Sunday May 18. We went to Sunday school and a small worship service here at the hospital. We had lunch with Margo Concepcion and her daughters.
Margo’s husband Nelson is gone for a week on a “visa trip”. Visa trip is a new term to us. A requirement for being in country here in Honduras is that you must leave the country every 90 days. You don’t have to go home, but you do have to leave the country. Four countries (Honduras, Guatemala, Nicaragua, and ?) have joined together to prohibit us from just running across the border to satisfy these visa requirements. Like Nelson, we will have to travel to the closest/cheapest “legal” country to satisfy our visa requirements each 90 days. This will be a huge inconvenience and expense, but it is unavoidable until we can apply for and receive residency (applying for residency costs around $1500 each and takes around 2 years). As soon as we can afford it, we’ll apply for residency – but we’ll need to make visa trips for at least year or two. Some of these trips will undoubtedly be to the US to visit family and friends.
Sunday afternoon we had the great privilege of attending the home school graduation of the 2008 class of Loma De Luz. As with everything that the home schoolers do here, the graduation was an amazing affair, complete with an keynote address, speeches by the graduates, a time of praise and worship, and a full reception afterwards. I was really struck by what a time of change it is here at Loma De Luz. As the graduates leave and as the Faulls leave (one of the core families here) there is the certain knowledge that some really key people won’t be here by the time we are able to move down here full time. There is a sense of sadness among the group as some long and very deep friendships are about to be separated. I also believe that this is a difficult reality of this type of work: deep friendships that are often interrupted by the constant flow of lives coming and going in response to or pursuit of “God’s next step”. I know this even as we begin the process of leaving Mississippi after 2.5 year and extracting ourselves from some deep friendships down there and then revisiting (briefly) some old friends in Colorado and then planting ourselves in the fertile soil of friendship down here in Honduras. It comes with the territory. We are fortunate that we will have eternity together to spend time with all of these wonderful people that God keeps placing in our path.
The end of the day Sunday was the real highlight. We went to a local Honduran church with Mark and Heidi Merrit. The first thing that I want to say about it is that I thought I knew Spanish (or at least a little bit) until I went there! I was completely lost in the flood of rapid fire Spanish preaching that we heard. I did join a group of men up front to sing a Corrito (Spanish verse). Pictures (and even a short movie) will be sold to the highest bidder! The sea of children at this small church were so beautiful! There were probably 100 people in attendance at this church Sunday night serve (including children), but it seemed like there were 200 children running around. Smiling, beautiful children all of them. Old women kneeling down on the concrete floor into their chair praying. Bright, bare light bulbs, and ceiling fans. A sound system that is too loud, and one electric guitar playing and strong voices singing. Much singing. The Latin people are nothing if not happy in their little church on Sunday evening. There’s more joy here than I’ve seen in a long time in the American church. I wonder in God’s eyes who is really poor and who is really rich?