Waiting for the ballots to be counted.
Waiting for the roads to be clear enough for safe package to Trujillo.
Waiting for a decision from our Board of Directors.
Waiting for the flight confirmation to come through.
I have been up to a lot of waiting these days. Let me explain. I am a missionary with Finca del Niño, a children’s home in rural northern Honduras, and we do a lot of waiting around here. I wait for my clothes to dry during the rainy season. I wait for beans to cook on an outdoor fire for 3 1/2 hours. I wait for our teenage boys to warm up to talking to me, their social worker, when something is going on. I wait for the systems and structures of Honduras to fight for the best interest of the child. I live in Honduras and I am used to waiting.
So when Honduran presidential elections began on Sunday November 26, the feast of Christ the King, we were expecting to wait a few days for the results. On Tuesday November 28, all Finca missionaries left for retreat in Comayagua, 9 hours away from our home in Trujillo, to visit another catholic missionary community called Missioners of Christ. Over the next few days, questionable vote reporting, protests in the streets, and a 6pm to 6am national curfew shook the country of Honduras into unrest. As U.S. American missionaries without safe roads to travel home, we stayed in our fortress of a retreat center with plenty of food, water, power, and privilege. We waited inside and every night at 6:30pm heard our brothers and sisters in their homes banging pots, setting off car alarms, and calling for change. We passed the days in thoughtful dialogue about the state of our querido Honduras and in ardent prayer for peace before the Blessed Sacrament. We waited.
One week later, as I looked upon the homemade Advent wreath of our temporary home, I thought “Wow. This is so Advent.” Be watchful! Be alert! You do not know when the time will come. You see, every single other Advent of my life has been a more gentle and mostly optional waiting. December is expectant but easily predictable- waiting for finals to be over, decorations to go up, and the joy of the Christmas season to commence. Never before have I been in the dark waiting of Advent. This Marian waiting is still expectant but also so incredibly unknown, so powerless. That is the Advent reality for so many of our brothers and sisters around the world. Will I be able to buy Christmas gifts for the kids? When will my parents come pick me up? Do I really have to return to the United States? How shall this be, since I have no husband? Advent is the unknown.
The Spanish language uses the verb esperar to say both to wait and to hope. As the many faithful men and women I have met in the past three months have modeled, this dark Advent waiting is not done in vain. We wait in hope. For no ear has ever heard, no eye ever seen, any God but you doing such deeds for those who wait for him.
So, today, two weeks and 3,477 miles away from my beloved ocean-side Honduran home, what am I waiting for? For what do I hope? I hope for a King. Christ the King, born into a stony and cold stable, placed in the filth of a manger, before whom every knee shall bow. I hope for a Ruler who doesn’t need to make a lot of noise, who doesn’t need to call a recount of the votes. For what He accomplished from manger to cross was destined for victory from the moment Life was spoken into the world. There is no fear in His leadership, in His love. And I trust that blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her from the Lord.
As I return to warm showers and Christmas drink specials and piano bars in the airport, I return to the Annunciation and say, with Mary, “Yes!”. “Yes” to the invitation to wait. “Yes” to the invitation to hope. “Yes” to the promise of the Prince of Peace.
Interested in doing something to help? As director and co-founder of Missioners of Christ Carol Restaine told us on retreat, Honduras is a country in desperate need of resources, particularly human resources. Now, more than ever, the people of Honduras and our children at the Finca need committed resource investment. During this Christmas season, I invite you to consider investing in the people of Honduras. Invest with your prayers. Offer a divine mercy chaplet, rosary, daily mass, or special fast for peace. Invest financially. You can share your treasure with the mission of Finca del Niño/ Farm of the Child either through the general donation fund or directly to my missionary fundraising account so that I can return to Honduras and continue serving our children there.
Interested in learning more about the current political crisis in Honduras? Read on, below.