I had a great time on my second trip to Honduras this year. This time was just a long weekend, but it was very relaxing, yet very productive.
The night before I left, I stayed at the Marriott Courtyard San Antonio Airport. That turned out to be a great idea. I had decided to stay there so I didn’t have to drive very far in the morning to get to the airport. When I checked in, I discovered that not only do they have a 24-hour shuttle service, but I could also park my truck there for up to two weeks free. I had no idea I could do that. Naturally, I did. The shuttle driver took me to the terminal the next morning. In addition, the desk clerk made five luggage tags using my missionary contact cards and I was able to print 22 pages for free. That saved me a trip to someplace like Office Depot and gave me luggage tags for my bags.
The trip down to Tegucigalpa (Tegus) was uneventful, except for meeting some people going down on mission trips. I gave out several of my cards so they’ll be able to keep up with my missionary activities and be reminded to pray for me. (Thank you!)
Thursday afternoon I went out to Baxter Institute with Jim. He went to a meeting while I watched the kids taking their turn whacking a pinata and visiting with several wives of Baxter Board members. I had a very pleasant afternoon.
For dinner, I had spaghetti with meat sauce at the Humuya Inn, where we stayed. I still really like their meat sauce!
Friday morning, Mimi and I talked briefly about my future work in Tegus. We both recently read David Platt’s book Radical. Mimi said she wants to volunteer to help me when I start my work down there! Maybe we’ll do some team teaching. She’s very fluent in English and is a native Spanish speaker. I think we could do some good work together.
I met four new friends. Randy and Marlene are from the Metro Church in Oneida, Florida. Kenneth is from the Greater Lansing Church of Christ in Lansing, Michigan. They had all been to graduation at the Good Samaritan School in Catacamas, about four hours from Tegus. The fourth person is Larry, CEO of Good Samaritan Resources in Abilene, Texas. We visited for quite some time. When Larry had to leave for a meeting, we had a group prayer. Marlene said they’ll have to stop and pick me up in July and take me to Catacamas with them. That would be great! If it doesn’t work out for next year, maybe it will in 2012. The rest of us continued to visit for awhile, until Moises and Sofia arrived shortly before 11:00.
Moises dropped Sofia and me off at the mall. Since neither of us were very hungry, we decided to get minutes for my cell phone and do my price-checking first. In the produce section at Hiper Pais, we met Sally and Sara who run the Eagles’ Nest home for abused children in Tegus. When Sally found out I’m coming down as an independent missionary, she immediately said, “You can join us.” If I didn’t already have a church to serve with, I’d certainly consider that. I will keep in touch with Sally, though, as she told me they had a group of local missionaries over for a Thanksgiving potluck and they decided to meet together once a month. I would certainly like to meet the group and, if my schedule permits, participate in those monthly get-togethers.
Sofia and I went through all the grocery aisles in Hiper Pais. She’s an excellent shopper and told me which are the best of the local brands of the various packaged products. I left there with six pages of prices of foods I would expect to eat regularly. I haven’t converted the prices to dollars yet, but I will shortly. That will allow me to fine-tune my budget and make it more realistic. I also got prices for printers with scanners, TVs, and pillows. We ate in the food court. At the GNC store, I was pleasantly surprised to find my shampoo. I’ve been using Jason’s Biotin Shampoo, one of the few shampoos to which I’m not allergic. I had thought I would either have to bring it with me from the States or hunt around to find some other natural or hypoallergenic shampoo. Instead, I can just get it at the mall.
We finally finished up about 3:30 with ice cream from the Burger King kiosk near the mall entrance. Moises came to pick us up a few minutes before 4:00 and took me back to the hotel.
The electricity was out at the hotel when I arrived a few minutes later. I don’t know how long it had been out, but it didn’t come back on until about ten minutes after 6:00. It was still light enough to read on my Kindle until about 6:00, and I could use it to post on Facebook, which was nice.
After the electricity came back on, I had to wait a bit for the Internet service to come back up. That’s when I met Daniel G., a recruiter from Abilene Christian University in Abilene, Texas. We had a nice conversation while we ate dinner. It turned out to be a good thing he invited me to sit at his table because they ran out of room for the dinner they had scheduled. They would have been short two tables instead of just one. I had the chicken pasta alfredo, which was very good.
Daniel offered to give Jim and me a ride to church on Sunday. He said Evi had been telling him about her church, and he wanted to go. Since he had a rental car, that meant we wouldn’t need to get a taxi.
On Saturday morning, I read some more, and caught up my email and Facebook while I waited for Moises to come by to pick up the two duffle bags he is storing for me until my return. Jim and I ate lunch at the Humuya. Berto arrived a little after 2:00. He is the Director of Family Life Mission Network in Irving, Texas. Jim has known him for several years and invited him to join us for the graduation festivities. We took a taxi to the Plaza San Martin for the ceremony. It had been quite awhile since I attended a graduation ceremony. This one was quite nice. The Baxter chorus sang (I love acapella music), Misael graduated from the Saturday program, and Calvin preached. I very much appreciated that almost everything was done in both Spanish and English.
Afterward, Jim and I walked over to the Maya Hotel, since we had an hour to wait before the banquet started. We sat in the restaurant, as Jim’s knee was bothering him. He had a banana split, but I decided to just wait for dinner. We got back to the Plaza San Martin a few minutes before they opened the doors to the banquet hall.
Jim, Berto, and I sat with Steven, Jeanne, Mike J., Martha, Mike, and Daniel R. The food was quite good and the conversation was excellent. The Baxter chorus sang again. This was a very enjoyable afternoon and evening.
On Sunday morning, Jim and I rode to church with Daniel. It was sure nice to see everyone again. I still can only grasp a word or two every now and then when Moises preaches, but I know it will be different next year at this time! After the service, Nicole, the girl I sponsor through Compassion International, came over to see me. I gave her the photos I had brought with me of our day in July at the Children’s Museum. Daniel had to leave to catch a plane, so Jim and I rode with Moises and his family to the mall for lunch. We ate at Pizza Hut. The stuffed crust pizza was excellent. After lunch, Jim and I made a stop at Hiper Pais and then took a taxi back to the hotel.
I caught up on my email and Facebook and then turned on the patio TV. The episode of Criminal Minds that I had seen the beginning of on Saturday night was on again, so I sat down to watch it. I knew the good guys would win, but I was curious to see how they would figure everything out and catch the bad guys. Jim came down before it was over, so the last few minutes of the show he flipped over to the Dallas Cowboys game during the commercials. The Cowboys won in overtime.
Monday morning we went out to the clinic at Baxter. I had been Facebook friends with the clinic doctor since before my July trip, but I hadn’t yet met her in person. Finally, I got to meet Xiomara. Unfortunately, the clinic was packed with patients, so we couldn’t stay and visit with Xiomara. However, we’ll have plenty of time for that once I’m settled in down there.
We took a taxi to the airport, where Joe the luggage guy got us through the check-in process very quickly and even paid our departure tax. I suspect he didn’t wait in line as long as we would have!
The flight back home was uneventful. Jim left Houston on an earlier flight than me. I arrived in San Antonio about 8:30 and called the Marriott for a ride. The shuttle picked me up about 15 minutes later. On the way home, I stopped to pick up my mail at the Post Office, but there were just two yellow cards telling me my mail had overflowed the box and was being held for me. So, I would have to wait until the next morning to get it. I got to my house before 10:00.
I had a wonderful trip and can hardly wait to get back there. The clock is counting down!