Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Miscellaneous January Happenings

The past few weeks have been filled with miscellaneous activities. The Honduran school year runs from February to November, and January tends to be a month of catching up on loose ends, as well as planning and preparing for upcoming projects.

Here's a summary of some of what we've been up to:
  • Going to doctor and dentist appointments.
  • Updating our emergency plan.
  • Uploading documents and pictures as an online backup.
  • Revising the Garifuna translation of Bible school materials for classes starting next month.
  • Preparing for the start-up of new theological training groups (see below).
  • Studying material to be covered in upcoming ETBIL classes.
  • Continuing to use linguistics to study and describe Garifuna grammar.

January 6 is the "Día de los Reyes" (Day of the Magi Kings), celebrated in Latin America with a rosca cake. It's also the day Fernando and I met in 2006 (seven year ago - wow!). Our landlady gave us this rosca:

We also needed to clean out and organize our apartment. Part of that included purchasing second-hand furniture, including a bookshelf, file cabinet, and a tall chest of drawers to replace the piece of furniture below that our landlady let us use:

A big improvement (can you tell we are book people?):

We also have been preparing for Fernando's immigration interview at the embassy next month (with every possible document they might possibly ask for!):

I've also helped J with some of her writing assignments, and we went out to celebrate her 18th birthday!

In the midst of activities that don't often feel "spiritual," God has reminded me that He is always with us, teaching us, using us. For example, I have had opportunities to talk and pray with women while waiting for doctors appointments. While working around the house, I've also had more time to think and pray. Although I am looking forward to more "action" next month, I am thankful for this short season of reflection and preparation.

A main prayer request now is for the four new discipleship/theological training groups that several Garifuna pastors will start next month in their communities. Fernando will help coordinate as pastors who continue in their studies implement the same program in their churches to train more leaders. Pray also that the materials translated to Garifuna will be ready then. (To read about last year's classes, click here and here.) We will post updates on these groups as they get started.

Finally, I've changed the settings for posting comments, so feel free to comment on posts if you'd like. As always, we love hearing from you and knowing how to pray for you. Thank you for your partnership and friendship!

Friday, January 4, 2013

Christmas/New Year's in Wageira

Happy New Year! We hope 2013 is off to a good start for you. Fernando and I are back in La Ceiba after spending two weeks with Fernando's family in Wageira. We are thankful for a good, safe trip and would like to share a few highlights with you.

We spent one day at a youth conference held at a nearby community, and Fernando was one of the speakers:

I enjoyed continuing to meet with Rosa (pseudonym), Fernando's cousin's wife. We had been studying the Bible and praying together in La Ceiba, and it is exciting to see her grow in her faith as she learns from God's Word. On Christmas Eve day, I joined Rosa and her sister to make tamales:

  Cornmeal dough (masa) with juice from pork meat and other seasonings
Preparing plantain leaves
Filling the leaves with the cornmeal, meat (pork or chicken), vegetables, and rice
Filling the pot to cook it over the fire
Later, we got ready for church, where the service continues until midnight or later.
 Merry Christmas!
With Fernando's sister
Fernando sharing a Christmas message during the service
People spend Christmas Day relaxing with their families and eating the food made the day before. Fernando and I took a walk with some friends down the beach to a river. We enjoyed coconuts and swimming in the ocean.

While we were there, a truck had to cross the river on a raft. Here is a picture and a video of the process:


On other days, people enjoyed soccer games:

(No. 15 is a superstar)

I enjoyed practicing Garifuna and am encouraged because I can speak much more than I could a year ago. Wageira is the ideal place to learn Garifuna, as it is the language people prefer to speak and there are a lot of people to talk with.

New Year's Eve is also celebrated at church, where Fernando gave another sermon and we enjoyed special presentations by children and youth:


At midnight, each family there gathered to pray - probably my favorite moment of the holidays, thanking God together with Fernando's family and praying for each other as we start the new year.
Several hours later, there was still a praise party going strong! I needed a little rest, so I took this video:

On New Year's Day, there is a traditional dance called Wanaragua ('mask'). Fernando's cousin dressed up and ready to go:

After such a good trip, we are back home preparing for the coming months. We would appreciate your prayers for wisdom and faithfulness in our work each day, and for trust in the Lord for our plans this year.
We want to say, "Thank you!!!" to those who have sent special gifts in the past few months, which have been an incredible help for the projects we're working on as well as our own needs - thank you!
Also, thank you for visiting our blog, and we look forward to sharing with you again soon. Happy New Year, everyone!