’t want to be a stagnant Christian. I don’t want to be living a lie.

All I wanted to do was cry, and the next morning I called my Aunt Janet and shared everything with her and she spoke some hard truth to me in love and encouraged me to cry out to God. She said, “This reminds me of when you were still in the church you grew up in, and you wanted fellowship with believers and you cried out to God and He answered and brought you that, He will do that again. Ask Him!” I came back to my house, and cried, long and hard and I prayed a deep, heart-wrenching prayer, the kind where tears are streaming and you are crying out in desperation for help because you are drowning and you can’t do it any longer type of prayer.

The rest of the week was a week of processing, a week of being honest with myself, a week of confessions to myself and to my God, a week of questions and seeking. I realized that I love it here, that Honduras feels like home, that the people here feel like family and I love them so much, and that I don’t ever want to leave. I realized that I am very comfortable here, which I believe is a gift from God. But what I realized is that comfort is a double-edged sword, a blessing and a curse. When we are comfortable and everything is going good we tend to forget about our dependence on God, we tend to forget that He needs to be number one in our lives, we tend to forget to pray as hard and as sincerely, we tend to forget that we even need Him. Then when hard times come, we remember that we need Him, that we depend on Him, that we rely on Him for everything. We remember to pray and suddenly He becomes number one in our lives again.

During that week, I realized that I had become comfortable, I had stopped relying on Him, I had started trusting in my own abilities, I had let myself get distracted by life and had let my relationship with him slip. And I started praying and asking Him to make Himself number one in my life again, to help me make Him my priority, to help me want Him more than anything else, to surrender, to trust.

And God is faithful, God is good. He is bringing people to me, here in Honduras, who are speaking truth in love, who are asking me how I am doing spiritually, who are praying for and with me, who are sharing their struggles as well and who are helping me stay grounded in Him. He loves me enough to not let me stay spiritually stagnant, He loves me enough to show me when I’ve stopped putting Him as number one in my life. He loves me enough to show me I need to change and He loves me enough to help me grow, even when it is painful. He loves me enough to send my aunt to me to challenge me in my faith. I didn’t even know I needed it….

…..but God knew!

 

The Home of My Heart…

…is anywhere with God.

As I write this, my heart is overflowing with love, thankfulness and praise to my God. A God who sent His one and only Son to die for me. A God who is patient and kind. A God who blesses beyond all imagination and who provides for every circumstance. A God who loves me enough to remind me of my need for Him when I forget and try to do things on my own. A God who patiently corrects and shows me how to give it all to Him. To let Him carry the load.

In the past month, I have been blessed with unexpected gifts from the Lord, I have struggled with feelings of failure, I have been reminded of the pain of grief, I have had multiple opportunities to share my testimony with people and I have grown to love a place and a people I never expected to love a year ago.

A few weeks ago God once again gave me an unexpected gift. One of my fellow teachers approached me one day at recess, and said, “Can I talk to you for a minute?” And she began to share a dream with me that she had the night before. She said that in this dream, her and I were best of friends. Super close, and we were in the states with some other girls. She said that the other girls were upset and jealous that we were such good friends, and were asking why. She said I was wearing a little cross necklace and wanted to know if I had one. I do, and I wear it all the time except for to school because the children aren’t allowed to wear jewelry and I don’t feel I can ask them to take theirs off if I have mine on, so she has never seen my necklace. And then all of a sudden I just started running away. All the girls were yelling at me to stop, and she was running after me and asking me to stop. But I kept running. Then we got to a multiple story building that was in ruins and falling down. I kept running climbing the stories one by one. All the girls were at the bottom yelling at me to stop, I was going to get hurt, to come back. But this teacher was running after me crying because I was leaving her pleading with me to stop to come back. But I just kept going and didn’t stop. And then she said that all of a sudden it was like she could see what I could see and hear what I could hear. What she saw was at the top of the building was a cross and the area was lit up with a brilliant light. And then she heard a voice saying to me, “You are where you need to be, keep going, keep going, you are going to make it all the way to the cross.” By this time I was in tears, and she said, “It didn’t matter that all the girls were telling you to stop to come back, it didn’t matter that me, your best friend,was telling you to stop, to come back, you kept your eyes on Jesus and kept going. Keep going, you are going to make it all the way to Jesus.” She said, “I don’t know why I had this dream but I thought I would tell you about it, maybe it would mean something to you.” Does it ever! This teacher has no idea my story, I have never told her my testimony. She doesn’t know how much significance this has for me. She doesn’t know that God asked me to leave my family and friends a year and a half ago to follow Him and only Him. She doesn’t know how many people told me to come back, to stop, I was on the wrong path. But God knows, and He loves me enough to use this teacher to show me that I am on the right path and to remind me to always keep my eyes fixed on Him. I am so thankful for this gift!

Only a week later there were things happening at the school that made me question, “God what is happening?” It made me realize that I think I’m here to be a teacher, but that may be only a means to get me here. God may have many more plans for me here than I ever could imagine. It was a reminder to me that God is in control and I am to trust and follow Him; whatever that may look like.

Being a teacher is not always easy by any means. I love it, but sometimes things get tough. And a week ago, it was especially tough for me and I was laying in bed asking myself, why is it so hard this week? When all of a sudden, it was like I could feel God saying, “You aren’t relying on me enough, you are trying to do it all on your own.” I can’t tell you how I felt. It was awful! I realized it was true, I hadn’t been laying it at His feet like I should have. I had been trying to teach and manage my classroom all on my own. Let me tell you, this was a really hard realization for me! I felt like a complete failure as a a Christian! Obviously I am here because of God, obviously I am teaching for the first time without training, obviously I can’t do this on my own. Why had I so quickly forgotten that fact? It took me about a day to work through my feelings. About a day of crying out to God, asking Him what was wrong with me that I had forgotten, why wasn’t I better than that? Asking for His forgiveness and asking Him to teach me to bring everything to Him like I should. It wasn’t until later that I was able to thank Him for bringing this to my attention and then start fresh, asking for wisdom and guidance. I will tell you, the next day of school wasn’t any easier, but God had given me a different perspective and I was a different person, I was a better teacher and I enjoyed teaching again. It was a much better day! I am thankful that God showed this to me and I pray that I can keep this reminder at the forefront of my mind and heart!

This last week I have struggled with things I never expected to struggle with here. Something difficult has happened here with a family I have grown very close to. To see the grief and pain on the faces of the family has brought back memories of when God asked me to leave my family and all the grief I felt. But more than that, it has showed me the grief and pain my family felt. I have cried several times during this last week just thinking about the pain my little siblings and parents must felt. The other night I was thinking about this and I just cried out to God, “God, don’t make me leave the people I love again.” I said, “I know, if you ask me to I will have to and You will give me the strength but, right now I just want to talk with You and tell you what I am feeling. A year and a half ago You asked me to leave my family and friends, and then a year later when I had just made new family and new friends, You asked me to leave them too to come here, I am starting to get really attached to people here, feeling like I’m part of a family and making friends and I have only been here 2 months, imagine how I will feel in a year, please don’t make me leave them too!”

I love it here so much. I love the people, the church, I love the scenery, the food, everything. Honduras feels like home for me and I feel like I don’t ever want to leave. I know this is a gift from God, and I am so thankful!

 

 

Just Call me Miss Adrian

How do I begin to explain how blessed I feel, how thankful, how loved? My first week as a teacher is over and I couldn’t have asked for a better one!

I have 15 fifth graders, who all love to talk and love their teacher as much as their teacher loves them. It’s been so fun getting to know each and every one of them. Getting glimpses of their personalities and their hearts a little more each day has been amazing.

We have had so much fun this week! And some of the things they have said and done have been so funny! I taught them how to play “Fastest Tag in the West” and they love it so much! Every day at breakfast and lunch, they are like, “Miss, are we going to play that game you taught us?” And by the end of the week, I’m like, “You aren’t tired of it yet?” 🙂 “NO!” they all shout, “I’ll go get the others!” 🙂

One Monday at lunch, one of the teachers came over to talk to me. As soon as he started to talking with me I see like 3 or 4 of my little girls start whispering, and I know exactly what they are thinking. Sure enough as soon as he leaves, the questions start.

  • Students: “Miss, who was that?”
  • Me: “The 7th, 8th and 9th grade History, Science and Math teacher.”
  • Students: “Is he a relative?”
  • Me: “No.”
  • Students: “A friend?”
  • Me: “The husband of a friend.”
  • Students: “Oh….” 🙂

It made me laugh to see them so disappointed that he was married. 🙂

Then the next day, again at lunch…this time 3 or 4 of my boys.

  • Student: “Miss, you like those kind of shoes?”
  • Me: “Yes”
  • Student: “Why don’t you where sandals like the other teachers?”
  • Me: “I did yesterday.”
  • Students: “Oh…interesante!”
  • Student: “Do you like high heels?”
  • Me: “Um, not really, if they aren’t too high.”
  • Student: “I like the sound of high heels, they are so satisfying.” 🙂

I laughed so hard! 🙂 If there is any truth in the saying, “Laughing makes you live longer,” then these kids are going to add years to my life this year! 🙂

It hasn’t all been fun and roses though. All my kids looovvveee to talk! And they seem to have the hardest time knowing when to be quiet and when to listen. They have an especially hard time being quiet and listening to the Social Studies and Spanish teachers when they come in to teach. I talked with them about it a couple times and then on Friday, right before the Social Studies teacher came in I said, “Okay, I have noticed that you guys don’t listen to your Social Studies and Spanish teachers when they are in here. When she says, “Silencio,” I expect you to be “Silencio! Okay?” So, in comes the teacher and I just am working at my desk but keeping an eye and ear on how the class is behaving. Are they better? Nope, not at all! She says, “Silencio,” and….no silencio. She says, “Escuchen,” and….no escuchen. And then, we hear the bell for breakfast and the kids just start getting up and putting stuff away, but she is not done and hasn’t dismissed them yet. So, I stood up and said, “Okay listen, sit back down, I know we heard the bell but she has not dismissed you yet, you need to listen to her!” Then once she was done, and we were all lined up for breakfast, I said, “Okay, You guys did not listen to your Social Studies teacher today, when she told you to be quiet, you were not quiet and when she told you to listen you did not listen, so we are going to lose a privilege today. At breakfast, we are not going to play today, we are all sitting on the picnic tables, nobody is eating under the trees today and we are going to stay at the picnic tables until breakfast is over.” They all got really quiet and really solemn really fast. 🙂 As we are eating, they were like, “But Miss, I want to play.” 🙂 It was a learning experience for them. I don’t like having to do that, but I know that if I don’t start cracking down on that now, it’s only going to get worse as the school year continues. You could pray for me as I figure out how to best handle these situations in the future.

Every day we have Bible devotions and prayer time. Taking advice and resources from Mindy Meyers, I have decided to do virtues this year. This week we learned about Kindness. Each day I chose a different aspect of kindness to focus on…

  • Monday: There is always time to be kind
  • Tuesday:  Be kind to your family and friends
  • Wednesday: Be kind to those who are overlooked
  • Thursday: Be kind to those who aren’t kind to you
  • Friday: Review of kindness and being kind to our enemies

Every morning after our Bible time I have all the kids stand in a circle holding hands, and then we pray. The first day none of the kids wanted to pray so I was the only one who prayed, but then the next day a little boy wanted to pray  and once he was finished all the kids started sitting down and I was like, “Wait I’m praying too.” 🙂 Then the next day a little girl wanted to pray, and this time I experienced something I had never experienced before. She would pray a few words, pause, and then all the kids would repeat what she just said. I’m pretty sure that it wasn’t a memorized prayer either because the next day a little boy wanted to pray again and they did that again and the prayer was definitely different than the day before. So I don’t know if this is what their previous teacher taught them or if it is a cultural thing, but I like it. Then on Friday, it was so amazing, I asked the kids if any of them had any prayer requests and one little girl said that we should pray for those who aren’t kind to us, and another little girl said that we should pray for those who are overlooked and sick, and another little boy said that we should pray for our family and friends and another little girl said we should pray for those who don’t know Jesus. So I said okay I want each of you to pray for what you said. I can’t begin to tell you how blessed I felt to be able to hear their perfect childlike prayers. It was so precious and something I hope and pray I get to experience many, many times over the rest of the school year!

Whether these kids know it or not, they are teaching me so much already and are such a blessing to me! The love I have for them keeps growing each and every day. The bond between my kiddos and me began first thing Monday morning and has deepened throughout the rest of the week. On Monday, I did something I had seen online called, Three Things I Wish my Teacher Knew… first of all though, I wrote them a letter called, Three Things I Wish my Students Knew….below is the letter I wrote to them.

My Students,

There are so many things I wish you knew about me. So many things I can’t wait to share with you this year, but to begin with there are 3 things you should know about me.

I love to play games, have fun and laugh. With kids, with adults, with anyone! All kinds of games, board games, sports, one on one, and big group games. They are so much fun and I hope this year we will have many times of fun and laughter playing games together as we learn!

You already know that I come from a big family with 8 brothers and sisters. What you don’t know is that a year and a half ago when I put my faith in Christ and became a Christian I had to leave my family. I’m not allowed to spend time with my family anymore at my parent’s house, and I don’t get to see my brothers and sisters very often. I miss them so much that sometimes I start crying, but also God has been so good to me and everything is worth it to know Christ! 

Last but not least, 5 months ago I had no idea and never would have imagined that I was going to be coming to Honduras to live and teach, but God knew! I will tell you, that I love Honduras! God has made this place feel like my home and I am so happy to be here! I am so excited to get to know all of you and thankful that God put each of you in my classroom. You are going to teach me so much this year! And just between you and me, I haven’t told anyone else this yet, I hope God has me live here for many years!

With love,

Miss Adrian

I then told my students that I wanted them to write me a letter telling me 3 things they wanted me to know about them. I told them that they could write about anything, that I was the only one that would ever read it and that I wouldn’t tell anyone what they wrote.

The letters my kids wrote to me were so special! Some of them shared some very personal things with me. Some of my kids have some very hard things in their lives and I felt so blessed that they chose to share these things with me and I that I can pray for them and connect with them on a deeper level.

First thing Tuesday morning a couple of my kiddos said, “Miss Adrian, how did you come to Honduras? How did you even hear about Guaimaca?” I said, “Do you want to know about that?” And they were all like “Yes!” So that afternoon I got to share with them the whole story of how God called me to Honduras. It was such an amazing thing! One little girl started crying, another little boy said, “That is a beautiful story!” Another little boy said, “Miss, who told you about Jesus?” And I said, “Do you guys want to hear how I became a Christian?” They said, “Yes!” So I said, “That is an even longer story than how I came to Honduras, so that will have to be another day, but I will tell you.” They are so excited to hear that story so I would like to ask for your prayers that God would start preparing their hearts now for the day it works out for me to share my testimony with them. And that when I do share it with them, that they would see Christ and not me, that the Holy Spirit would just take over and show me what to share and what not to share.

I have 15 precious little souls in my classroom full of curiosity and desire to know more about God. Fifteen precious little souls who aren’t afraid to ask their teacher any and every question they can think of about Christ. I found out just how eager and curious they are on Thursday during History. We began our book which starts out with the how the earth began and how Adam and Eve sinned. As soon as we finished reading the passage, they started pelting me with questions. It started with, “Miss, if Adam and Eve wouldn’t have sinned we would have eternal life.” I said, “We can still have eternal life, does anybody know how?” I got to share with them that if we put our faith in Jesus Christ we will have eternal life. And the questions and comments started flowing….

  • Does God forgive us when we are bad?
  • But Miss, God doesn’t forgive big sins does He?
  • What about if someone murders someone?
  • If someone gives their life to the devil, then God won’t forgive them, right?
  • Is God, God because he doesn’t have a beginning or an end?
  • Do you know anyone who has never sinned?
  • Miss, someone told me that if you don’t become a Christian when you are a little baby then you can never become a Christian, is that true?

That is just a snapshot of the questions that were thrown at me. It was so amazing, God gave me words to say for each and every one of their questions and I think they were all surprised to find out that all sin is big, and that God will even forgive murder and that I didn’t know anyone who has never sinned because everybody has sinned, and that I just became a Christian a year and a half ago, etc, etc. As all these questions were being thrown at me I don’t know if I can tell you everything I was feeling. It was a surreal feeling, these kids want to know and God has entrusted me to tell them the truth, with His help. I remember thinking, “Wow, what a good reminder of just how important it is to stay grounded in God’s word and to keep my relationship with Him the number one priority in my life!”

I may only be one week in, but I love being a teacher. Words can’t describe what it means to me that God has given me this opportunity!

 

First Impressions

If I had to describe my first few days in Honduras in one word, it would be…amazing, enjoyable, like home…wait that’s not one word is it? 🙂

Honestly I didn’t know what to expect when I got here, I just knew that this is where God was taking me and I was excited to see what He would have for me here! I don’t know what all He has planned for me here, but I am enjoying so many things and sometimes I wonder if maybe it hasn’t hit me yet that I’m actually living here now. I’m enjoying trying new food, learning a new language, meeting sooo many people, getting to know my Honduran family, and the list could just go on and on.

God has given me the gift of contentment and has made this small little community feel like home. I am so thankful for His goodness and I feel so blessed to  be able to be here. In the few days I have been here I have met so many people, the Schmuckers are related to everyone (it seems that way anyway)! Hopefully no one here will test me on names anytime soon because I will surely fail! 🙂 Thankfully many of their relatives can speak English! But even so, I am hearing Spanish around me all the time, and I love it! It is a little crazy how people can be talking all around me and I get maybe 1 word out of a 5 minute conversation. But I am learning and having fun asking my Honduran family how to say things. I have found out that I can’t roll my ‘R’s, which can be quite problematic actually…considering that words can sound identical except for whether you roll the ‘R’ or not but have completely different meanings! For example: to say ‘Peter’ in Spanish you have to roll the ‘R’ and if you don’t, you are actually saying ‘fart’. Slightly different I would say. 🙂

I am staying with Mark & Juliana and their kids. The other day Mark says to me, “While you are here I am sort of like your father, I am also your youth pastor and you your boss, so you better behave yourself.” 🙂 He is so funny and is always joking around. I keep having a hard time knowing if he is being serious or not. Juliana is so sweet and kind and has a servant’s heart. I am enjoying spending time with her and getting to know her. Amy is 12 and is turning into a dear friend and awesome “sister”. Monica is 5 and is super cute! She gave me a hug the other day and asked me how long I was going to stay here. I said that I was going to be here for almost a whole year and asked her if that was okay with her and she said it was. Caleb is 4 and is all boy! Cute, active and mischievous. The other day he says, “Dad, I want you to buy me a truck.” It made me laugh! 🙂

You will never guess what my first Honduran meal was! A bacon cheeseburger, french fries, fried apple pie and iced tea from Wendy’s. It made me laugh! Here during my last days in the states I was trying to think of foods I probably wouldn’t have for almost a year and enjoying eating some of those things. Then as my plane was landing in Tegucigalpa I look out the window and what do I see?….KFC, Denny’s, Pizza Hut and Burger King, then as we are driving I see a Wendy’s and a McDonalds. Obviously I was clueless as to how far the fast food restaurants had spread! 🙂

Guaimaca is a small little town and it doesn’t have any fast food restaurants. But the food is amazing! I am enjoying trying all the new things and learning to cook a couple of the basic things. For breakfast I have had cornflakes with hot milk, omelets, baked oatmeal and corn tortillas with beans, scrambled eggs, avocado, some sort of white crumbly cheese, and platanos (fried plantains) with crema. For lunch and suppers I have had some traditional foods as well.

  • Beans, rice, chicken, tortillas, chismol (similar to pico de gallo), a white salty cheese and avocado
  • Rice and chicken
  • Flour tortillas with beans, scrambled eggs, avocado, crumbly cheese and crema (sort of tastes like sour cream mixed with heavy cream)
  • Tortillas con queso (it is like a quesadilla but a little different)

The coffee is really good. I put milk in it or drink it black but here they usually drink it black with lots of sugar. I have noticed that they like things sweet here and add sugar or honey to lots of different things. Also, their salsa is sweeter than we have in the states and not spicy at all. We have avocados and cheese with almost every meal. They have this really yummy lemon tea (which grows in their back yard). It tastes like lemon drop candies and they put Rosquillas, a round, ring shaped cheesy hard cookie thing in the tea and let it get soggy and eat it with a spoon and keep adding more until the tea is gone. It is really good actually. Yesterday they had me try avena jugo (oatmeal juice), in a glass they put like 3 or 4 heaping spoonfuls of dry quick-cooking oats, 2-3 teaspoons of sugar and fill the rest of the glass with cold water. They just drink it like that all the time. It’s actually pretty good, I was surprised. So far everything I have tried I’ve really liked, for which I am super thankful for! 🙂

Mark and Juliana are building me a little guest house, next to their house, which is super cute, and I had no idea they were going to do that. God provides in unexpected ways! In the meantime while it is being finished, Amy gave up her room for me and it is nice to be with a family.

Going to church on Sunday was a new experience for me. Hondurans are more charismatic in their worship than I am used to, lots of clapping, raising their hands and shaking tambourines. It’s actually a beautiful thing to see people worshiping the Lord with such passion. It is pretty amazing, even though I could only understand a handful of the words during the service, God still gave me the ability to feel His presence and worship Him with a full heart. My former coworker and “big brother”, Mark gave me a Spanish-English Bible before I left and I am so thankful for that! I never would have known which book of the Bible they were in without that and also because I had both the Spanish and the English side by side I was able to figure out what some of the words were and pick those out during the sermon and get the gist of the message. God is so good!

This week I found out that I am teaching 5th graders and I got my classroom assigned to me. I have spent the last couple days cleaning and painting my classroom. It is about the size or smaller than most of our bedrooms back in the states but all the desks fit and it’s all the room we really need. I will have 15 students and I am so looking forward to meeting them!

Thank you all for keeping me in your prayers and sending me bits of encouragement! I am so blessed!

Hasta luego! 🙂

 

Less than 24 hours

In less than 24 hours I will be sitting on my plane, getting ready to take off. In less than 24 hours I will be leaving Oregon to begin a new journey with God. In less than 24 hours everything is going to become very real. In less than 24 hours I really am leaving everything I have ever known to travel thousands of miles away to a new country and a new home, Honduras.

It was about four months ago that I first heard about this teaching position at Sunnyside Bilingual Christian School in Guaimaca, Honduras. It was a moment that would change my life forever though I didn’t know that at the time. I was hanging out with the young adult group from church when one of my friends mentioned to several of us girls that the school she used to teach at in Honduras contacted her asking if she knew anyone who would want to be a teacher. They told her that a teaching degree wasn’t required. The only requirements were…

  1. Have a high school diploma
  2. Speak English
  3. Love Jesus
  4. Love Kids

I remember feeling a spark of interest but immediately was like, “No way am I moving to Honduras!” So I didn’t give it too much thought, but then a week later she announced it to the whole Sunday School class. This time it was more like nudge and immediately I thought, “God, You aren’t really going to ask me to move to Honduras are you?” Again I was like,”no way” and made myself stop thinking about it.

A few weeks later, some missionaries from Peru came to our Sunday School class to share with us. There were 2 things they said that really hit me hard. The first one, ” Don’t ignore those little nudges from God, really pray about them and see if they are something He might have for you.” Immediately I thought, “Honduras.” Then they said that they knew a girl who right out of high school she knew that God wanted her to go to the mission field, but she got married, had kids, bought a house, etc and it was always after this and this…she never ended up going and they could see an unfulfilled purpose and potential in her. I thought to myself, “I don’t want to be that girl.” It was after this that God wouldn’t let me stop thinking about Honduras. I fought it hard! I don’t know Spanish, I don’t have a teaching degree, I have a good job, I want to go visit family and friends in other states and countries next year, I just moved, etc…but the biggest and hardest thing I wrestled with was, “God, not even a year ago you asked me to leave my family and friends to follow you, I’m just getting settled, just making new friends and family, are you really going to ask me to give it all up again?” I struggled with all of this for a few weeks and then I went to our every other Thursday night Bible study.

I will never forget this night! I had no idea what we were going to be learning about this week and when I got there and heard, it was as if God orchestrated this night specifically for me.  One of the guys was teaching on when Jesus calls us. He was teaching out of Matthew 4 and Matthew 16. There were several things he said that just hit me so hard.

  • “If you are not in a position to give up your job or anything to follow Christ, you need to rethink your priorities.”
  • “Are you all in?”
  • “You are not your own, you have been bought with a price.”
  • “Don’t trade what you want most for what you want most right now.”

Essentially, are you surrendered to whatever He may have for you? It made me realize that I wasn’t surrendered…at all. So I had to work through that and was able to finally surrender to him.

I then reached out to my friend and asked for more information. She showed me pictures and told me all kinds of things and got me in touch with the school in Honduras. And through many different happenings and wise counsel from my pastors and uncle and aunt I realized that it was indeed God’s will that I go to Honduras.

Being a few months out from when I first heard about this and only 24 hours away from being in the air and on my way, I am so excited. I am looking forward to what the Lord has in store for me down there. Am I scared? No, the Lord has given me complete peace. Am I sad? Of course! I am going to miss so many people back here in the states; but this is when I am actually very thankful for technology and that I will be able to keep in touch with loved ones :).

It is so amazing to look back and see how God took me from being completely against going to now being so excited! I’m excited to meet my students, I’m excited to learn a new language, I’m excited to learn about a new culture and the opportunity to see God in ways I never have before. As excited as I am though, I know that this is not all going to be a cake walk. I know that this is going to be probably the most difficult thing I’ve ever done in almost every way. I know that I will need to rely on and trust in God more than I ever have. That He will be teaching me things I didn’t even know I needed to be taught. I will be completely dependent on Him in every way.

As I try and keep you all posted with what God is doing in Honduras, I want to ask you to share this journey with me. To ask you for prayers, fellowship and encouragement along the way.

Thank you so much! ❤