Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Honduras Trip

Getting excited in the airport

In Honduras at our first bed & breakfast

On the road to Copan

Road to Copan

Classic missionary shot walking into the Ruins

We had the amazing opportunity to go to Honduras and serve with Sean during his last week as a missionary. We were truly "on a mission!" Up early everyday and working until late. It was a very rewarding and amazing trip. I couldn't possibly do justice to the pictures, but I have tried to give a sampling. Skippy actually took alot more and I didn't even touch his selections.
We flew into Miami from Phoenix on Thursday the 18th of Sept and had a five hour layover there. We finally boarded and flew the short less than 2 hour leg into San Pedro Sula. Elder Holladay and two companions were waiting for us at the airport. I cannot describe the feeling of seeing him for the first time in two years. It is just a very special moment. We have never gone to the mission field before (although now I wish I had picked them all up!) and it was unique having him meet us at the airport. After renting our vehicle for the week (certainly not US standards here), we went to our first stop for the night. We stayed at a bed & breakfast I had found on Tripadvisor - it was wonderful! Jimmy and Sandra were like family and took very good care of us - we ended up staying there four of the seven nights we spent in Honduras. After a great typical Hondurian breakfast the next morning we began our three hour drive to Copan. This is a area that Sean served in near the beginning of his mission. There are some of the best preserved Mayan ruins here in all of the world. It is a shame that the government does not put effort into maintaining the road to get there. Parts of it were fine, but other parts were nearly completely washed out to the rains and it was questionable if we would be able to pass. The tour of the ruins was great with Sean as our guide - they are simply breathtaking. We did get a taste of the rain though as it rained our entire time there. We stayed in a beautiful boutique hotel there and rested that evening as the boys went on splits with the local missionaries and stayed the night with them in the "castle." The next day it was back on the road again. We drove back to San Pedro Sula (3 hours) and stopped at the mission office for a bit to pick up supplies. Then on to La Ceiba - about another 2 1/2 to 3 hour drive. A long day that started very early. There was a baptism set up for 3pm in La Ceiba and Sean arranged for Skippy to have the opportunity to perform one of the baptisms. Skip memorized the prayer in Spanish on the way there. The baptisms were in the ocean and it was a very beautiful service. Even though we cannot understand the language, we can feel the spirit of these people. That night we had dinner at a Pizza Hut. I planned the entire trip to get pictures of the fast food restaurants in Honduras. They are HUGE! They are seriously probably six times larger than their American counterparts. I guess the construction costs are favorable - who knows why they need them that big. We stayed in a nice hotel on the beach here and the boys stayed with us as there were other missionaries staying with the zone leaders in La Ceiba. The next day was Sunday and we started the travel out to the first branch in Coyoles where the meeting started at 9 am. This was about a 1 1/2 to 2 hour drive. Upon arrival, the entire branch came out to greet us and Sean. The meeting was great, even in Spanish and many of the members expressed their love to Sean in a testimony type setting. I felt I needed to thank them, so with the help of Sean translating for me, I also went to the stand to express my love the them for taking care of him. There were many tears upon parting here. Next it was on to Guadalupe and the branch that Sean started himself. There was one family out here that was driving into Coyoles each week to attend church - this is about 30 minute drive on a dirt road. Sean and the branch president decided one day to take the service to them instead of them driving to Coyoles. This got the ball rolling and these members invited many friends and family members to hear the discussions and many were baptized. The church rented a small home that serves as the branch meetinghouse. Can I possibly explain to you how hot it was here? I doubt it! In this little house there was not so much as a lick of a breeze. No fans, no nothing - Chris and I and Skippy were wondering if it was possible to spontaneously combust! But again the people were amazing. Following the meeting, one of the sisters wanted me to visit her house which was just a short walk away. We were communicating even though neither of us spoke the other's language. On the wall in this extremely humble home was a picture of Chris and I with Sean in our front yard the day we left for the MTC. There were many other pictures of Sean in various settings. She just loved Sean and therefore us as well. That was a humbling experience. There were lots and lots of tears at this farewell.
We traveled back quickly to La Ceiba as Sean wanted to catch the boat to the island of Utilla where he and Skippy were going to visit members and stay the night. In a country where nothing is on time, this time they decided to leave 10 minutes early. They literally missed the boat by about 10 feet! They were considering jumping! We spent the rest of the evening visiting lots of great families. On Monday it was back in the car and back to San Pedro Sula after a morning full of visits. Now keep in mind that Chris and I and Skippy do not speak Spanish. We spent alot of time frying our brains trying to follow what was going on - Sean did a great job trying to translate. At most of the houses, the lady of the house would want to serve us a drink. Some of them were amazingly delicious and others were tough to take down. One was an oatmeal type drink that I just couldn't do - thank goodness Sean was there to bail me out and drink my drinks!
We had a dinner date that night at the home of the Palencia family. These are very special people. I will have to get Skippy's pictures to post the ones with them. They cooked a wonderful dinner for us and we enjoyed getting to know them.
The next night we took several families that Sean and worked with including the Palencia family to dinner at a nice restaurant in town. It was difficult for us as Sean tried to jump around the room and keep everyone happy. We were just clueless as usual.
Wednesday was the change meeting. This was a neat experience. It is where all of the missionaries that are being reassigned meet and find out where they will be going. Sean had the opportunity to bear his testimony. We had lunch following the meeting with Pres & Sister Cruz and the missionaries who were going home. That afternoon we did our souvenir shopping and that night was spent at President Cruz's home for the final evening together. I spent about 45 minutes alone with Sister Cruz - "talking" - her using her limited English and me using my limited Spanish - it is amazing how Mother's can talk no matter what!
The next morning we were at the airport very early and by 6pm were back in Phoenix with the brothers and grandkids anxiously waiting for us! It was truly an amazing experience and I am so grateful we were able to go.