Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Worship Problems??

heading to church

Well, I have been home for a week and a day.  I think I am back to normal.  With one exception……..I have totally not been motivated to clean or straighten my house.  I’m currently working very hard to:  finish my two on-line classes, make earrings for the Downtown Market and try to get myself to begin thinking about getting my classroom ready!  (I have less than two weeks before I have to go back to work!! L Today, I had an in-service on our new Math series and I started to get that panicky (Is that how you spell panicky?) feeling about getting my classroom ready.  I think I’ll go work in my room Wednesday or Thursday, or maybe both days!

walking the dog bright and early before I leave for my in-service

Good News:  Last Friday night, the Clarksville Downtown Market had their first evening market in conjunction with Jammin’ in the Alley. (Jammin’ in the Alley is every third Friday and a band performs on Strawberry Alley.)  I had my booth and we had great crowds.  Between Friday night and the usual Saturday market, I made over $300.  That’s a great chunk of change to put in my Honduras fund!!  To God be the glory!!!

Worship Problems:

Sunday was my first time to worship God in the US.  I have to say that I always struggle with the differences in worship at home compared to the worship in Honduras.  It’s funny how God speaks to us through His word because Sunday’s sermon was “Does My ‘Worship’ Please God?”  Let me explain myself.

I go to my usual Sunday school class and several people welcomed me back.  We were having an issue with our central A/C.  It wasn’t working in our wing.  It made it a little stuffy, but I was recalling how a week ago, I was sitting in a small concrete block building without any form of a/c.  Later, during the regular Sunday morning service, I was looking around at our beautiful, lavish auditorium.  I again recalled the simple service that I attended in Honduras.  Before the sermon even began, I considered and wondered why it seemed so much easier to worship with the appropriate attitude in Honduras. 

Lessons from Honduras

Here is what I came up with:

In Honduras, we are completely removed from worldly distractions.  We don’t have the media, jobs, day to day worries, materialism or relationships to interfere with our focus. We begin and end each day in prayer, singing and devotion.  In Honduras, we are surrounded by like-minded Christians who are totally focused on serving and glorifying God.  As I considered these things, I realized that as Christian, I can strive to make my day to day life more like my mission trips to Honduras.
Here's a video I took during one of the Sunday services at Inglesia de Cristo de Los Pinos

Lessons from the sermon:

1.      The Bible shows us that worship can be displeasing to God. 

Matthew 15:8-9These people honor me with their lips, 
   but their hearts are far from me. 
They worship me in vain; 
   their teachings are merely human rules.

2.      Our worship should have the right focus, God.

We worship God, not humanity.

3.     We must worship with the right attitude.

4.      We must worship with the right authority.  What authority is that?  God’s authority

I hope you readers out there are doing well. If you are a teacher like me you are mourning the end of your summer.  If you aren’t a teacher, you’re probably thinking that we are lucky to have a summer vacation!!  I have to say…..WE ARE!!! It may be awhile till my next post!


Friday, July 15, 2011

The Gringo is Home!!!

Ready to leave the hotel at 4:00 am in the morning!
The Gringo is Home!!!


  Well, my flight from San Pedro Sula was uneventful.  I had really complained about that airport and it had actually been renovated since the last time I was there. I had been a little worried about being the last person to fly out, but I just sat and waited for the Continental desk to open.  After I got checked in, I went ahead and went through security and was one of the first people to get to my gate.  After several hours of reading my book, the gate started filling up.

Waiting at Cafe Americana with my two huge suitcases.  I was at the Continental desk whenever the opened.  Continental did a little switcheroo.  We were allowed 50 lbs. on the way down, but only 40 lbs. on the way back.  Luckily, I had pretty much emptied one of my suitcases because I carried supplies down in it.

  I was a little concerned about getting through customs in 2 hours in Houston, since I had trouble making my connection in 45 min. on the way down.  I actually made it with thirty minutes to spare before boarding.

I'm the first one at the gates.

                My flight to Nashville went well also.  I think I may have slept, or at least I dozed.  We got the okay to unbuckle and my ears weren’t back to normal and I swore I heard someone saying “Mrs. Patty”.  I thought I was hearing things, well, come to find out it was Katy Gooch.  She went on the Torch trip last year and this year she came down on the 3rd and went in a different direction with another group.  We got to chat on the way to luggage claim and I even met her mother who was there to pick her up.

                I had to go out into the garage for the Parking Spot to pick me up.  Wow, it was about 8:00 pm and the heat and humidity hit me like I had put my head in an oven.    It is definitely hotter in Tennessee than Central America.

                The house was quiet because Nick was traveling with work and Taylor had gone back to Freed to work.  The dog was even gone to spend the night at the dog sitter’s house.  I guess it was a good thing because I was beat and needed to decompress.  My status update for Facebook was “Wow, I just realized that I live in a mansion!” and that was the truth.

                I spent all day Tuesday sitting at home.  I did unpack and try to put things away.  I did some laundry and I finally left the house around 4:30 pm.  The heat was still oppressive and I felt like I was swimming in a fog.  I think it was part of the “decompressing” that comes with the reverse culture shock.  I do have to say that there are many things I have to be thankful for.  Here’s a list of a few things that you might take for granted:

1.        Free clean water

2.       Hot showers

3.       Safe neighborhoods where you don’t have to worry about your things getting stolen

4.       Just and honest police officers

5.       Good roads

6.       Central heat & air

7.       Good plumbing (being able to flush toilet paper)

The list isn’t complete by any means, but you don’t realize how much you appreciate the simplest things.

                Well, things are almost back to normal.  I have gone to a couple of Zumba classes and survived.  I have jumped back into board meetings with both feet and have already been busy with that.  Next week, I have VBS and a day of inservice. Schools starts at the beginning of August.  I WILL NOT count the actual number of days until it starts!!  There is no rest for the weary.

(The dog was brought home by the dogsitter on Tue.  I guess because Cocoa had been gone, she had forgotten that I had been gone.  I'm even underappreciated by the dog!!  :0) )
                                                          (There is something wrong with these pictures!  Many people get very upset when they see the dogs in Honduras, but the human need far surpasses that of the animals!!)

                This year’s trip was awesome.  I got to do everything that I wanted to and more.  I particularly enjoyed seeing and working in Santa Rosa de Copan and it was especially nice to work in a small group with the interns.  We ended it all with a wonderful visit to the Mayan ruins in Copan.  I couldn’t ask  for more.  Now, it’s time to start making money for next year’s trip!!! J

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Our Last Sunday together/Good-bye friends!

Ready for worship
San Pedro Sula/Last Sunday together/ Saying good-bye

view from hotel window

                There is one advantage of being with a small group of Christians in a third world country on a Sunday.   You can decide when you want to have your worship service.  Terry said we would have our service at 11:00 am.  That let everyone have a good night sleep and sleep in a little later.

Having a last cup of coffee with "Tricky" Pat from PA & Diane

                We met in a small meeting room and enjoyed one last time of fellowshipping together.  Minor Perez led our singing and Andrew Allgood shared thoughts about the Lord Supper and Terry spoke to us one last time about being a servant in the kingdom and what that means to us as Christians.

                The rest of the group besides Diane, Tyler Gist, the bus driver and me were going to the mall to hang out.  Their flight isn’t until 1 am, so they were basically going to hang out there until the mall closes.  Diane and I decided not to go with them because we have heard some bad things about San Pedro Sula and we weren’t  about getting a taxi ride back to the hotel. (Looks can be deceptive because this city could almost be Clarksville, TN!) The bus driver and Tyler Gist will also be spending one more night because they will be leaving back for Tegucigalpa tomorrow.  Tyler will be meeting up with people from his hometown in South Carolina and doing 10 more days of mission work.  He has already been here a month!!!

                Diane and I were also glad to learn that Terry arranged for Guillermo to take us to the airport at 4:30 tomorrow. I think he was looking forward to sleeping in, but I think he may come back and sleep until check out.  They do have a long trip back! The Hilton does have a shuttle, but it doesn’t start running until 5:00 am and she really should be at the airport by 5:10.  I’m going to go ahead and go with her to the airport and that way neither of us will have to travel alone.

We were going to have lunch outside, but we decided it was too hot.

                Right now, I’m just relaxing in the room and writing this blog.  Diane and I had sandwiches for lunch at the hotel restaurant and it wasn’t too unreasonable.  She decided to go check out the pool, I think I will read, nap and go to bed early so I can be up and ready to go by 4 am.  Continue to pray for our safe travels.  I’ll see you back in the good ole’ USA!!   xoxoPJ

I took many videos in Honduras.  Here are a couple of my favorites.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Ruinas de Copan

Friday night/Saturday at Ruinas de Copan:

(warning: I'm not editing very closely!)

Donna Waldron, of Mission UpReach, has coordinated our hotel arrangements while we have been in Santa Rosa. Two meals a day have been provided each day and they have all been delicious.  We went on a field trip for last night’s meal.  We walked down the road a ways to a place called Weekend’s Pizza.  Donna said an American lady who was in the Peace Corp married a Honduran man and opened this restaurant.  Her children and grandchildren now run it.  The pizzas tasted as if they were all made with fresh ingredients.  We even had one that had a “local” flair.  I don’t remember what it was called, but it had beans, sour cream, avocado, etc.

The Waldrons had invited us over to their church building for a ceremony for some of their “Let’s Get Talking” student.  They explained how important something like that was to people who would probably  never earn a high school diploma.  We rode the bus over to the church building and there was a crowd already there.  “Let’s Get Talking” offers English classes using the Bible.  The majority of the people were not church members, but it serves as a good outreach and they had a nice ceremony for them.  There were probably 35 who had earned their certificate and maybe 50 family members who came to cheer them on.  Delicious chocolate and “Tres Dulches” cakes were served.

We ended the night with  a devo and discussions of our plans for tomorrow.  We will have breakfast at 7:30 and try to be packed and on the bus ready to leave by 8:00.  We will be driving to the Copan Ruins.  I’m writing this right before I go down to get some coffee, I will finish this tonight after we tour the ruins.

We had about a 1 and half hour ride to the Ruinas de Copan.  It is the largest excavated Mayan site that has been around since approximately 30 AD.  Our tour guide was Fidel and he had a wealth of knowledge to share about the ruins.  I had toured ruins in Mexico, but this site had many more statues and hieroglyphics.  It was very interesting and educational.  It was extremely hot, but I had my liter of water with me.  I took over 150 pictures, but I’ll try to pick a few good ones to share.

Fidel, our friendly tour guide

Carving of dancing jaguar, The guide said the Mayans had many trained animals.

The chopped off the head and sacrificed it to the gods.

panoramic view from the top of the ruins

There is a round indention on the top. That's where the person would lay their head before the killed them.  It's hard to see, but there is a trough like part carved from the top to the bottom.  The blood flowed down that.

 This represented the last Mayan kind, I believe.

After touring the ruins, we had about a 3 hour bus ride to San Pedro Sula.  We have learned that each little town that we pass through on the highway has figured out a way to control people who might like to speed through their towns.  They put huge speed bumps on the road.  Everyone now and then, Guillermo, the bus driver, would get caught by surprise.  That’s when you find yourself bouncing a foot up from your seat!!

Well, it’s Saturday night and we are now experiencing culture shock.  We’ve gone from the trash filled streets of Malia and Tegucigalpa to now the Hilton Hotel in San Pedro Sula.  It’s always feels strange when we reintegrate back into our normal way of life.  It is a very humbling experience and most of us don’t look at our lives in the same way again.  From the first time I came on a Torch trip, my life was changed forever.  It makes us all realize how richly blessed we are in the US.

We are having our church service at 11:00 in one of the hotel meeting rooms.  Everyone but Diane and I leave at 1:00 am in the morning.  They are going to spend the day hanging out at the mall.  I think we will tag along with them, and then I’m not sure what we will do after that.  I probably won’t have another post until I get home.  Please continue to pray that our group has safe travels.  I will be hanging out at the San Pedro Sula airport for about 4 hours, but I doubt I’ll have Wi-Fi!!! J   xoxoPJ


drainage ditch made by the Mayans

If you look carefully you can see carvings in the stones behind me.