We’re back in Gracias, Honduras, and I can only assume that God must have big plans for us this year based on how well everything has gone so far. To start, somewhere around 30 people from around the world flew in to San Pedro Sula on the same day without a single flight delay and got on the same bus headed to Gracias for general teacher orientation before heading to the towns where they’ll be teaching, if not staying in Gracias. They came from Houston, Atlanta, London, and everywhere that connected to those airports before that. Do you think other people may have been praying for safe travels? It’s still a long travel day, but I’m very grateful that everything went according to plan.
I also had some classroom sets that I was worried about getting through the flight in my checked baggage – specifically a chemistry set – but it was all there when we unpacked. Everything got through security, even Evie’s toy horse Spirit, which set off some sensor and required a half hour wait in security while a specialist was called in from another building at O’Hare to inspect it. Eventually, Spirit got the all-clear, and all five of us headed to our gate.
Near the end of the day, when we got close to Gracias, I was able to hop off the bus and grab our car from our mechanic, who did some minor repairs over the summer. And it was a good thing he was around, because my car keys had our house keys on them, too.
Then, when we got to our house, everything was already up and running. No water problems, no electrical problems (even though we weren’t here last month to pay the bill), and our phones picked up the wifi right away. Water, electricity, wifi… that’s really the second most holy trinity I’ve come to appreciate living in Honduras.
At school, there have been a number of great logistical things happening that might be boring to explain, but that make me very excited about this year. And it’s not that I don’t absolutely love my coworkers from last year – because I do – but there are also three new North American dudes on staff this year. Not that I mind – at all – but I’m guessing I’ll being hearing fewer discussions about clothes this year… not because they won’t be taking place, but just because I’ll be busy talking with the guys about man stuff like sports and motorcycles and lifting heavy stuff… so there. (Maybe just talking about lifting heavy stuff, not actually lifting heavy stuff.)
I spent the first week and a half in orientation at school, and decorating my classroom (which this year, I knew was a thing), and Stephanie has a brigade at the clinic already. We had a couple girls from our neighborhood watch Sam and Evie for three days in the mornings while we were both tied up, and they all had a great time. That’s one of those things that just would have been impossible last year, so I’m so grateful to already be established.
Things that were once highly concerning or unknown are now normal and solvable. When there’s a mouse in the corner, you open the door and chase it out. When a massive bug falls from the ceiling while you’re watching TV at night, again, you open the door and kick it out. When you have a little problem to follow up on with your car, you quick run it to the mechanic after school on Friday and use your best Spanish – until he gives up on you and calls out his son who speaks English. Either way, there’s lots of stuff I can do now that I simply couldn’t do at the beginning of last year, whether that’s ordering food in Spanish or running errands or knowing where to get something in town… the stuff that should be easy is a whole lot easier now than it was last year. I’m just brimming with self-satisfaction in my independence.
Which is ironic, because I just sat through cultural training last week emphasizing the value of interdependence over independence. Don’t miss that, let’s say it again… interdependence over independence. Why am I even here? To prove to myself that I can buy groceries by myself in a country where they speak another language? In context, that’s more than just slightly unimpressive.
I’m here to be part of something bigger than myself. I’m here to be in community. I’m here to be part of something that God is doing. Something he is doing through a whole bunch of people that need to rely on each other and on him in order to get it done. I’m here to be a part of something bigger than any one person or any one language or any one earthly culture.
And it’s not just me. That’s exactly why any of us are anywhere at all.
Those grand plans that God has for us this year are no doubt just a small subset of the grand plans he has for everyone everywhere. We either believe that God can redeem nothing or that he can redeem everything. Is there anyone out there who would admit to believing in a god capable of only the partial redemption of his creation? We should talk.
And there are some incredibly encouraging things about God’s grand plans for redemption. They include everyone. Everyone. They are for here and now. Wherever here is, and whenever now is. And they are guaranteed. God is nothing if not reliable. Even (and often especially) when it doesn’t feel like it.
In the US, we focus so much on independence and our own unsure future success. I’m glad to allow God to teach me through this place the value of interdependence, especially in the context of the guaranteed success of his kingdom and his grand plans, not my own. I’m glad to see myself as part of the thing, and not as the thing, because I would fail on my own. But with God, I can’t fail, because his plans can’t fail, and I become a part of them. And we all can do that, but only if we allow ourselves to. Wherever, whenever, whoever. His plans are for all of it, and all of us.