I read this statement by one of our former Bible College teachers, and it stirred my heart in a fresh way, I AM A CHILD OF GOD. What a blessing it is to have the creator of the universe, the one and only God as my Father. I am humbled and so thankful to be a part of the family of God.
November is the month of Thanksgiving. We were able to join with our missionary friends giving thanks for their new truck. They have been in Honduras for over 15 years and their truck was just wearing out besides being a gas guzzler. Earlier this year they had put out a request to their supporters for donations toward a new truck. In the summer they began looking for one and found a good deal on a truck that was labeled “great condition truck”. They liked it and wanted to drive it and have it checked out by their local mechanic but the owner said the truck was passed and approved by her mechanic. After our friends persisted further for another mechanic to check it out, the owner found out the truck was not in as good of shape as originally thought and would never hold out on the mountains roads our friends needed it for. By this time all the money had been collected for a new truck but there was no truck available. We all joined in prayer with them. Within a couple of weeks, the “right” truck was found. And just like our God, it was red, the color of truck our friends wanted! We all joined together for a dinner celebration of God’s goodness. Our friends now have a dependable truck using a lot less gas and are using it for God’s work and glory!
Thanksgiving Day is a US holiday but with so many North Americans living in Honduras, many of the Honduran people understand the meaning of the day. Gene works at a bi-lingual school which teaches and honors the holidays of the US. The school runs on the same schedule as the US schools and follows the holiday schedule. In preparation for Thanksgiving, the younger children drew hand prints and made turkeys out of them; a display of pumpkins, gourds and scarecrows was placed beside the walkway and of course a big Thanksgiving dinner was planned. The school had an open house with Thanksgiving dinner to follow for the children and their families and staff. The children decorated their classrooms with work projects and there were some games to play also. Parents visited the rooms, talked with the teachers and then gathered for a Thanksgiving dinner of chicken, mashed potatoes, green-bean almandine, cornbread and pumpkin, pie. Gene and I attended and Gene gave the opening welcome and prayer over dinner. I enjoyed watching the faces of the people as they tried the food. Most were familiar with chicken but the other foods are not as common here. A young boy sitting next to us tried all the different foods and decided the pumpkin pie was the best. He did eat the chicken and mashed potatoes but skipped the rest. A man across the table did not like the green beans and gave them to the lady sitting beside me, no waste here. I was really surprised that the cornbread was liked by so many. People here eat tortillas mostly, sometimes loaf bread but cornmeal is not even sold in the stores here locally. A local hotel restaurant cooked and served the food, it was great! One teacher took a poll of how many people had ever celebrated Thanksgiving before and over half of the 100 plus people were celebrating Thanksgiving for the first time. I feel this is a holiday that needs to be shared around the world; we all have so much to be thankful for!
Gene has been teaching Bible classes for 7th through 11th grades at Southwest School since the beginning of this school year. His predominant theme is to “hear God speak to us”. He has been teaching how God is always talking to us and how important it is for us to hear Him. We just need to tune into his voice to hear Him in our spirit and in His word. When we hear what He has to say to us, we are one step closer to living the abundant life He has promised us. One day at the end of class, Gene asked his 11th grade students, if anyone had heard from God this week? Two students immediately raised their hands and said yes. He asked if they wanted to share what had happened. When they were hesitant to speak up Gene told them that they did not have to share with the class, hearing from God is a personal thing between them and God. One girl who had raised her hand immediately spoke up and said she used to not think about it but she knows now she has a relationship with Christ. Gene used this to time to explain that each of us can have that relationship and when we have it our life will never be the same again. Thank you for your continued prayers for these students and Gene.
Recently we were able to help another friend move to Tegucigalpa. He is Honduran and was a bi-lingual arts teacher at the school where Gene teaches and his position was no longer needed so he was let go. This was sad for him but we prayed with and tried to encourage him to believe for a better job. While here in La Esperanza he had gathered many items for his apartment and was concerned that he could not get all his belongings on the bus to take back with him. We were able to drive him and a truck full of belongings the 3 hours back to his home town. As we rode and talked, he shared that he had found an opportunity to apply for a job in the states and was very encouraged. Join us in prayer for Daniel that he will draw closer to God and totally surrender his life to God’s will.
The drive to take Daniel to Tegucigalpa made a long day. We met him at 8am and loaded the truck and then we went to the school office to pick up his last pay check. We went to the bank so he could cash it but the line was out the door and down the whole block! At banks here, you take a number and wait in line for your turn. Guards are at the door and they only allow a few people in at a time to get a number so the wait can take hours. Daniel decided he would not wait but would go to a bank later. It was now 9:30 so we started the trip. On top of the mountain there was fog so we had to drive slow and carefully. The roads are curvy with few guard rails, lots of potholes, horses and cows eating grass along the sides of the roads and lots of motorcycles that don’t follow the rules of the road! Gene is a safe driver so he took it slow and did a great job getting through the fog and down the hill. Once we were on the main roads and the drive was much smoother. We got Daniel and his things safely to his destination then went to get some lunch and made a quick stop at Pricesmart (Honduras version of Sam’s club) for a few items we can’t get locally, then we were on the road back home. It was almost 4:00 pm when we started up the mountain and we felt we would be home before dark. As we got near the top of the mountain it started raining lightly and of course got darker, then the fog moved in. We were thanking God for His guidance and protection as we continued on and made it safely back home around 6:00. This normal drive of one hour had taken two hours.
Our grass is doing great; actually, it was growing so tall we needed to get it cut. We had hired someone previously to cut it with a machete but it was so tall and cutting with a machete would be really hard work. I had bought some hedge clippers and cut the grass right around the driveway a couple of times, not an easy task but got that little bit done. Not knowing anyone who had a weed eater or mower (both are very expensive here), we prayed for God’s help in this situation. One day I heard a weed-eater running next door and ran to the window to check it out. Our neighbor had hired someone to cut their grass so I sent Gene over to investigate. By that afternoon our grass was cut and the yard was looking great for only $10! Praise God we now have someone to cut our grass.
Water, a precious part of life. We are blessed to have running water in our house and lots of it. When we first moved into the house, there was just a small stream of water coming through our faucets, not enough for a shower and washing dishes was a chore. After talking with our landlord, we joined together to put in a cistern, a pump and a 14-foot-high, 750-liter water tank. This has worked great for us! The water is brown and dirty looking, we don’t drink it but use it only for washing, heating it for showers and boiling for washing dishes. So twice a year we must empty the cistern and clean it out! This starts with turning the water off at the road and using as much water as we can to empty the cistern of thousands of gallons of water. Besides our normal uses of water, we washed rugs, we watered trees and plants in the yard, filled all the buckets we had plus filled the pila (a huge cement water holding tank on the back porch). (Side note: most all houses in Honduras have a pila to hold water. They don’t have running water so this is the water they use to cook, clean, wash clothes & dishes, it is their water source.) Finally, after 5 days the cistern was low enough to clean. Our landlord climbed down into the cistern and scrubbed it clean. Then the process of filling it up began. It took 2 days for the cistern and tank to fill and things were back to normal. It just takes a day or two of not having running water to really appreciate what you have!
School continues to go well for Gene and the students, a final test was given just before Christmas break. All the students are doing well as they continue to learn about God’s love for them and how to hear Him speak. There was a staff lunch Christmas-celebration at a local hotel. We were served tamales, a Honduran Christmas favorite, along with an Anafre, a small clay pot holding a candle with a clay bowl on top containing a bean & cheese dip. Chips are served with this. We played games, eat lunch and received cookies! such a wonderful time.
All of our missionary friends got together for a Christmas lunch. BBQ & ham sandwiches, chips, potato salad, sodas and chocolate cake bars – all so good! Then we played Apples to Apples as we laughed and talked. We have made some wonderful friends in La Esperanza and truly believe God has good things in store for the people here.
After a busy few months, it was time for us to return to the states for a visit with family & friends. It was wonderful celebrating the birth of our Lord with those we love. Gene’s Mom had ribs and all the fixings waiting on us, we ate until we were stuffed and had to have some Tums before going to bed, to sleep it off. We were able to attend our Georgia home church where the children preformed a beautiful Christmas program and were able to talk with several friends there. A Willis family tradition is gathering for a big meal on Christmas Eve, all the family except one, who lives out of state, was able to attend. Gene gave a brief talk on “The Reason for the Season”, Jesus, who came in love to give us peace and joy and fill us with hope for an abundant life here on earth. On Christmas morning Gene & I left early to return to Alabama where my brothers were waiting to go with us to Kentucky to visit The Ark. We first went through The Creation Museum which explains creationism vs evolution then stopped by Cracker Barrel for a country style lunch then went to the Ark. The life size ark was huge! It is amazing to see and think about how one man and his 2 sons could have built this and how God instructed them every step of the way! They explain that the Bible does not describe a lot of the details concerning the care of the animals and everyday life of Noah & his family during the time they spent on the ark so after much research of that era and history books, some liberties were taken to show the most likely way animals were cared for, water was distributed and waste was disposed of along with other daily activities. When you think that 8 people cared for all the animals on the ark for just over a year, you have to believe there is a God!
It is almost time to end 2019 and start a new year, a new decade, 2020. We are facing times people have only dreamed and sang about; many never thought the earth would last this long. BUT GOD has a plan. We are thankful to be able to help take the Gospel too many who have never heard the truth and we thank you for your prayers, support and encouragement as we continue on. Soon and very soon Jesus will return for us who believe. We pray for you and your loved ones that you remain faithful until we meet in Heaven.
Galatians 4:6-7 (NLT)
6 And because we are his children, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, prompting us to call out, “Abba, Father.” 7 Now you are no longer a slave but God’s own child, And since you are his child, God has made you his heir.
Many times, we do not know what the day will bring. We make our plans but often things change. When we are a believer, a child of God, we don’t have to worry but must only trust in our Abba Father, He has and will take care of us. Praise the Lord!
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