My mom and her siblings love to tell an amusing story about my grandpa: When he was a young father in the early 1950’s, he moved his growing family to a new home in a developing neighborhood. The home was at the very end of the street, which meant it was also at the very end of the water pipeline. The water pressure in the house was so pathetic that my exasperated grandpa finally took matters into his own hands: he hacked the water source and built his own pipeline directly to his home.
Grandpa, I get it.
As the occupants of a house that is literally the last in line for water here at the Finca, we have begun to celebrate simple water pressure victories, like being able to flush the toilet or complete a shower. We have learned the fundamental importance of keeping our pila (concrete water cistern) filled at all times, lest the water pressure go from negligible to non-existent (which it does for several hours each day). We have hauled huge water jugs back and forth from the potable water spicket, and appreciated deep gulps of yellowish chlorine-filtered water in the hot Honduran sun.
After years of telling our kids that water is a precious and finite resource, we are actually (finally) treating it as one. This is just one of the many ways that our missionary life here at the Finca has started to shape us more into the people we want to be – the people we know we were created to be.
We are now one month into our time at the Finca, and we are still only beginning to learn about and adjust to our new lives. We have completed our initial orientation period (though we will continue training with the outgoing missionaries until their departure in early January), and last Saturday we received our official job assignments for the coming year. As expected, much of our time will be spent at the school, which serves not only the children of the Finca but also the surrounding communities. I will be the elementary school computer teacher and special education coordinator. Eric will be the middle school math teacher and 8th grade English teacher. These roles will allow us to serve in needed positions at the school while giving us the flexibility to care for and partially homeschool Kiara and Adelina.
In Honduras, the school year runs from February to early November (mostly due to the impassibility of roads during rainy season), so Eric and I have several months to plan and prepare for our teaching jobs. Thank goodness! Since neither of us is a professionally-trained teacher, we will definitely be leaning on our resource networks here and in the States to help us plan for the year. Meanwhile, Kiara and Adelina are finishing out the last two weeks of school with their respective classes. Based on an assessment of their academic abilities, they are moving forward one year and will be entering into 3rd and 1st grade in February. (This means that Adelina will only be a kindergartner for two weeks! *sob*)
Eric’s and my school positions are just a couple of the many different hats we will be wearing as missionaries (the biggest and most time-consuming being, of course, parents). Eric will be able to utilize his pastoral skills as a contributing preacher during weekly Communion services and as a spiritual leader for our missionary community. I will be the primary donor/benefactor liaison here at the Finca, in addition to helping coordinate special events. I am confident that these jobs, along with our many time-consuming household chores (like hand-washing clothes and cooking on an outdoor wood-burning stove), will keep us more than occupied throughout next year!
For now, we are trying to live fully into these present, precious moments.
We fall asleep to the sound of Caribbean waves and wake up to roosters crowing outside our window. We laugh and pray and read together, without ever pausing to check our phones. We celebrate water pressure! And every day, we get to witness the miracle of Living Water in the children of the Finca, whose heartbreaking histories are no match for the love that abides in and overflows from this beautiful place we now call home.
“Whoever welcomes a child such as this, welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me, welcomes not me, but Him who sent me.” Mark 9:37 (Official Bible Verse of the Finca del Niño)