Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, and... ...is it almost Valentine's Day already??
This past December was the first Christmas I spent in Honduras. Several ladies from church let me come and learn about the Tamale-making process (picture on left). I didn't realize this is primarily a Christmas tradition, but ladies here make upwards of 100 of the banana leaf- wrapped tamales, stuffed with cornmeal, chicken, potato, rice, and a variety of other vegetables. They were super excited to teach me, and I was thrilled to learn, so it made for some fun memories. Picture on right: the 100+ wrapped tamales boil for several hours on an outdoor fire.
On Christmas Eve - the day most Latinos celebrate Christmas - I was invited over the home of a church member after the evening church service. We had a big dinner, then chatted and chatted around the table as children and teens threw a variety of firecrackers outside on the dirt road. Most people stay up until midnight, but I was very tired and happy to leave when some others did around 10pm! Interestingly, gift-giving is not a big tradition here, and with the recent political upheaval, many people struggled financially to have a Christmas Eve dinner, let alone gifts. (You can Google what has been going on; things are slowly improving.) I was fascinated to discover how relaxed Christmas could be without the gifts. No expectations, no last minute shopping, no fretting over what to give that relative "who has everything." Here, most people have less than what most Americans would consider "basic necessities," but are largely content, patient, and focus more on relationships than things. I have learned so much from these people.
December 26th I flew to Georgia to attend a conference hosted by Silent Word
Ministries International Director, David Bennett. It was a major blessing to get timely counsel from him regarding working with international Deaf. Then I flew to Maryland to see my family. I enjoyed spending individual time with each of my family members, as well as meals together as a family. My brothers are all beginning careers and my parents and brothers are all involved in church, so it was a fun, busy time. (Picture: my mom and I spent lots of time together.)
I arrived back to Honduras on Tuesday, January 30th. Before even going to my house, I was able to welcome the newest addition to Team Honduras. The Gardeners (picture on left) arrived in my absence, and are running a Children's Home here as part of our church. There are 17 Honduran children, ages 1-17. Though my main focus here is not on socially at-risk children, I teach several of these children piano lessons, and I look forward to working with this sweet family as the opportunities arise.
Thank you for your prayers as team chemistry adjusts and I focus on starting a deaf ministry with the church here. This is going to be a great year!