Ok, so they are not exactly memories per se, rather glimpses of Christmas here in Ceiba this past week...and by glimpses I mean a shot of the church and host of shots from the Youth Group Christmas dinner this past Sunday...I'm losing my touch as a crack photographer. I spent my Christmas holiday in church, at Marla's house and holed up in my home on the 25th, cleaning like a madman, drinking coffee by the gallon and singing through the Christmas section of the Mennonite Hymnal. It was a little different to be sure but I enjoyed it and was happy for a few days of rest and relaxation.
I have to be honest when I say I was a mite disappointed with the Christmas Eve Service at Church. We were there for nearly 2 hours and spent 3/4ths of the time singing everyday worship music. I went home that night after my 4-course midnight meal at Marla's and happened upon a Candlelight Service being broadcast out of the First United Methodist Church of Dallas, Texas. While it reminded me of nearly all the reasons why I'm not a Methodist, it did also bring me back to Christmas memories spent at my Grandparents' church at St. John's United Methodist and I got to hear some glorious Christmas Carols...which I was needing.
Preparing for the 1 & 1/2 minute live Nativity Scene in the front of the church.
This was perhaps the fastest sequence of Christ's birth that I've ever seen - they marched up the aisle, posed for some photos and marched off without even so much as narration.
This past Sunday the Youth Group got together at a member's house and had a big Christmas Dinner celebration and Gift Exchange. It was quite a time.
Norman basking in the glow of the Christmas Star...or his own glory, I'm not sure which.
Wishing You & Yours A Frighteningly Red Christmas!
Konrad was given a pair of sandals for his gift...he's laughing out of frustration. Let me explain - Hondurans make fun of Gringos here because they say we all dress like Hippies and go about like every day is a beach day. One of the hallmarks of a Gringo is their emphatic and ridiculous use of sandals. Thus the gift of yet another pair of sandals is mind-boggling and perplexing. If they don't want us traipsing around town like a pack of Bohemians then why would they buy us more accesories for the get-up? Hence the laugh.
...and Daddy got a shirt.
Brought my sidekick Christian along for the ride.
You can always tell a party's going well when the guests resort to playing Chinese Checkers and then collapse from the sheer boredom.
Konrad's Cougar Face
Tino is not very bright...and a bit pigheaded too. When we drew names over a month ago he drew his own name but neglected to tell anyone...he was conflicted you see. He's notoriously cheap but also likes to receive gifts. He liked the idea of not having to buy anyone a gift and thereby spend money...that is of course until we arrived at the actual dinner and everyone began to give and receive; except for him. His countenance quickly changed and he became like a little child. So we did what any good friends would do, we made fun of him and took lots of fotos of us trying to "cheer him up" with scrounged up gifts from around the house. We offered him everything from a ceramic egg-holder...
...to Konrad's new sandals and a bag of trash...he was none too pleased.
Norman seemed to get a real kick out of it though.
Surprised/slightly scary Nelson...
...annoyed/slightly nervous Nelson...I prefer the former.
That's all I got for now. I'll keep you posted on how things progress for the New Year.
This look tells you that Matthew is at his wit's end and wants to shoot himself for having brought Duke and Christian along to San Pedro.
Let me back up.
So for those of you that had gotten my newsletter last month, one of my prayer requests was that funding come through for the formation of 2 soccer teams here in Laureles. Within days I had all the money I needed to buy uniforms and cleats so this past Sunday, I along with Josue and Konrad, hitched a ride with Nelson to San Pedro Sula to buy our teams' uniforms. At the last minute and in a moment of sheer benevolence we decided to bring Christian and Duke along for the ride. I had forgotten what it's like to travel with 14 year old boys as I haven't really done it since I was in Youth Group at Agape Fellowship. I don't know how Linda Byler did it for all those years but God Bless her. It wasn't so bad, almost enjoyable at times.
Anyway, we bought the uniforms at a great discount and came home satisfied and happy. Today then we took both teams, 28 boys, to get their feet measured for cleats. We met at the entrance to the dump, loaded on a city bus as it passed by and within the hour turned the local soccer store upside down...all we needed to do was measure feet...it should have been so simple. The only finally clamed down when Josue slipped out and came back with 3 litres of Pepsi and some Doritos. Suffice to say, that my dear friends is an adventure I will never repeat...we've learned our lesson about big unwieldy groups, you can take 40 kids swimming in the mountains without incident but take any more than 10 out in public and your adventure turns into a 3-ring circus. And I think i will leave it that.
We were successful in the end and as we speak our shoe measurements are drifting around cyberspace somewhere waiting to be retrieved by the vendor. I'll provide cleat pictures after we make that purchase.
The uniforms on the left are for the older kids and the younger kids have the uniforms on the right.
Swimming in Jerseys...not unlike swimming in Jersey, except cleaner.
Waiting for the bus...thank you Kendra Martin for pointing out Kevin's double-bird salute...we'll be having a little chit chat with him and his mother today.
Konrad's look should tell you how our day was going even prior to the trip
Blessings and Merry Christmas to you this week. ...peace on earth and goodwill towards men.
To renew our visa that is. Rhonda (a friend in Honduras that I know from Costa Rica) and I both needed to renew our visas so we decided to do it the cheap way on a 2 day bus to San Jose and we decided to schlepp Konrad Swartz (a recent EMM arrival) and Saco (a good friend) along for the ride. It was a great time with good friends and the boys from La Carpio (also great friends) but it went by far to quickly. I also took virtually no photos so you'll have to be content with a few scenes from the bus and a pirated La Carpio photo from Lalo's blog. Anshway, I'm back and new and regular blogposts shall begin again in earnest.
Tuesdays are our playtime with the little kids. We break out the puzzles, Legos, books and toy animals and let the kids have at it for a few hours. They seem to love it - I can relate I suppose, I'm still attracted to the toy farm animals and Legos.
Just as an aside; I'm not sure what class of farm corrals sheep, horses and cows in the same pen as camels and wildebeests but that's the way they came in the pack that I bought. Apparently some manufacturer here in Honduras thought it perfectly normal, as did the children as I heard no objection from them...I hope they all get along.
For many things I am but especially for the opportunity to eat an incredible Thanksgiving Dinner with good friends that I met in Costa Rica. It was almost like I was home, that's how good it was. A special treat was having Rhonda (another friend from C.R.) pass the holiday with us. The next day despite the torrential rains and cold, blustery weather she put on her big-girl shoes and trudged out to Los Laureles with me. She was the coordinator of our La Carpio group while we were in San Jose so this was nothing new to her; in fact she was right at home, we visited a family to take coffee with them and she immediately scooped up the nearest infant and set about making the whole family laugh. I'm thankful for constants in the midst of change, they're more important than I realized.
It's been a little while since last I wrote and I apologize, I've been without internet. I'm back up and running though and thought I might catch you up on all the birthdays we've had here in Laureles. November is by far our fullest month with 12...that's a lot of cake, and my waistline is showing the consequences.
I am a follower of Jesus, lover of all things Honduran and a native of Central Pennsylvania. My physical location is less than fixed and permanent but my heart and mind is ever-present in La Ceiba, Honduras.