We’ve been asked several times why we have chosen Honduras to live and minister in. The answer is that it sort of feels like Honduras has chosen us, or more rightly, God has chosen for us. That is the short answer anyway. The long answer is this:
Back in 2008, Jacob was made aware of an opportunity to go on a 10 day mission trip to a little town in Honduras called Campamento. (I was not able to go because I had just given birth to our 2nd born 8 weeks prior) The year before, a bridge was begun there and it was scheduled to be finished up by a team of short-term missionaries. The people in that area had to cross a river on foot in order to go between communities for trade and church. It wasn’t that big of a deal during the dry seasons, but when the rainy season came it would become much more difficult and perilous to cross and the foot bridge was built as a way to serve the people by meeting a real need while at the same time opening a door to share the love of Jesus in a very practical way.
I remember that we had received a rather large tax refund that year and had saved up to put central heat and air in our 66 year old home. We live in Florida, and our home stays hot in the summer and cold in the winter. Anyway, we had all the money we needed to run duct work and get a unit, we even had a quote from a local company. We thought it was going to be a cool summer and warm winter that year inside out little house. We were wrong.
When the opportunity came up for Jacob to go to Honduras, we were faced with a choice. A. Use the tax money to pay for the trip for him to go serve the poor and share the gospel. Or B. Proceed with our plan to put central heating and air in our house. After praying about it we both felt like the right choice was for him to go and so we bought the ticket and he boarded the plane.
It was rough on me the 10 days he was gone. He was out in the middle of nowhere and I had very little contact with him. I was worried and I had a newborn and a 2 year old all alone and my 2 year old missed him terribly and was pretty grouchy because of it. (As a side note, I have the highest admiration for women whose husbands are deployed for long periods of time and for single mommas. If you fall into either of those categories, you sweet woman, are cut from a very STRONG piece of cloth.) While there, Jake worked on the bridge, helped to put concrete floors in mud houses, helped to put on strong roofs that would keep rain out, and met some incredible people that changed his heart and mind down to his core. He calls the experience ‘life altering’ and ‘paradigm shifting’. Life altering, indeed.
Over the course of several years we would make crazy talk, like we like to do sometimes, about selling everything and buying a used RV so we could pack up all the kids and travel the US; or selling everything and moving to Alaska or Wyoming; or selling everything and moving to Honduras. But we just kept on working, growing babies, and living our life not ever really making a move but desperately desiring change. Then in 2011, we got a phone call from our friend, Jennifer, who was looking for a place for the missionary family that Jacob served with in Honduras in 2008 to stay, while they were visiting Florida. We were kind of a last ditch effort for our friend, who had asked literally everyone she knew and just couldn’t come up with anyplace for this family of 5 to stay. We were happy to be able to serve them, even though we didn’t really know them all that well, and offered our home to them if they could handle the company of us and our 3 littles.
It was such a pleasant visit and we knew when they left that we had made friends. We asked them all about life in Honduras and what they were doing there. We learned all about Camino Global, the mission organization they were with. It all seemed so awesome. For them. 🙂 We had no aspirations to be missionaries and I’d like to add that they didn’t try to sell us on it either, but we were greatly encouraged by their company and by getting an idea of what God was doing in Honduras and worldwide. We were also pricked with that familiar discontentment with the status quo that we had become so used to feeling over the years.
Roughly one year later, we decided to do something. We were going to close our business and Jacob was going to go to school to be a gunsmith. He applied, tested, and was accepted and was put on a 2 year waiting list for enrollment. We set a move date to Troy, North Carolina for October 2013, that would put us in the state long enough before school started for him to get in-state tuition. We weren’t sure how we were going to eat or live, but we were just going to go for it. We were looking at houses to purchase that came with at least a 5 acre parcel of land. Remember all that crazy talk I mentioned earlier? Well there has been a common thread in all of the ideas we’ve had, homesteading. We are all about growing our own food, slowing our pace of life, raising and slaughtering (if need be) our own animals for food, and the like. Moving to North Carolina seemed like the perfect path for us. I could even live in my dream house maybe, which is an old 2 story farm-house with a wrap around porch with rocking chairs and a big yard, we’d have to renovate but we like that sort of thing.
In February of 2013, we had contact with our friends who live in Honduras, Mark and Michelle Fittz. I had casually mentioned that we were in transition and were unsure just where we were going to end up. Half jokingly, Michelle said “why don’t you come here?” Hmmm… ‘Why don’t we come there?’, I thought. I shared with Jacob about our short conversation over Facebook and he kind of wondered the same thing. Oh, I left something out. I had been in a christian bookstore and randomly picked up David Platt’s book “Follow Me”. Jacob and I had both read it and were challenged by the questions it posed. Questions like, “Who are you living for?” “Are your choices serving yourself or your God?” We were faced with the fact that our wanting a simpler life and moving to North Carolina were more for our own benefit and security than for the sake of glorifying God. Let me say this, we can glorify God wherever and whatever we are doing and if we had chosen to move to North Carolina, I don’t think that we would have been in sin and I don’t think that we would have disappointed God in some way. We just felt convicted that we hadn’t really involved God much in our decision to move there. Rather than asking God what He wanted for us and waiting for His response, we were sort of just asking Him to come along side of our plans and bless them.
After a lot of prayer and careful consideration of all of the obstacles, effects, and implications, we felt a pull towards moving to Honduras to help in whatever way we could there. We had realized that we aren’t doctors, or teachers and we aren’t theologians or church planters; but we love Jesus and want more than anything to glorify His name and share His gospel, we are pretty handy, we are lifelong learners, and we were willing to go, which we though might count for something. It was a long shot, we thought, and we had no clue what it would really look like for us, but we offered our plans and our lives to God for him to give a once over. If He wanted us to pack up our family and head to Honduras, and provided along the way for us to to so, we’d go.
We were going to pursue moving to Honduras as missionaries. We resolved to take it one step at a time, hold this plan with open hands, and walk through each open door as we came to it. We contacted Mark and Michelle and told them what we were thinking and they suggested coming for a visit so we could really see what day to day life is like there as a missionary. We had a little money in savings and we used it to purchase 2 tickets to Honduras in May of 2013. After we got back we still weren’t totally sure what we were supposed to do. A couple of weeks after we got back, inexplicably, Jacob woke up one morning and couldn’t walk. I mean, full on, cannot put both feet on the floor without excruciating pain couldn’t walk. I took the children to church without him and our pastors’ wife prayed for him. While she was praying for Jacob, I suddenly KNEW that God intended for us to go to Honduras. *That* was his perfect plan for our family. I also knew that I wasn’t free to discuss that with Jacob. I held that in my heart for a week or two without uttering a single syllable about it to my very best friend who I share everything I hold most dear with. Then it happened, we were sitting in the living room one evening after the children were all in bed and it came up. Jacob asked me point blank what I thought about moving to Honduras as missionaries, and I felt free to tell him what the Lord had spoken to my heart. He had also felt the same, for quite some time, but didn’t feel free to tell me either. Neither of us wanted to sway the other one for fear that we’d get down there and face difficulty only to blame the other for our ‘missing God’. We needed to KNOW that it was the Lord’s leading and not our own romantic notions. So, the Lord, in His kindness revealed to both of us separately that this was indeed His plan for us.
We contacted Camino Global, filled our very lengthy applications out, were deemed just crazy enough and approved, packed up and headed to Dallas, Texas in August 2013 for a week long orientation, and now we are a part of that family. So, that brings us up to today and hopefully gave you so much more of an answer to “Why Honduras?” than you could have ever asked for. Believe it or not, I even left some details out! Oh, and we still don’t have central heat and air! Ha!