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Spirit of Simplicity

When I arrived at the Finca I figured the simplicity pillar would be something that was forced on us as we stepped into rural Honduras. We'd have to face things like no air conditioning in a really hot climate or constantly having sand in your pockets. I'd get used to waking up to find that a rat got into the food or accustomed to the water going out and taking bucket showers. I really thought that simplicity would essentially be an adaptation, a physically simpler way of living. In some ways that holds true (ie: read all the examples above), but then I was properly introduced to Saint Therese of Lisieux*, the patron saint of missionaries and our missionary house. From the way she chose to live her quiet life and in her daily prayer, I learned that we are called to a deeper form of simplicity, one of littleness and humility. 
Simplicity is more than just the environment we live in, it can be something we actively live. It's a virtue that’s to be invited into everyday situat…
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My Inner Rooster

The tall 14-year-old boy strutted over to me with his typical eye-twinkle and smile. Soaking wet from the beach and giggling about the whimpy corn Ryan was trying to grow in our front yard, he wrapped me into a hug. In this small gesture, I knew he was acknowledging that he sees me, thinks I'm pretty cool, and wants only good for my little heart. It may sound like I'm reading into a goofy teenager hug, but I believe otherwise. -----------------It's beginning. I'm entering a new season in my time as missionary. The season of hand-offs, conclusions, and a final adios. It's been a strong tug-a-war feeling in my heart: emotionally preparing for my return home and treasuring my remaining days. Questions continue to flood my heart: How will I adjust to living back in the United States - and in the midst of global pandemia? Moving back in with my parents? Using a washing machine? The cold? What does continuing relationships at the finca look like? Will I ever eat a good b…

*there is no title for this one*

I've been in a weird place the entire month.

Maybe it's because as the end of July quickly came, I realized I'd have been out of the United States for a full year. Maybe it's because the weeks and days blur together. Maybe it's because the entire world is still in this weird pause (or slo-mo mode) and we're worn by not being able to plan the months ahead.

Or maybe I'm just drinking too much coffee in the Caribbean sun and it's getting to my head.
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The missionaries are on vacation this week at the resort down the way from the finca because we weren't able to go home on our normal vacations back to the states. So we've had a lot of time to breathe and reflect. It's been nice to soak in the change of scenery, eat broccoli, and to be given permission to recharge and reflect.

Our first full day here I was eager to start working through my time in Central America, but I quickly became overwhelmed with knowing where to start. How do you b…

I'm. Still. Here.

"Yo hablé con un angelito anoche, y sabes que el me dijo?" (translation: I talked to a little angel last night and do you know what he told me?), she asked brightly in the middle of our morning homework session about Honduras' Independence.

"Que te dijo?" (What did he tell you?) I asked, knowing sometimes her brain needs little thought tangents to sucessfully continue on in lessons. 

"Me dijo: Tu puedes. Y Melissa, ya se que yo puedo." (He told me: You can. And Melissa, I know that I can.)

I broke out into a huge grin, trying to keep it cool. "Por supesto, ya sabia. Tu puedes." (Of course, I already knew that. You can.)

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I've been in Honduras for 272 days. And I'm realizing the fruits of simply being here. Like physically being here. Being a missionary is probably the one job in my life I haven't workedworkedworked until I burn out and end up half a person. 

I remember within my first few days (maybe even hours) at the Finca…

My Small Town Boy

I can’t tell you the number of people who predicted I’d go to Honduras and return with a handsome fella.

I’m finally here to settle your bets. Honduras did bring me a man (gasp). Sort of.

You ready to read about the cabellero who's swept me off my feet?

Levi Melvin Jones. 

Literally the kid next door. I’m not kidding.

For those of you who don’t know him or just think his name resembles movie-star-status (this has been mentioned), bear with me. For those of you who’ve known me my entire life, the rumors are true and you have permission to paint our little town with this WILD information.

Levi and I grew up together (woah). We lived 3 blocks from each other (almost) our entire lives. We ran in the same circles, had the same teachers, shared the same piano, received our sacraments together. So much of our child and joventud overlapped.

So it’s upside down that it took 18 years in Mount Carroll, 4 years of college and/or music gigs in different states, and 3 years as real people living…

Ready or Not

"The Honduran borders and airports will be closing at midnight tonight for a week to limit travel and lessen the entry of corona virus."

We had just returned from our Sunday Holy Hour when Ryan asked us to gather in the sala for this quick announcement.

My stomach dropped. 

I was tired. It was a long week, a full week of hosting a group of college students that came to the Finca for mission work. Their departure was a hurried because of the tightening restrictions of corona virus, which was something happening afuera en el mundo. Something we weren't thinking about even the week before.

But now it, this thing, was literally keeping me inside a country. I panicked internally, feeling suffocated by my lack of freedom. 

Thus began one of the longest emotional weeks of my life.

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Within two days I decided to go home. I read organizations like Peace Corps and JVC International were sending their volunteers and missionaries home. I saw the call from the US government…

I Get by with a Little Help from My Friends

"She has problems with her Spanish." (Yes this was actually said aloud, though it sounds much harsher in English.)

I was in the middle of nowhere Honduras, sitting at a table in the escuela surrounded by 9 professional Honduran educators barely keeping up with the pinball rapidity of conversation as they tore apart my verbal and written Spanish presentation of the library and special ed.

I could've so easily panicked (and I did a little). I could've so easily burst into tears (and I did later). But in the midst of the chaos I looked across the room at Megan pointing to her eye, then to her heart, then to me. I looked down at my phone and Ryan had sent an encouraging message. And I looked to my right as Nohemi advocated for me in her fluency and grace. 

Moments like this can consume you. Moments when you're literally torn down, stripped, humiliated, vulnerable. That's why doing something this hard and weird and different, like being a missionary at a children'…