Arriving in Honduras

Saturday morning wake up time came way too early.  I barely even slept the night before.  I had the sweetest, longest, bedtime with my boys.  They both did great.  We talked about the well and their week.  They were really on such a high from having 3 of their 4 grandparents here that they were not at all focused on my leaving.  As I kissed them over and over and tucked them in I could not help but think it was the last time for a week!  I cried a bucket full that night after bedtime and secretly wished they would wake up and need me during the night. 

Justin took us to the airport in time to meet the team at 6:30am. 

That was really dad's suitcase! Everyone thought he was carrying it for me. 

so many Americans headed on mission trips 
After meeting up with everyone and checking in, we had our last American breakfast and we were off to Honduras!

Micah, Ashliegh, and Femi manning the exit row 

goodbye Houston 

nothing but ocean 

Dad quickly assumed the position 
Once in Honduras things got interesting quickly.  We had to change and be flexible almost immediately.  The team from Orlando that we were waiting on missed their connection in Miami.  Rather than taking our 4 hour drive to La Ceiba Saturday night, we stayed in El Progresso so they could picked up when their later flight came in.  That put us with a 6 hour bus ride the next day but we were all game and up for whatever the Lord had in store for us.  Initially, it was our fill of American food.  Burger King for lunch and KFC for dinner.  

San Pedro Sula, Honduras Airport 

our ride.  The aqua viva bus 

primary mode of transportation 

they still have a colonel 

and a weird girl holding 2 drum sticks :-)

Salsa Hondurena - pretty yummy 
The Casa Blanca is where we stayed in El Progresso.  Basic, comfortable, and safely guarded by a man with a rifle.  Oh, and roosters.  Dad had actually read on the packing list about bringing ear plugs for the trip for the roosters.  We joked that we weren't staying in the village so surely we didn't need them.  Didn't count of roosters at every hotel :-) 

arriving at the hotel 

beautiful courtyard at the hotel 

The next morning we were up early and headed to La Ceiba for church.  The church we attended is the local of church of the team members of Living Water.  The associate pastor is also on staff of Living Water.  

the church in La Ceiba 

the associate pastor 

Lighthouse church 
There are so many things about the experience at this church that I wish I could describe.  The spiritual level.  The presence of the Holy Spirit.  The joyful, enthusiastic, no holding back worship of our Savior.  The smile on the little boy's face that played bongos during the service.  The hands lifted, the smiles on faces, the tears at time.  Blessed that it was in both Spanish and English.  The service was full of kids.  And even for me it was a long service.  So I made friends around me.  The sweetest little one in front of me who was actually quite sassy.  Dad had a row full that loved him taking pictures.  A beautiful 10 year old girl sat beside me that spoke some English and we chatted.  They loved the pictures and videos on my phone of Beckett and Eli.  The boys got thousands of kisses and I wish you would have seen the boys faces when they saw pictures and videos from Monster Jam.  One 4 year old had a little monster truck with him at church that they were all playing with.  I wish I had brought everyone that the boys have and just handed them out to those little stinkers.

Afterwards we were able to share with the pastor what a blessing the service was to us all.  

Emilio with his kiddos
As we were leaving the church, I watched as the people exited and headed home.  Most of the women took off their Sunday shoes and traded them for walking shoes for the way home.  The streets were muddy.  They flood often because of all the rain.  Still they come.  They walk from all over, arriving at different times, sometimes in the rain and sometimes in the sun.  Still they come to worship.  How easy it is for us to take for granted the ease of worship.  The freedom that we enjoy here right now.  I pray that those freedoms will continue and God will continue to grow this church in La Ceiba.

road leading to the church 
And then lunch at Pizza Hut before making the 2 hour drive to the hotel closest to the village we would be working in. 

Saba is in the state of Colon.  We crossed over on the drive from La Ceiba.  You cannot bring outside fruit into Colon so the bus was stopped.  

Saba is about 20,000 people and was about 45 or so from our drill site in Salama.  There was a grocery store across the street that we were able to visit as long as we were escorted by a local Honduran. Some seriously yummy local plantain chips and all other basic items could be found there.  Really our source of nightly entertainment too.   

prices - about 30 dollars a night 

swimming pool.  Ashliegh went in and it was freezing

view of the grocery store 

heading out to the grocery store 

some medicine items under lockdown  

really big carrots

just a little cha cha cha in the candy aisle 
And we can't forget the showers right?  Check out the hot water situation.  These were referred to as "widow makers".  Even before we arrived we were well versed on being careful with these things. A lesson that apparently Micah forgot!  This might have been the funniest moment at a team meeting the entire we were there!

Sunday night we arrived and had some free time to get settled in before dinner.  That's when I started to feel it.  I walked in to dinner feeling not quite right.  As I sat down I felt this flashing heat in my body like I might pass out.  I went back to the air conditioning in my room and felt a little better so came back.  Tried to eat some rice and drink water thinking it would help.  Within a few minutes I was leaving dinner and heading back to my room.  Officially sick.  So sick.  In between being sick I googled and read CDC and other travel information sites.  Thank goodness for the information.  There was a chart based on your level of sickness and frequency.  Within a couple of hours I had reached the level that antibiotics are recommended.   I brought it with me just in case and hoped I would never need it.  My dad and the Sony came in and prayed over me.  I was so hoping that I would wake up the next day and be well enough for the village but I was still super sick in the early hours of the morning.  I will admit that I cried.  Quite a bit in the dark in my bed.  Terrified that I wouldn't get better.  Devastated knowing that I was getting left behind at the hotel.  I had my phone and couldn't go back to sleep.  As I laid there listening to the roosters, I opened my bible app to the day's devotion and God met me right there in the hotel room.  I shared this on facebook but am sharing again to document for my trip.  Here is what the devotion said. 

Whenever we’re tempted to think “Woe is me,” Joseph’s story can remind us that others have it worse. Unjustly accused of the attempted rape of Potiphar’s wife, Joseph was thrown into prison. 
Believers in Christ are not exempt from unjust accusations. How, then, do we worship in the midst of such awful circumstances? 
The key is found in a small phrase in today’s verses: The Lord was with Joseph. When God is with us, even a prison cell can become a place of worship. Regardless of our circumstances, we can take comfort in the fact that God has promised to stay close by our side. Remember his promise to Moses? “I will be with you.” To Gideon? “I will be with you.” And to Paul? “I will be with you.” 
Worship does not only take place in a sanctuary or even with the companionship of other believers. Learn to welcome those times when life’s unfairness draws you closest to the One who has promised never to leave you. He already is there, waiting.

God was with me that hotel room and He and I spent the day together in Saba, Colon. 

My day consisted of this.

a serious amount of fluids to be consumed 

plain rice, fried bananas, and a sprite - perfect recovery food 

I am grateful for Emilio checking on me.  For Nugget allowing my dad to use his phone from the site to check on me.  For everyone at home that was praying for me to get well.  By the time the team arrived back, I was well enough to shower and attend dinner and meeting.  I was weak but I was fighting.  I didn't come this far to stay in a hotel room all week!  I couldn't wait to hear about their day, the village, and every detail.

On Tuesday morning, I was ready and back in action.

The next days of the trip were full of hard work, mud, laughter, playing, rain, bees, and many more adventures.  I am still praising God that I recovered and was able to work and be blessed the remainder of the trip.  Many more details to come!

The Riley's