Tonight, my internet went out. I walked down to the stairs to borrow my neighbors and as I’m sitting there another neighbor comes out to rinse of something in the pila across from me. He says goodbye and leaves. Several minutes later he walks back towards me with something in his hand. I look over to see him handing me 3 oranges. My first thought, was “wow”. I told him no thanks, and he proceeded to ask me if I knew what oranges were. I think more that I understand the Spanish term, rather than what the actual object was. I laughed a little and said yes, and so he said okay and placed them in my hand. I said thanks and smiled at him as he turned and walk away.
Yeah, I know…three oranges…what’s the big deal, right?
These people, they have nothing. A lot of the people around me are working hard every day just to have enough money to put food on the table for their families. Yet, over and over again I watch these people give from what little they have. I couldn’t even count the many times I have seen the generosity they have towards each other.
My neighbor, who gave me the oranges, doesn’t know me at all. He knows nothing about me except that I’ve been here for so many weeks, I live in the same apartment building and I’m from America. To him, that didn’t matter. These 3 oranges may have very well been the best gift I have ever received. I know, that sounds weird, and part of it could be that I’m not really a gift person. It was more of the circumstances and the intentions in which it was given that made me feel special. He knew it wasn’t much what he was giving me, and yet he gave it to me with such a grateful heart. This is just one thing I wish to carry into my future.
I have written and rewritten this post six times now. This is my seventh attempt at putting into words my entire experience and my goodbye. I was thinking that writing something like this would help me to find closure on this part of my life. I also thought it would be far easier than this, but every single time I end up with no words to express the past three months, and many tears to replace them.
Two months ago, I changed my plane ticket to leave early. I didn’t realize it, even though I was asked, but I was feeling homesick. I was so stuck on wanting to be back in Ohio, that I lost track of the many blessings I have here.
That’s when God truly broke me down. He reminded me of who He is. He also helped to show me just how far I had grown from Him over the past year. I began to understand how much work I had to do in my heart.
What better way to begin that work than to decide to lean on Christ for strength, comfort and healing over the next two months? Being here and depending on Him in ways I never had before was perfect for this season of my life.
It was a really difficult decision to stay, but I had made a promise to my students, and to their parents. I couldn’t break that promise, regardless of what I would have to sacrifice to stay.
It’s funny how God works. I came here expecting to give my all to my students and to this city. As I am preparing to leave, I’m realizing just how much I have changed because of it, and just how much I am taking back to Ohio with me.
My students have become some of the biggest blessings in my life. I truly mean it when I say that I will never forget them. They have taught me so much that I sometimes wonder if I learned more than they have. I’m pretty sure that if I hear one of them beg me to stay one more time, that I actually will. I only hope to visit again someday and be able to see them again.
The past two months have passed in a blur. All of a sudden I am feeling really unprepared about preparing to leave. I can pack up my bags, and say my goodbyes, but I can never truly leave this experience behind. Although this time in my life is coming to a close, there are many things that are not. I’ve been trying too hard to find closure to an experience and a place that will forever be part of who I am.
The growing I have done is just the beginning of what is to come.
The things I have learned about teaching will come in handy while finishing my degree and starting a career.
The friendships I have built will continue to grow even after I am miles away.
The healing and work God has done in my heart has prepared me to do His work.
I cannot wait to see what the future holds. I have stopped trying to find closure while this trip comes to a close. Yes, it was an amazing journey and I am beginning a new chapter, but that’s just it. This was a necessary chapter in my life that God used in huge ways, and it will always be part of my book.
I will always look back on this time as a journey of change. My heart changed, my mind changed, my relationship with God changed, and my life as a whole changed.
My life here has become part of who I am, I’m not leaving it behind entirely, but instead taking pieces of it with me. I hope I will carry with me the same generosity that my neighbor had tonight as he handed me the oranges. I hope that I will be willing to stop and talk to a complete stranger; just because I can see that they need it. I hope I will always give even when I feel that I have nothing left to give.
So I’m saying goodbye to Honduras, and to Santa Rosa de Copan, for now. I’m saying goodbye to my students, and the many friends I have made. I’m saying goodbye, but forever remembering.
I still feel that this is unfinished and I’m realizing that it’s because I don’t think I can ever put into words the amount of influence this time has had on me. I have loved my time here, and the life that I have built up. My prayer is that God would continue to do His work here, that He would continue to lead people here to further the Kingdom.
Have a blessed day,